A delayed but lusty cheer for "Mary of Scotland", Max-well Anderson’s historical drama which is responsible for the swollen appearance nightly of the sizeable Alvin Theatre. As the ill-fated but light-headed Mary, Helen Hays gives a performance that makes even her Cleopatra role shrink in comparison. Supported ably by Philip Merivale as the Earl of Bothwell and Helen Menken as Elizabeth, the trio have added a lilt and glory to the singing lines of the author. There are a score or so of "seeable" shows now current but "Mary of Scotland" deserves the nod. It has everything the playgoer demands.
The fashionable opening of the week will be the much-discussed "Jezebel" with Miriam Hopkins in the leading role. It will have its first official showing this coming Tuesday evening at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Owen Davis, who has won as many prizes as a tennis champion, is the author. Guthrie McClintic is the producer and Donald Oesnslager has designed the settings and the constumes. With a lavish production and a large cast, it will be Miss Hopkins’s first appearance on the legitimate stage in two years. As the title does not indicate, "Jezebel" is a romantic drama of life in Louisiana in the eighteen-fifties, one of the most colorful eras in American history.
YOSHE KALB IN ENGLISH
The opening of the English version of the very successful Yiddish "Yoshe Kalb" is now set for Thursday night, December 28, at the National Theatre. The venerable but active Daniel Frohman, who is presenting the production, is sanguine over its success. Maurice Schwartz, who acted and directed the Yiddish play, is staging the English version. In the cast will be Fritz Leiber, Erin O’Brien Moore, Horace Braham, Ethel Wilson and John Wexley.
The Theatre Guild, which was in more or less of a pother over producing Paul and Claire Sifton’s play "Blood on the Moon", has changed its collective mind. Instead of "Blood etc." as the next production, the boys and girls will do a piece called "They Shall Not Die" by John Wexley, author of the "Last Mile." I am told that the play is based on the Scottsboro case. "They Shall Not Die" will open sometime in February.
MORE ABOUT BIRDIE
With full realization that we may be becoming somewhat of a bore, this is to inform you again that Molly Picon’s "Birdie", her first English play, will open at the Selwyn next Friday night. A gentleman known as Raymond Hackett will play the lead opposite Molly. An actor of varied experiences he will, for the first time, appear in a singing role.
Miss Ann Harding (our favorite movie star) in the role of a plastic surgeon will be on the screen at the Music Hall all this week in a vehicle tritely called "The Right to Romance"…. Over at the Rivoli the turbulent hero or villain of Mexico, Lee Tracy, plays another newspaper reporter role in "Advice to the Lovelorn", the screen’s idea of the private life of the writer of a daily "agony" column…. At the Paramount things look promising, as Ben Bernie and his band of entertainers supply the stage attraction while the willowy Lillian Gish and Roland Young divide the honors in a picture named "His Double Life." Arthur Hopkins, who has produced mang stage successes, directed this picture…. Sweet-tempered Alice Brady and critic-baiting Lionel Barrymore are the featured players in "Should Ladies Behave", now at the Capitol…. And by the way, that fine picture, "Eskimo", is still at the Astor. You should take the children…. If you care for the more arty pictures, "Volga Volga" is your dish. It is at the Cameo, very Russian and historical, if you know what I mean.
ACTORS IN "JEW SUSS" THREATENED
At the Shepherd’s Bush studio in London where the Gaumont British picture company is shooting "Jew Suss", adapted from the novel of that name by Lion Feuchtwanger, comes word that Conrad Veidt, the leading man, and Lothar Mendes, the producer, are rightfully worried over the possibilities of being prosecuted by the Hitlerites if and when they return to Germany. Herr Hitler does not like the idea of the picture and has especially asked all German artists to return to Germany immediately. Veidt and Mendes have decided to finish work on the picture, regardless of the consequences.
On December 22, at the St. James, when the Monte Carlo Ballet Russe opens its American tour the program will consist of Derain’s La Concurrence" (Competition to you), the Tschaikowsky "Les Presages" (Destiny), and "Le Beau Danube" (The Beautiful Danube). Three ballets will be presented every evening, including Sundays, and matinees will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Programs will be arranged on a modified repertory plan with changes made twice weekly. After its New York engagement, which is expected to last well into the winter, the Monte Carlo company will make a tour of America’s larger cities. They will return to Europe in April.
DANISH-JAVANESE DANCER HERE
Max Reinhardt’s premiere danseuse, Nini Theilade, young Danish-Javanese dancer, will arrive here next Saturday for her first American tour. She will make her debut at the Guild Theatre on Sunday night, January 28, and will then start a trek through the states which will last for six weeks. Nini is said to be but eighteen years old and the granddaughter of the ex-Sultan of Java. She was born in Java of a Javanese mother and Danish father, but was educated in Copenhagen and Paris.
"The Rabbi’s Temptation", a new Chassidic operetta starring Aaron Lebedeff and Leon Blank, will be the offering next week-end at the Brooklyn Rolland Theatre… "Rich Paupers" is the current attraction…. "Longing for Home", Joseph Rumshinsky’s musical with a throb, will be revived at the Satz Public Theatre for a limited run…. Celia Parson, now singing so lustily in "The Happy Village" at the Brooklyn Lyric, will have the leading role in "Are Women Guilty?", a new melodrama by Leon Gold which will open on December 27….