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CHRONICLE AND COMMENT OF THE STAGE"
Mitzi Considers the Case of the Ingenue By Rebecca Drucker It was the enthusiam of a highbrow porson of my acquaintance, whom the musical comedy of Broadway leaves coldly scornful, which first stirred mo into curiosity about Mitzi. Among other things in her praise my friend said that she knew how to be witty with her body. Now the world is full of people who do laughter-provoking, .rrotssquo things, but I had always con .-.idered wit beyond the power of the body to achieve. But I recognized what he meant when I saw her? though the humor , of "Head Over Heels" is along such broad lines that it permits this power to crop out only in by-play. It is a pantomimic re? sponse to comedy so delicate and un? expected that it has precisely the ef- , foci of a pointed comment. Mitzi has the pink and gold coloring of an ingenue. With blue eyes wide and a fixed simper, she might be the model for all ingenues. But her smile will not fix itself. It is a queer, slant? ing thing that throws wicked lights up into her eyes. There is a perverse comic within her that banters her own pink-and-goldness and arges her on to wilful grotesqueness. She speaks the idiomatic, nnfas t.idious English of New York?but with a quaint, fastidious little accent that is not so much of pronunciation as of inflection, and that is quaintest when she drops into unconscious slang. She sat in a largo chair in a sunny window. I, the stern inquisitor, sat opposite her. Between us, overhead, a largo parrot with passionate, mournful deliberation was prilling ont his taUfea-tuem Now and then he in? jected a comment into oar conversa? tion. Mltsi 1? s Hungarian, bo*n in Buda? pest of middle-class parents. "Father's family la very old," said Mitzi. "Mother's is not nearly so old, and mach nloer." Father, with a white mas acho, and mother, with a double chin, beamed down on as from the mantle shelf. "No one in our family had ever been on the stage, but mother ?lid not say 'I shall die if a daughter of mine should go on the stage.' She ! aid. If it will make the child happy'? and father said, 'She is such a little monkey that is where she belongs.* So I went to the Conservatory, which is a government, school, whero the dis? cipline is very nevere, and studied very hard and then graduated and played a season of straight comedy in Vienna. There an American ninnugcr saw mc _nd brought me over eight years age to play in the second~company *of 'The Spring Maid.' And I have never been ?ble to go back to straight comedj friace." "Would you like to?** I asked. **I would !ovn a real acting part ? reThaps the ne? pi eco I do" * We drifted off into talk about Hun ttary, "I ?hall never go back. I arr an American. But it is sad for mj parents," she ?aid, wistfully. "They ??re too old to come over and adap! themselves to American ways. Wher 1 came over and saw the skyline ant the hngw buiMi'igs I was so frightened It was all so huge. 1 was cighteci t<nd I felt so smalL But I went to m; cabin and did my hair high and put oi n dress with a long train that I though "onId make mo look big, too, and ; .??termined to ?land up to New York "f course, I love it now. It is ms home." We went > -\ to a discussion of act ing. The ter^ hi tigs of the Conservator; had been if Id upon one point honctiiy. It had insisted upon natural neis* above :.'A things. " ?lib aome ingenues I have seer cou!' hsv? been cent there to study,' I aait. ?' loo! : up at roc, and the spart - ; mutual M derstanding was lightc? :. UA. Kite clapp- ' her h?tid to her motttl to suppress 9 _igglo< * "Oh, how funny ingenues talk! Like I this"-? and she gave a lifelike repro- j duct Ion of the la-di-da accents of some j of our younger actresses. "I am sure ! if a father heard his daughter talk i like that he would say to her mother, 'For God's sake, why don't you make | that child talk rogularl' And why do j they walk like this?" and Mitzi slith- | ered along in what is the supposedly appealing manner of an ingenue. "I" never saw anybody in real life walk like that. Did you?" I had. I had seen young persons in real life who had modelled themselves on ingenue. "Of course," said Mitzi, "it isn't easy to be natural. They say to an actress, 'Why cant