Variety (March 1921)

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ie LEGITIMATE Friday, March 4, 1921 BROADWAY REVIEWS v ^ GERTIES GARTER. *»■ i» *. .* Tat-ie Walrick Dorothy Mackaye JKIly FVltoii Ix>rln Raker \n".ru«» Adele Rolland <iertie Darling Hazel Dawn „ AU« n. \ Walter Jon*>» Teddy Darlinjr Louis Kiml»aU i'a i. .11 i Ft Iton BleatKMT Dawn Al^y RigK8 Raymond Walbuin The latest of A. H. Woods' series of farces, which is playing the Shu- bert Crescent in Brooklyn this week has gone all the others one better in the matter of daring And sugges- tion. It has gone even further than that—in its present shape it is posi- tively vulgar and lacks the "class" that made the others. The lines are subject to toning, but the present cast is not. Even Walter Jones, who can al- ways be counted on for an excellent farcical performance, seems to be miscast in "Getting Gertie's Gar- ter,'* which ^aa written by Wilson Collison and Avery Hopwood. May- be he will work .nto the role when all the revisions are made and the "business" set. A French maid role is fairly well done by Adele Rolland, but the nearest to a genuinely legit- imate characterization is that of an ingenue-wife who demands of an- other woman's juvenile-husband that he compromise her so she may punish her husband whom she Re- lieves has been untrue to her. This part, If played by other than an actress with a very light touch, would be "raw" beyond endurance. As handled by Dorothy Mackaye it is good farce. Barring Jones, all the men in the company are ineffective and there seems little likelihood they can im- prove very much. Jones's role of a butler is badly written and incon- sistent even for farce. Events are supposed to take place in and about the home of people of sufficient means to employ a butler. Their butler is permitted to join in fam- ily discussions and make facetious observations. Which brings us back to the ladies of the household and their immediate friends and relatives. The principal ladies are portrayed by Hazel Dawn and Eleanor Dawn, who speak in raucous, rasping tones that scarcely suggest people of gentle breeding. Neither of them displayed histrionic promise. "Getting Gertie's Garter" is old- fashioned farce of the door-slam- ming kind, with effective stage set- tings, some clever lines and the usual series of misunderstandings that couldn't possibly occur in actual life. All the characters are placed in compromising situations and have more or less risque lines to utter. For instance, every time the butler enters and finds a mixed couple in what appears to be an intrusion upon a love tryst, ho smiles benignly and says: "I love to see the young folks have a good time." When a bride tells her French maid she hasn't time to take a bath the maid looks wiso and says in her native tongue: "I un- derstand—oh la! la!" A young woman says to a young man: "My clothes are so wet they're stuck to my—" at which point he interrupts to say: "Yes, yes, I know what they're sticking to." The French maid has hidden the missing frarter in her bosom, it falls lower down In her lingerie, she is about to reach for it, is interrupted by the man's wife, feels of her midriff and cries: "Monsieur I have it; I keep it for you." The butler is found holding a fainting dy in his arms, man enters and says: "What are you doing with my sister?" Butler answers: "Nothing, sir, it's all over." The entire second act is replete with such dialog and situations and the dialog is sustained in the final act. Much of the exchange of rep- artee will not even bear the test of print. Still it is not quite fair to pass judgment on the value of the show for New York until it has been whipped Into shape by a protracted session on tour. Jolo. seeing In the part of the temper- mental nightingale a perfect thing for delicate emotional expression, with its swiftly changing moods, its enticements for Impressionable males; its explosive passions, its j vrfeltttttJfciy: ttar *w ft *#d -iu "tnsmvri I its tenderness and its lapses to less attractive sides of the woman por- trayed, phases that because of their unrefined reflexes, but emphasize the more the truth of tho part's character drawing as Miss Keane brings back the same Italian song- stress she took away, with not a suggestion of the flight of even a day. Her opening scene with the young ecclesiastic of St. Giles par- ish, wheretn the Circe in the woman sees at first a new kind of conquest, sparkled with its prime brilliancy, her voice softly cooing, now cajol- ing, now