Variety (October 1952)

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legitehlatk Wednesday, October 29, 1952 Plays on Broadway My Partin ’ 1 Alto Robert L. Jowsph wo«uetto» o**»mac» dram* In two acts <10 scenes) by Charles Sledman. based on Verdi's " 4 ^b ttttiteby Giuseppe Verdi. Futures Dor- otHv • Sarnoff, Maine Malbin, Howard Jarratt* William Wilder- inan, William Dillard, Kenneth Schott. Alonzo Bogart, Stanley Carlson. OUve Moorefield, Gordon Hamilton, BetteDu^ bro. Eileen Schauler. Directed by Jjiea man; scenery and costitmes deslgned by Lemuel Ayers; choreography, Hanya Holm; musical director, Franz Aliens, SSSl Sector. Robert Shaw, new er- ss^" ssss n^B ! gi^K <*7.20 Friday, Saturday nights, *v.w WU %g‘ nl S a cfr““ Aj/ t or SoUr , y . * ‘ElainV)' Malbin (evenings) iuat Eileen Schauler Onatlnees) Raymond Demarest William Olvis Howard Jarratt T . c .„ . ....... Alonzo Bosan cV.V Ida Johnson lx rah . oiw^M^Sd Wheat • •• •• •;* • • •;;•;:. G jota fF?® .... Fredye Marshall ....... Yancey Hoyt William Sutherland Jessica Farrow .Dorothy Sarnoff (evening^ the score, seem somewhat prosaic for the melodramatic violence of the story. The spoken lines, gen- erally more understandable, also have more theatrical lift. Within the limits of the story and lines, the show is directed with emphasis on movement. The performances are generally admirable. Dorothy Sarnoff. sings superbly and gives a convincing dramatic portrayal in the expansive role of the scorned southern heiress. Miss Malbin is excellent, if a trifle light vocally, as the doomed slave girl; Howard Jarratt sings acceptably as the Confederate captain torn between tradition and forbidden love, and there are ef- fective performances by William Dillard as the heroine's incendiary father, William Wilderman as the Klan leader and lovers’ nemesis, and Kenneth Schon as a mild plantation-owner southern general. Lemuel Ayers, who designed the stunning looking theatreful of scenery and costumes, rates major billing for one ofthe most opulent shows within memory. Hanya Betty Dubro (matinees) Holm>s choreography includes at rhSfr a LFo a ist° w The?eS Green least one striking dance routine m Choir Soloist Xin Ruth Anne Fleming DoJly“V.*.V....V.....V... Ruth McVayne Maggie V.V.V.’.V. Muriel BIrckhead £grfL ...I...! Lola Fisher Mary .7.7.* Ruth Schumacher NeUle Mary Ann T ° mli ? so 2 » ■ " " ▼ — _ _ /lAivAiann the slave quarters and Robert Shaw’s choral direction has achiev- ed some pleasant tonal effects, though the lyrics are not always clear. But for all its visual splendor Betue J**? c«dad and inherent quality of the Verdi Snnle Carol Jones Maid, .V Mile Allen. Maelclan < WX, 5 *lK 5 iS Howitf 0Urb . 7 -. ’.’. *. '• *• ’• *■ • ■ Wnt?r K&ta nowil. Wall, score, “My Darlin’ Aida” seems too ponderous for popular acceptance on Broadway. Under the schedule for rotating Howie . • • • • * ••••*• 'inward Wellman leads, Miss Sarnoff and Miss Mai 1 bin wUl play all evening perform- ances, with Bette Dubro and Eileen „ . Schauler singing the respective su*ie SiPJtZZ I roles at matinees. Also, Jarratt and William Olvis will sing alternate performances as Capt. Demarest, the hero. Hobe. $150-$250 Greenwich Village Subscription Group’s Tepid Teeoff Greenwich Village’s off-Broad- way theatre is moving out of the blue jeans stage. In recent months the uptown crowd has been flock- ing to the Village sector for such pro attractions as “Summer and Smoke’’ (Circle-in-the-Square The- atre), “Widowers Houses’’ (Green- wich Mews Playhouse) and the re- cently shuttered American Lyric Theatre (Provincetown Playhouse). Latest entry in the Village buildup is Theatre de Lys, which preemed its nine-play season Monday (27) with .one of screenwriter-director John Huston’s youthful efforts, “Frankie and Johnny.” Theatre de Lys is an offbeat try at subscription legit. In addition to the play series, theatre will in- clude jazz, concert, opera and an art centre series, which will fea- ture the “readings” vogue. It’s an ambitious project, but its initial effort bodes ill fot things to come. Inside Stuff-Legit There’s an involved story in the program listing of the dog in the cast of “Bemardine,” which opened recently at the