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Critical Moments

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Tonight at the roomy Martin Beck Theatre where, since the advent of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, high hats, lorgnettes, and dress clothes have become as common as broken shoes in a municipal lodging house, the English troupe will play “Patience.” This Gilbert and Sullivan operetta was not included in the schedule originally announced but has been added by request.

Mark A. Luescher, who handles what is fondly called the “press relations” for the great British company, has the following to say about “Patience”:

“So far as the Savoyards are concerned there is a great deal of sentiment regarding ‘Patience.’ This, the fourth collaboration of Sir W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, was the opera which dedicated the Savoy Theatre in London when that playhouse was erected as the permanent home of these classic works in 1881.

“In the performance here Muriel Dickson will play the title role ‘Patience,’ a dairymaid; the Rapturous Maidens will be played by Marjorie Eyre, Maisle Baxter, Kathleen Frances and Dorothy Gill. Martyn Green appears as ‘Bunthorne’; Leslie Hands as ‘Archibald Grosvenor’; Darrell Fancourt as ‘Colonel Calverley’; John Dean as the ‘Duke of Dunstable’; Frank Stewart as ‘Major Murgatroyd’ and W. F. Hodgkins as ‘Mr. Bunthorne’s Solicitor.’

“Society in England, had, at the time ‘Patience’ was written, been suffering from an epidemic of hybrid aesthetism. Under the apostleship of Oscar Wilde, ‘a passion for a lily’ had overmastered the conventional Englishman’s love of the rose. The adherents to primitive colors and natural attitudes were looked upon as Philistines and excommunicated from society. Few survivors of that bilious, unbrawny age, would dare in these days to confess to ever having yielded to the craze of the early 80’s; for sorely were those preposterous, ape-like beings smitten by the scourge of ridicule. First of the ‘Philistines’ to take up arms against the mock aestheticism was ‘Punch’ in which Burnand and Du Maurier, by their memorable caricatures, ‘Postethwaite Maudle’ and ‘The Cimabue Browns,’ led the attack in the London Charivari. These first awakened the town to the absurdity of the new-fangled fashion set by the Oscar Wilde tribe. At the Prince of Wales Theatre, in Tottenham Court road, London, Burnand, in his comedy, ‘The Colonel,’ further lashed out with the whip of scorn. But it was not likely that W. S. Gilbert would let such a scope for justifiable satire escape his attention. Although his idea of a skit upon the aesthetic craze may have been anticipated by a rival humorist, Gilbert, in the earliest days of the epidemic, had set to work to dispense a cure of the evil. It was about six months after it was written that it was produced by Richard D’Oyly Carte.”


Those theatres which show nothing but newsreels having proven successful, a company which calls itself Cartoon Exhibitors, Inc., has leased the ancient Bijou Theatre and yesterday started a policy of showing nothing but animated cartoons. Such features as Mickey Mouse, Silly Symphonies, Popeye and Betty Boop will be the regular fare. Programs will change as often as new animated cartoons appear. The show will run continuously from ten in the morning until midnight….

For the first time since Hitler put his program into effect I saw a UFA picture in a New York theatre. UFA, the great German film company which sent to this country some of the best cinema productions of modern times was shorn of its Jews by edict of Hitler. With the dismissal of our people UFA seemed to have lost all its zest. If the new picture which I saw at the Embassy News Reel Theatre is any indication of its rebirth it might better have been left unborn. This particular film was a picture record of the places Richard Wagner, the musician, had lived. It is one of the dullest and most undistinguished things I have seen. The attempt to be “artistic” in the use of camera angles was particularly pathetic….

The first play of the season of the Yiddish Workers’ Theatre will be “Recruits,” the comedy by L. Resnick which will be given tomorrow evening at the Artef Theatre on West Forty-eighth street, formerly known as the President Theatre. Performances will be given Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings….

“Deserter” will be the new film which commences a run at the Cameo Theatre tomorrow. It is directed by V. I. Pudovkin. “Thunderstorm” which has been playing at that house for the past three weeks moves down to the Acme on Union Square….

“Wake Up and Dream” in which the late Russ Columbo plays the leading role opens at the Mayfair Theatre today. It is a musical film from the Universal studios and concerns the exploits of a small-time singing and dancing act which after flopping badly at Atlantic City gets into more complications than a bigamist in a girls’ boarding school. Roger Pryor and June Knight share the “lead” honors with Columbo. It is a rather amusing film….

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