Tuesday, April 7, 2020


The following precedes each entry,

"In Lieu of Reviews"

Around 40 years ago, I began a major project that eventuated in the publication of my multivolume series, The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage, each volume covering a decade. For some reason now lost to the sands of time, I chose to start with the 1970s. After writing all the entries through 1975 and producing a typed manuscript of 1,038 pages my publisher (Greenwood) and I decided it would be best to commence with the 1920s. So the 1970-1975 material was put aside as I produced volumes for 1920-1930, 1930-1940, and 1940-1950. With those concluded, Greenwood decided it was all too expensive and not sufficiently profitable, so the remaining volumes were cancelled, leaving my 1970s entries in limbo.

To compensate, I used the research I’d done on the 1970s to write a book for Greenwood called Ten Seasons: New York Theatre in the Seventies, which described all aspects of that era’s theatre, onstage and off. Many years later, in 2012, I began a postretirement “career” as a theatre reviewer, which led to my creating this blog as an outlet for my reviews. Over the past eight years or so I’ve posted nearly 1,600 reviews, a substantial number having first appeared on other websites: Theater Pizzazz, The Broadway Blog, and Theater Life.

Now, however, with the New York theatre in suspension, and my reviewing completely halted, is probably the perfect time to post as many as possible of the entries I prepared for the never-published 1970-1975 book. The entries that follow are in alphabetical order. Each entry has a heading listing the subject categories of the work described: the author (A), the director (D), additional staging (ADD ST), when credited; the producer (P), the set designer (S), the costume designer (C), the lighting designer (L), the source (SC), the theatre (T), the dates of the run, and, in parentheses, the length of the run. The original entries also contained the names of all the actors but I’ve omitted those here.

I will try to post at least one entry daily. When time allows, I’ll provide more. The manuscript exists on fading, fragile paper and, because no digital files exist, must be retyped. Hopefully, the tragic health situation we’re all enduring will abate before I get too far into posting these entries but, for the time being, devoted theatre lovers may find reading these materials informative.
Dennis Cole, Michael Murphy.
ALL THE GIRLS CAME OUT TO PLAY [Comedy/Homosexuality/Sex] A: Richard T. Johnson and Daniel Hollywood; D: John Gerstadt; S/L: Leo M. Meyer; C: Joseph G. Aulisi; P: Richard T. Johnson and Daniel Hollywood; T: Cort Theatre; 4/20/72-4/22/72 (4)

A sex comedy with strong affinities to the Restoration classic The Country Wife. At a house in the suburbs a blonde, good-looking, young composer named Ronnie Ames (Dennis Cole) is living with his agent (Jay Barney) and working on a new musical. They have gone into seclusion to avoid distractions from the opposite sex. However, the local women, neglected by their spouses, and thinking the pair gay, are attracted to the composer. They keep intruding on the men’s privacy, eventually ending up in bed with the stud.
Charlotte Fairchild, Bette Marshall, Bill Britten, Susan Bjurman.
“[A] positively awful but very modest little comedy,” was Clive Barnes’s reaction. He said the acting was mediocre, the production ineffective, and “the play . . . cheap, insinuating, nasty and inconsiderable.” Brendan Gill called it “the unpleasant event of the week, Richard Watts tossed it out as “rubbish,” and Douglass Watt disposed of it as “trash.”

Previous entries:

Abelard and Heloise
Absurd Person Singular
“Acrobats” and “Line”
The Advertisement
Aesop’s Fables
Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death
Alice in Wonderland
All God’s Chillun Got Wings
All My Sons
All Over
All Over Town