yon just be natural ?' but that means eternal watchfulness. Every once in a while when I am tired | I find myself speaking off lines with? out much thinking what they mean, and smiling sweetly?and then I give my? self a shake to wake myself up, and make an extra face to prove to myself that I am not afraid of looking funny." Some one came in to tell Mitzi that she would just have time to dress be? fore dinner at 4:30. "Dinner at 4:30?" I exclaimed involuntarily. "Yes, breakfast at 11 and lunch at 1 and dinner at 4:80?and I don't want any of them. Then nothing to eat until after the show, and then I may not eat because it is time to go to bed. That's what it is to he in musical comedy. When I sing my song, j 'Just Like Other Folks,' I feel like my j little acrobat?awfully sorry for my- ? self. Thafs because Fm hungry, I guess." ? Vaudeville PALACE?Bessie Clayton and her | company of dancers is the headline ? feature. Chio Sale returns to vaudeville '? with a new edition of his rural Sunday ? school benefit characterizations. Frisco j : remains for a third week. Blossom j Seoley, Kate Elinoro and Sam Williams i j and the Watson Sisters are some of ; the others on the bill. ? ; ALHAMBRA?The very good bill at I the Alhambra this week offers three distinct headline features?Blanche ? King, the singing comedienne; Helen ; Ware, "one of tho foremost dra? matic actresses, and the Avon Comedy \ ; Four. The supporting bill includes Mr. ; and Mrs, James Barry, Rena Arnold and ? Jack Allman in a song offering; Julian ; Hall, this "Jazz Boy" and others. ROYAL?Eddie Leonard and his min | strel show is at tho top of a bill which includes Valerie Bergero, in a Japanese playlet: Harry Langdon, in a skit en? titled "Johhny's New Car"; Hallen and i Fuller, in an allegorical satire called ? "The Corridor of Time"; Milo, Chico and Company and the Gladiators. RIVERSIDE?Belle Baker makes her j first appearance as an individual star ' with now songs. Muriel Wrorth, Charley . Grapewin and Anna Chance, Frank Dob j son, Harry Hines, Lou and Jean Archer ?? and tho Ferreros complete the bill. COLONIAL?Charles (Chic) Sale, the j famous portrayer of rural types, will ! share headline honors with Bert Kal : rnar and Jessica Brown. Lo?b Josephine ] and Tyler Brooks return with a pro - grammo of songs and dances. The pa? triotic novelty feature, "Art," Santi in oriental dances, Donald Kcrr and Eine ; Weston and Misa 'Merlo and company ! completo tho bill. LOEW'S SEVENTH AVENUE?Friend ; and Downing, Harry K. Morton and ! Zoilo Russell and O'Brien Havel and ! Miss Valeska will be vaudeville head i liners the first half of the week. "Pri ' vato Peat" will be tho photoplay attrac? tion. The Cabaret Do Luxe heads the i bill the second half of the week. Wal ! lac:? Reid in "The Man From Funeral I Range" will be the picture. -<?: One-Week Houses STANDARD?David Belasco will pre? sent "Polly With a Past," with the or? iginal cast, including Ina Claire, Cyril Scott, H. Reeves-Smith, Herbert Yost and Louise Galloway. SHUBERT-RIVIERA ? "Parlor, Bed? room and Bath," the farce by Mark Swan and C. W. Bell is this week's at? traction here. LOEW'S SEVENTH AVENUE?Char? lotte Walker, in Eugene Walter's play, "Nancy Lee," comes here this week. BRONX OPERA HOUSE?The mor? ality play, "Experience," is the play at '. this theatre. BROOKLYN MAJESTIC?John D. Williams will present Lionel Barrymore in "The Copperhead," by Augustus Thomas. MONTAUK?The spy play, "Watch Your Neighbor," is next week's play. "Daddies" Moves To the Lyceum j "Daddies" will continue its success-1 ful run at the Lyceum Theatre, begin-! ning to-morrow evening. The transfer has been made necessary to make room for the appearance of Frances Starr in Edmund Knobloch's new play, "Tiger! , Tigerl ", at the Belasco Theatre. .c New Show at the Columbia This Week "The Best Show in Town" is the ! , title of a new burlesque that will be ! presented at the Columbia Theatre to- | morrow afternoon. It is in two acts, ! and was written by William K. Wells, with music by Hal Dyson. I ?i - Benefit for ! 