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OUR OWN LITTLE THEATRICAL MONOPOLY. Miss Mary Marele, at the Columbia. With the closing of the year the prin cipal theatrical interests of San Fran cisco will pass into the hands of Messrs. Friedlander, Gottlob & Co., and in stead of taking our drama of an East ern syndicate we will take it of a local monopoly. The experiment will be in teresting. I hope we are not out of the frying pan into the fire. I hope the new combination will' not attempt to live up to more than half its promises. That is, I hope Messrs. Friedlander, Gottlob & Co. will not try to give us too many $3 performances for $1 50 and $2 per formances for $1. It has been said be fore in these columns, and even before that by Mr. Frohman — and it is re ferred to with due modesty that San Francisco has all the cheap shows she wants. The town is full of them. We can better stand for something ex pensive, exorbitant, so long as it differs in quality; from the ordinary run sup plied week in and week out by the smaller theaters. « * * The smaller theaters— the Tivoli, the Alcazar, the Orpheum, the Grand — are really inimical to the theatrical vitality of the town. They are too good and they are not good enough. That is, they are not sufficiently be neath the usual class of Eastern theatricals to make that class an ob ject to the careless theatergoer, and they are not so equal to it that the painstaking playgoer willingly would give up all hope of seeing Eastern companies. Say what you will in local pride, but we need the Eastern attractions. We need them many and often in a community as small as this, where nearly everybody attends nearly all the theaters and a play seldom en dures longer than a fortnight. We need them, not only for what pleasure they may give directly, but for the good they may do our own shows by way of a change in ourselves. But of course these Eastern attractions that come must be of higher value than our own or else they will have made a long journey to but short profit and will go back to their metropolitan homes and circulate spiteful re marks about the West. We need something that is new, special, unusual and valuable. That is why I am not enthusiastic over the new management's plan of running the Baldwin on a sliding scale of prices. It looks too much like candid competition with the smaller houses, instead of calm, sovereign superiority. * * * I am not writing to discourage enter prise, but to encourage it. Only I would see it directed the proper way. You never knew a dramatic critic who did not know more about the econom ics of the theater, as well as the art of the drama, than all the managers in the world put together. I would see the local monopoly prosper; I should be pleased to see it prosper through build ing up a new cult of play patrons who would not care how cheap a show was as long as it was not a good one. I have said that nearly all the people here go to nearly all the theaters that : is. the people who go to the play at all. There are some — many do not. They stay at home or sit in clubs. They are falling into the habit of read ing books — cultivating literate tastes that make the average play an impos sibility. Some of them do not even read dramatic criticism. These good persons should be wooed to the play house. In them is the making of a specialized audience — an audience for fine, distinguished plays and play act ing. You cannot educate these thinking classes — with theatricals whose virtues are cheapness. Ycu must teach them that in the theater is to be found diversion — real cerebral diversion. To my mind there is no in tellectual diversion finer and more sat isfying than that of sitting at a good play well acted; for the play writer, if he knows his business, does all for you that the book writer can do, and does it sooner; and the actor, if he knows his business, by supplying the personal color and the imagination does for you the greater part of what you must do for yourself when reading a book. Play going at its best is the best of pleas ures, to say nothing of its being the most delightfully indolent. It is the epitome of fiction. * • • I should joy to see Messrs. Fried lander, Gottlob & Co. doing something for the pleasures of the rich, the ele gant and the educated. These new monopolists have the Frawley com pany, for one thing sure, and by next season they are to give this company the Baldwin for its home theater. I should like to think of the Frawleys as coining up to the Baldwin standard rather than of the Baldwin standard