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A Brief History of Off-Broadway, 1955–1985

A Brief History of Off-Broadway, 1955–1985

“The Golden Days of American Theater”

Might 21, 1985

On Might 20, the Obies have fun their 30th birthday. This particular supplement, with choices from 30 years of the Voice and reminiscences by most of the main figures of the American theater, is devoted to the artists of Off-and Off-Off-Broadway.

1955

WAITING FOR GODOT
“I’ve not seen Waiting for Go­dot nor read the textual content, however in fact I have come throughout a great many critiques of it, and heard greater than somewhat in its favor and disfavor. What amuses me is the deference with which everyone is approaching Beckett, and the fault in fact, the part which is gloomy, is that not one of the celebrators of Beck­ett have discovered anything from Joyce… However at the very least, the critics might have completed somewhat rudimentary investigation into the which means of the title, and the most effective they’ve been capable of provide you with up to now is that Go­dot has something to do with God. My congratulations. But Godot also means Scorching Dog, or the canine who’s scorching; and it means God-O, God as the feminine princi­ple, just as Daddy-O in Hip means the father who has failed, the man who has develop into an O, a vagina. Two apparent dialectical transpositions on Waiting for Godot are To Dog the Coming and God Scorching for Ready, but anyone who has the Joycean behavior of thought might add 100 subsidiary themes.” — Norman Mailer 

THE THREEPENNY OPERA
“There are two exhibits, really, at the Theatre de Lys. One has a forged of 20 ebullient and engag­ing actors and actresses.… The other present has a forged of 1, and her identify is Lotte Lenya. Miss Lenya is, as you recognize, not merely the widow of Kurt Weill but the unique Jenny of the original Berlin production of Dreigroschenoper. For rea­sons of plot, she is hardly seen, a lot much less heard from, until someplace close to the middle of Act II, when the scene shifts to the reception room of a whorehouse. What happens next is I hope enough to boost the hair on your neck, as it did mine. Critics are all the time being suggested to avoid the word electric; I can solely say that there isn’t any other phrase obtainable to me, at this late hour, with which to categorize that prompt when Miss Lenya shambles front and middle to exhale the first weary, husky, terrible notes of her hus­band’s famous track concerning the Black Freighter.… Her voice lifts and hardens into the reprise (‘ …and the blaaaaaack frayta…’), and abruptly all of the essential blandness and healthiness of all that has gone earlier than is swept away, and we’re stark up nose to nose towards a type of world and a type of half-century that no one born this aspect of the water can ever fairly absolutely make, or need to make, his personal.” — Jerry Tallmer 

1956

TITUS ANDRONICUS
“Tamora is performed by Colleen Dewhurst a very good deal greater than passably if a great deal less than perfectly. It’s in any event an incredible restoration for Miss Dew­hurst from her current misfor­tunes in Camille, and I’m consi­derably the happier for it. I only want this younger woman might one way or the other study to mood her God-given native forthrightness with slightly wilting female de­viousness; then we should always have an actress who might actually ex­cite us.” — Jerry Tallmer

1957

ROMEO AND JULIET
“Mr. Papp, for what he has carried out together with his Workshop and with these summer time festivals, is ap­proaching the class of hero: I really imply it.” — Jerry Tallmer

MACBETH
“Throughout New York you’ll be able to really feel the thrill and it is good to be in my enterprise this month and see such benefit eventually so rewarded. A dozen individuals have stated to me over the weekend that they lastly dare dream once again of a dynamic, successful repertory theatre right here in this nation, and all over the place there are intimations that the Shake­speare Workshop, simply coming of age with its strong Central Park Macbeth, will go on with in­creased civic, public, and pri­vate help to a limiteless and golden maturity. Let us all do what we will to make it so.” — Jerry Tallmer

1958

GEORGE C. SCOTT
“He seems to be like a Marine, he walks like a Marine, he talks like a Marine, biting off his words sardonically, glancing at you coolly down his lengthy nostril; and as soon as certainly he was a Marine, for 4 years — ‘burying individuals in Arlington Cemetery’ — however now he’s an actor and a damn fantastic one.” — Jerry Tallmer

CREATION OR DESTRUCTION?
“On Thursday of final week Jo­seph Papp, producer and creator of the New York Shakespeare Pageant, refused to answer questions about his political be­liefs before the House Committee on Un-American activities. He was immediately fired from his job at CBS — unit supervisor of the TV present I’ve Received a Secret— on which he had sustained himself while bringing into existence the Shakespeare productions which some 100,000 New Yorkers have seen, free of charge, in Central Park and the East River Amphitheatre.

“The Village Voice invited Mr. Papp to comment on the difficulty. Listed here are his remarks:

“For myself, I’m greater than ever determined to dedicate my energies in bringing the classi­cal theatre to all individuals no matter their capability to pay. I can’t be diverted from contemplating my work in the theatre a social in addition to an inventive responsi­bility. My philosophy is not any se­cret. It’s most clearly expressed in the founding and improvement of the New York Shakespeare Pageant. And although I have no reluctance to debate my opin­ions and beliefs with anybody, I can’t be coerced into revealing names of harmless individuals. I can’t be intimidated into repudiat­ing the which means of my life. I can’t cooperate with an irrespon­sible publicity-seeking commit­tee bent on destroying reputa­tions and spreading the insidious blacklist…”

AN EDITORIAL
“On the front web page of the Sunday Occasions Drama Section of April 13 there was an extended, fascinating ar­ticle by Arthur Gelb on the ever ­growing difficulties of doing good work, or any work, off Broadway in the face of rising prices and union demands.… On Friday, April 11, two days earlier than that problem of the Occasions, an organization of Equity ac­tors… opened on the Theatre Club in what they referred to as An Night of Katherine Mans­subject.… The Occasions had a re­viewer there (not Mr. Gelb) on opening weekend. He was heard to grouse at the stairs, the raise, the whole mise en scene, and he left abruptly at intermission. No evaluate ever appeared within the New York Occasions, evidently on the grounds that the event wasn’t value mentioning. Yet far inferi­or products — in ‘regular’ theatres, with out flights of stairs — are mentioned, praised, cruci­fied every single day. Whether reward or crucifixion makes regardless of: the manufacturing is completely professional and there ought to have been a report on it. If we are really to save lots of the off-Broadway theatre we should look for artistic expression even two flights up in no man’s land.”

SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER
“Mr. Tennessee Williams, with out much doubt America’s first true poet-playwright, has delib­erately chosen to go off Broad­means together with his two newest works for worry that considered one of them a minimum of is just too robust a dose for Broad­method’s tender duodenum. He is proper.” — Jerry Tallmer

PAUL GOODMAN ON PORNOGRAPHY
“Paul Goodman, playwright, poet, and novelist, spoke on ‘Pornography on the Stage’ final Saturday at the Dwelling Theatre, where a collection of lectures on ‘Artistic Theatre’ is now happening weekly via Might 23. Mr. Goodman, whose Younger Dis­ciple was introduced by the Liv­ing Theatre three seasons in the past and whose Father is to open there quickly in repertory with Many Loves, said that of all probably the most censored as a result of it visually acts out the viewers’s fantasies, thus mak­ing it extra stimulating than the written phrase. Theatre, he stated, has a public viewers, not a pri­vate reader. The spectator is part of a group sharing guilt enthusiasm, and danger, and responding as a mass.”

1959

THE CONNECTION
“To my thoughts, the Dwelling Theatre has as soon as once more excitingly justi­fied the adjective of its title. I pray that Mr. Beck and Miss Ma­lina can hold the present alive un­til word-of-mouth overcomes the worst efforts of the (second­-string summertime) day by day re­viewers. If The Connection can’t make it in Greenwich Village, or wherever individuals care deeply about imaginative theatre, then nothing can. But I feel it will probably ­— if its producers, for his or her part, can hold on… What The Con­nection as an entire did for me as a layman was to flesh out, mar­velously, my own layman’s image of the world of heroin, its tired figuring out infinite deep­freeze of detumescence and ut­ter hopelessness — and all such evocation of pictures I ought to think about nicely inside the province of dwelling theatre, if not necessar­ily of putting up with drama. Yes, the Dwelling Theatre’s alive…” — Jerry Tallmer

THE NERVOUS SET
“Larry Hagman has been given practically nothing to say or do in his performance because the Jack Kerouac determine. He comes out of it, as soon as again, as a most attrac­tive, manly, and promising young actor, and that’s all I can consider to say about Nervous Set. The remaining is just too embarrassing.” — Jerry Tallmer

ONCE UPON A MATTRESS
“Carol Burnett’s clowning because the princess is superb up to the point where it too begins to pall.” — Jerry Tallmer

1960

HENRY V
“Joseph Papp has come of age as a director in his own proper with the clear, stirring, engross­ing production of Henry V that opens the 1960 season of the New York Shakespeare Pageant. Beforehand Mr. Papp had been content to play Proteus and Ga­lahad to his Pageant whereas leav­ing the course to others (ex­cept within the not too passable instance of last yr’s Othello). Now he finally steps ahead, seizes the reins, clutches the tiller, grasps the throttle, and provides it full velocity forward into probably the most dynamic present his group has provided since Stuart Vaugh­an’s Two Gentlemen of Verona in 1957.” — Jerry Tallmer

THE FANTASTICKS
“I’m sadly out of shape at writing raves. As any critic knows, it is far simpler to select a manufacturing’s faults than its virtues, and I am hard-pressed to elucidate The Fantasticks. With this in thoughts, I did one thing for the first time last week. Having seen the present free on Tuesday, its opening night time, I purchased tick­ets and went back on Thurs­day…

“The play’s thesis is that ‘and not using a harm the guts is hol­low,’ a dangerously romantic no­tion today, and probably the most elaborate and complicated art is employed to catch the au­dience in its simplicity. The Fantasticks isn’t the dregs of an uptown backer’s audition, nor an under-produced Broadway musical. What are often limi­tations off Broadway turn out to be benefits. I simply may go see it but once more.” — Michael Smith

THE BALCONY
“On the opening of The Balcony I encountered an previous pal, a man in his mid-50s who occurs to be an exceptionally strong citizen. His talents and achievements, that are recognized around the globe, don’t have anything to do with theatre. We took a cup of coffee together after the present. He had been much affected by it. In the second act, he stated, the key to the entire play had out of the blue flown into his head; from there on, his understanding had raced along virtually ahead of the strains. The key to the entire play was orgasm — orgasm as that blind­ing on the spot of seeming self-real­ization in the overgrown imagery of our fondest, most atavistic self-illusions. ‘There’s a lead for you,’ he grinned, which means a lead sentence for this assessment. ‘Jean Genet has made the drama com­mit orgasm.’ ” — Jerry Tallmer

THE PRODIGAL
“First there was Jack Gelber, the 27-year-old writer of The Conn­ection. Now there’s Jack Ri­chardson, an unknown who at 24, parenthesis exclamation mark parenthesis, has come up in his first attempt with one of the competent, refined, and satisfying new performs of the past half-decade off Broadway or on. Maybe this usually depressing season of 1959–60 will walk away with the laurels in any case.” — Jerry Tallmer

KRAPP’S LAST TAPE and THE ZOO STORY
“Two brief, disparate works have been jammed together to make a captivating single even­ing of theatre at the Province­town Playhouse. I happen to assume the pieces are introduced in the improper order; I would like the lyrical affirmations of Samuel Beckett to return after, not before, the hostilities and negations of younger Edward Al­bee, however this can be a matter of philosophy and personal taste which can be ignored. I shall, nevertheless, need to evaluation Krapp’s Last Tape and The Zoo Story as distinct and opposing entities, although they share in com­mon the shape and voltage of the temporary tour de pressure.

