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CHRONICLE AND C
r ^ a 'H
r Jfirw' \ 1 '* ' W.'.L-JSE
New Plays and Old
Critics May Not Mix
By Heywood Brouri
Newspaper dramatic critics are at?
tacked unjustly on a good many
grounds, but at least one charge sticks.
There is no getting away from the fact
that new work does not lveeive its just
due. The dictum if it's by a good au
thor it's a good play is more than a
jokc. Of course the man who writes
?or a newspaper has to make up his
mind in a hurry. He is conscious of
f.his haste and hc lives in terror of
making himself ridiculous by undue cn
\husiusm over something which may
provc to be a flash in the pan. The
longer he keeps at his work the greater
is the tendency for his mind to become
divided into so many little pigeonholcs
of past experience. If a new play is
something like a dratna he has seen
before he can find its pigeonhole and
give it a fair rating with no great de?
lay. But if the play is by a new man
iSi a new manner, or even a departure
ih mcthod by a well known author, the
poor critic can't find a pigeonhole into
which it will fit, and so he doesn't knew
?what to do with it. Consequently, he is
inclined to east it from him as a piece
of dramatic heresy which deserves no
It is true enough that a play i.s not
necessarily good because it is new in
treatment or subject, but, on the other
hand, newness itself is a virtue. That
much is in ita favor. Some other week
we hope to gather together a few ex
amples of the lapses of distinguished
dramatic critics and others less known
but nearc-r home. It may suffice to
mention the fact that William Winter,
by far the most famous of American
newspaper critics of the drama, re
garded "Cyrano" as a stop-gap when it
appeared in the repertoire of Mann
field, paid only the scantiest attent'on
to the first plays of Bernard Shaw,
fought Ibscn with a barrage of invec
tive. a?,d was displeased when David
Bciasco presented "The Easiest Way."
In a later season at least two well
known critics said that "Peter Pan"
was utter rot and would die in a week,
while two seasona ago the brilliant one
act plays of Dunsany were in several
inatancex dismissed with a paragraph
In the cndless warfare which rages
between playwrights and critics there
ia something to be said for tho play
"Tillze," tho little play at the Henry
Miller Theatre, is probably the only
example o*- American genre comedy
which has been seen here this season.
It is not a particularly searching pict
ure of the life of an American s ?? ,
but it does keep clear of theati
for the moct part and is only slightly
bruahed by sentimental ity. It deserves
the attention of playgoeru inasmuch as
it is the lone representative of the style
of play which muit pave the way for
important work in essentially American
drama. It does make the needful rec?
ognition of the fact that there ia an
America beyond the borders of New
Bill Jones of "Lightnin"' is a genre
study much more complcte than any
thing in "Tiilie," but he is dlsplayod
against a background which is pure
theatre, even thouKh it is gcncrally
There is a second fuctor which makes
"Tiilie" worth ueeing. Patricia Col?
linge does rcaliy exceptional work. It
is not a rolc v/hich makes great dc
tuands on depth or power. Probably
Miss Collinge doeso't possess those
qualities, but h?rd?y any performance
this season has been so deft and eo
dcHcate. Miss Collinge can actually
?eem shy and definite-ly convey tender
ness. This is fresh laid acting and you
might travol Blflcs ;zn<i ftarez rncet it
Curiously enough there ar<: momf-nts
in which the little miss at the II?:nry
ttilier Theatre rmnindit the playgotr
very vividly of 0. P. Heggie. It is in
the eyes, of course. Both players have
the faculty of suddenly coming ab'azo.
At suc'?i times their eyes seem to shinc
like those lighta which they won't let
the automobiles use in townships of
more than ten thousand znhabitants.
In the days of the millennium, when
perfect performances are staged, one
of them will be "Magic." with lleggie
as the Cozzjurer and Miss Collins as
A rcader who sigris himself or her?
self E. B. Broun, but seems from his or
her tone to bc a most distant relation,
has written a complaint to our editor
which in due course has found its way
"What is the matter with the dra?
matic critics," writes E. B. Broun,
"that they pass with such perfunctory
notice Kita WiBzTfrTan's remarkable play
'Tbe? Gentile Wife'? As a study of
racial differences between Jew and
Gentile, with an intellectual as well as
an emotional appeal and strorig dra?
matic interest, nothing better has been
dor.e. To the numerous theatre and
dramatic clubs no play more worthy of
study and discussion couid be sug
It is true that '?i nzade no statement
as sweeping as at contained in the
letter of E. B. Broun. After all, "The
Mcrchant of Ver.ice" is a study of racial
differences between Jew and Gentile,
and Mr. Shakespeare, we think, has not
been behind Miss Wellman in imparting
an intellectual and an emotional appeal
as well as a strong dramatic interest.