as going down to the Frawleys. The Baldwin Theater has had no standard lately, I know; that is one of the rea sons why so many persons have stayed away from it. But give it one. The Frawley company has no standard, either, because it cannot be relied upon. It is a band that numbers clever actors, who half the time are either atrociously miscast or bunglingly stage-managed. Give the Frawley company a first-class stage manager, confine Mr. Frawley's talents to the salary list and the box office— then the company will have a standard that need not ask odds for people or prices. » » » There is the chance of a lifetime for a big stock company in San Francisco, but that stock company to profit must not play seasons that are too long. Let the reorganized Frawley company visit the East every season— I believe that is Mr. Frawley's very sensible ambition— let it do missionary work there for the West. But in the meantime the hour is ripe in which to legitimately and artistically boom the Golden Gate as being wide open for the best plays and players at any price. We have been worse than mis represented in the East. I was read ing the other day of an enterprising New Jersey manager who billed his attraction "This show ran for twenty four consecutive performances in San Francisco, the worst show town in America." We may give the scornful laugh to Mr. Hayman and Mr. Froh man and explain why our taste waned for paying $1 50 for every show that was strong enough to last out the journey West, but we are far away from the theatrical center, where an adjacent lie is sometimes more effec tive than a long- distance truth. We have almost used up the glory of our Patti and Irving records of apprecia tion. We have beaten the world on the cheap show proposition. Now we need some new records and some new THE SAN FBANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1597. life in the theaters and the theater patrons. The local monopoly is not owned by any syndicate; It is at lib erty to book any star, syndicate or non-syndicate. The monopoly can continue the Columbia and the California for the lighter attractions and for music, but it had better boost the Baldwin before it is too late. I should like to see the Baldwin with a list that would read something like this: Richard Mansfield in George Ber nard Shaw's "The Devil's Disciple" and repertory, Helena Modjeska and Joseph Haworth in Suderman's "Mag da" and repertory, Mrs. Fiske in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" and Ibsen's "A Dolls House," Maude Adams in Bar ries "The Little Minister," John Drew in the Dumas-c'rundy "Marriage of Convenience," Julia Marlowe in the Shakespearean comedies, Julia Arthur in Mrs. Burnett's "A Lady of Quali ty," Nat Goodwin in Augustus Thomas' "Treadway of Yale," Joseph Jefferson in anything. These actors Blanche Bates, With the Frawley Company, at the California. and plays are alive and susceptible to .the right sort of enterprise. Now's your chance, Messrs. Fried lander, Gottlob & Co. ASHTON STEVENS. Columbia. There is no test of a theatrical at traction so severe as the "return en gagement," and the fact that "A Milk White Fag" is duplicating its success of last season is the most sub stantial and genial compliment the show could have. Unquestionably this farce Is the largest of Hoyt's many ef forts. It requires for its production a large scenic outfit of special design, costumes rich and .varied, and a cast of forty— these little details are all nicely attended to at the Columbia Theater, where the piece enters its second week to-morrow night. It is generally known that Hoyt makes much of his fun out of the in cidents and characters that he meets in actual life. In "A Trip to China town" one of our characteristic French restaurants has been em balmed for posterity, and in other pieces he has hit upon other things that bear translation to the stage with equal facility. It is said that the Ran some Guards, who furnish the subject of satire in "A Milk White Flag," are largely stolen from life from a society regiment of the same name, whose peaceful quarters are at St. Albans, Vt. These guards, it seems, were christened after a General Ransome who was killed in the Mexican War while in the act of making an heroic speech. During the late engagement of the farce in Boston, a number of the members of the did Ransome BY ASHTON STEVENS. Guards banded together and went to the performance at the Boston Theater. They admitted that while Mr. Hoyt had indulged, more or less, in caricature, they were still able to see themselves