11th Engineers At Cort Theatre The Association of the Jlth Engi? neers' Auxiliary will give a benefit per? formance for the regiment at the Cort Theatre on November 10, under the management of Suzanne Westford Al? len. Lillian Russell, Irving Berlin, Blanche Bates and Holbrook Blinn, and Irene Franklin and Burton Green (just back from overseas), will all help make the affair a success. Besides these there will be Robert Edeson, Nora Bayes, Minnie Dupree, Jack Hazzard, lieuten? ant Gitz Rice and Tavie Beige. Tickets at the regular theatrical prices are now on sale in the office of the association, 1 Madison Avenue. The 11th Engineers was originally the 1st New York Reserve Engineers. They walked right out of good jobs into the service of Uncle Sam within a week from tho call to arms, in the spring of 1917 and have been at the front ever since. New Plays This Week MONDAY?At the (H?be Theatre Charles Dillinghani will present Julia Sanderson and Joseph Cawthorn in a new musical comedy, called "The Canary." The piece was written in French by George Barr and Louis Veneiul. For its musical comedy manifestation. Ivan Caryll has fur? nished a score; and there are additional orchestral and vocal numbers by Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern. The story of the play concerns it? self with n valuable diamond which a curio dealer manages to get stuck in his throat. Only by singing high C can tho gem be released, and the unwilling jailor finds relief. The stage settings are the work of Joseph Urban. At the Astor Theatre Messrs. Lee and J. J. Shubert will present "Little Simplicity," a new musical play, for which the book and lyrics have been written by Rida Johnson Young, and tho music by August Barratt. The piny, a musical comedy of youth, love and romance, is in three acts, the Jirst at an inn in Tunis, Algeria; the second in the Latin Quartier, and the third "Somewhere in France." Tho cast includes Carolyn Thomson, Carl Gantvoort, Marjorie Gateson, Stewart Baird, Cameron Sisters, Charles Brown, Eugene Redding, Phil Ryley, Ben Hen dricks, Florence Beresford, Polly Bryor and Allan McDonald. At tha 44th Street Thertre Robert B. Mantoll will appear in a re? vival of "Richelieu/' Genevi?ve Hamper and Fritz Leiber are featured in the larce company rupporting th?a tragedian. At the Manhattan Opera House David Warfield will begin a limited engagement in "Tho Auctioneer," the first of Mr. Warneld's great stage portraits. The company will contain Miss Marie Bates in her original role of Mrs. Lagan, while other familiar pames are Helene Phillips, Harry Llewellyn and Tony Bevan. The play has been rewritten and reproduced by Mr. Belasco. TUESDAY?At the 39th Street Theatro, on the afternoon of Election Day, Messrs. Leo and J. J. Shubert will present "Tho Long Dash," a drama of to-day, by Robert Mcars Mackay and Victor Mnpes, co-author of "Tho Boomerang" The cast will include Robert Edeson, Henry E. Dixey, Violet Kerr.blc Cooper, Millicent Evans, Byron Beasley, Malcolm Dun? can and others WEDNESDAY?After two postponements, "The Comforts of Ignorance," a satiric comedy by Butler Davenport, is announced to open on this date at the Bramhall Playhouse. \ Another Soldier Show In Preparation Another soldier show is coming to I New York. The boys at Camp Mer ritt will produce "Good Luck Sam" at the Lexington Theatre for two weeks beginning Monday, November 25, through the conrtesy and cooperation of Major G. Gunner and Lieutenant Colonel J. Fawcett. Several hundred soldiers have been rehearsing for the past few weeks on what promises to be the biggest of all soldier shows. ! The purpose is to build a home at Camp Mtrritt where the mothers, wives and sweethearts of the men can meet those who are about to go over. Camp Merritt is the embarka? tion point and thousands of men are stationed there for a time before they embark. The necessity, therefore, for such a place is greater at this camp than it is at the average camp. No j less a person than George M. Cohan I will personally direct the entire pro j duction. The book is the work of Sergeant Edward Anthony, who has been j a contributor to several of the New i York dailies, and the music is by Ser? geant Louis Merrill. Mr. Cohan will have as his assistants, Frank Leo ; Short. Michael Ring and Private Will? | iam H. Smith, to whom much of the ': credit for "Yip Yip Yaphank" is due. m ? * Revival of "Richelieu" Recalls its History Though no one, so far as known, has ; come forth with the claim that the publicity methods of the modern press \ agent wore invented by the Chinese i centuries before tho dawn of civiliza j tion, still they are of greater antiquity than P. T. Barnum, according to Rob? ert B. Mantell. Tho methods date back at least to "Richelieu," presented at Covcnt Gar? den for the first time on the night of March 7. 