“Krapp’s Last Tape is nearly definitely probably the most superb piece of ‘incidental’ writing of the de­cade… The Zoo Story is the contribution to the Provincetown double-bill of a younger Villager, and comer, named Edward Albee. He knows the best way to handle state of affairs and dialogue and convey you up deftly to the edge of your seat. Whether he has something less sick than this to say re­mains to be seen.” — Jerry Tallmer

 

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
“Eventually a very fascinating new script by a young and in America unknown writer. The Delivery­day Celebration, by Harold Pinter, acquired 5 performances lately on London’s West Finish. It was promptly slaughtered by all critics, and has now been brought out in print by the vengeful editors of Encore, a modern-minded little British theatre journal nicely value subscribing to in its own proper. Mr. Pinter is the primary English­-language playwright who has apparently joined inventive forces with Eugene Ionesco. In his own means, in fact, else he wouldn’t be value speaking about…” — Jerry Tallmer

LITTLE MARY SUNSHINE
“A completely delightful and completely polished musical comedy arrived final Wednesday at Off-Broadway’s Orpheum Theatre. Little Mary Sunshine is a spoof on American operetta of the Victor Herbert classic.… The casting is first price, with Eileen Brennan heading the invoice as Little Mary Sunshine. She has a high quality pure voice and is a delicate completed comedienne. Altogether her efficiency is great — one might virtually say flawless.” — J.H. Livingston

DEAD END
“The strongest feeling I get from most workshop or showcase productions is one in every of competi­tion. Every actor on the stage needs to shine, needs his bits to catch the agent’s eye, with the outcome that the fabric of the play is distorted and even ignored. The actors need to convey their singularity, and overlook that act­ing is a cooperative artwork… None of these distracting aims are ap­mother or father in the present revival of Lifeless End, and it turns into, para­doxically, a superb show­case. It accommodates the perfect en­semble appearing by an American forged that I’ve seen in an extended, long time… The Youngsters — performed by Ken Kercheval, Robert Levy, Paul B. Worth, Levy Ragni, Dusty Hoffman, and Murray Levy — are continually fascinating.” — Michael Smith

1961

KING RICHARD II
“It needed to happen. Some place in the midst of all its glory, the New York Shakespeare Pageant had to provide you with a dud. Its King Richard II, which closes the present season in Central Park, is a gauche and grisly bore.” — Jerry Tallmer

THE AMERICAN DREAM
“The American Dream, says Edward Albee, is demise. Mommy demise, daddy demise, kiddie demise, lover demise, intercourse demise, house demise, values dying, youth dying, every part demise. It is a unhappy and one-track theme (inherent also in The Zoo Story, his earlier smash off-Broadway success), and perhaps it’s right. But I can’t go for it. On the similar time I can as soon as again admire Mr. Albee’s unquestionable talent for making a hilarious joke of his grimmest forboding — in­deed a hilarious dirty joke waft­ed by way of and thru with es­sence of inversion and eau de necrophilia…” — Jerry Tallmer

A HAPPENING BY CLAES OLDENBURG
“Such was the magic of these charades that our buddies, wives, and acquaintances who acted in them turned afterward merely the Explorer, the Robust Woman, the Angel on a Stepladder. I knew no one within the forged, however I felt that. There were occasions when the audience didn’t know whether to snigger or cry, whether to applaud or hold quiet. We were not positive when the play be­gan, or when it was over. The way to describe these ‘happenings’? In Madame Bovary Flaubert set about, not to write a plot, but to convey a colour, the colour of a wood house. These ‘happenings’ convey a sound. It is the sound of a light-cavalry march, whereas in a cafeteria a starved man is pouring out catsup. The cafete­ria is painted purple, white, and blue, with sad blotches of yel­low. The sound modifications to a striptease medley; a tape of lambs bleating (in a slaughter­house), a Victor Herbert operetta. However it’s all the time the identical sound, and the subsequent day you’ll hear it as you cross the street. As a result of that’s the best way it’s, right here in the New York of Claes Oldenburg.” — Robert Nichols

THE BLACKS
“Nobody who believes in the greatness of certain performs would go to any considered one of our homes to take pleasure in them. They exist as thun­dering productions within the thoughts only. We know how they is perhaps carried out (King Lear, for instance, must be performed by Ernest Hem­ingway), but one additionally knows that approach lies nightmare, mad­ness, and no hurricane’s spout. Our theatre is a cancer gulch. Anybody who has worked in it, felt the hate-twisted nerves of the actresses, the fag-ridden spirit of the actors, the gulping mannerlessness of our directors, hysterical at resistance, ponder­ous at exposition, and all the time psychoanalytical, should admit that sure, at its greatest, our theatre is a rich ass and/or gap, at its worst, the heavens recoil.

“By means of preface to some remarks on The Blacks. If one is tempted to say it is a great play with insidious, even evil veins of cowardice in its cruel bravery, one has to add instantly that such greatness exists as nonetheless one other of these beautiful lonely productions of imagination’s al­ley. The present, the literal present on the boards (and the set for this one is value an essay of quiet criticism in itself), that tangible corporal embodiment of The Blacks, ended nearly as good theatre, surprising as a rash, bug-house with nervousness to some, nervous fever-hot for all. (A lot of people left.) It is a good production, one of the probably greatest productions in New York this yr, and yet it fails to seek out two-thirds of the play.” — Norman Mailer

OH DAD, POOR DAD
“Twee. In Britain they’ve recently invented this phrase, twee, to de­scribe and classify all such exhibits as Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Ma­ma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad. You gather that it’s onomatopoetic; it means what it feels like. Often it’s coupled to the modifier ‘little’ — ‘a twee little revue,’ ‘that twee little play.’ So here from the boy marvel of Harvard School we’ve got the self-defining case of twee, the ding an sich.” — Jerry Tallmer

