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Happily donning his gladdest rags and casting aside the cultured pall of Park Square, the Playgoer moves upon Times Square. The New York boards are teeming with activity, and there are no many worthy productions that the be-Bostoned conductor of this column is all in a dither with an embarrassment of riches to recommend to his Princeton-bound public. With a dash of courage let's have at this long list of theatrical diversions.
The lineup of musical shows is short but very above par. "Anything Goes" with William Gaxton, Victor Moore and Benay Venuta intoning Cole Porter's lyrical efforts is in its fifty-first week and a fine thing it is. "At Home Abroad" which opened in Boston a bit too early for the college boys is a magnificently staged revue with a glittering cast ranging all the way from Auntie Bea Lillie's mad antics to Paul Haakon's very impressive modern terpsichore, and including the talented toes of Eleanor Powell and the powerful dusky notes of Ethel Waters. "Jubilee," another Boston opener, is on the grand scale with a nicely turned bit of satire and Mary Boland leading a well rounded cast. "Porgy and Bess," with George Gershwin's excellent score is a modern operatic version of Heyward's striking negro story and a good thing for the more serious. Earl Carroll's "Sketch Book" appeals in Carroll fashion to the more elemental instincts.
The more purely dramatic course on the menu presents a wide variety of plays. With malice toward none we shall ramble alphabetically. "Children's Hour" carries over from last season with two magnificent acts of stirring drama in a boarding school for young ladies, one of whom knows a bit too much about the "facts." "Dead End," by Sidney Kingsley of "Men in White" renown, opened recently and has been hailed as a masterful drama of New York life and its social problems. Priestley's "Eden End" is a comedy which is funny, but not quite uproariously so. "The Night of January 16th" is chiefly remarkable in that it allows a jury selected from the audience to settle its little murder mystery. Osgood Perkins" excellent comic work makes "On Stage" better than its manuscript. "Personal Appearance" presents Miss Gladys George as a big star with some very amusing lines and situations. "Pride and Prejudice" opened Wednesday night and received almost unconditional approval from the savants. "A Slight Case of Murder" is approximately slightly amusing. "Squaring The Cricle" is a Soviet comedy which is apparently funnier to Slavs than Americans. The Lunts are circusing through "The Taming of The Shrew" for the Theater Guild and doing a first class job; this should be seen. "Three Men On a Horse" is now showing in Boston and also is reviewed in this issue. "Tobacco Road" as we all know is Erskine Caldwell's dark notes on the South and it begins to look as if New York is the only art center of the nation sufficiently tolerant to allow it. Roland Young is about the only excuse for "A Touch of Brimstone" even if the title is clever. Maxwell Anderson's "Winterset" is a poetic dramatization of the underworld as it looks to our Mr. Anderson; a very touching and quite superior play.
Quite unclassifiable is Billy Rose's "Jumbo," which opens Saturday night and which Mr. Rose candidly confesses will probably run forever. And then there is always Columbus Circle, which presents some of the most impassioned and diversified soap box oratory west of Hyde Park. For Saturday matinee we recommend the pageant at the Palmer stadium, featuring the Harvard band.
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