However, we refuse to pload guilty to
having dismisscd the play with a per?
functory notice. We hailed it at great
length as an excellent play and rcserved
our severity only for tho production,
which seemed to us naturalistic to the
point cf irritation. We found difficuity
in hearing several of the players, and
our pique arose solely from the fact
that tho things Miss Wellman had to
say richly deserved to bc heard.
In connection with the naturalistic
method we have received an interesting
letter from an actress who points out.
that tho mistake is sometimes mado of
employing methods at the beginning of
a play which fail then, but might easily
be made effective later in the perform
"Mrs. Fiske turns her back upon the
audience," says the writer, "but she
does it advisedly. I know, for I have
played with her. So does Bernhardt,
but never at the beginning of a play,
when every ageney of expresston, every
legitimate trick, is needed to arrest and
hold the attention of the audience. After
that is gained, you can play with them
a!mo:,t at will and they will follow
Announcements of many perform?
ances of patriotic interest have been
carried in these columns, but we fecl
that special mention must be given to
tho ono which follows':
"On Monday evening, January 13, a
symbolic fantasy, written by a nieco of
President Wilson, will bc given to men
in uniform at the Penihing Theatre,
Madison Avenue and Forty-fourth
Street, at 8:30. Tho author, Mias Mar?
garet Valc, calls her fantasy 'The Mes
sage of the Star of Gold.'
Although George Creol ia not avail
able to be pressed into service as head
usher, we may say that even in its
present form the entcrtainm,ent prom- ;
isc? to cover the field of patriotic the
fttrieal er.deavor complotely.
Wo hesitate to bring into theso
columns things perhaps only rcmotely
connected with the theatre, but three
days ago the furnace inan left tho
basement door open and Michael went
out and hus not come bo?'/. He in a
basically white dog, who is bc
'?""?'"' '-' '.art H'ghlaVid taVrifr and
part dachshund. ile is onlled Michael,
but does izot anztwer rcadily to the
name. He lives at 31S West Serentieth
Street and if ho will only come home
everything will be forgiven. This may
seem an' alien subject to soinc, but wc
justify its inclusion in the dramatic
column-'beeause to us it seems a tragcdy.
PALACE The three headliners are
Jack Norworth, Bcssie Clayton and
Nan Halperin. Harry Watson, jr.,
returns in his travcsty as Young Kid
Dugan, as also does Jimmy Hussey
in his military travesty. Toto, the
well known clown; Bob Hall, in ex
temporaneous chaltcr, and Olympia
Desvallcs, equestriennc, complete the
RIVERSIDE- Phyllis Neilson - Terry,
tho woll known English actress, is
the principal feature of tlie bill. I'at.
Rooney and Marion Bent, the Mar
mein Sisters and Uavid Schooler are
well known favorites on the bill,
which includes as woll Al Lydell and
Carleton Macy, Lewis and Gordon,
Harry and Emma Sharrock, George
N. Brown and Billy N. Weston.
COLOXIAL?Mme. Marguerite Sylva,
tno grand opera star, is this week'a
special teature. She will offer a
roportoire of exclusive songs. Others
on the bill are Harry Green, lhe
llcbrew comedian; Herbert Williams
and Hilda Wolfus, in "Hark! Hark!
Harkl"; Harry Breen, rapid fire
songwriter; Fred Fenton and Sammy
Fields, in "Passed by the t'cnsor";
Walter Clmton and Julia Rooney, in
?: ?? 94>.
"After Dark," and Moran and Wiser,
ALTiAMBRA?Georgo White and his
four dancing partners are the head?
liners. Muriel Worth, the dancing
star; Lou and Jeazi Archer, in
and dances; Muriol Window, in ex?
clusive songs, and Frank Fcntoi . nd
Bunnee Wyde in a sketch; Josic
O'Meers, vyire artist, and the Flying
Millettea, in an aerial thriller, com
plete the bill.