1962

GENERAL STRIKE
“I WAS NOT initially going to put in writing an article on this newspaper this week, the week of the Worldwide Common Strike for Peace conceived by Julian Beck and Judith Malina of the Dwelling Theatre; it had for some time been my plan to go away my area right here blank, apart from my by­line. When it got here right down to the wire I discovered myself stretched on the inevitable prongs of contra­dictory obligations: on the one hand to the personnel of the production on the Mermaid, the readers of theatre critiques, and, when you like, to that timeless thing we call the drama; on the opposite, to the entire human race. Within the remaining analysis the second preten­sion appeared, beneath the circum­stances, much more fallacious and self-aggrandizing than the first and I’ve chosen to aban­don it — I hope with out prejudice to my conviction that the Worldwide Basic Strike is the fore­most artistic concept towards our salvation that has been made public because the day the bomb went off on Hiroshima.” — Jerry Tallmer

THE PREMISE
“To the tinkle of drinks being served at snug chairs in Washington’s Shoreham Lodge overlooking Rock Creek Park­means, Theodore Flicker and his gifted colleagues, Thomas Aldredge, Joan Darling, and James Frawley, have been delighting Washington’s theatre-goers since opening on January 15. Politics, authorities, and other people take an exquisite spoofing, not with out some poignant and ap­propriate barbs. Anyone pre­despatched when this reviewer and his spouse attended might see that this may be a rave notice. ‘It’s all so good I don’t know the place to begin,’ was our comment. To which our wife replied: ‘Make that your lead!’ ” — John V. Lindsay

WITCHES’ SABBATH
“Yclept ymote ymedieval yrane yvenge yterminable ymishmash­-metaphor message ygods.” — Jerry Tallmer

VOX BRITTANICUS
“THE FUNNIEST DEADPAN I’ve seen belongs to Vic Grecco. He and Fred Willard do a present which I saw at the Part 2, and which is funnier than all but two in England. They informed me they hadn’t received an agent. Someone uptown should take his ft off the desk.” — Tom Stoppard

OBIES 1961–1962
“The virus had Lotte Lenya se­verely indisposed in Art D’Lu­goff’s personal office on the Vil­lage Gate. More than 700 individuals have been packed into the cavernous rathskeller on Saturday after­midday ready to see her current the 1961–62 Village Voice Obie Awards. Brecht on Brecht press agent Howard Atlee rushed over to master-of-ceremonies Jerry Tallmer. ‘She’s obtained to go residence,’ he stated. Tallmer went into the workplace and informed Miss Lenya: ‘You’ve acquired to go house.’ ‘I gained’t,’ she stated, white as a ghost. You then’ve acquired to lie down.’ She lay down: Ten min­utes later… Miss Lenya was on stage graciously accepting the nice and cozy welcome of the audience.”

THE HOSTAGE
“The good off-Broadway growth of our period has been a rampa­geous conglomeration of glory and rubbish; if you wish to taste of the glory a bit of, go and know the dwelling experience of Brendan Behan at One Sheridan Sq.. This is not the recent­house-forced, panic-shouted Be­han of The Quare Fellow (off Broadway) or the constrained, over-manipulated Behan of The Hostage (on Broadway). This is The Hostage come to Off Broad­means and Off Broadway come to good pitch in certainly one of its few official features: the revival of necessary works, previous or new, in less ornate and extra trustworthy productions than elsewhere.” — Jerry Tallmer

OBIES, 1961–1962
“James Earl Jones, 31, born Tate County, Mississippi, raised by his grandparents on a wilderness farm near Jackson, Michi­gan, the second of his household and first of his highschool graduating class ever to go to school — premed at the College of Michigan — is the Greatest Actor of the off-Broadway season of 1961–62. He’s the son of an actor and long-time Villager, Ro­bert Earl Jones.”

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
“We watch, we’re pleased, en­tertained, excited, frightened­ — George C. Scott’s Shylock each excited and frightened me, the first Shylock that ever has — but we aren’t at the root of it deep­ly moved. We aren’t moved at all; we’re neutralized. There are too many disparities, and too many equals. But inside the dis­parity-neutrality there is a breathtaking powerhouse efficiency by Mr. Scott, making Shylock not merely a hurricane, figure, a titan, a crushed big; but in addition a human really torn by private losses, private trage­dy, and the good tragic tempta­tions of empty vengeance. And in addition a man of wit, terrible, trag­ic, vengeful wit. Very impressive. Not Jewish. Extra like an Orozco Christ, the lion bursting from his lair. With a head and visage not occasionally as from a rough-cut Michelangelo Pietá. Mr. Scott adds much to his stature as an actor together with his contributions these summer time evenings in Cen­tral Park.” — Jerry Tallmer

THE CONNECTION
“The New York State Board of Regents’ try and censor the movie of Jack Gelber’s play The Connection on the grounds of obscenity was unanimously overruled on Monday by the Ap­pellate Division of the State Su­preme Courtroom. The Regents had objected to the phrase ‘shit’, which is used 11 occasions in the film as a colloquialism for heroin.”