mischievous, now suppli- cating. This opening scene is a school of acting for ambitious comediennes. Then as the man of the church steps farther and farther into the magic circle of Cavallini's practiced wiles of seduction, and we see the tempermental singer awaken to consciousness that she is treading upon sacred ground—not the sanc- tity of the church, but the sanctity of love itself—we feel again for her in her new mood, and slip swiftly into the stronger currents of the drama that the author proceeds to pile up, bit by bit, until we forget that we are in a playhouse and are back again in the old New York before the war when today's down- town Worth street was a way for afternoon drives and social ex- changes, when the present Academy of Music was the art saloon of the budding town and Central Park was the city's northern frontier. Every regular in last Monday night's audience at the Playhouse camo with an added curiosity be- cause of the absence from the cast of William Courtenay whose curate in the original performances had been so happy a spiritual comple- ment to the star's worldly heroine. But even the most faithful of Cour- tenay's followers were won to in- stant approval of Basil Sydney, with his advent first as the bishop and then his throw-back showing the high eccliastic as a struggling rector. The portrait the player drew of the aged bishop, easily paralleled for artistic beauty, the interpretation he gave of the same man when his body was young and his pulses throbbed with youth's ideals and youth's desires. That Basil Sydney in private life is the husband of Miss Keane, calls for no comment here. The authority, mel- low, even unctuous, personality this player imparted to his bishop in the prologue, would insure his adula- tion anywhere in any consideration of art and beauty for art and beauty's sake. The boyish note the player reflected in the youthful scenes lifted the idyll of hisr love affair to fine heights, with its rise to fervors. Monday night's audience included many familiar with the play in its first budding. A. E. Anson, the original Cornelius Van Tile, was ac- corded a reception with his first re- entrance that must have reminded him of the fidelity of New Yorkers. He gave to his part of the middle- aged banker of a former generation all the fine polish, ease and attract- iveness that at first distinguished It. Nothing could stress the wide gulf between the theatre of the spoken word and the theatre of the screen than a contrast of this vital, throb- bing drama of the stage, with its every instant a thing of feeling, and its film prototype. The screen ver- sion even with Miss Keane in the same role, proved a sorry experi- ment, viewed as a story or as a spectacle, conveying not in the slightest degree the fascination of its flesh and blood form. which is left on the "wheel" of the convent and reared to young wom- anhood within the cloister. It is when this girl goes into the world to be married that tho poignancy of the other's long-suppressed urging reaches its climax, and she gives voice to it as she falls to her knees in sobbing despair. The play is slated for matlness, four times a week, at the Times Square, and was given its first pres- entation in this country Monday. It is in two acts, with a verse inter- lude cpofce» fey- Mr. D\mc%n ■» The argument of the verse is that devo- tion to religion by nuns is but an expression of the love inborn in every woman — the cradle song every woman's heart sings. Both acts are in convent sets and, with the exception of two appear- ances by Whitford Kane as the doc- tor and one by Harmon MacGregor as the husband-to-be of Teresa, the stage is peopled by women. Seven- teen, all garbed in the white robes of nuns, are on at one time. The play is full of lengthy though beau- tifully phrased speeches, but the splendid diction of the women, com- bined with their magnificent voices, sa'res them from being tiresome. At the premiere there was noticeable unsteadiness as to line and cue. but in the light of the lengthy speeches provided by the author^ the actors and actresses assembled by Mr. Duncan are to be commended. The cast has been carefuly chosen, but the honors of the play go to Louise Randolph as the prioress. She plays it with sweetness and dignity, heightened by the charm of her voice. Mary Hampton as the critical, overprecise vicaress Is most clever and provides the p'.ay with tho satirical atmosphere which sup- plies most of the comedy. As Te- resa Florence Flinn is refreshingly