Variety (December 1952)

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tt^dnesday, December 10, 1952 i » LEGITIMATE 69 Malang The Big Pitch Symptomatic of how conditions on the road have deteriorated in recent years due to the steadily shrinking supply of touring pro- ' auctions, the following letter was received last week by Broadway * managements:. “Maximum profit with a minimum of headaches.” That’s what you are looking for on the road. That’s what you ce t when you play Richmond, Va. * The WRVA Theatre has never lost money for a legit attraction or a musical for the past six seasons. It’s a good, solid PROFIT-. ABLE WEElt. Ask Gus Pitou (of the Umted Booking Office—Ed.). Ask Pete Davis (Theatre Guild). Query any producer who ever played Rich- m Richmond has over 300,000 people, and they’re showgoers. Rail- roading is easy from Washington, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Pitts- burgh, Huntington and Charleston, W. Va. It’s easy to get into and out of. The theatre manager (me) is easy to get along with. We’ve got plenty of open time. Too DAMNED much! Want the blue sky?' Want BLOOD? Want a guarantee? I want to play more than a season! Sincerely, I do. Jack Stone , (Manager, WRVA Theatre). Ken Parker to Offer New Musical Off Broadway Ken Parker, playwright and for- mer skater in the Center Theatre, N. y„ ice shows, will take over the Jan Hus House Theatre, N. Y., for the presentation of new plays and musicals. Theatre had housed Dorothy Readler’s Gilbert & Sulli- van Co. for more than three years. OK Chi Biz, Small Turnover Bring Tight Booking Setup, Play Jam-Up Chicago, Dec. 9. 4- It appears, at present, that Chi- cago legit-goers will have to be by- passed by several road attractions this season due to the tight book- ing situation. With the exception of the Opera House, most of the theatres are now set until sum- mer. However, the Blackstone, which has “Country Girl” for at least seven weeks, might take up some of the slack, but the musicals would rather play either the Shubert or, if necessary, the Great Northern. Opera House, with 3,600 seats, is angling fpr some shows, but it’s too large for the average play. Reason for the unusual situation lies in the fact that because of un- usually good business there hasn’t been much turnover. So far, there have been only two flops this sea- son, the abortive premiere of “Fig Leaf” and the breakup, after two weeks, of “Tree Grows in Brook- lyn.” For example, the Erlanger, non-Shubert theatre, last year housed four productions in the same period as “Stalag 17,” now current and profitable. JHefty Grosses Then there Is the sock 10-week stay of “Fourposter” at the Black- stone, which gave way last week to (Continued on page 66) ‘Streetcar’ Tears Into N.Y. To Give New Ballet Group Boff Electric Sendoff The Slavenska-Franklin Ballet, opening a week’s run at the Cen- tury, N. Y., Monday night (8), made a strong impression. It’s a small troupe, of 22 dancers, but it packs power as well as style. Troupe, which appeared in N. Y. last sum- mer at Lewisohn Stadium, offered-] two premieres Monday in “Sym- phonic Variations” and “Streetcar Named Desire.” Former, with Mia Slavenska’s choreography to Cesar Franck music, is a classic abstrac- tion for eight dancers which gives the troupe’s younger members a chance to shine. Lois Ellyn;* par- ticularly, is standout. ’Streetcar,” based on the Ten- nessee Williams play, choreog- raphed by Valerie Bettis to the music Alex North composed for tnt play’s film version, is a strong, savage, exciting work, and for Miss oiavenska and Frederic Franklin, who dance the leads, .it’s a.tour-de- Ballet deals more with the du Bols to her i,. iS mem <>ry and the outer rh?!’ d i 0f realit y than with the hionology of the original play. But 'Continued on page 67) Greco to Play N. Y. Week As Concert Repeat Date nnoJf Jose Greco dance troupe S ng at the Waldorf, N. Y., to- nionow (Thursday), for a four- <htA, ^ ln ’ will follow this nitery int/v Vi a conce rt booking, going fSr th ? ? entur y Theatre, N. Y., t>, a «Y. ee k» J an - 12. Troupe will SSL™ 1 concert dates in Philly, Baltimore and Washington. » eco opened at the Shubert, att,.:;;. last season as a fall legit thin i lon; , had tour sellout weeks, m ”T ed *° Century for four m ° le okay stanzas; ’ ■ • - ‘Peril’ Rated Modestly Profitable London Play London, Dec. 9. Two American thespers, Ron Randell and Margot Stevenson, make their London legit debut in “Sweet Peril,” which preemed at the St. James’ Dec. 3 under the management of the Daniel Mayer Co. The play, which