ROYAL?Trixie Friganza will present
her newest skit, "Tho Block Party."
A miniaturc production, "Whal Girls
Can Do," Emma Haig and Lou Lock
ett in their song and dance offcring,
l.-ilph Kltner and Jim Rooney in "An
Ocean Episode," and the Van Cellos
are a few of the other numbers on
LOEW'S AMERICAN ? Billy King's
negroid musical comecly, is the tai
vaudeville feature tho first part of
the week; Fatty Arbucklc in "Camp
ing Out" is tho picture feature.
Hyman Adler and company, in a farce
A Critic in Action tn the Argonne Fore.?t
Sketch of Aiexander Woollcotl by C. LeRoy Daldridge, of the 5th Infantry
with music entitled "The Runaways,"
ic vaudaville feature tlie second
! : ; I ' '' the week. Tho picture is D. W.
Grillrth's "The Greatest Thing in
At the One-Week Houses
STANDARD- The English melodrama,
"Seven Days Leave," has returned
for ;i brief tour of the subway cir?
cuit, ii ginning here.
Peggy Woo i, William Morris and
Mclvin Stokes, will be seon here.
LOEW'S SEVENTH AVENUE "Under
Orders" comes here direct from its
run at tho Eltinge Theatre, with
Shelley Hul] and Effio Shannon.
BRONX OPERA HOUSE ? Fiske
O'Hara, in "Marry In Haste," is here
on his annual visit to this theatre.
MONTAUK- David Warfield will bc
seen here in "The Auctionecr."
MAJEST1C "ihe Man Who Came
Back" is this wcek's bill.
"Chatterton," a Romantic
Tragedy, at French Theatre
i;" brilliant repertory company at
French Theatre du Vieux Colom
bicr will present a play new to \'cw
Yorkera, "Chatterton," by Alfred de
? igny, for the week commencing to
morrow evening, It comes from the
Comedie Francaise in Paris, where it
produccd first in 18:'.,"), and has
since enjoyed several popular rovivals.
It is a romantic tragedy laid in London
in 1770, tiie principal character, from
which the title is derived, being an im
povorished writer whose existcnee is
brightened by his landlady, the timid
wife of a sov< ro husband. He exists
in a miserablo attic room, living in
hopes and dying when his sensitivc nat?
ure is shocked by the charge that he
'-??' a plagiarist.
The Final Week of
"Atta Boy" at Lexington
"Atta Boy," the successful soldier
sh?w at the Lexington Theatre, with
Captain Frank Tinney as its fcatured
member, will roniain but one more
week at that theatre, as tlie eivgage
ment positively ende on-'Saturday even?
ing, January 18. This will perhaps be
the last of the many excellent soldier
zhows which Xew York has seen dur-;
inpr war times.
Burlesque Show by
JuniejftlcCree at Columbia
Jack Singer will bring his nll-new
Behman Show t,, the Columbia Theatre
to-morrow ofternpoo nnd present a
?w. -ncl burlesque cajled, "Just for To
night," written by Juul0 McO?-cv.'
To-Night's Free Shows
For Men in Uniform
Metropolitan Opera Company stars
will bc the principal pevformers to
night at the Pershing Theatre, Madi
son Avenue, at Eorty-fourth Street,
where a concert will be given for offi?
cers and enlisted men, under the au
spices of the New York War Camp
Community Serviee. Officers will be
admitted without tickets and enlisted
men may obtain tickets at the War
Camp information booth in front of the
Library. Among those who will appear
will b.e Vera Cixrtis, accompanied by
Willis Alving, George Harris, jr., and
Milann Lusk, violinist, accompanied by
Harriet Boas. Other performances free
io enlisted men in uniform, given un?
der the auspices of the Stage Women's
War Relief in cooperation with the
War Camp Community Serviee, will be
Williani Collier in "Nothing But Lies"
at the Longacve Theatre and Emily
Stevens in "The Gentile Wife" at the
Vanderbilt Theatre. The first of these
begins at 1 and the other at 7:30 p. m.
j At the Manhattan Opera House there
will be the usual vaudeville matinee,
| under the auspices of the War Camp.
