Tuesday, May 26, 2020

119. DEAR NOBODY. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975

Jane Marla Robbins.
"In Lieu of Reviews"

Reviews of live theatre being impossible during these days of the pandemic, THEATRE'S LEITER SIDE is pleased to provide instead accounts of previous theatre seasons--encompassing the years 1970-1975-for theatre-hungry readers. If you'd like to know the background on how this previously unpublished series came to be and what its relationship is to my three The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage volumes (covering every New York play, musical, revue, and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 entries beginning with the letter “A.” See the list at the end of the current entry.

DEAR NOBODY [Drama/Biographical/England/Literature/Solo] A: Terry Belanger and Jane Marla Robbins; SC: Diaries of Fanny Burney; D: Leon Russom; P: Patricia Zipprodt; L: Martin Aronstein; P: Albert Poland; T: Cherry Lane Theatre (OB); 2/19/74-4/28/74 (71)

A one-woman play based on the writings of 18th-century British authoress Fanny Burney, covering the years from her 15th birthday to her early 40s, when she gave birth to her first son. This “unusual, undemanding and sweet journey to the eighteenth century,” as Clive Barnes called it, took its title from Burney’s diary salutations. It proved a delightful event, both because of the talent of its co-adapter and star, Jane Marla Robbins, and what Edith Oliver described as its “Gossipy, shrewd, affectionate, humorous, loving, passionate and bitchy” material.

Fanny Burney, daughter of Charles Burney, famed musicologist, moved among such London personalities as Mrs. Thrale, Samuel Johnson, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. She wrote several novels, including the successful Evelina, served unhappily as lady-in-waiting at the court of King George III, and married a refugee French general.

Robbins played her character with ease and charm, using her American speech instead of a British accent, on a sparely designed stage and in several excellent Patricia Zipprodt period costumes. She was less effective in her attempts at the people of various nationalities with whom her heroine interacted, and was reprimanded by Oliver for her “bad judgment” in including such impersonations

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
A Breeze from the Gulf
Brief Lives
Brother Gorski
Bullshot Crummond
The Burnt Flower Bed
Button, Button
Buy Bonds, Buster

The Cage
Candide (1)
Candide (2)
The Candyapple
Captain Brassbound’s Conversion
The Caretaker
La Carpa de los Raquichis
The Carpenters
The Castro Complex
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Changing Room
Charles Abbott and Son
Charley’s Aunt
Charlie Was Here and Now He’s Gone
Chemin de Fer
The Cherry Orchard
The Chickencoop Chinaman
The Children
Children! Children!
Children in the Rain
Children of the Wind
The Children’s Mass
A Chorus Line
The Chronicle of Henry VI: Part 1, Part II,
The Circle
Clarence Darrow
Cold Feet
Conditions of Agreement
Coney Island Cycle
The Constant Wife
The Contractor
The Contrast
The Constant Wife
The Country Girl
Crazy Now
The Creation of the World and Other Business
The Crucible
Crystal and Fox

Dames at Sea
The Dance of Death
Dance wi’Me/Dance with Me
A Day in the Life of Just about Everyone