Playhouse, N. Y. In the play, the pup is given by the doting mama to her son, whose sole interest is girls. The kid thinks this mother’s present is just about the end, so authoress Mary Chase has listed the dog’s name in the program as Last Straw and the part as being played by Harmon Von Doren. Latter was the name of a character played many years ago by H. C. Van Duser, father of Jane Van Duser, one of the principals in “Bemardine.” Miss Van Duser owns the dog, a dathshund whose real name is High Pockets. It was also in the cast of Miss Chase’s previous hit, “Harvey,” with her. Not generally known is the show biz background of Clarence J. Bulliet, art critic who died in Chicago last week (20). Although re- tired from* the Daily News there in 1948, he contributed to the sheet. He joined, the News in 1932, upon its absorption of the Evening Post, and served, as drama and art critic for eight years. Earlier, he had been pressagent (for seven years) for Robert Mantell, the Shake- spearean actor, and for the first roadshow of “The Birth of a Nation.” “It has been reported that the members of the company supplied a large part of the money necessary to open ‘Buttrio Square’ in New York when one of the original backers prudently withdrew,” says Wol- cott Gibbs in the New Yorker. “They all have my profound sympathy, but I can’t help observing that their plight proves an old theory of mine that actors conceivably know even less about the theatre than the critics.” RteJe*”‘V' Robert Busch Hutch * 7.7.7. Thornton Marker Adam Brown William Dil^rd Flower Jacqueline Hairston rTiw Charlotte Holloman : : Ned wnght Major Stanhope .... William Sutherland SINGERS: Muriel Blrckhead. Dorothy Candee. Jane Copeland. Gloria Davy. Sue Dorris. Lola Fisher. Ruth Anne MArtha 'Fiynh. 'Wre** -ftorlotte Holloman, Ida Johnson. Carol Jones, Fredye Marshall. Ruth McVayne, Joyce Sellinger, Ruth Schumacher, Jo Ann Tomlinson. Frankie and Johnny William de Lys (assisted by James Mor- ske and Stanley S. Kostner) presentation of musical play in two acts by John Huston with incidental music by Irwin A. Bazelon, songs by Hilda Taylor & Ed Safranski. Features Val Dufour. Pat Lar- son, HUda Taylor, Beverly Churchill. Directed by Don M. Dickinson; chore- ography, Vonn Hamilton; settings and lighting, Paul M. Heller; costumes, Jan Holm. At Theatre de Lys, N. Y., Oct. 27 *52. Sheriff .* Fred Downs Frankie Pat Larson Lila Beverly Churchill The Madam Doris Jones Prizefighter Norman Feld Bartender David Leland Johnny .* Val Dufour Nelly Bly Hilda Taylor Plano' Player Robert Ball Girls in Red Pat Jennings, Jacquetta Keith, Lavina Nielsen, Rosemary Zmner, Ann Hilton, Nancy Farnsworth Six Macks.. AUan Craine, Gregg Owen, Tom Panko, David Wood. Bill Anderson, David Shustak Anne Robert titrates of Penzance S. M. Chartok presentation of Gilbert it Sullivan Co. in operetta revival in two Taylor. Mary Ann Tomunson. aou^av actSj with *nd lyric* by W. S. Gil- Baird, Gino Baldi. R°b ert . bert, music by Arthur Sullivan. Staged min Cassidy, Jack Dabdoub. Calvin Dasn, by chartok. Features Martyn Green, Rob George Fisher, John Fleming. Arthur Hammond. Walter Kelvin. Thornton Marker. William Noble, Michael OCaro- ert Rounsevill®, Ella Halman, Joseph Macaulay. Musical director, Lehman Engel; sets, Ralph Alswang; costumes. Ian, Charles ^O’Neill, Robert Peggy Morrison; “ production consultant, Michael Roberts, William Sutherland, Green. At Mark Hellinger, N. Y.» Edgar Thompson, Casper Vecchione. Rob- Qct 27j , 52< Wa *«. ™ ward Wellman, Ned Wright, SamueJ ; Frank Rogier Frederick Robert Rounseville Ruth Ella Halman Legit Bits NSicfortSn ^ettye^Siin! Kuth lai.Halman mfm.^f Ue ri r n 'H? Wrfe l ht. P*5f’ Gannon. Edith Ullhui Murphy Gordon H,mU ton. j Ed di. j H. to. j gjbd —l£5&il Nm piS.OhS fenK Scaholt. Claud, Stol«. ; .