|Frances Foster, Graham Brown (seated), Carl Byrd, Roxie Roker, Robert Christian.|
"In Lieu of Reviews"
For background on how this previously unpublished series—introducing all mainstream New York shows between 1970 and 1975—came to be and its relationship to my three The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage volumes (covering every New York play, musical, revue, and revival between 1920 and 1950), please check the prefaces to any of the earlier entries beginning with the letter “A.” See the list at the end of the current entry.
BEHOLD! COMETH THE VANDERKELLENS [Drama/Family/Homosexuality/Marriage/ Mental Illness/Race/Southern/University] D: William Wellington Mackay; D: Edmund Cambridge; S: George Corrin; C: Audrey Smaltz; L: Roger Morgan; P: Woodie King Associates i/a/w Russell Price and Ida Epps b/s/a/w Lucille Lortel Productions; T: Theatre de Lys (OB): 3/31/71-4/18/71 (23)
It’s 1960 and a campus riot swells around the home of Dr. Vanderkellen (Graham Brown), president of a black college in a Southern state. The students want the moderate administrator out of office. At home with the president are his wife (Frances Foster), who has mental problems; his homosexual son (Robert Christian); an intellectual son (Carl Byrd); and a sophisticated daughter (Roxie Roker). Missing is a daughter whose marriage to a white man has helped unsettle the mother’s mind. Torn by guilt because of their success in the world of white, middle-class values, the family squabbles ferociously, in a manner suggestive of O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night.
Richard Watts alone praised the play for its “striking” and unsentimentally depicted characters, and for the “considerable power” of its writing. More common were remarks like Mel Gussow’s that this was “a subprofessional mish-mash” in which the actors struggled with “characterless parts in an unplayable play.” To James Davis, “Everything seemed to be in slow motion, meaning the writing, the acting and the direction.”
Abelard and Heloise
Absurd Person Singular
“Acrobats” and “Line”
All My Sons
All Over Town
All the Girls Came Out to Play
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little
And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers
And Whose Little Boy Are You?
Anne of Green Gables
Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead
As You Like It
The Au Pair Man
Baba Goya [Nourish the Beast]
The Ballad of Johnny Pot
The Bar that Never Closes
The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel
The Beauty Part
The Beggar’s Opera