Among those who will appear are Prin?
cess White Deer and Roshanara, both
| of whom will dance. In addition there
will be the full chorus of a Broadway
musical show. All men in uniform will
I be admitted free.
Shakespeare Play house
The Shakespeare Playhouse, Frank
McEntee, director, announces that the
continued success of the speeial mat
iuees of Walter Hampden in "Hamlet,"
:it the Plymouth Theatre, will post
pone the production of "As You Like
It" indefinitely. The "Hamlet" mat
inces at the Plymouth Theatre, Friday
afternoons, at 2:30, and Saturday
mornings, at 10:30, will be continued
while the demand last.s. "Hamlet,"
banished from Broadway for many a
season, is, through Mr. Hampden's fine]
intcrpretaticn, actually scoring a New
York run to crowded houses at these
speeial mal inee .
Mr. Hampden's fisst Shakespearian
work in America was as Caliban, in
"The Tempest," at tho speeial produc-1
tion given at the Century Theatre sev?
eral years apo. With tho Shakespeare
Playhouse la t year he was aiso seen;
as Antony in "Juiius Cassar," in thc
title role of "Macbcth," and as Oberon
in "A Midsummer Night's Drcam." ln
England he played in Shakespearian
productions of the Benson Company.
Star Bill Assembled
lor Actors'' Funtl Benefit
Thc annual Actors' Fund benefit, ,
which is now being organized for Fri- !
day afternoon, January 24, by Daniel '
Frohman, president of the fund, will
have the practical assistanco of David
Belasco and Arthur Hopkins. All thc
numbers are new and being specially
prcparod for this occasioti. The star !
"Florodora Scxtet" will be given by
II. It. Warner, Donald Brian, Joseph :
Cawthorn, Emmet Corriijan, Conway
Tearle, Sholley Hull, J.ulia Sander
son, Jeanne Eagles, Violet Heming,
?Ruth Sheplcy, Peggy Wood and Eliza- ;
both Kricc. Another speeial feature |
will bc Sam Bernard and Nora Bayes !
iu a scone from "Romeo and Juliet."
The great magician, Houdinl, is pre
paring a speeial rioyelty, Thero will
also be two new plays, with star casts,
one (if which has been written by
jP. (?? Wodehouse on
the Gilhertian Tradition
By Rebecca Drucker
Une ceascs to marvel with what in
: evitableness the name of Guy Bolton
is followed by that of P. G. Wodehouse
. on a musical comedy programme. One
takes a good breath and reads it like
this - Guyboltonandpgwodehouse. If
ever Mr. Bolton should write a libretto
alone what a lot of people would be
lefl gasping in the middle of a long
: breath. Interviewing them I felt would
be a little like going to see Tweedledum
and Tweedledee. The precision and
unison of their work might extend to
It was a little startling to find Mr.
Wodehouse alone keeping the appoint
ment. Mr. Bolton had gone on to Chi
cago to supervise tho putting on of
their latest piece, "See You Later.'' ]
had somehow visualized them as in
separable, and quite alike rather like a
Siamese twin. Mr. Wodehouse rea
soned with me against this im] i
when I told him of it. Mr. Bolton and
he were quite different, he assured me.
Mr. Bolton [? thin and dark and quite
ctual, with a repressed inclina
tion for writing sombre plays.
This description quite obviously does
not fit Mr. Wodehouse, who is large of
frame, fresh in color and quite irre
pressibly cheerful. Mr. Wodehouse's
humor is no gibe at the world. 11c
really enjoys it. He doesn't. hanker to
write a problem play; he does confess
; to wanting to write a farce that shall
; stand up without music.
Mr. Wodehouse is English. He was
al work on a newspaper in London
when he met Guy Bolton there in 1906.
