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Critical Moments

The Moscow Art Players will open at the Majestic Theatre on February 16 and will give a repertory of classic and Soviet plays until March 3. This will be the first time an American audience will have had the opportunity of witnessing a Russian company performing popular plays of present-day Russia in the Russian language.

Brought here by S. Hurok, the Moscow Art Players are under the direction of Michel Chekhov, nephew of the famous playwright and writer. The younger Chekhov in his own right is an actor and director of fine and discerning talent. He will act in several of the productions himself and will be supported by such well-known stars as P. Pavlov, Vera Gretch and M. Krijanowskaya.

Each Sunday evening, while the Moscow Art Players are here, will be devoted to scenes from the works of Anton Chekhov. Besides these performances, the repertory includes “Revisor,” “Poverty Is No Crime,” “Strange Child,” and “Marriage.” Although all the plays will be done in Russian, Mr. Hurok has arranged devices whereby the audience will be able to understand and follow the scenes with little difficulty.

NEXT WEEK ON THE STAGE

Among the legitimate attractions slated for the coming week are “Bitter Oleander (Lyceum), and “The Elder Set” (Ritz), for Monday night; a revival of “Rain” (Music Box), for Tuesday; “Noah,” at the Longacre for Wednesday; “The Closed Garden,” for Thursday and The Moscow Art Players at the Majestic on Saturday.

“Merrily We Roll Along,” the Kaufman-Hart hit which has been doing just that for many months, will close this Saturday evening and take to the road. Motion picture rights have been sold for a large sum, but when the picture is made a new scene will be added. The play, which runs backwards, comes to a close with the young playwright graduating from college and filled with desire to do worthwhile things in the theatre to further the cause of mankind.

How he is side-tracked from his ideals by the urge for security and material things is the theme of the play. In the picture version the new episode, which incidentally Kaufman is now writing in Hollywood, will show the playwright fleeing from his annoying success and doing things he really wants to do.

Tallulah Bankhead will at last get a chance actually to use her talents when she opens at the Music Hall next Tuesday night in a revival of “Rain.” I can think of a no more likely (theatrically, of course) Sadie Thompson.

COMMENTS CINEMATIC AND THEATRICAL

Clare Tree Major Children’s Theatre will do “Nobody’s Girl” next Saturday afternoon at the Brooklyn Academy of Music…. “Ode to Liberty,” with Ina Claire, will close a week from this Saturday after an unexpectedly long stay on Broadway. The play itself is rather weak, but the amusing acting of the leading lady saved the box-office…. Noel Coward must exert some hypnotism over New York audiences. His play, “Point Valaine,” which is a confused, melodramatic hodge-podge, continues as one of the town’s more populated plays…. The movies, impressed by the success of Katherine Cornell in “Romeo and Juliet,” and Walter Hampden Shakesperian repertory, are considering the screen possibilities in that long-dead Englishman’s works…. Jimmy Cagney, absent from the screen for more than a month, has returned in “Devil Dogs of the Air,” which opened last night at the Strand. This is another in the current cycle of air films….

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