stars Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray, is au-' thored by Mary Orr and Reginald Denham. It is an unpretentious drama of strained marital rela- tions. Miss Stevenson got personal raves. ALDRICH & MYERS MAY REVIVE ‘GHOST’ TO TOUR “Gramercy Ghost,” John Cecil Holm’s 1950-51 comedy, may be produced for the road this winter by Aldrich & Myers in association with another management. June Lockhart and John Dali are being considered as leads for the troupe, having played it successfully last summer at Richard Aldrich’s Cape Playhouse, Dennis, Mass. Holm, who came to New York from his year-round home at North Chatham, on Cape Cod, to discuss the touring production, is also mulling a television series and is planning to revise “Three Men on a Horse,” his 1934-35 hit, into a one- setter for little theatre and school presentation. In addition, he’s con- sidering the dramatization of an undisclosed novel submitted by a Broadway producer. in One,” a new musical, is skedded for early February. R&H Feted At JDA Dinner Richard Rodgers and Oscar Ham- merstein 2d were the focal figures last Wednesday night (3) at the Hotel Pierre, N.Y., at a dinner in their honor giv$n by the Joint De- fense Appeal. Cited for their con- tributions to the theatre, the com- poser and librettist were presented with plaques by Mary Martin. The program was a veritable Rodgers & Hammerstein Night, comprised mostly of their compositions. “Audition for Angels,” a dram- atic presentation produced by Mor- ton Sunshine, was a forthright, effective plea to fight prejudice and bigotry, with sports announcer Bill Stern as the narrator. Those who participated in this portion were Sen. Hubert Humphrey. Rosa- lind Russell, Ezio Pinza, Bill Hayes, Judy Johnson, Claramae Turner and Ray Bolger. Others who per- formed were the Met Opera’s Rob- ert Merrill, who did a sock takeoff of Pinza doing “Some Enchanted Evening;” Robert Weede, with the Soliloquy from “Carousel;” Wilton Clary, one of the Curleys of “Okla- homa;” plus Miss Martin singing “Wonderful Guy,” with Rodgers at the piano. Hammerstein’s thank- you talk was punctuated by his usual simple charm and wit, which gave the affair the right note of levity. Proceeds of the dinner went to the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. Harry Brandt, head of the Independent Theatre Own- ers Assn., and Edmund Waterman, JDA national treasurer, chair- manned the dinner, with Brandt awarded a scroll for leading the JDA drive. He was the 1951 chair- man of the JDA. Kahn. Equity Election Setup In Status Quo Despite Member Beefs Vs. ‘Abuses’ Lese Majeste? Recent attempt to build, up Parker’s first productiojx f .,“X.hce.C.J jj ie . Actors Coast ‘Go* Revue Set Hollywood, Dec. 9. “Here We Go!” a new musical revue written by Carl Eugster and Harry Haldane, will bow at the Call Board Theatre Jan. 16. Frances Locker is directing a cast consisting largely of radio and television talent. Frances Douglass Cooper is producer. Equity"'"council:* fizzled, and hasn’t been revived. Prior to the , 2 neral meeting last spring it was announced that when the councillors entered the ses- sion to take their places on the platform, entire membership was to rise in tribute. That is supposed to have been the cus- tom in the early, critical days of the union’s history. Some of those present got on their feet as requested, quite a few grumbling about it, but others remained seated. The procedure wasn’t attempted again at the quarterly meeting early this fall. 4 Premieres Added to Fall N. Y. City Ballet Long-Run Sked; Holding Costs Down With its fall season extended indefinitely beyond the original Dec. 14 deadline, the N. Y. City Ballet has set four new premieres for this month at City Center. (It had two new works prjsented dur- ing the original six-week run, in “Scotch Symphony” and “Metamor- phoses,” both choreographed by George Balanchine.”) Four added preems, essentially small works, will be very inex- pensive to stage, management’s idea being to hold down costs dur- ing the usual December slump period, so as not to endanger plans for the troupe’s extended run. Balanchine’s “Harlequin Pas de Deux,” to Drigo music, a two- character work with Maria Tall- chief and Andre Eglevsky, will bow next Tuesday (16). Ruthanna Boris’ “Catena,” to Kabalevsky music, utilizing six dancers, bows Dec. 18, Jerome Robbins’ “Interplay,’ orig- inally in the Ballet Theatre reper- toire, will be given its first NYCB performance Dec. 23, probably with the choreographer dancing the lead. Fourth new work, Balanchine's “Dance For Three,” to Tchaikovsky “Swan Lake” music, will bow Dec. 30. “Interplay” is regarded as the most important of the four addi- tions. It requires about a dozen dancers. Muriel Bentley, who danced in it originally with Ballet Theatre, and has more recently been working in legit and TV, has been rehearsing the work while choreographer Robbins was busy staging dances for the “Two’s Com- pany” legiter. With delay in “Company’s” N. Y. preem, Rob- bins has been able to take over “Interplay” rehearsals. + Move to change the election sys- tem of Actors Equity, a lively issue about a year ago* is now apparently, cold. As part of a general revision of the constitution, the matter was the subject of an extended wrangle, but one committee’s recommenda- tion was voted down at a general membership meeting and the whole problem was turned over to a new committee. Latter group was sup- posed to have been drafting a new set of proposed revisions, but nothing has been heard of it in months. Membership dissatisfaction with the election process includes a num- ber of specific beefs, but generally centers on a feeling that a fairly small minority has had a practical control • of the union for many years. The belief is that the council is not sufficiently representative of the membership, that it has too much to say in the selection of new council members, is not properly responsive to the wishes of the membership adequately informed I of council proceedings. The election setup is a particu- larly Sore point with what appears to be a large segment of the mem- bership. Elections are held an- nually, with officers serving three- year terms and .council members for varying terms. The council is on a rotating basis, so some of its membership is replaced or reelect- ed each year. There’s no serious objection to that, although a few members feel that it tends to delay the effect of changes in the attitude of the general membership. Principal Gripe However, the method of electing councillors is principal gripe of the membership. The system involves (Continued on page 67) OUT SOON! The 47th Anniversary Number Of Form* dosing shortly Usual Advertising rates prevail Special exploitation advantages Copy and space reservations may be sent to any Variety office NIW YORK 34 154 W. 44th St. HOLLYWOOD 2« 4311 Ymccc St. CHICAGO 11 412 N. Michigan Av#. LONDON, W. C. 2 t St. Mertlii ( i hict Trefelfer Sq««re New Parsons Clears Its Skirts on ‘Ladies’ With Subscriber Disclaimer Hartford, Dec. 9. Management of the New Parsons lere got itself out of what might lave been a tricky spot last week by plugging its current offering as “not a subscription offering.” The show, “Good Nite, Ladies*” was touted as “the sort of play some Hartford husbands make a beeline for when they go on the road.” The special letter to subscribers called the old Avery Hopwood farce, “frankly undignified, but of- fered in a spirit of good, clq#n fun—(we say clean, only because the entire second act takes place in a Turkish bath for ladies).” And so the meaning couldn’t possibly be mistaken, the note concluded, Please leave Junior at home.” Theatre management was appar- ently concerned lest its sub- scribers, who had already seen Jane*” “Seven Year Itch,” “Dial ‘M* for Murder” and “An Evening with Will Shakespeare,” might as- sume that the Jules Pfeiffer-Dan Goldberg road troupe was part of their regular season. Presumably attempting to forestall tbe effect of possible critical squawks, the letter notes that “Ladies” ran 100 weeks In Chicago and adds* “The producer of this play does not claim that it. will advance the art of the theatre. However, if you come to it with a willingness to laugh and forget your troubles, you will be amply rewarded.” Although the notice was appar- ently intended primarily as a sort of disclaimer, it is reportedly hav- ing some positive b.o. effect for “Ladies,”, with a number of sub- scribers buying tickets for this week’s engagement. . Letter is un- derstood to have been written by Broadway pressagent Reginald Denenholz, who has been doing general publicity work for the Theatre Guild-American Theatre Society subscription setup. Natl Concert Managers To Hold Anni Confab in N*Y. Fifth annual convention of the National Assn, of Concert Managers will be held in N. Y. at the St. Moritz next Monday-Tucsday (15- 16). About 50 impresarios from all parts of the country will attend. Marvin MacDonald of Atlanta, prexy of the group, will preside. Julius Bloom, director of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts 5c Sciences, is chairman of conven- tion arrangdihfentS; A A a I