Bolton introduced him to Jcrome Kern,
who was visiting London then and who
suggested that Wodehouse should try
his hand at some lyrics for which he
had wi-itten the music. The lyrics
Wodehouse wrote were not a great suc
cess. He needed the spark of a central
idea to set him off, and the next season,
when hc came to New York, he and
Bolton and Ilern all met again and
collaborated on "Have a Heart." This
was tlie first of the several Bolton
Wodehouse-Kern collaborations which
culminated in "Oh, Boy!" With a plot
to hang them on, Wodehouse found no
difficulty in writing lyrics. ln between
writing lyrics and librettos Wodehouse
was producing a large quantity of fic
tion and articles which from being
looked at askance began to be tol
erated and ilnally were avidly demand
ed by that dispenser of fortune to
struggling authors, "The Saturday
The third partner of the Bolton
Wodehouse combination has variously
been Kern, Caryll and Hirsch. But the
librettist lirm of Boltcr. and Wodehouse
has held through many viciesitudes.
And through these vicissitudes they
have formulated a theory of what a ;nu
Bical comedy should bc. The delibcr
ute inchoateness of musical comedy
did not seem to them rcasonablc.
Clothing thc ineptness of the usual
musical comedy plot in gcgeous cos?
tumes and "effects" and bolstering it
Up with "specialties" seemed poor
economy and unsatisfactory in the end.
Why, you'hr.d to spend $60,000 at least
before your curtain could go up. and
then you had to saddle yourself with
several expensive stars?all because
every manager refusod to believe that
a tired business man could be burdenod
with remembering a re cohor
ent plot. How could you have anything
but gag-linc comedy if you had no
tion? The Bolton - Wodehousa
musical comedy is farce put to music.
Ii does not drag its ohorus on in
improbable moments. Nor does
:t allow itself to be tempted by the
dlity of making girls look like
. s or lampshades or cocktail
? ??. It keep.-; its choxus ;:: ji well
1 red background, as a mere j:cessory.
"' hc lyrics come out of the situation.
All this is not new, you may say.
is the Gilbertian Tradition'. Now,
the Gilbertian Tradition is something
that every man who wants to write "a
libretto of taste and lyrics of distinc
tion butts his head against. He drinks
I e souri ? i to change the
hor) and get; so drunk that he is
unfitted for original work. Mr. Wode
h - ?: twenty-one wrote several fan
tastic plays which he thought were in
spired by Gilbert, but which he later
- v were slavish imitations. The Gil?
bert and Sullivan productions are ad
mittedly tlie final achievements in their
line. But they grew ciuite ruzturally
out of their time and conditions. They
are really quite intensely British in
their outlook and oxprcssion. They
were a crystallized expresdion of their
time. They were presented before cdu
I audiences at the Savoy on whoin
none of their classic and satiric illu
Those audiences were willin'g to mstt
their objectivo satiro by using '*li
imagination in meeting the fantastic
conditions of prcsentation. that I\w
York audiences could not be persuaded
to excrt. That is why a eharming and
quite exceptionally high class op'eretta
like "Tno Arcadians" of some scasoaa
ago failed in New York. Gilbert and
Sullivan's audiences were wiUing; to. co
to l lopia or Japan or Illyria, Ameri?
can ;. ... . upon "fiSalisra"
even in comic opera. The great Amer'
ican izzusical comedy will have to be^
' ing original and probably some?
thing with a local flavor. It will have
ier somewhere between the Gil?
bertian Tradition and the Inchoato
Tradition. Not only does American
taste limit the librc-ttiet, but the
conditions of production leave him
by no means unhamnered. It is com
plicated by what the public wants,
what tlie manager thinks tho pub
lic wants and what the music pui>
lishers want There is a trade fashion
in songs which the librettist must ob
serve. The manager demands that a
song receive a certain number of cn
cores or rhat it be discarded?and a
song is declared a failure if the music
publishers do not sell a certain number
of copie-j of it.
J Bolton and Wodehouse have done a
good deal toward changing the trenj
of musical comedy. Their well brca\
gracile inttmacy has insensibly" altara*'
tho fashion of the stupid and garifttt
musical production of ten years ago.
Their charm, their sparkle and their
kindliness have added to our fund ot
good taste. And that is a considerablo
"The Better 'Ole"
Reaehes the Movies
A photoplay vcrsion of "Tho Better
?Ole," or "Tho Romancr of Old Bill."
will be lhe attractiOn at the Strand
Theatre for tho week beginning Febru
ary 16. The screen ?production was
'?>' tlvo \'. i tsh P?*r :oa Filni ?<
' by arrangement with Charles
B Cochrane, who pradueed the plsy ia