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Patrick, Warren A. (ed.) / Show world
(October 30, 1909)

Cort Theater opens in a blaze of glory,   pp. 25-26


Page 25

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[CORTTHEATER OPENS
INABLAZE OF GLORY
Chicago's Newest Playhouse is a Thing of Beauty and Houses
Pleasing Show-Other Attractions Reviewed
Mlonday night, the doors of the new
Cort theater were thrown open to the
public, and all of the public that could
squeeze into that compact and cozy
sintle playhouse was there in best bib
1and tucker.  All the inveterate first
ighters were there including William
o pinkerton, the great detective, who
also enjoys the distinction of being the
head of the "Schmoosers" of Chicago,
George Lederer, the western represent-
ative of Klaw  and Erlanger; Robert
Campbell, of the Bill Posters of America;
Charles T. Kindt, president of the.West-
era Theatrical Managers association;
and chief tender of the "open door" in
the west; James Wingfield; W. E. Ful-
ler, and wife, manager of the Philhar-
monic orchestra; Burton Holmes, the
travelogue man; Joseph and Eugene
Belfeld; Stillson, the well known caterer
and restaurant man; Win. Anthony Mc-
Guire, author of "The Heights"; Roy
S. Sebree, of the Saratoga hotel; Fred-
eric North Shorey, Sunday editor of the
Inter Ocean; Amy Leslie of the Chicago
News, and her husband, Frank H. Buck,
lot te New York Morning Telegraph;
0. L. Hall, dramatic editor of the Jour-
nal; Charles  W.  Collins,  dramatic
editor of the Inter Ocean; John Glenn,
the well known man about town; Frank
0. Peers, manager of the Whitney Opera
chouse; Fred King, manager of "The
Climax"; Cy Simon, the well known
attorney; Jules Altman, Louis House-
man, and a host of others.
John Cort, the theatrical magnate
from the northwest was also present
and he, with U. G. Hermann and Harry
H. Frazee were the center of a group
of congratulating friends all the even-
ing. It was a gala night, and the
audience was enthusiastic to a degree.
,It was there to applaud, and it ap-
plauded in season and out of season.
Every member of the cast was taken
right into the good graces of everybody
in the audience, and every number was
down for encore after encore.
Amelia Stone, the prima donna, who
was in the cast only by leave of her
physician, was called upon to repeat her
songs so many times that she finally
had to trip down to the footlights and
beg the audience to excuse her. Joseph
Miron, had to sing and dance so much,
that be was finally tuckered out. and
had to seek a grassy mound and puff
and pant and gasp for breath, while
John Park, the tenor, who has been
growing stout of late, was also winded,
and had to beg for time.   Stanislaus
Stange finally made a neat speech to
quiet the clamoring audience.   "The
Kissing Girl" is the title of the piece,
and thi is Isan attractive title, and one
that appeals to every one.  It has a
very sweet smack about it, and when
it is finally whipped into shape, and
the first nighters get through insisting
upon encores the piece may reveal some
plot and settle down for a nice, long
and prosperous run in this playhouse.
"The Kissing Girl" is an operetta in
three acts. Harry Tilzer  wrote   the
music, and it is sweet, seductive and
tantalizing. Vincent Bryan wrote the
a  lyrics, and they are good and Stanis-
laus Stange wrote the book.   Amelia
Stone is featured, and among the other
players of note may .be mentioned Jo-
eph Miron, the basso; John Park, the
tenor, Mart Lorenz, the big fellow and
others. Mile. Vanity, a good dancer of
the toe variety is seen in special num-
hers and Vera Berliner, a vaudeville
favorite, offers some obligato features
that are fetching. As for the house, it
'Would take an architect's assistant to
describe it. It is compact, and allows
the audience to come into close com-
munion with the people on the stage.
As soon as the curtain goes up, the
Deople in the auditorium, whether they
are on the mezzanine floor, the lower or
the balcony floors soon come into in-
timate relations, for they are all close
together, and this gives the house a
nice and homelike atmosphere.