in his play. Hoyt has the knack of hitting off the guyable things of the hour, and he never has been more genuinely humor ous than in ridiculing the soft-hearted and soft-headed failings of the militia. The critics are continually worrying themselves and the public by trying to find the. why and the wherefore of Hoyt's success. When theatrical af fairs are dull the land over, Hoyt's shows are paying salaries and making money. While other playmakers are waiting for the royalties that never come, Hoyt is luxuriating on velvet. He. knows how to be ridiculous better than any man in the business, and he never aims over the head of the aver age playgoer, but contents himself with hitting that spot where lies the pocket-book. California. The Frawley company will play a fortnight's holiday engagement at the California, commencing Monday night, in Augustin Daly's comedy, "The Rail road of Love." These popular players arrived Thursday from the Hawaiian Islands, where they gave thirteen per formances to as many crowded houses. "A Railroad of Love" was especially well received by the islanders. In Monday night's performance Blanche Bates, Frank Worthing, Fred erick Perry, Harry Corson Clarke. Phosa McAllister and Eleanor Robson will be seen in the principal parts. The piece abounds in comedic and semi sentimental opportunities, and is in line with the best work accomplished by the company. Valentine *_*sprey, otherwise "Cousin Val," is one of Daly's best feminine comedy characters — woman of wit, a flirt, but still honest, affectionate and dear. Miss Bates should find the best of her lighter vein in this role. Worth ing will be an excellent foil for her in the part of the lieutenant. "The Railroad of Love" will be re peated on Tuesday and Wednesday. The rest of the week will be given over to Bronson Howard's "Shenandoah," a war play that has stood years of pre sentation the country over * and is still a strong card. Baldwin. At the Baldwin Theater this even ing the Italian Opera Company which has been with us for six weeks will give its farewell performance . in the form of a big testimonial benefit for Pietro Vallini, whose brilliant direct ing will always be remembered in con nection with the operas of "Boheme," "Nanon," "Cavalleria" and 'Pagli acci." "; '»' ; The programme is not only lengthy but attractive, and the beneficiary will be given every opportunity to further distinguish himself in the rendition of the various numbers. The entire opera of "Pagliacci". will open the evening, followed by the new one act opera "The Little Hayden." The third act of "Aida" will also be given. Vallini will have some special symphony numbers between acts, and taken all together the affair promises well both from the pecuniary and ar tistic points of view. Beginning to-morrow evening the Baldwin will be dark for one week. The regular winter season will open on Monday week, the 27th inst., at which time the new management, Friedlander. Gotlob & Co., will take charge of this house. The attraction will be the distinguished comedian, Stuart Robson, who is a favorite with San Francisco theatergoers. He has been exceptionally well received in such comedies as "The Henrietta," "The Comedy of Errors," "She Stoops to Conquer," etc. The above-named plays are all contained in his reper toire this season, as also are some new ones, including "The Jucklins." Tivoli. The annual Christmas spectacle was launched at the Tivoli last night, sev eral hours too late for this page of this edition of The Call. The new piece is written by Edwin Stevens, the inci dental music composed and selected by Max Hlrschfeld. It will be reviewed later in the week. In the meantime here is the story: The first act opens in the Cavern of Gloom in the Region of Despair, the winter quarters of Rusticus, the bad. Here, amid his imps, he plots the down fall of young Jack and the winning of Jill by the wicked Baron Bosche. The good fairy Rose appears with her train, disguised as witches, and after some parley they show themselves in their true form, and agree to protect the gallant young tar against all evildoers. The second scene shows the village of Hey-Down— Derry, with Mother Goose's house, the tavern, the turnstile and the happy rustics. The old lady's fortune-telling business has been bad, and she is pestered with constabulary attachments. The Baron Bosche and his retainers appear on the scene after young Jack gets back from sea, and demands the\hand of Jill. The fairy Rose gives to Jack a magic flageolet and tells him to find the magic pail on