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Publication Date

Summer 1972






Music Theatre


Theatre and Performance Studies


10th Anniversary

Well, here it is-our Tenth Anniversary! 1962-1972! What can we say to the 200,000 people who've been our Music Theatre patrons over the years? I'll tell you want we can say: we can say that this season has us more excited than any past one has done, and not just-but mostly, we guess because of the American premiere of AMBASSADOR. We're pretty up about VENUS, and CHARLIE BROWN, too.

We are continuing a policy which we've emphasized the past two seasons, and which you have, happily, endorsed-we have opted again for Romance! Remember the old grammar school definitions? Realism was "life as it is." And Romanticism was "life as you'd like it to be." This is no plea, mind you, for ground-hog inattention to the world as it, sometimes unhappily, is. But we all have the six o'clock news on TV to tell us about the world as it unhappily is. And we're not urging anyone to run away from reality. Except, maybe ... for three hours in the theatre.


As the very special feature of our Tenth Anniversary season, Music Theatre is pleased-pleased, hell, we're delighted !-to announce the American premiere of AMBASSADOR, a new play by a new playright, a new composer, and a new lyricist. Their names are Don Ettlinger, Don Gohman, and Hal Hackady-and their source is, of all things, Henry James' The Ambassadors. We are presenting the play, which is scheduled, to be done in New York, with an all-star cast, in mid-Fall or early Winter, by special arrangement with Genesius Productions, which will produce the play in New York.

A doubt may arise in the minds of former English majors, and we'd like to quell it immediately: a musical based upon a Henry James novel? What (as The Master would say, simultaneously translating from the French and separating an adjective from its home base) horror! Those disposed to think in this way will have forgotten that Washington Square became the highly successful play, THE HEIRESS; and that The Turn of the Screw was the even more successful THE INNOCENTS. But The Ambassadors? Yes, and we'd like to tell you how we know: we saw a brilliant production in London this season, and we resolved to-somehow-get it for you.

This is the direction in which Music Theatre has been heading since its inception: the presentation of new plays which will come freshly to our audiences; together with older classics which you can't hardly get to see anymore.

ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, a play which Music Theatre has been wanting to do for quite awhile (it had to wait until we'd got some others out of our system, and into your applauding hands, mostly), had an incredibly talented lot of people involved in its 1943 production; it came along when a nation at war needed escape (and don't we just!), and ran for two years. Its book was by the great American humorist S. J. Perelman and our principal light verse man, ("Candy's dandy, but liquor's quicker!") Ogden Nash. Nash did the lyrics, as only he could, and the music was by Kurt Weill, whose score for KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY pleased so many of you last summer. The star was Mary . Martin, fresh from "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," and not yet Nellie Forbush or Peter Pan, and her costumes were by Mainbocher, yet. The dances were Agnes DeMille's and the direction was by Elia Kazan. Under the happy circumstances, VENUS could hardly have missed, and, of course, it didn't. Of its songs, one-the memorable "Speak Low" has become a standard. But the entire score, the dances, and the book are a delight. And-again-an escape! Okay, so we're all cowards!

During the run of VENUS, we'll also be presenting seven performances of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN, a great success during our Theatre La Salle winter season, which _is being offered to palliate the dog days of August, and also because it is the most charming show of its sort (what is its sort?) that we've done in years, and a lot of people asked us to do it again this summer; we'll have mostly, but not entirely, the cast that played it in February and March with happy results. So that you may bring all the kids (but it isn't really so much a kids' show as it is a show for anyone who is or ever was a kid), we're keeping the price down to $2.00 a head, major or minor.

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