J E. 0. Pridmore, who designed the
Bush Temple theater, the National and
others, has modelled the new house
closely on the famous open air theater
at Taormina. The exterior is simple,
and is severely classical.  The pros-
cemun arch is elaborate, the boxes are
Perched like birds' nests along the wall,'
and high up above the green beams of
tpergolaare entwined with running
vinesIwhile gold emblazoned banners
hang in Picturesque folds. It is fash-
loned on the classic order, and it has
excellent accoustic properties. It is one
Of the handsomest houses In the city
and has taken its place in the Chicago
theatrical world under auspicious cir-
a umstances.-DUN1O1Y.
Empire.
Teming with brazen smut, devoid of
i0f tmredy and depending on   suggestive
th otsy to brin"   the  shekels  into
thecogers of the men behind the com-
aens he "Broadway Gaiety Girls"
h bhsleue show at the Empire theater
ek needs censoring, pruning, or
anything that will tend to wash it clean
of many of its objectionable features.
The show is terrifically bad.
In the first place, the company is
headed by a comedian, who, lacking
many essentials necessary to entertain,
resorts to coarse methods that for the
most part failed to get even a "hand or
a laugh" from the low-browed contin-
gent. However some burlesque com-
edians when given an Inch, take a mile
and a sigh of relief was heaved by the
Empire audience when the curtain fell
at the close and ended the agony. There
are certainly some agonizing minutes in
the show and the bright spots are few
and far between.
The show is in two parts, the first
being entitled "At Monaco" and the
second, "The Retreat of the Pirates of
Penzance." The first scene is supposed
to be that of a summer home of an
army major and the second of a cave
on an island, where the pirates con-
gregate and render a few vocal num-
hers.  The "pirates" disclosed their
plunder of smutty phrases, filled their
retreat with burlesque "bits" that were
older than the hills and showed bold-
ness in saying some things that would
have done credit to a real band of
pirates.
The costuming was passable with
pink tights very much in evidence
throughout.  Several of the singing
numbers proved acceptable, but the
good points in the show were com-
pletely overshadowed by the deluge of
obscenity.  The old saying that "it
never rains but what it pours" was con-
clusively proven by the way smut rains
and reigns in the Empire show this
week.
Frank Carlton is the chief comedian.
There are others down on the program,
who are not down for very much comedy
on the stage. Harry Autrim, as the
strutting actor with the long black
hair, strutted well and Thomas Brown,
in the part of the German chef, had
little to say or do for which the audi-
ence was thankful. If some of Carl-
ton's comedy had been bridled, the
show would have moved more smoothly
and entertainingly. Perhaps Carlton is
not to blame for the bad "bits" of
comedy, but someone is responsible and
the washing day sign should be hung
out soon.
Kitty Pembroke was really funny at
times and her voice came to the rescue
of the chorus several times. She and
Carlton did the old stunt of leaving a
balcony by means of a ladder in which
Kitty makes some missteps and does a
slide to the bottom that used to set the
house afire in other days when the
"bit" was used by the various minstrel
companies as the closing feature of
their olio. Kitty's voice is high and
strong, however, and when she used it,
the singing numbers were helped im-
mensely. May Streh, Amy Allyn and
Yetta Peters are the other programmed
female principals.
For some reason, Amy Allyn did not
appear in the olio in her "serio-comic"
specialty, but according to the program,
she was in several singing numbers.
And If she was the young woman in
the modest attire throughout the show,
she deserves a lot of credit as her voice
is about the best in the company. The
work of Yetta Peters was pleasing, al-
though she didn't have much singing to
do.
Five of the women in the first part
appeared in base ball suits and a "bit"
was introduced by Carlton as the um-
pire and Thomas Brown as the catcher,
with a bird cage over his head and
boxing gloves on his hands, and several
male members assisting them. A huge
medicine ball was brought into play and
the company was kind enough to permit
the audience to throw, hit, push and
kick it to and fro and the exercise
proved so exciting that even the or-
chestra joined in the game. At least five
minutes was spent in keeping the ball
going, and from the way the audience
enjoyed the sport, it was time well
spent.
Carlton and Pembroke did a "soul
kiss" stunt in the first part that created
considerable laughter.  Some of the
work could be modified to good advant-
age.
The frequent interspersion of pro-
fanity by Carlton became disgusting,
but some portions of the audience
seemed to relish it. Others didn't.