natural, and Angela McCahill in the role of Sister Joanna, in whom de- nial of motherhood becomes such a tragdy, played with a quiet restraint which added to the appeal of the play. Kate Morgan does well In a character bit, and Whitford Kane, during the brief moments he is on, registers strongly. Mary Carroll is clever, but her opportunities are limited in a role which promises much and later was submerged. Underhlll has retained the beauti- ful piety and simplicity of the Spaniard in translating the play and Mr. Duncan has done a fine piece of work in staging It. With sets allowing of little detail and the cold black and white costumes of the nuns he has contrived a series of artistic pictures simply through his groupings. The convent atmos- phere and a reverential air are well sustained all through the play. ROMANCE It still endures. Eight years—a lifetime in the history of a play— and this perfumed ld>il of Edward Sheldon's continues to distill its original fragrance. The most allur- ing feminine of all the gallery of varied Eves given to the stage in a decade, the diva Cavallini, in the person of Doris Keane, has lost not a whit of her charm since her brilli- ant entry to playdom at the Maxlne Elliot theatre in 1913. Plays have come and had their say, to vanish, most of them for all time, but this souvenir of lavender, violets and old lace, from the New York life of the 60's gives us again the thrills of beauty, love and romance as no contemporary has done. Not a re- vival as the term is generally un- derstood slnco tho piece with Miss Keano active in its interpretation, has been exhaling its fragrance in London practically since it left here, the color of its performance in its new home at the Playhouse sug- gests rather the freshness of a rose new blown than one revived. The envy has marred the pleasure of observance iu many an actrees _ THE CRADLE SONG. Jj* £ rlor « M Louise Randolph 22" YlSSSS'li'Mll Mar * Hampton The Mlatresa of Novices Ethel Howard J!j. er J <i anna of th « Cross..Angela IfcCahill SUter Mary of Jesus Florence Miller Bister Marcela Mary Carroll sister Sagrarlo Jeanne Powers Mater Inea Kate Mor*;in Sister Tornera Isabel Hill Sister Anna Sylvia Wiles Sister concepclon Sara Dawson £>st*r Asuncion Adeline O'Connor |" rcs * Florence Fllnn Antonio Harmon MncGrcjror The Doctor Whitford Kane Augustin Duncan has done a dar- ing and beautiful thing in staging "The Cradle Song," translated from the Spanish of Gregorio Martinez Sierra by John Garrett Underhlll. Put it is a question if his artistic sense has not exceeded his business Judgment, for the play, while it is meritoriously done, has a religious theme that may militate against Its success. In its native Spain, where the devout spirit of the poet is un- derstood, it is believiibly a popular drama. Transplanted, it Would ap- pear almost certain to meet opposi- tion. The underlying theme of the play Is an unvoiced but nevertheless persistent yearning for motherhood on the part of a nun, portrayed by Angela McCahill. She partially sat- isfies this wish through being given *u opportunity to mother a waiX CLARE RUMMER'S 4. At the Punch and Judy, begin- ning this week, Clare Kummer of- fers what rrtay be termed a dra- matic table d'hote luncheon in four courses—a quartet of one-act come- dies, two musical—to be served four afternoons a week. Three of them are new, the other, "The Choir Rehearsal," a musical vehicle that has been seen before and is included in the repast "by request." For the hors d'ouevre, she offers "Bridges"; as an entree, "The Choir Rehearsal"; for the principal course, "The Robbery," and for tne salad (dessert), "Chinese Love," which, like "The Choir Rehearsal," gets Its music from Miss Kummer as well as its book and lyrics. This would seem to be a potpourri scheme likely to succeed, because into each unit of the program Miss Kummer is at her subtle best. Her dialog in each case has the charm characteristic of her comedy satire and the naive way in which she works up to her climaxes is de- licious. For the straight comedies, she has selected casts of superior ability and in the musical pieces the cast, headed in each instance by Sallie Fisher, is excellent. W. I* Gil- more has staged the four pieces, any or all of which would make splendid vaudeville vehicles. With the ex- ception of "Chinese Love," the play- lets run about 20 minutes. The ex- ception is a little under 30 minutes. Btl D O M. Penflcld Parke>, Jr Sidney Blackmer Wallln Dreen Rolland Hogue Knld liirdsall Ruth