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The impossibility of seeing (during the holidays) more than a handful of the shows current in New York reduces the visitor to Broadway to careful scrutiny of reviewers comments.
The 13 recommendations following represent gleanings from Metropolitan opinion:
Laboratory Theatre, E. 58th St--Twelfth Night. The production of this play by the American Laboratory Theatre in their little playhouse on East 58th Street is delightful. The gayety, the vivacity, the effervescence of spirit is astounding. The direction is by Richard Boleslawsky and Maria Quspenskaya of the Moscow Art Theatre. The company includes many ex-Harvard men.
Neighborhood Playhouse, 466 Grand St.-- The Little Clay Cart. This is a sparkling spirited fourth century Hindu comedy, full of naivete. It is acted by the regular company of the Neighborhood Playhouse who did such a superb piece of work in the Dybbuk. This latter play is also being acted by them now, and is well worth seeing.
Empire, Broadway at 40th.--The Captive. For those interested in pure theatre this play should hold much attraction. Its Lesbian theme is handled perfectly by Bourdet in La Prisonniere, and Hornblow Jr. has not lost much in translating it. Helen Menken at times falls short of the mark, but is, on the whole, fine.
The Civic Repertory. Theatre, 6th Avenue and 14th--Eva Le Galliene has gathered around her an excellent company, and if she is not a great actress one is a great director. Her repertoire runs from comedy to tragedy, from Shakespeare to Ibsen. The prices, moreover, are accessible even to the man who carrles his fortune in his vest pocket.
Playhouse 48th E. Broadway--Daisy Mayme. In this play, George Kelly has caught what Stark Young calls "the shino of life". It is the most real of the plays by the author of the "Show-Off" and "Craig's Wife."
Maxine Elliott's 39th W. of Broadway--Ethel Barrymore in the Constant Wife is worth seeing if you've never seen Ethel. The play is not so good. Its whole element is clever, tricky lines that are none too clever or tricky.
Mayfair, 44th E. of Broadway ano Bijou, W 45th--Emperor Jones at the Mayfair, and Beyond the Horison which is at the Bijou, are two early O'Neill plays equally worth while--plays written while the was alive to reality and had not yet become the philosopher of the later period.
Proadhurst, W. 44th, Broadway-- A comedy of the back-stage life of the night club: Lee Tracy plays the part of the self-made "hoofer" who worships his maker. Eloise Stream, in one of the minor parts, gives an almost perfect performance.
Plymouth W 45th Pirates of Penzance and Iolanthe. For those who know Gilbert and Sullivan no more need be said. For those who don't George Gershwin should be quoted. When asked what he thought of the "Pirates", during the intermission on the opening night all he could say was, "Gee". Gilbert and Sullivan, like Yellow Taxi drivers, are "always reliable."
Imperial West 45th St.--Oh Kay! The combination is appalling: Gershwin brothers, Gertrude Lawrence, Oscar Shaw, Victor Moore, Betty Compton, Ohman and Arden, and more yet. Gertrude Lawrence makes all our American musical comedy stars look like--asterisks on a billboard. She dances, sings acts, looks enchanting and does every one of the various things in her own individual pleasing way. Betty Compton and Harland Dixon do a fine comedy dance together.
Lyric, West 42nd St.--The Ramblers is another combination bill; Clark and McCullough, Marie Saxon; Ruth Tester, and Jack Whiting. Clark and McCullough are superb slapstick artsts, using the tricks of Sgannerello and Harlequin on a modern stage in a modern way. Ruth Tester glows personality. Merie Saxon and Jack Whiting prove that beauty, dancing ability, and pleasing personalities can be combined.
Any suggestion by a person living in Boston of plays most worth seeing in New York must necessarily be personal and limited--personal since the relative value of a few plays in about 70 can be nothing else then that, and limited because a resident of Boston can not possibly see all the plays which come and go at an unheard of rate.
Of the plays as yet not in New York but expected during the vacation those showing greatest promise are: Mozart by and with Sacha Guitry and Yvonne Printenups; and Peggy by Rogers-Hart Fields, and with Helen Ford, Luin McConnell, and Betty Starbuck. This latter combination rivals all others in the musical comedy line.
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