The band feature of the first part was
enjoyed, but Carlton did one "bit" of
work that was shocking in every sense
of the word. No minister's son would
ever survive it.
In the second part, the pirate lieuten-
ant (Harry Everett) sang a solo and
it seems strange that the rest of his
pirate band never harmed him. "Cap-
tain Edward," of the pirates, and his
crew had a singing number in which
an avalanche of smut was let loose.
The five Brown brothers with their
music and comedy were a redeeming
feature in the olio, the popular selec-
tions on the brass instruments being
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unusually well received. One of the
numbers works in blackface. Autrin
and Peters appeared in a sketch in
which Autrim's whistling and imper-
sonation were a hit. Another whistling
solo or two by Autrim would help mat-
ters. Carlton and Terre do a singing
and talking act that went well. Carlton
worked to better advantage in the olio
than in the burlesque department. The
duet was enjoyed.
Just before the curtain fell at the
end of the second part, Lucia Romanos,
a somewhat stout member of the com-
pany, did a "cooch" which the gallery
lads applauded. It was the finale to
the shower of smut that fell shortly
before she began her gyrations.
The Johnson-Ketchell fight pictures
were shown, after the show, and proved
interesting.-MAYNARD.
STAR & GARTER.
Andy Lewis and his "Mardi Gras
Beauties" were the burlesque combina-
tion that attracted big houses to the
Star & Garter theater this week, al-
though John L. Sullivan, who for twent-
ty-six years was the undisputed cham-
pion of the pugilistic world, with Jake
Kilrain, another old-timmer with the
gloves, as an extra feature, proved a
popular drawing card.
The Lewis show opened with a con-
glomerate mass of musical numbers,
absurdities and horse-play that char-
acterized the Weber & Fields style of
burlesque entertainment in the olden
days. In fact, the program states that
the first offering is "Whirl-I-Fun," and
the title parts cover a range of imper-
sonations of stage celebrities by the
principals who endeavor to provide
the comedy. They are meant to con-
vey some idea of how certain well-
known artists look and act on the
stage, but if any of the originals
were to have the temerity and patience
to sit through the show and watch their
imitators, it's a 100 to 1 shot that they
would either fall into a paroxysm of
laughter or faint dead away. Anyway It
would be an awful shock to their nerves.
However, it does not seem to be qual-
ity but quantity that counts in the first
part, for the work of the chorus, aside
from the singing numbers of Virginia
Royden and Sidonne Dixon, forms the
most entertaining feature. Andy Lewis,
who has been in the burlesque limelight
for many moons, stays out of the first
part, and his absence gives Clyde Bates
and Frank Ernest, in German makeups,
a chance to shine. But, unfortunately
for them, they don't shine. Perhaps in
some other line of work they might
create a more favorable impression, but
in their present roles they fail to show
the proper merit. They seemingly work
hard enough, but the desired results are
lacking. Several "bits" they did were
apparently well received, the extinguish-
ing of a small blaze on the top of
Ernest's plug hat by Bates, who dons a
fireman's helmet and carts out a min-
iature fire wagon, pushes   a  ladder
against Ernest, climbs it and puts out
the blaze with water from a small hose,
which was uncoiled from the wagon,
elicited considerable laughter. Ernest
and Bates also did a burlesque prize
fight in a pitched ring, but it was a
long time between laughs.
A sextette number, entitled "How'd
You Like to Marry Me?" was well ren-
dered and the number really deserved
more applause than It received. Vir-
ginia Royden works in several numbers
and the pretty little blonde sang sweetly
and became quite a favorite by her
winsome    ways.    "Fluffy  Ruffles,"
"Dreamy Rag," and "My Little Kan-
garoo," afforded her ample opportunity
to display her ability. Delmore, Feiber,
Walsh and Clare in their imitation of
the Empire City quartette did well and
got away with several encores.
Sidonne Dixon's best work was done
in an Indian song, entitled "My Chero-
kee Maid," in which the male members
of the chorus appeared in paint and
feathers, and the girls were in vari-
colored attire. The finale to the song,
which was also the wind-up of the first
part, was effective and pleasing.  The
faces of the chorus were reflected in
the camp fires, the stage being darkened
to give the picture the desired effect.