Glllmore This is a quaint littlo thought, replete with sparkling lines and probably the gem of the program. The action occurs in the office of Parker & Son, bridge builders. Young Parker is a great bridge builder, but he yearns to chuck it up for sunset-painting. His friend Breen discourages him, but his ef- forts are vain until Enid comes along. She is rich, pretty and pos- sessed of a dislike for pictures, especially sunsets. She engages the young man to build a bridge con- necting her estate with an island where she desires to erect a home for her senile pets, it being her idea to let the infirm cats, dogs, birds, etc., "get wild together—in a nice way." So the young man abandons his craving for sunsets, postpones a big government contract and exits to build a rustic bridge for the dod- dering pets of tho young lady. The players in this revel In clever lines, with Miss Glllmoro having somewhat the best oi Ibera. Black- in. r and llogue both do their shares skillfully. TIIF < HOIK KKHEARSAL. William, ths organist John Ryan Rsmeralda Tucker Sallie Pisher Kov. Alan Wylie Stanley Howlett Abigail Mary Ellison Amos. James I^ounabery Enoch Walter Coupe The story of •The Choir Re- hearsal," which has been done be- fore by Miss Fisher, is well known, but it loses none of its freshness here M\*\ F^ber.nJay^EsD^exalda with grace and looks as pretty as a flower in her crinoline. The sup- porting cast is capable and well bal- anced, with honors going to Mary Ellison and young Ryan. They are excellent in their comedy character work. THE HOBHkKY. Fieldlnfr Qeurs;e Blivln Edie Upton Rath UHlmore Robert Hamilton Sidney Blackmer John Upton J. M. Kerrigan Mra Upton Mrs. Alice Chapln This borders on me farcical, be- ing an incident based on misunder- standing. It opens with a supposed burglar dashing from the house. The girl, Edie, alone except for the butler, Fielding, rushes to a window and calls for help. Hamilton, son of a father who puts the curfew on the night latch at 10 o'clock, has been asleep on his front doorstep across the street from the Upton home. He responds to the girl's call of distress, enters by the win- dow. She tells of the disappearance of family silver and her inability to arouse the butler. The boy agrees to sit up with her until dawn. He turns on the phonograph and they waits to keep awake. Then they sit down and talk. The boy nods, but recovers. The girl gets him her father's dressing gown and urges him to lie down, but he refuses. So they sit down and talk again. The girl falls asleep, her head on the boy's shoulder, and he, after a few minutes, also drifts into rlum- ber. This is the tableaux the girl's parents find when they enter. The father is furious and attacks the boy. The latter, thinking him the burglar, gives battle. Explanations follow and Fielding, the butler, telephones he has taken the sup- posedly stolen silver to the railway station. In this, as in "Bridges," Miss Gill- more and Mr. Blackmer have chief honors, though Mrs. Chapin and Mr. Kerrigan contribute their share. The lines are slightly less punctuous in their comedy quality than in "Bridges." OHINEKK I.OVF.. Mo Ten J. M. Kerrigan Ah Mee Mary Ellison Chan Pah Sallie Fisher Wing So 8tanley Howlett Ming Too Uarda Burnett Hing Hi James Lounsberry A pretty little melody satire, with Chinese characters and setting. It tells of the execution of Wing So, a pirate, who has been betrayed to the government by his wife, Chan Fah, at Wing's order. He explains he has caused her to do this that she may claim tho huge reward which otherwise would go to some less worthy informer. After his head has been chopped off, sup- posedly, his spirit returns to th? stage and converses with her, tell- ing her not to end her own life, and promising to visit her each day at sunset. Miss Kummer explains on the program that the inspiration for the little play came from a French story where a wife betrays her hus- band at his own command. Miss Fisher here has an oppor- tunity to appear pretty in a Chinese costume and to sing an exquisitely wrought love lyric. Miss Ellison has not the opportunity which was hers in "The Choir Rehearsal." Mr. Howlett is effective as the husband, especially in the burlesque-tinged situation where he stalks back to earth after being beheaded. The movement necessarily is slower in this offering than In the others, be- cause of the deliberate method of delivery required by the Chinese speeches. "BREVITIES" prospers Boston. March 2. While George LeMaire will not be with it when the "Broadway Brevities" finishes up at the Shu- bert next Saturday, it will go to Buffalo and thence to Schenectady. It is said the show is making big money. , Leading Makers of Stage Attire For Men and Women -VVe costume completely mu- sical and dramatic produc- tions, moving pictures, acts,;; revues and operas. 