1839. "Richelieu" was exploited in London ; before its first performance, much in ! the fashion of "Chantecler" in Paris a ! few years ago. Bulwer, like Rostand, j was the darling of both the literary world and society. "Richelieu," like "Chanticler," was announced long be? fore its completion, and possibly even i before the author had set pen to paper. ; Then, after it was ^finished. Bulwer's play, like Rostand's, was withheld until the mind of tho playgoing public had been worked to a fever heat of ex? pectancy. When finally th ment can.? Covsat -Psychological mo v ida? wu crowded with the elite of London. Macready, j the popular actor of the times, was ! cast as Richelieu. Expectation ran ! high. But Bulwer, like Rostand at a j later date, succeeded in more than satisfying a brilliant audience, even in that frame of mind. The magnificent climax of the drawing of the magic circle of the Church of Rome swept the audience into a veritable frenzy of en? thusiasm, whose echoes persist to this day, when the fine old play is revived. After the play was thus launched in England Edwin Forest secured the American rights and played the Car , d?nai for the first time this side the | Atlantic September 4, 1839, at Wal ! lack's National Theatre, New York. -_-__ 'Provincetown Players Begin New Season] The Provincetown Players vigorously deny the rumor that they have gone down with some of the other little the-[ ! atre movements. "The news of ourj death has been greatly exaggerated!" i I states a letter accompanying their new| prospectus. "We are not only very| much alive, but we have taken overj a larger building at 133 Macdougal ! Street, which is being remodelled. The i new playhouee has enabled us to en- j large our stage one-third, and gives ! greater seating capacity. _The Provincetown Players ptart j their season, about November l??, with i three new plays, by Susan Glaspell, I Edna S. Vincent Millay and Euigene j O'Neill. As usual, the players will act i and stage their own plays." They will give six bills this season. > I Among the writers of the plays which ' they plan to produce are Wilbur Daniel j i S'teele, Mary Heaton Vorse, Rita Well- j man, Lawrence Langner, Ira Remson, i ? Floyd Bell, George Cronin, Lincoln ! | Steffin, Witter Bynner and Theodore i : Dreiser. Five dollars paid in advance admits : on? to associate membership, covers initiation fees, and entitles one to one season ticket with the privilege, not i otherwise obtainable, of buying extra ; tickets for single performances. Khaki-CladT Men to See "Daddies" on Sunday Through the courtesy of David Be ; lasco a special performance of his j production of "Daddies" will be given | free to men in uniform to-night at the i Lyceum Theatre. The performance for soldiers, sail | or3 and marines scheduled at the. Ly : ceum for Sunday night is under the I auspices of the Stage Women's War Relief, an organizations which has been i untiring in its efforts to secure the j best the theatre- has to offer for our ! men in service. ? Secret Service Play At 14th St Theatre "The Man They Left Behind," a j Secret Service play by Barton King, ! which is said to have met with great ! success on tho road, where it is now being presented by no less than four , companies, will bo the attraction at : tho 14th Street Theatre all next week, j starting with Monday's matinee. Writ? ten around the great war it is said to possess a patriotic appeal that will be bound to grip the heart of every American man or*woman who sees it. v ." ' ' ' ' ' ..... .t> How the Bairnsfather Cartoons Became a Play "How did Captain Eliot and ? happen to write 'The Better 'Ole?'" said Cap? tain Bruce Bairnsfather, just after the last big laugh at the Greenwich Villago Theatre had assured him that the play was duplicating its success in London. "Well, to tell you the truth, I don't j know how. The play just wrote itself, you might say. It was a caso of two minds with but a single thought, and