the Hill of Truth, which will bring him prosperity and position. The finale of the act is Jack's departure in search of it. The second act opens in the en chanted glen, near the Hill of Truth, where the good fairies are guarding the magic pail. Rusticus has changed Jill's six little step-brothers and step sisters — Jack Homer, Boy Blue, Sim ple Simon, Little 80-Peep, Miss Muf fitt and Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary— into little bears. Jack, Jill and Mother Goose are in search of them. In this scene Mother Goose meets with many strange adventures through bewitch ments of all things by Rusticus. A vision of Jack is seen climbing the fabled hill and securing the prize. The scene next changes to the Baron's courtyard, where hero and heroine are parted by the wicked Baron. Mother Goose, the Baron, the Policeman and the little bears come upon the scene and are parties to many amusing episodes. Jack sud denly remembers the flageolet given him by the Fairy Rose, and playing upon it summons the King of the Mermen. A grand march of his sub jects takes place, and the King comes from the sea and invites them all to the bottom of the ocean, in which place he assures Jack protection, and in the end secure for him his true posi tion as King of Nolans. The act ends with a beauteous vision (20,000 leagues under the sea) of the sports of the mermaids and antics of the fishes and shellfish. The last act is in the palace of the King of Hearts. Here many wondrous scenes, sights, specialties and ballet* are introduced. The extravaganza ends on the road to the town of Tag. Jack defeats his enemies and wins the hand of Jill. Mother Goose secures Nos. 4 -11-44 for another husband and all ends happy for the hero and heroine of our youthful days. Last scene of all is Oscar L. Fest's transformation, "Our Childhood's Fancies." The cast includes Florence Wolcott, the beauteous Fairy Rose: John J. Rafael, the bad Rusticus; Edwin Stev ens, the bibulous Mother Goose; Edith Hall, her stepdaughter Jill; Tillie Sal inger, in the spectacular part, Jill's sweetheart Jack; Phil Branson, the scheming Baron Bosche; Thomas C. Leary, the always - ready Policeman P D Q; Georgie Cooper, the dashing Elsie from Chelsea; Jennie Stoekmeyer, the up-to-date village maid, Mollle; Grade Gray, her companion Angeline; Irene Mull, Queen Dainty; Vera Wer den, Lord Nozoo; Sophie Stewart, Lord Thingummy Bobbe; Robert Dunbar, the King of Mermen and King of Hearts; little Hazel Callahan, Little 80-Peep; Little Claire Fex, Little Miss Muffitt; little Georgette Orr, Mary. Mary, Quite Contrary; Master Arnold Grazer, Little Boy Blue; Master Jack Robertson, Johnny Homer, and little Arthur Fex, Simple Simon. Three pretty ballets, under the direction of Signor Remonde, include a serpentine dance by Vera Werden, Sophie Stew art, Mamie Duval, Grade Gray and Jennie Stoekmeyer. Alcazar. The well-acted comedy, "Will She Divore Him?" gives way on Monday light to the holiday production of The Girl I Left Behind Me," which, ith a re-enforced cast of fifty, prom 's to be the biggest venture ever at- *mpted by the company at the Alca r. This well-known military drama, / Franklin Fyles and David Belasco, idly needs introduction to the local ■laygoers. It is one of the national •uccesses in a type of drama that comes very near being national. The scenes are supposed to be taken from .dual life at a time when the Govern ment troops were in the Blackfoot country suppressing the "Sun Dance" and other dangerous and exciting Patronize Home Industry. aSff*** I.*1 .* " '3_!_S.*'- ,g ' '_|*_i7----'---' i - l f'*?__-7. 11 *^ "'f-* a*. _TT|i i'i-j WIRE ROPES AND CABLES - . - •/ ' Copper and Insulated Wires WIRE OF EVERY DESCRIPTION Ofelita, at the Orpheum. forms of Indian amusement. It vividly illustrates the Indian uprising, and it gives to the noble red man admirable as well as detestable attributes. The stockade episode, although not original with these authors, is one of the most anxious and intense in all melodrama. Love and war are blended with some skill, and there are instances of pat comedy. The Alcazar people lay special stress on the scenic environment they have given the play, the setting of each act having been built in exact counterpart of the originals. Those of the Alcazar company who will play principal parts are Messrs. Huntington, Paulding, Bates, Shaw, Denthorn, Bassett, Cool ey, and the Misses Foster, Kingsley, Crosby, Castro and Mrs. Bates. Morosco's. "The War of Wealth," a melodrama by the man who wrote "In Old Ken tucky" is .the new