Broadway, U.S.S.R: Ballet, Theatre, and Entertainment in Russia Today

Broadway, U.S.S.R: Ballet, Theatre, and Entertainment in Russia Today

Broadway, U.S.S.R: Ballet, Theatre, and Entertainment in Russia Today

Broadway, U.S.S.R: Ballet, Theatre, and Entertainment in Russia Today

Excerpt

In most countries the hour of seven-thirty in the evening means little in particular. For some, it is the dinner hour; for others, it marks the end of a cocktail party. But in the Soviet Union it has a special significance. It is a magic moment, a time of enchantment, the commencement of an evening's pleasure. At seven-thirty promptly all over the USSR, curtains rise in the theatres, concert halls sound their first notes, circuses begin their antics, and ballerinas start their vertiginous spins and whirls.

In the large cities of Leningrad and Moscow there are more legitimate theatre houses of entertainment proportionately per capita than in other cities of the world, and the nightly excitement of seven-thirty soon impresses itself on even the most casual of visitors. There, where normally the few cars move soundlessly through the wide streets and the moderate number of pedestrians walk silently without bustle, suddenly from about seven o'clock traffic thickens, people begin to hurry and move with determination. Outside the theatres, scurrying crowds coming from all over the city collect. The customary, subdued quiet of Leningrad and Moscow is momentarily broken. For a while, the careful caution that accompanies the movements--and lives--of the Soviet people seems almost on the point of bursting into gaiety. Each evening except Monday--the "Sunday" for amusements in the Soviet Union --this atmosphere repeats itself with automatic regularity.

Early in my stay in the USSR, I once happened upon a magazine article called Moscow at 7:30 . At first the title said nothing to . . .

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