143 Weit 40th St., New York !! * ♦ MMMMMMM MM MM * NEWS OF THE DAILIES (Continued from page 14.) manager of the Hamilton said they had annoyed several actors, and. when Julius Tannen came on. shouted aloud, "Hello, Julius." \ riot was averted by the police escorting the pair from the house. Following her tour of the United States next season, Pavlowa and her company will go to Australia, A play by Abraham Schomer, a&tSsue**** iTHiUm** \wn bo9» ac-» cepted by the Jewish Art theatre, "Old Jim" (Emanuel) be Vos. who had been night watchman of the Times building since work on the structure first commenced, died this week. James MacMonagle, accused of shooting Dorothy Seltzer, actress, Is held* in New York on a charge of murder as the result of the girl's death. Ethel Barry more, who was given a furlough of a few hours from the hospital in order to witness the premiere of "Macbeth," in which her brother Lionel appears, will bo released from Flower Hospital in a few days. Michael Sexton, a Harlem music dealer, was accused of insulting a woman who had applied to him for a position. He accepted a sentence of 20 days in the workhouse rather than pay J50 fine. "Two Little Girls in Blue" will bo produced by A L Erlanger in April. Ned Way burn began rehearsals this week. Charles Previn has been chosen musical director for the pro- duction. Thomas P. Robinson, an architect and graduate of Harvard, who studied Prof. Baker's "English Forty-Seven," has been awarded the Oliver Morosco prize for tho best play offered in 1920. Tex Rickard muffed the Jackson* Dundee hostilities at the Garden Friday night, being laid up with an attack of gastritis. He has been confined to bed several days. Dorothy Lucille Whiteford, resid- uary legatee under the will ot Joseph J. Ryan, and M. L. Shuford, executor, have filed petitions to have the suit of Ryan's widow, con- testing the will, dismissed. Lucy Huffaker, one of the found* ers of the Washington Square Play- ers, and until recently with the Goldwyn Pictures Corp., is now publicity director for the Theatre Guild, Inc. "Woman to Woman," by Michael Morton, was tried out a second time by A. H. Woods at Rochester Thursday night. Willette Kershaw heads the cast, which also includes GaiL Kane. Kenneth Hill and Felix Krembs. Fred Stone on Tuesday night at- tained the sixth month of his stay at the Globe in "Tip Top," and, in* cidentally, smashed all his previous records. "The Red Mill," "Old Town," "Chin Chin," "Jack o' Lan- tern" and "The Lady of the Slip- per" were all sent out before they had run a half year at the Globe. Two important theatre deals- one in the Bronx, tho other in Har- lem—were announced this week. lit the former section $100,000 was paid for a site for a house to be built at a cost of $400,000 in the square bounded by Brown place Brook avenue, 137th and 138th streets. A picture house and roof garden wUl be built on the Harlem site, J17«- 2180 Third avenue, which has been leased for 84 years. The house will cost $150,000. The residence leased by Geraldino Farrar, 20 West 74th street, has been sold over her head. She will have to move 18 months hence. Arnold Bennett's "The Great Ad* venture" opened at the Neighbor* hood Playhouse Feb. 25, but did not create a sensation.* "The Betrothal," Maeterlinck's play, which failed to arouse much enthusiasm in America, is reported, playing to capacity in London. Pauline Lord, playing In "Samson and Delilah," who says she has been married to Billy Roche, referee, since 1908, has been sued for $15,000 by Mrs. Nellie Roche of San Fran- cisco, who alleges alienation of the sporting man's affections. This is the third action Mrs. Roche has filed against Miss Lord, who de- clares she was unaware when she* married that Roche had previously been married. William Archer, author of "The Green Goddess," sallod for England Saturday on the Aquitania. Sam Goldwyn also was on board. Capt. Stanley Huntley Lewis, who with his "submarine" car has been engaged in Navy recruiting for the past four years. Joined the pub- licity staff of the Shuberts Mondaf and is "burning up" Broadway for "In the Night Watch" at the Cen- tury. The captain will also cover (Continued on pages 22 and 28;). : L—