bill for Morosco's. The piece, after scoring the usual run in New York in the season of '95, came to the California Theater here. The production at Morosco's will, it is promised, be staged in exact reproduc tion of the original New* York settings. The story tells of the career of a Western man of strong, forceful char acter, who has amassed a fortune in the West and, coming to New York, is placed at the head of a great bank ing institution. His junior partner. the active manager of the concern, develops into a speculator and soon becomes so involved that to save him . elf he plots to ruin the bank and calls to his aid the old watchman, whose daughter he has wronged. Suspicion is cast upon the cashier by a seeming attempt to break open the big bank vault, but their work is interrupted by the inopportune appearance of the cashier, who has come to the office to examine some papers. He discovers the attempted robbery, is pounced upon by the rascally junior partner, who pushes him into the vault, closes the heavy doors and escapes. The president, ho had been apprised of some wrong-doing by the cashier, comes in by appointment, and, hear ing the tapping on the inner door of the vault, realizes that his faithful subordinate must be inside. There is no way to open the door, as the time lock had been set, so, making use of a powerful explosive, he breaks down the vault door and with it comes a mass of heavy masonry. The cashier is taken out almost suffocated. Rumors of the bank's alleged insol vency having purposely been put in circulation by the junior partner, there is a run the next day. The stage is filled with excited depositors clam orous for their money. Aid arrives just as the doors are about to be closed and it comes In an express wagon drawn by two spirited horses, who dash madly up to the bank en trance amid the cheers of the crowd. The last act rounds out the play and the villain gets his deserts. The love and comedy interests are copious and varied. All the Morosco celebrities will be ia the cast. Orpheum. Several months ago the Orpheum management began laying plans to put on a great bill for the holiday season. The main feature of the bill will be Nilsson's improved aerial ballet, sup plemented by a grand opera ballet un der the direction of Mons. de Filippi. Together they will produce a magnifi cent ballet spectacle entitled "The Birth of the Pearl." The story is told in the three scenes: Scene first, on the deck of the Oceana; scene second, at the bottom of the sea; scene third, in the fairy grotto. It is said that some most startling mechanical effects have been arranged by Mr. Nilsson, and Mme. A. Anderson, the costumer, has been at work for weeks to produce the most elegant costumes that have ever been seen in the Orpheum. The man agement promises that the ballet will surpass in magnificence the famous Kiralfy ballet of last year. Another feature of the new bill will be Caroline Hull, a descriptive vocalist, who has the uniqueness to sing in three voices soprano, mezzo-soprano and barytone. Ophelita, the smallest pre miere danseuse in the world, has been engaged specially for this bill and is expected to make a hit. The three Avolos have been brought from Australia. They claim to be the only acrobats in the world who throw double somersaults from vertical poles. It is expected that in their line they will be as much of a sensation as the six Picchiani Sisters are in theirs. Ser vais Le Roy will have a new line of il lusions and magic, but will retain the "vanishing dancer," which excited so much comment during the past week. The Vesuviano quartet will appear in a new repertoire, and John Kernell has a new string of Irish witticisms. Chutes. Besides the chuteoscope, which is con stantly enlarging its repertory of Euro pean and American pictures, the Chutes free theater gives a vaudeville show that, bar the Orpheum, is the best in the county. A number of new people and several valuable hold-overs will contribute to the new bill. Sutro's. The performance at the Sutro Baths, especially those of a Sunday afternoon, are attracting immense crowds. The programme is changed weekly, and al ways includes several good vaudeville acts and unique aquatic feats. Oberon. Carl Martens and the Hungarian or chestra are drawing the usual nightly crowds to the Oberon. An entire change of programme will be the order of the new week. */>■-*"' Olympia. Ferdinand Stark and his orchestra have begun a popular concert season at the Olympia. 'Vocalization and vaudeville alternate with the orches tral numbers.