13 May 2011

I Would Never Have Been Able to Choose

A while back I stumbled onto this page of theater listings from the New York Sun, 6 Dec 1908, archived in the Library of Congress’s “Chronicling America” website.

What brought me to this page was the announcement that L. Frank Baum would soon arrive in New York to present his “Fairy Logue and Radio Plays,” starting with a Monday matinee.

But I was immediately struck by all the other offerings, including others with Oz connections:
  • David Montgomery and Fred Stone; having become stars playing the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow in the 1902 Wizard of Oz musical extravaganza, they were back on Broadway in The Red Mill.
  • Bessie Wynn; having played Sir Dashemoff Daily in that show, she was featured comedienne at Hammerstein’s theater.
  • Billie Burke; she would play Glinda in the 1939 MGM musical of The Wizard of Oz (which borrowed one episode from the stage show rather than Baum’s books).
  • a show based on Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo. (Baum at one point suggested trying to recruit McCay to illustrate the Oz books instead of John R. Neill.)
  • Musical readings of Henry W. Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn, no doubt including “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
  • Lew Fields as performer and producer (with former partner Joe Weber presenting a rival play).
  • Ethel Barrymore.
  • Douglas Fairbanks.
  • Maude Adams.
  • William Gillette.
  • Anna Held.
  • Harry Lauder.
  • George Arliss.
  • Eugenie Blair, who reportedly gave her life playing Anna Christie fourteen years later.
And, at the Hippodrome, Schmergel’s Musical Elephants!

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