-Mjrtyn Green Th /?m?n2VM. -p-mla Anderson, Denis GENERAL STANLEY'S WARDS _ Pidhpr^on Sharyn Kenney. Mary Louise Bcatie, Dolores DePuglia, Bradler, Gall Culberson, Sharyn ivenn y, Hel< ? n Dodgef Grace Lang , sheila Mat- Vincent Yearwood. thews, Eileen Moran, Shirley Pringle, Rita 1 , 0 . Schoen, Catherine Currie, Bonnie Grevatt, what Oscar Hammerstein Glynn Hill, Jan Newby, Athena Pappas, succeeded in doing With “Carmen ” Gloria^Sacks, Jeanne Schlegel Charles Friedman hasn t quite pirates and policemen hrmieht off With “Aida.” Where Anthony Cerami, Vincent Henry, Don SfS U l?Lf «««rn»c cwirlinC action Kaplan, Don La Mon. Ray Morrisey, the Bizet opera s swirling acu , Michael Rich, Ken Smith, Feodore Tedick, flamboyant color and passionate John Dorrln, Herbert Estrow, Radley ?o“d?ivt|1ac\ n ?Sr b and ZSt&SS Jones.^verdi’s^sombre teagedy, S. M. Chartok’s capable Gilbert despite Its exotic background and & Sullivan troupe, on piracy bent Sau¥v ceremonials, tends to weigh this week, are putting on a gay, low the taSs but slow “My spirited “Hrates of Penzance” at nnrlin’ Aida” the Mark Hellinger, N. Y., as sec- Under the circumstances, “My ond in its repertory series. Staging Darlin’ Aida,” billed as a musical is bvely, voices of principals and play, remains essentially opera, chorus are first-rate, the amusing UnUke “Carmen Jones,” which was lyrics come over clearly, and the virtually musical comedy, except music (as always) captivates or in- +V 10 + if hari a <?utierlativG score, this trigues. It s A good show. Bobert lAoseph production, while Under Lehman Engel's gifted one of the most lavish and visually musical direction, the troupe is impressive shows in legit history, alert as well as accomplished, seems lacking in the entertainment (Orchestral accompanunent would aiSuty essential for Broadway. It sound even better if the pit group may have a moderate run on 1m- had a few more strings.) As it is, petus of its theatre parties and a Engel blends soloists and groups ?ath!r special audience, but It's a skillfully, and singers and orches- dubious bet to get back much of its tra carefully, for quite musical re- small mint^to Operate mUS * C ° S * * Performers are most attractive. The smouldering original story Dorothy MacNeil makes a fetching of a racially-divided romantic trl- Mabel physically, while vocally angle, transferred from ancient she’s topnotch, her coloratura so- leynt to the Civil War south, is p rano shining particularly In her still dramatically^ p6weifur.“Bur dti “Poor Wandering One -3010; the seems heavy and lacking In tempo or saving humor. Moreover, the casting of a white girl in the title part of the mulatto slave girl tends to negate the forbidden aspect and therefore some of the hopelessness and even the conflict of the Con- federate officer’s love ’for her. Elaine Malbin, who sang the role opening night and will have it at all evening performances, wears a slightly dark makeup, but she is unmistakably a white girl in the consciousness of the audience, so the situation tends to be synthetic. This is particularly unfortunate since the theme of racial bigotry, which is present but not especially stressed in the Verdi opera, is un- derlined in this Friedman adapta- tion. Thus, the Egyptian priests, ^ turned into vengeful Ku Kluxers in mk this version, lose some of their m point and the corroding hatred of ^ the local Klan head is imperfectly motivated. Friedman’s lyrics, frequently un Intelligible as the singers concen-1 the Dramatic Workshop, opened trate on the tonal opportunities of j own dramatic studio in N.Y. Poor Wandering • One evening’s highspot. Robert Rounse ville makes a manly-appearing pirate apprentice, with a sterling tenor superior to most G&S male romantic leads. Ella Halman is a jewel as the maid - of - all - work, Ruth; Joseph Mapaulay is properly blustery as the pirate king; Mary Roche is pert and lovely as Kate, and Frank Rogier musically robust as Samuel Martyn Green makes a delightfu caricature of Major General Stan- ley, the very model of a modern major general. Robert Eckles is an amusing police sergeant. Piracy, in the G&S version, sure has its points. . Bron. It looms as a too-too special and overly chic project with limited appeal. The subscription angle and clubby atmosphere (it’s housed in the old Hudson Theatre, a nabe grind house, revamped to the tune of $100,000 with a comfortable seating plan, new paint job and cuffo hat checking and intermis- sion refreshments) have plenty of snob appeal, but chances of draw- ing an orthodox legit audience are slim. Subscription tab is $250 annually for a pair of ducats