that was the portraying, as nearly as possible, of the lights and shadows in the romantic, mud-soaked life of Old Bill. "You see, although it is not generally known, I had written two short half hour sketches before I ever did a full length play. The first of these was produced at the London Hippodrome j and ran during the entire season of the revue then being presented. Then Charles B. Cochran, who later pro? duced 'The Better 'Ole,' suggested that I elaborate this sketch, which had also been based upon my cartoons, into a full-length play. I mulled over this idea for a long time, but nothing came of it. "When I was in France I met Captain 'rthur Eliot, a humorist and former actor, and again the topic of making a play out of the romance of Old Bill intruded itself and insisted upon being heard. Still nothing came of it, al? though Captain Eliot and myself were 'getting warm,' as you might say, over the idea. "Then, during an interval of leave in England, the idea began to take shape in my mind, and slowly the romance of Old Bill evolved into a play. Captain Eliot possesses a great knowledge of the stage, and by incessant discussion and exchange of ideas, based upon the atmosphere which had arready been cre? ated by my pictures and books, Eliot and I were enabled to cooperate very smoothly with the play. I executed all the scene models of the play after dis? cussions with Eliot. "After seeing the rehearsals of 'The Better 'Ole' I went into a regular funk Somehow, it seemed to me that we wer? taking awful chances, and the nighl before the play opened it wouldn't hav? taken much persuasion to make me cal the whole thing off. "However, on Saturday evening, Au gust 4, 1917, the anniversary of Eng land's declaration of war against Ger many, a super-crowded house greete? the premiere of the play in the Oxfor? Music Hall, a theatre in the Wrest En? of London that had never befor j housed ^anything except mu.sical bur lcsqnes and revues. Charles B. Co?h? ran presented the play and Arthur Bourchier, a most clever comedian, cre? ated the part of Old Bill "The reception that the piece ??? ceived was simply amazing. Every newspaper in London contained eulogis tic notices tho next day, and Eliot and I were as happy as British Tommies in Blighty. The booking was so strouf that it was impossible to obtain seati? for weeks ahead. It was prophesied, then that the play would run for the. duration of the war, and the turn of events on the Western front makes it appear now as if this prophesy was to be fulfilled. "The success of the play was th? interesting in view of the fact th?'. many of the seasoned 'first nightt?s' who went to our show in London, wet? rigid supporters of the time-honored stage convention^ and their attitude toward Eliot and myself was hostile. They regarded us as two authors who were gambling in a new and dangerous subject, and it was their solemn opin? ion that the play was doomed. How? ever, the opinion of these reactionary gentlemen has changed considerably since those trying days. "Eliot and myself have never con' tended that 'The Better 'Ole' was ? play, in the ordinary aense. We hare always called it a 'show' and asked that it be judged on its merits as pure entertainment?nothing more. ' "I was lucky enough to return from the Italian front a week prior to the production in London, and consider myself equally fortunate in having bee.i enabled to see the AroeriesTf premiere of the play at the Greenwttb' Village Theatre. And I must con? gratulate Mr. and Mrs. Cobnrn ?pen giving us a most artistic and intel? ligent presentation at their charmini little playhouse. It ?gratified me M yond expression to see how oar Enflb jokes 'got over* as you say in Amer? ica, because it proved that Amerft? and England are now closer, together in sympathy and understanding tban they had ever been before the outbreak of the world war. "Incidentally I want to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Coburn upon their per? spicacity in seeing the possibilities <? 'The Better 'Ole' in manuscript fortf and having the. courage of their arttrti? convictions after the show had bee? rejected by nearly every other man? ager in New York. They deserve their success with the play and I ?? g?t? i they got it." MiUi, ui 'lieaa Over Heels"