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
“Do not be fooled by the appearances. Edward Albee has written a play about fact and phantasm, and the evening’s number one phantasm is that this can be a conven­tional play — extraordinary in its emotional persistence, its very important language and coruscating wit, and its all-round technical supe­riority, however typical and or­dinary in its type and units. That is, I repeat, an phantasm. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is, subtly but critically, a brand new type of play.” — Michael Smith

1963

IS OFF B’WAY STILL FREE?
“A symposium at 11 p.m. tonight (Thursday) on the Writers’ Stage Theatre, 83 East 4th Road, will contemplate the question ‘Is Off Broadway Nonetheless Free?’ Among these attending the symposium, which is open to the general public, shall be Stuart Vaughan, George Ta­bori, Madeleine Sherwood, Her­mione Baddeley, Alfred Ryder, and Edwin Harvey Blum, writer of The Saving Grace, which is presently operating at the theatre. The next night time on the similar time and place, Blum will con­duct an open meeting; its goal will probably be to type ‘a everlasting organization to review methods and means to effectuate a continued battle for the freedom of Off-Broadway.’ Blum’s marketing campaign was sparked by the ‘irresponsibility’ of major newspaper evaluations of his play. ‘Off-Broadway,’ he says, ‘is one among our few boards totally free expression. I’m not doing this in regard to The Saving Grace, but in regard to a deep need by different writers.’”

THE BRIG
“It is true that The Brig isn’t a play. Neither are all the events within the Judson dance concert collection dances, nor are Jim Dine’s footage paintings, nor in typical phrases are even John Cage’s compositions all the time music. However it’s meaningless to criticize any of those works in terms they don’t use. The Brig makes use of a stage and (in a way) actors and (in a sense) dialogue — however is doesn’t use story, plot, character, battle (in its technical which means), or any of the opposite traditional units of dramaturgy.” — Michael Smith

WHAT HAPPENED
“Lawrence Kornfeld’s manufacturing of Gertrude Stein’s first play is pure lyric theatre, a direct lyrical experience which has no counterpart in logical phrases or ideas or ideas, and so there’s not much I can say about it except that I anticipate to go a pair more occasions throughout its run at Judson Church, and I hope to see you there. I’ll briefly inform you that Kornfeld has taken Miss Stein’s open-minded phrases and made them into a visible anthem, if that makes any sense. He uses 5 woman dancers who move, act, and converse. The correspondences between the phrases and the actions are on another degree than sense or purpose can determine, but un­questionably they exist. Every­factor that occurs has the ca­sual inevitability of nice art. Along with the women, Kornfeld has used 4 men as singers. Considered one of them is Al Carmines, who has composed a delightful rating that incorporates more tunes than My Truthful Woman, and he performs it on the piano and sings and strikes around all on the similar time.” — Michael Smith

JAIL POETS
“The second in a collection of learn­ings by ‘jail poets’ — poets who have hung out in jail — will probably be given at eight:30 p.m. on Monday, September 9, on the Dwelling Theatre, 14th Road and Sixth Avenue. Participant poets might be Taylor Mead, Jackson MacLow, Deane Mowrer, John Weiners, James Forest, Michael Graine, Philip Havey, Carl Einhorn, Ray Bremser (in absentia), and H. Lee Heagy. Tickets range from$1 to $5.”

UPTOWN
“Every every now and then I’m overcome by a morbid compul­sion to go see what they’re mak­ing into hits on Broadway. Don’t get me improper: the urge appears neither morbid nor compulsive when it strikes me. In truth, I’m going with a sense of anticipation. It in all probability gained’t be great artwork (I inform myself), however it’s positive to be enjoyable. It gained’t be deep or intellectually demanding (I condescendingly imagine), but it should definitely be pleasant and diverting. Nicely, welcome Barefoot in the Park (at the Biltmore) to the ranks of dull hits.” — Michael Smith

LIVING THEATRE JAILED
“No one ever anticipated the Liv­ing Theatre to die quietly. And after four frantic days — with occasions starting from a melan­choly press conference by means of a bootleg efficiency of The Brig to 25 arrests — New York’s main avant-garde playhouse; although stripped of physical premises and possessions, continues to be a dwelling concept. On Sunday, whereas codirectors Julian Beck and Judith Malina have been in feder­al prisons on costs of imped­ing federal officials in the perfor­mance of their duties, the physical belongings of the Dwelling Theatre have been removed from the building at 14th Road and Sixth Avenue pending an public sale toward cost of $23,000 ow­ing in back federal taxes. The Becks have all the time been news­worthy, however the day by day newspa­pers have given them more cov­erage for their political actions — in protest towards civil protection drills and as leaders of the Basic Strike for Peace — than for his or her inventive achievements. The latter have gained them numerous prizes and the Voice just lately described the Dwelling Theatre as America’s ‘most unique, profoundly ad­venturous, and persistently im­portant theatre establishment.’ In this incarnation it persists no more.” — Michael Smith

1964

HOME FREE
“Lanford Wilson’s fantasy-melo­drama is unusually efficient cafe drama, and it is a pleasure to report that Wilson, who was earlier represented at the Cino by So Long on the Truthful, has de­veloped his present for vivid char­acter dialogue and considerably re­strained his reliance on gimmicks. House Free has its share of gimmicks, to make certain, but they are disciplined to the service of the plot. Though the play is neither delicate nor par­ticularly critical, it is creative, thrilling, and emotionally strong.” — Michael Smith

BECKS INDICTED
“Julian Beck and Judith Malina, administrators of the Dwelling Theatre, have been indicted final week by a Federal grand jury on 11 felony counts, each carrying a maxi­mum sentence of three years and $5000 nice. The Becks are alleged to have impeded federal agents within the pursuit of their du­ties when the Dwelling Theatre was closed by the Inner Rev­enue Service final October for nonpayment of almost $30,000 in federal taxes. On receiving the indictment, Julian Beck stated: ‘We’re stunned and shocked that the grand jury isn’t capable of differentiate between the devo­tion of artists to their art and legal acts.’ ”

HOME MOVIES
“I find it very odd that I can keep in mind virtually nothing of Ro­salyn Drexler’s Residence Films ex­cept the fact that I beloved it.” — Michael Smith

