It has been the fashion to speak lightly of negro talent, and to say, for example, that "Dixie to Broadway" is very good indeed--for a colored revue. We would amend this fashion and say that the show which opened at the Majestic Monday night is good enough for anybody--and far better than most of the Inanities of 1924.
There was missing, to be sure, the usual quota of scenic and obscenic effects, but that was not an unmitigated loss, for it meant that no semi-operatic tenor heaved his chest in extolling them. In other respects the show would outrun the average revue many weeks, for the entire chorus was unique in intricacy and activity. The skits were funnier than the average, and provoked more laughs, and although they did not nearly realize all their possibilities--notably the sketch in the bedroom. Such acting as there was in the course of the evening lacked subtlety, which suited the audience perfectly.
The music, too, shaded the typical revue numbers of the white race, and received the maximum effect at the hands of the chorus and the orchestra. The latter played with precise restraint; the former did the unbelievable--and sang. Clear voices rang out over the footlights from all corners of the stage, and it was by no means necessary to shut one's eyes in order to enjoy them.
Florence Mills shone far above the heads of the other principals. The audience welcomed her in advance and encored her to the echo. She put over her numbers with a clear, high voice, an arch swagger, and, like all the rest of the company, a world of vitality. Cora Green provided an acceptable contrast, and the gentlemen of the company were always ready to oblige with a laugh.
Best of all were the good spirits that pervaded the entire production. Brim-full of enthusiasm, skill, and speed, the players, singers, and dancers in "Dixie to Broadway" got their stuff across to the last row; the audience was only too glad to come back with a glad hand.