Tuesday, April 28, 2020

61. BREAD. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975

Marilyn Chris, Rudy Bond, Mike Kellin, John Peter Barrett, Dolph Sweet, Constantine Katsanos.
 "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For background on how this previously unpublished series—introducing all mainstream New York shows between 1970 and 1975—came to be and its relationship to my three The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage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.

BREAD [Drama/Business/Labor/Politics] A: David Scott Milton; D: Martin Fried; S: Kurt Lundell; C: Ruth Morley; L: Roger Morgan; P/T: American Place Theatre (OB); 1/12/74 (32)

Critic Walter Kerr reported, “The play isn’t very good”; Edith Oliver could not “imagine why the dramatist bothered with it”; and John Simon termed it “a catastrophe.” These opinions concerned Bread, a bizarre political allegory set in a Pittsburgh bakery where rats, casts, cigars, nasal mucus, and urine are likely to mingle with the doughy ingredients produced by the establishment.

The allegory, according to Clive Barnes, had to do with relating the takeover of the bakery business—by the owner’s cousin, Jake (Constantine Katasanos), the owner’s son, Mark (John Peter Barrett), and the owner’s mistress, Dagmar (Marilyn Chris)—to the conquest of Bolshevism over Kerenskiism in the wake of the latter’s subjugation of Czarism. John Simon, though, saw it as a Hitler allegory. Regardless of what regime the play referred to, it failed completely to capture critical approval.

Bread included an extremely naturalistic depiction of bread making, thus resembling some of British playwright David Storey’s then popular metaphorical slice-of-life dramas. As for the acting, Barnes liked it but Simon called it “atrocious.” The cast included New York stage regulars Mike Kellin, Dolph Sweet, and Rudy Bond.

Previous entries:

Abelard and Heloise
Absurd Person Singular
“Acrobats” and “Line”
The Advertisement/
All My Sons
All Over
All Over Town
All the Girls Came Out to Play
Alpha Beta
L’Amante Anglais         
American Gothics
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little       
And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers
And Whose Little Boy Are You?
Anna K.
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
Barbary Shore
The Bar that Never Closes
The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel
The Beauty Part
The Beggar’s Opera
Behold! Cometh the Vanderkellens
Be Kind to People Week
Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill
Bette Midler’s Clams on a Half-Shell Revue
Black Girl
Black Light Theatre of Prague
Black Picture Show
Black Sunlight
The Black Terror
Black Visions
Les Blancs
Blasts and Bravos: An Evening with H,L. Mencken
Blue Boys
Bob and Ray—The Two and Only
Boesman and Lena
The Boy Who Came to Leave