BECKS GUILTY
“ ‘The human heart and the hu­man mind have to look at the rigidity of the regulation,’ Judith Ma­lina Beck informed the jury final Fri­day. She was summing up her protection towards fees that she, alongside together with her husband, Julian Beck, impeded federal of­ficers of their seizure of the tax­-delinquent Dwelling Theatre final October. On Monday, after five hours of deliberation, the jury of 11 men and one lady discovered the Becks responsible of impeding fed­eral officers and of ‘rescuing’ seized property. Beck was con­victed on five counts underneath the first cost and two beneath the second. Miss Malina was con­victed on two counts beneath the first cost and one underneath the second.” — Stephanie Harrington 

BECKS GET JAIL TERMS
“Judith Malina and Julian Beck acquired particular person prison sen­tences of 30 days and 60 days and the Dwelling Theatre corpora­tion was fined $2500 by Decide Edmund L. Palmieri on Friday in Federal Courtroom. The jail phrases resulted from contempt fees leveled at the Becks on Might 25, the day they have been convicted of impeding federal officers in the course of the closing of their theatre last October. At the remaining day of the trial Judith Malina repeatedly cried, ‘innocent!’ and accused Decide Palmieri of having brought about the conviction; Julian Beck stated then that the trial ‘demeaned and degraded’ the majesty of the nation.” — Michael Smith

CAFE LA MAMA
“If service stripes might be given out to coffee-house house owners for heroic conduct beneath hearth from the town licensing department, then Ellen Stewart, the proprie­tress of La Mama Experimental Theatre, would have a field of ribbons and a chest filled with Pur­ple Hearts. La Mama has sus­tained so many casualties in the coffee-house licensing conflict that it operates now as a personal membership and hides itself behind curtained store-front windows in a loft at 82 Second Avenue. In reality, La Mama is so properly attended by re­presentatives of the police and hearth departments that it might al­most be referred to as a bootleg theatre; throughout performances Miss Stewart sits sentry-duty outdoors the door to ensure that stray policemen don’t interrupt the ac­tors.” — Sally Kempton

COWBOYS and THE ROCK GARDEN
“I know it sounds pretentious and unprepossessing — Theatre Genesis at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bouwerie, devoted to the brand new playwright — but they have truly found a new playwright, which is greater than you possibly can of­ten say for Broadway or Off-­Broadway. The playwright’s identify is Sam Shepard, and I know nothing about him besides that he has written a pair of provocative and genuinely origi­nal performs.… The performs are diffi­cult to categorize, and I’m unsure it might be beneficial to attempt. Shepard continues to be feeling his method, working with an intuitive strategy to language and dramat­ic structure and shifting into an area between ritual and pure­ism, the place character transcends psychology, fantasy breaks down literalism, and the patterns of ordinariness have their own lives. His is a gestalt theatre which evokes the existence be­hind conduct. Shepard clearly is aware of previous work in this mode, principally by Europeans, however his voice is distinctly American and his own.” — Michael Smith

THE SLAVE and THE TOILET
“Although LeRoi Jones’s two new plays are highly personal, virtually personal works, they are interpreted as political state­ments, public pronouncements, place papers on advanced in­tellectual, left-wing Negro assume­ing. Dutchman, which final yr introduced Jones his first attention in the theatre, in one scarifying speech established Jones as an essential Negro spokesman. His new plays — and the opposite plays he has written — have little to do with race issues except on the floor.” — Michael Smith

1965

JOE CINO’S WORLD

“The Caffe Cino was destroyed by hearth on Ash Wednesday morn­ing. The cafe at 31 Cornelia Road opened in December, 1958, and shortly turned im­portant as New York’s most tenacious and lively cafe theatre. For a number of years the Cino had been producing plays, changing the program each week, and an emphasis on unique scripts had led to the discovery of a number of gifted new playwrights.” — Michael Smith

ANTI-OBIE
“Along with distributing hon­ors for distinguished obtain­ment, the judges of this yr’s Obies made a quotation for ‘dis­service to the fashionable theatre.’ The first such unfavorable award — informally dubbed an ‘anti­-Obie’ — last season named the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Middle. Walter Kerr, drama critic of the New York Herald Tribune, was singled out for this yr’s quotation. The text, read by decide Gordon Rogoff throughout Obie cere­monies at the Village Gate on Saturday, follows: ‘In recogni­tion of outstanding disservice to the fashionable theatre: For his de­termined resistance to the works of Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Pirandello, O’Casey, Brecht, Sartre, Ionesco, Genet, and Beckett; and for turning his expertise as an alternative to the promotion and maintenance of a commod­ity theatre with out relevance to dramatic art — Walter Kerr.’ ”

CAFFE CINO RISES — AGAIN
“The Caffe Cino, 31 Cornelia Road, reopened on Tuesday evening. The cafe theatre had been ravaged by a fireplace in March, and a number of other benefit perfor­mances were given by numerous theatres to boost cash for its reconstruction. The cafe was re­built on the identical premises and will proceed its traditional poli­cies. H. M. Koutoukas’s play With Creatures Make My Means will play on the Cino this week and next. Elizabeth Davison performs the only position, and the play has been directed by Ro­berta Sklar. Performances are at approximately 9 and 11 nightly, with further 1 a.m. perfor­mances on Friday and Saturday.”

