The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage, 1940-1950

By Samuel L. Leiter | Go to book overview

Emeline Roche, Ernest Schrapps, Irene Sharaff, Julia Sze, and Miles White. As in previous decades, it remained the practice not to credit a costume designer when the garments worn by the actors were purchased at local retail establishments. The principal exceptions were when an actress's gowns or ensembles were the creation of a famous fashion designer, such as Mainbocher or Valentina, both of whom regularly provided striking outfits for Broadway's leading ladies. In fact, one reason that Mary Martin agreed to do One Touch of Venus was because Mainbocher said that he would design her clothes.


CONCLUSION

The forties was a fascinatingly divided decade, beginning with a nation just emerging from the Depression and then plunged directly into a catastrophic world war. Broadway's theatre was there to do its job, and it did so nobly, engaging in practical war work as well as attending to the duty of cheering up the populace at large. That entertainment is desperately sought as a crucial form of escape from worldly troubles was never more in evidence than during the conflict, when lighthearted presentations dominated the Great White Way and every night--despite the blackouts--seemed like New Year's Eve. Then the war ended and the citizenry were forced to take stock. Business declined, although some of the most exceptional plays in American history were produced. Television, projected as being of minimal potential damage to the theatre, was now every American's dream. One nightmarish view of reality it soon would offer was of what could happen to those who had seen a pink- shaded destiny for the nation. How that reality was to affect the stage during a period that began with renewed military conflict, moved ahead into an ever more chilling cold war, and cast a shadow of fear over would-be dissenters will be discovered in the plays described in volume four of this series.


NOTES
1.
John Houseman, "There's No Business like Show Business," reprinted in John Houseman, Entertainers and the Entertained; Essays on Theater, Film, and Television ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), 58. Houseman's is one of the best surveys of the economics of producing in the forties and has been invaluable in the preparation of this essay.
2.
Jack Gaver, Curtain Calls ( New York: Dodd, Mead, 1949), 310.
3.
The material on the ART is adapted from my From Belasco to Brook: Representative Directors of the English-Speaking Stage (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1991), 123-124.
4.
Gaver, Curtain Calls, 154.
5.
Reprinted in John F. Wharton, Life among the Playwrights, Being Mostly the Story of the Playwrights Producing Company ( New York: Quadrangle, 1974), 134.
6.
Arthur Pollock, "Healthy 'Underground' Seen in Plough and Stars," Daily Compass, June 2, 1950, clipping file, New York Public Library at Lincoln Center.
7.
John Chapman, The Burns Mantle Best Plays of 1949-1950 ( New York: Dodd, Mead, 1950), 382.
8.
Quoted in Stuart Little, Off-Broadway: The Prophetic Theater ( New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1972; New York: Dell, a Delta Book, 1974), 42.
9.
Lawrence Kane, "Five Minutes from Broadway," Theatre Arts 33 ( December 1949), 43-47, 97-98.

-xlvii-

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The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage, 1940-1950
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Note xiv
  • Introduction xv
  • Notes xlvii
  • The New York Stage, 1940-1950 1
  • A 3
  • B 51
  • C 93
  • D 143
  • E 179
  • F 193
  • G 221
  • I 293
  • J 315
  • L 341
  • M 383
  • N 443
  • O 461
  • P 491
  • Q 519
  • R 521
  • S 543
  • T 617
  • U 663
  • V 669
  • W 681
  • Y 711
  • Z 725
  • Appendixes 727
  • Appendix 1Calendar of Productions 729
  • Appendix 2 Play Categories 753
  • Appendix 5 Institutional Theatres 825
  • Appendix 7 Longest-Running Shows of the 1940s 833
  • Appendix 9 Seasonal Statistics 837
  • Appendix 10 Theatres 839
  • Selected Bibliography 843
  • Index of Titles 925
  • About the Author 947
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