to all the at- tractions and a $150 for a single membership. Theatre also has a “special” $2 annual membership tab which entitles holder to buy tix for any attraction at a cut rate. Theatre has not yet released its membership figures. Opening show is a motley of drama, ballet and musicomedy. ThQ„ Frankie and Johnny legend, adapted into a three-act meller by John M. Kirkland in the 1930-31 season, can’t seem to make up its mind what it is in this guise. There’s not too much dialog, a number of badly-spotted ballet se- quences and an uninspired score, t’s all done in a highly stylized orm that could be trimmed down to an okay 15-minute sequence in a revue, but only lulls in its pres- ent two-act setup. Show, directed by Don M. Dick- inson, plods along with little pace change, and the few high spots are quickly dissipated by the unimagi- native libretto. There’s some in- spiration evident in the ballet se- quences, conceived by Vonn Ham- ilton, but there’s a lack of exuber- ance on the part of the players and hoofers which hurts. The com- edy attempts are weak and weary- ing. Cast displays little uptown po- tential except for Val Dufour, who essays Johnny. Costuming and sets are in the colorful 1890 period and Irwin A. Bazelon has contributed an unUsual musical * backing. Frankie and Johnny will remain part of the American folk legend, but Theatre de Lys has don o ’em wrong. Gros. Frank Rogier, featured played with S. M. Chartok’s Gilbert & Sullivan troupe, did several solo and group parts in Columbia Rec ords’ “Merry Widow” album, though unbilled for same Minnie B. Rutkoff, chairman of de partment of voice and speech for Dramatic Workshop. Zimbalist Back to Stage In Menotti Concerto Bow Philadelphia, Oct. 28. Violinist Efrem Zimbalist, who retired some years ago to head the ICurtis Institute of Music, Philadel- phia, will take up his bow again Dec. 5, when he appears with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eu gene Ormandy in the world pre miere of a violin concerto by Gian Carlo Menotti. Menotti’s first composition in this form so impressed Zimbalist, that he agreed to come out of re- tirement for its performance. Fol- lowing the premiere Dec. 5-6, the concerto will be played with the Philadelphia Orchestra in New York, Dec, 9, and in Washington, March 31. Film star James Stewart may play the Elliott Nugent role in a touring edition of “Male Animal” ... Herman Levin may produce an untitled musical comedy by Arnold Auerbach and Arnold Horwitt, for which a composer is to be selected ... Albert Marre, formerly manag- ing director of the Brattle ^Theatre, Cambridge, Mass., has joined the N.Y. City Drama Company as asso- ciate director to George Schaefer, general director. Besides staging one of the revivals this winter at the N. Y. City Center, he’ll work on plans for a permanent acting company, which would have a 40- week season in New York and on tour. Incidentally, Philip Bloom is now general press rep for the City Center, having taken over from Jean Dalrymple as Center rep and from Sol Jacobson as p.a. for the legit department. * Ralph T. Kettering is company manager and Helen Hoerlc ad- vance agent for “Don Juan in Hell” .. .Ben Janney, who directed “Pyg- malion” and stage-managed other shows last summer at Barn Stages, Nantucket, will be stage * manager this winter at’the Memphis Arena Theatre... “Room Service” will be presented Nov. 10 at the Lambs, N.Y., for members and male guests. It’s the first of a series of such shows... Shepard Traube will be associated with Gordon Pollock and Don Hershey in the production of “Time Out for Ginger,” in addi- ion to handling the direction... Whatever happened to the an- nounced productions of “Marco Polo,” “Love Is the Doctor,” “See How They Run,” the Shubert re- vival of “Ziegfeld Follies” and Milton Shubert’s musical based on compositions of Puccini? Veronica Lake, who has starred in stock since leaving Hollywood, may make her Broadway bow in “Masquerade,” comedy by L. S. Birchard and Jeroam Stagg, to be produced by Ben Tbmkins and Al- vin Cooperman ... Henry Fonda, who goes on tour in a few weeks as star of “Point of No Return,” has bought the East Side New York home of Raoul H. Fleiscli- mann, publisher