THE OPEN THEATRE
“The Open Theatre has burst onto the scene with clever, spirited, and idiosyncratic work. After getting ready in shut for a yr and half, the group — 30 ac­tors, 4 administrators, and four af­filiated playwrights, beneath a three-man directorate — has been doing a collection of alternate Monday Evening performances on the Sheridan Sq. Play­house. I have seen the three most up-to-date productions and may only rejoice that the group has come out within the open. It is the most partaking theatre to be seen in New York. Reward to the directorate (Joseph Chaikin, Peter Feldman, Sydney Schubert Walter) as the inspiration and driving drive; reward to the members for strong and often sensible manifestation of the in­spiration; praise to them all for attaining, in such brief order, an ensemble with a particular fashion.” — Robert Pasolli

ICARUS’S MOTHER
“For those of you who’re busy individuals, details first, implications later. (And by information I imply, in fact, nothing closer to the truth than my opinions.) Sam Shepard is among the youngest and most gifted of the brand new playwrights working Off-Broad­means today. The signature of his work is its unencumbered spontaneity — the impression Shepard provides of inventing drama as a type each time he writes a play. His new theatre piece, Icarus’s Mother, is pres­ently on view at the Caffe Cino. Sad to say, it gives the impression of being a multitude.” — Edward Albee

BbAaNnGg!
“Cafe La Mama acquired a sum­mons final week requiring exten­sive electrical repairs, and BbAaNnGg! was the end result. Twenty-six temporary plays, all by totally different authors, got to assist Ellen Stewart increase the wanted cash. Every play was limited to 3 minutes; there have been no other specifications. The responses to this challenge indicated a number of the ways the most recent era of New York playwrights are considering.” — Michael Smith

1966

JOURNEY OF THE FIFTH HORSE
“Dustin Hoffman is great as Zoditch, the reader. He is furiously caught up in a comedy of insanity, turning into hateful, loathsome, Hitlerian, grotesque, however all the time each funny and unexpectedly human.” — Michael Smith

HERKO MEMORIAL
“Readings, dances, and music shall be given tonight (Thursday) at Judson Memorial Church in memory of Fred Herko, the dancer and choreographer who last week jumped to his demise from a sixth-floor window on Cornelia Road. Herko was a outstanding member of the Judson Dance Theatre. LeRoi Jones, Frank O’Hara, Diane di Prima, and Allan Marlow will read; Phoebe Neville, Deborah Lee, and Arlene Rothlein will dance; and music by John Herbert McDowell and Al Carmines might be carried out beginning at 6 p.m. on the church, 55 Washington Square South.”

IRENE FORNES
“Maria Irene Fornes might use four-letter phrases at a tea celebration (and may if it seemed pure in the mean time) without ever being accused of not being a woman. She is unassuming, little — ­cute, even, though she in all probability wouldn’t react properly to the phrase. Or perhaps she’d like it. She’s not predictable. She has what is known as a pleasant face — open, fair-­skinned towards a body of brief, darkish hair, slightly freck­led, with huge, brown eyes that is perhaps described as frank, ex­cept that they don’t inform you a factor about what’s happening be­hind them. It’s the sort of face that makes you are feeling snug in a room filled with strangers.” — Stephanie Harrington

THEATRE OF THE RIDICULOUS
“That is extra prefer it. For months now I’ve been questioning where the motion is. The Judson had it for some time and perhaps they’ll get it again, and there have been flashes of the actual thing at La Mama, Caffe Cino, and at a couple of different locations. But take my phrase for it, there’s nothing on the town as vigorous and creative and mad and just plain entertaining as the present the Theatre of the Ridicu­lous is placing on at its theatre ­loft on West 17th Road.” — Joseph LeSeuer 

VIET ROCK
“Viet Rock, which the Open Theatre introduced two weeks in the past at Cafe La Mama, was ex­traordinary on no less than two counts. It’s the first realized theatrical statement concerning the Vietnam struggle that I have seen and a uncommon occasion of theatre confronting issues broader than particular person psychology. And it is the first time the special ensem­ble methods of the Open Theatre, developed during sever­al years of workshop periods, have been absolutely applied and used for a objective.” — Michael Smith

1967

AMERICA HURRAH
“As three views of the united statesA., these performs are of little inter­est… The members of the Open Theatre have devoted themselves so wholeheartedly to exploring the nonverbal elements of theatre that they’ve over­appeared the phrases themselves… We’ll should droop judg­ment, as they apparently did, till they find a play worthy of their skills.” — Ross Wetzsteon

OBIE AWARDS
“…to America Hurrah…”

1968

THE INDIAN WANTS THE BRONX
“Al Pacino provides a captivating efficiency, all cool, fluid, swaggering mannerisms, as sleek and gratuitous as smoke. However what I favored greatest was the subtlety of his broadness, the naturalness of his fakery­ — years ago, actors adopted the mannerisms of hoods, and now the mannerisms have returned to the hoods by means of the mov­ies.” — Ross Wetzsteon

CHRISTMAS TURKEY
(The primary nudity Off-Broadway):
“Once I briefly fantasized that Pauline had clothes on, I noticed that my primary, undistracted response to the play itself was an atavistic urge to scratch dust over it with my paws. However in fact Pauline was naked, ex­cept for a number of adroitly misplaced turkey feathers, and the play was only a car (or somewhat, because it was nearly immobile, a dais) for her buoyant figure. By means of appearing, Pauline shifted her weight every now and then, however didn’t seem to know what to do together with her palms. I understand there was some speak of arrests on opening night time, but I don’t assume Pauline had to fear — I mean she didn’t do something soiled like enjoying the cello… Ed Wode deserves credit score for bringing an entirely new audience to the Off-Off-Broadway theatre. De pudendum non est disputandum.” — Ross Wetzsteon

DIONYSUS IN ’69
“It abruptly occurred to me, once I realized that a radical black would in all probability find the work of the Efficiency Group irrelevant, to what extent the Dionysiac attraction (and menace) is actually a middle-class, Anglo-Saxon, anti-Puritanical phenomenon. Group therapy cum Esalen? Utopia as sexual slightly than a political ultimate? The youngsters of Brown slightly than Marcuse? A fairly peripheral revolution to anyone however a sure sort of American. Still, a revolution, and a staggering piece of theatre. The distinction between the Dwelling Theatre and the Efficiency Group is the difference between religion and remedy. An fascinating thing concerning the Efficiency Group is that one feels that appearing in Dionysus for a number of months had been good for them. It’d be good for just about all of us, for that matter. Still, I can’t assist considering that there’s an odd disjuncture between the tactic of the per­formance (releasing and the orgiastic) and the themes of the play (self-acknowledgment and the tragedy of extra) that throws its conclusions barely off stability, as if the majority of their dedication is to half a dialectic.” — Ross Wetzsteon

