It's been produced in practically every theatre in the country, it's played to audiences from London to San Francisco, the music has almost attained the category of folk tunes--it's so old that even Hollywood has gotten around to it. But "Rose Marie" has survived all, including the Jeanette McDonald-Nelson Eddy version which has been the dubious fate of so many good musical plays and operettas.
The Messrs. Shubert have brought back a well-dusted edition, replete with modernized lines that crack wise at Clark Gable's ears and Dot Thompson's voice and figures. It is one of those curious mixtures of slap-stick comedy and genuinely beautiful music, which doesn't shake up too well at times but which would find its justification if the cast were only to step out in front of the scenery and follow the orchestra through Rudolph Friml's famous score. The comedy does get pretty good in spots, and the immense Hope Emerson as Lady Jane, Don Gantier as Hard Bolled Herman and Robert Chisholm as the veddy, veddy English Sergeant Malone of the Mounties are all quite sufficient in this line. But the singing and dancing are the bread and wine of "Rose Marie" and its success must depend upon their excellence.
Here, Nancy McCord was a most fortunate choice for the title role. It is no exaggeration to say that she is a full half of the show, with the energetic and appealing personality and the topnotch voice necessary to make the vivacious, French-Canadian Rose Marie La Flamme live on the stage. Her rendition of the "Indian Love Call" would have brought every brave from sixteen to sixty in the whole Five Nations to lay venison and beads at her feet. Singing opposite her in the role of Jim Kenyon, Alexander Grey is a somewhat lesser figure, but quite good enough in his own right. The dances of Grace Poggi as the sensuous young half-breed girl leave little more to be desired, especially the well-known "Totem Pole" number. All in all, "Rose Marie" is still very pleasant escapism for a troubled world.