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Critical Moments

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The Chicago Opera Company, under the direction of Alfredo Salmaggi, returned to the Hippodrome last night after a short lay-off, to begin its summer season. Having been active since April and having found that New Yorkers, given the opportunity to see and hear opera at reasonable prices, will pile into this big house, the company decided to carry on through the heat. The first offering was the always enjoyable “Aida” with Caterina Jarboro, Negro soprano singing the title role. Others in the cast were Bernardo De Muro Grace Angelau, Edward Albano Guido Guidi and Foster Miller. It was a superior performance and a forerunner of what the company can do.

Under the new scale of prices, ranging from twenty-five cents up, opera lovers may now hear all their favorites for less money than it cost to see a neighborhood moving picture. Tonight there will be a doubleheader “Pagliacci” and “Cavalleria Rusticana” and tomorrow night “Tannhauser” will be sung.


The only opening of the week was “Her Majesty. The Widow,” with Pauline Fredericks, and that, I must add, is nothing to become excited about. Business was rather slow and even the hits are beginning to feel the rise in temperature. “Men In White,” despite the appearance of the picture at the Capitol, continued to attract attention. James Barton who replaced Henry Hull in “Tobacco Road,” was responsible for a new interest in that freak play. “Dodsworth,” although it is closing until mid-August, is the leading non-musical. The addition of Mae Murray to the cast of “The Milky Way” added nothing to the charm or enjoyment of the comedy but the show is drawing enough people to make it profitable. “She Loves Me Not,” the outstanding comedy hit of the season, which I revisited during the week, is still as bright, fresh and amusing as ever but attendance has begun to fall off and how long it will be kept open is a matter of close figuring. “Sailor Beware,” despite its naval atmosphere, failed to attract the “gobs” from the fleet and remains a landlubbers’ delight. “Caviar,” latest of the musicals to arrive, has not proved irresistible to amusement seekers and is just about limping by, but then all this gossip about business conditions can’t be so vital to you except to point out that producers also have their share of headaches.

An unsuccessful play on Broadway, “Dr. Monica” has been made into a fairly good program picture by Warner Brothers. What virtues the picture possesses have been supplied by Kay Francis, who plays the role of Dr. Monica, female physician who is in love with her novelist husband, a rather wretched selfish sort of fellow. In a moment of aberration he has an affair with a young friend of his wife’s and the woman finds herself with child. Of course Dr. Monica is called in to preside at the birth. When she finds her husband is to blame she naturally wants to chuck the whole thing but her ethical sense prevails and she does her duty. There are other complications but the thesis of the story is that duty comes first and men, damn them, are as a class pretty unreliable. Women should love this film, even though it is too sentimental, overdramatic and not very convincing. Miss Francis, however, gives a fine, sensitive performance and she is assisted by Jean Muir, Warren William and Veree Teasdale, all of whom play their roles with restraint and intelligence.

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