THE ’70s

A CHORUS LINE
“Leaving apart the economic and social causes, Broadway died (and it has died — what we now have left is a mumble) as a result of its practitioners started believing their own myths. The enjoyment of appearing on The Nice White Method, the splendor of getting your identify up in lights, the thrill, the wrestle, the sense of belonging among the many insiders, all began out as frank hokum — and, just like the artists, the public knew that the myth was half to be taken critically, like all good hokum… Michael Bennett’s A Refrain Line is a present concerning the youngsters and the myth. It never questions the assumptions of the parable, which is a serious disadvantage, however its creators have taken pains to be correct to the lives of the people who worship on the shrine of Broadway, with the end result that the present is constructed around a very exhausting kernel of fact and genuine feeling. It’s good, too, that A Chorus Line must be created at the Public Theatre, on public money, as dwelling proof that the entrepreneurial aspect of Broadway can no more be trusted nowadays than the inventive aspect. A Refrain Line is, in impact, the last Broadway musical.” — Michael Feingold

1976

DAVID MAMET: REMEMBER THAT NAME
“Theres a new era of unheralded playwrights about to burst forth with major works, but solely David Mamet has finished work worthy of main essential recognition at this point, and recognition not so much for his performs as for the potential they symbolize, particularly in his cautious, beautiful, loving sense of language. In truth, I’d go as far as to say that at the age of 28 Mamet is probably the most promising American playwright to have emerged in the ’70s and that he has probably the most acute ear for dia­logue of any American author since J. D. Salinger.” — Ross Wetzsteon 

MERYL STREEP
“Meryl Streep came to Manhat­tan final September, recent from her MFA Yale Rep, a summer time on the O’Neill, and not a lot else. Almost upon arrival, she was enjoying the ingenue lead in the Lincoln Middle manufacturing of Trelawny of the Wells, touchdown a serious part in 27 Wagonloads of Cotton at the Phoenix, following this with a jewel of a Southern Belle in the Phoenix’s revival of Secret Service… In 9 months, Meryl Streep has be­come a leading woman; it won’t take much longer earlier than she is a licensed star.” — Terry Curtis Fox 

THE CLUB
“It’s pure delight to have amusing with out checking my spirit on the door and to take pleasure in a musical diversion during which first-rate singing and dancing aren’t wasted on some dumb car. As traditional the jokes are sexist, but this time the actual joke’s on them. Eve Merriam’s piece is lighthearted, not featherbrained, charming however not corrupt. It’s about males without being meaner to them than they deserve. It’s conscious of class and race. And it manages simultaneously to make use of and satirize present tastes.… What I appreciated concerning the play’s feminism is that it’s taken without any consideration as the rational perspective, and male sexism as ab­surd. Ladies certainly will discover The Club funny. So ought to their male pals, lovers, and colleagues. As for these other men, I hope it makes them horribly uncomfort­capable of be among the few not laughing.” — Erika Munk

1978

FEFU AND HER FRIENDS
“To not mince phrases, Maria Irene Fornes’s rich, astonishing play, Fefu and Her Pals, appears to me the one important factor the New York theatre has added to our cultural life prior to now yr. I first noticed the play final spring, when the New York Theatre Strategy produced it in a SoHo loft; seeing it once more, within the visually enhanced and partly recast production on the Ameri­can Place Theatre, I noticed that it’s been in my thoughts since that first efficiency, as inevi­desk part of my cultural furni­ture as Bach’s ‘Air for the G String’ or Seurat’s La Grande Jatte — a type of works that, on first hearing or viewing, you acknowledge immediately as being part of you.” — Michael Feingold 

THE SHAGGY DOG ANIMATION
“One advert for The Shaggy Canine Animation is a photo of Lee Breuer kissing his husky, tongue to tongue, his arms holding her paw. Another ad is extra myste­rious: simply the dog’s head, her eyes displaying virtually nothing but white; maybe she’s lifeless, per­haps staring off at an odd angle of vision. These are exact photographs of the play, for Shaggy Dog is about romantic love, and all Mabou Mines’s animations breathe into lifeless types, inert concepts, and inanimate objects. They are additionally performs on words, grand extensions of punning. Shaggy Canine is moderately shaggy­-doggish in type — long, superfi­cially rambling, with a nice sense of the absurd. All of the ani­mations are about animals, and all use the fast cuts and violent juxtapositions of cartoons. Purple Horse considerations journeys, bur­dens, velocity fashion, and nerves; B. Beaver portrays the construct­ing mammal — a damming up, and damned species. Shaggy Dog is about ‘a species of devo­tion’ — itchy, groveling, and hopeless.” — Erika Munk 

FUGUE IN A NURSERY
“Harvey Fierstein’s Fugue in a Nursery continues the adven­tures of a character I all the time see as Arnold the Homosexual — not an Arth­urian knight but the hero of Fier­stein’s earlier one-act The Inter­national Stud. Not your typical Everygay, either, Arnold is a fic­tional reflection of his writer: professional transvestite, Brook­lyn-Jewish road wit, and, at heart, a sentimental naif. Checked out another means, Arnold is a homosexual analogue of Krazy Kat, the straight world his Offissa Pup, and his Ignatz Maus — the love object who retaliates with bricks — is that the majority confused of males, the Closet Case. Like its worthy predecessor, Fierstein’s work is trifling and cartooned, but additionally it is trustworthy, precise, and humorous — major virtues in a time when even homosexuality is mass-marketed as a product… Fierstein’s voice nonetheless re­minds me of a Brooklyn excessive­ schooler in a machine store, learning the various makes use of of the rasp; but being Arnold, solely he can do the character justice.” — Michael Feingold 

 

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