In the second part, Andy Lewis is in
the foreground and as the principal fun-
maker, keeps the merriment at high
pitch throughout. The closing offering
is far superior to the first and is en-
titled "The Pooloolah In Paris." It is
in two scenes, the first supposed to be a
rathskeller and the second a roof gar-
den.
Lewis appears as "Joulious Tomascah-
sky," a Russian Jew, and his comedy
was enjoyed by the Star & Garter
clientele. His piano "bit" aroused the
gallery gods and they demanded several
encores. His song with the "squabs"
was a hit and Andy "kidded" a number
of the chorus girls good-naturedly, and
each one that stepped to the front of
the line sang a chorus of a popular
song.  The number was heartily ap-
plauded.
With Lewis at the helm, the comedy
ship was piloted to better advantage
and Bates and Ernest proved fair deck
hands in handling what lines and "bits"
that were intrusted to them. A large-
sized hit was rung up by Virginia Roy-
den in "The Girl With the Eyes." She
sat on a table in a spot-light, and inbe-
coming attire, rendered the song in a
manner that pleased.
Charles Barrett got busy in the sec-
ond part and sang "Three Thousand
Miles Away" effectively. Sidonne Dixon
had the opening number and it was well
worked up with an attractive set of
"ponies."  The "rah-rah" boys in their
loud suits sang a number acceptably
and worked in on the choruses of others
until the final curtain. Jess Feiber, In
his solo and piano selection, entertained,
but Andy Lewis in his closing number,
where the "kidding bee" took place,
made it hard for Virginia Royden to fol-
low in her dance, which is programmed
"Dance De Temper."
In the olio, Andy Lewis in his slangy
race  track  sketch, "The    Winner,"
aroused the audience from its lethargy
and his race track talk came hot
and heavy, keeping the boys, upstairs
and down, laughing continually. The
sketch is ably presented by Mr. Lewis,
Virginia Royden, Maxine Hampton and
Lester Pike. The work of Miss Royden
was prominent and her lines     were
enunciated clearly. Her acting was ap-
preciated.
"Forsaken," a pantomime, was pre-
sented by Blanche Martin and other
members of the company and proved
interesting. With a more adequate set-
ting the act would go much better.
Evans and Weston dance well and did
some waltz clogs that scored.
Ryan and Feiber, with their ragtime
piano playing and singing, didn't bring
the "house down a brick at a time," but
managed to nake good, the duet at
the end being their one best "hit."
John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain re-
ceived a lot of applause and got enough
attention to satisfy them that their
friendly little setto was worth the effort.
Sullivan told a few stories that were ap-
parently enjoyed from the way the au-
dience laughed and clapped its hands.-
MAYNARD.
Majestic.
Without any startling stars or heavily
touted features, the Majestic is this
week offering a delightful entertain-
ment. It is a well balanced menu, at
that, in which there is a proper ad-
mixture of the heavy and the light; the
frivolous and the serious. There are
two sketches, numerous dancers, several
singers, some acrobats and a clown or
two, and no lover of My Lady Vaude-
ville, could ask or hope for more. Not
occupying the headline position, but
worthy of it is the playlet, "A Bit of
Old Chelsea," the work of Mrs. Oscar
Beringer, once presented as a curtain
raiser by Minnie Maddern Fiske, and
now offered for the first time in variety
by permission of Harrison Gray Fiske.
This is a pathetic little sketch, In which
a waif, or flower girl of London, strays
Into the studio of an artist, and there
dreams a short dream of love and hap-
piness in another world from her own.
It is a plaintive little play, with odd
little moments that verge on tears, and
some little humorous spots. Miss Ida
O'Day, a bit of an actress with a path-
etic little voice, is seen in the role of
"Saucers," as she is called on account
of her large eyes, and she gives the
part a careful and conscientious study,
and is effective. Burke Clarke, Robert
Kipper and Lebbius Sweet are In her
support, and they are adequate to their
several roles.
Miss Adelaide Kem, formerly leading
woman at the Bush Temple theater, ap-
pears in the headline position in a
sketch called "The Same Old Thing" by
Roi Cooper Megrue, whoever lie nay
be. There is no doubt at all but that
I


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