of the New York- er mag. He recently sold his place in Connecticut.. The Show Shop, N.Y., has opened a permanent gal- lery of paintings by artists in the theatre. Charles Mooney, manager of Richard Aldrich’s Cape Playhouse, Dennis, Mass., is due back this weekend from a motor trip through New England and Canada . “The Property Owner,” by Michael Keith and Lyrih" Shubert,' will be tested tonight and tomorrow nlgnt (Wed-Thurs.) by the Dramatists Forum Workshop at the Amato Opera Theatre (formerly Bleecker Street Playhouse), Greenwich Vil- lage, N.Y. ... The National Labor Council of the National Confer- ence of Christians & Jews will present its first annual award to Actors Equity, in recognition of its success in ending racial disci imi- nation in the legit theater in Wash- ington. The presentation will be at a dinner Dec. 2 at the Waldorf-As- toria, N.Y. “Remains to Be Seen,” Jack Hyl- ton’s British production of the Howard Lindsay-Russel Crouse farce-meller presented on Broad- way last season by Leland Hay ward, will open its provincial try- out tour Nov. 10 a£ the Palace, Manchester. Hylton’s production of “Paint Your Wagon,” the Alan Jay Lerner-Frederick Loewe mu- sical done on Broadway last season by Cheryl Crawford and- currently being toured by Wolfe Kaufman 'and Jack Yorke with Burl Ives as star, will open a tryout tour Dec. 2 at the New Theatre, Oxford, then move to the Opera House, Man- chester, for at least a two-month run before going to London... “Winter Journey,” the Clifford Odets drama seen on Broadway two seasons ago under the title “Country Girl,” is slated to close next-Saturday (1) at the St. James’, London. Alexander Knox and Con- stance Cummings recently took over the leads, succeeding Michael Redgrave and Google Withers. A Paula Stone-Michael Sloane edi- tion of the play, costarring Robert Young, Dane Clark and Nancy Kelly, is currently touring the U.S. Terry Leblang, daughter of Dorothy Leblang, president of the Leblang ticket agency and grand- daughter of the late Joe Leblang, the founder, will be married next spring to Arthur Danzigcr . . . Martha Wright, currently playing her native northwest as femme lead of the touring “South Pacific,” will vacation next week and re- turn to her regular assignment Nov. 10 as costar of the Broadway company. Janet Blair, currently vacationing, will resume as femme star of the touring troupe when it opens Nov. 5 for a repeat engage- ment in Denver . . . Lillian Roth has been signed for Lorraine Lester’s musical production, “Gum- bo Ya-Ya.” J. J. Shubert is scheduled for examination - before - trial Friday (31) in Federal Court, N. Y. t in connection with his suit against the Assn, of Theatrical Press Agents & Managers. The union’s attorney, Sidney E. Cohn, will do the questioning . . . Ina Bernstein has resigned as secretary to Hil- lard Elkins, of the William Morris legit-tele department, to join Mu- sic- Corp. of America, where her first assignment will be as substi- tute secretary to Edith Van Cleve in mid-November while Doris Kuthy is away on honeymoon with Variety staffer Gene Arneel. New Intime Theatre Making Bow in Frisco San Francisco, Oct. 28. A new intimate theatre will bow on the local theatre scene Nov. 12, with Mara Alexander Gilbert in the lead role of “Twentieth Cen- tury.” Housed in the former wax museum facing the Pacific Ocean and a stone’s throw from the famed Cliff House, the 129-seater will be known as Theatre At The Beach. Group backing the enterprise consists of local businessmen, and Is expected to hook up with a Los Angeles enterprise . for exchange of plays with that city. In addition to Miss Gilbert, who also functions as exec director, Leslie Abbott, N. Y. director, has been signed to stage productions. Shows will run year-round, Wed- nesdays through Sundays, with opener set on profit-sharing basis and following productions under Equity. Cast of 27 for “Twentieth Cen- tury” includes Jack Clark, Anthony LoCicero, Larry Berger and J 0 " 1 ? Miller. House will sell at $1.80 throughout. Theatre on Wings, Inc., has been chartered to conduct a business m stage properties and dressings, with offices in New York. Gilmsky Schur-Mishkin were filing attoi- neys.