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no. 613

Saturday, 13 June 2009

images of theatre and other popular entertainment

a photograph of the set and cast of the New York Hippodrome revival
of Gilbert & Sullivant's H.M.S. Pinafore, produced on 9 April 1914

(photo: White, New York, 1914)

'By Beau Rialto.
'(Written for the United Press.)

'NEW YORK, April 25 [1914]. - In these days of battle squadrons swinging into Mexican waters ready for action after the general titter aroused over the banishment of the demon rum from aboard our vessels, the ''King's Navy'' may now be viewed at the Hippodrome. The greatest ship ever seen on land is H.M.S. Pinafore, at anchor in the huge tank of New York's famous play house. Tars scamper about the rigging, for the Pinafore has tops'ls, gaffs, main and mizzen masts, and every other mark of an old ''windjammer.''
'In the staging of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan opera ''Pinafore'' in the Hippodrome, the height of scenic wonderment was fairly reached. The great ship, rising out of the water hight above the audience, looks as though it might spread sail and get under way at any moment. In the second act the ship is illuminated and the crowds that have packed the Hippodrome to view the most impressing of all ''Pinafores'' have been carried away by enthusiasm at the sight of the lighted ship with the calciums bathing it in soft blues, while the chorus appears in early Victorian gowns as a part of a picture which may never be forgotten.
'Owing to the vastness of the Hippodrome, many of the lines of ''Pinafore'' are lost, but as a setting for the rendering of the famous songs and the general presentation of the opera the present staging has probably never before seen equaled. Mme. Josephine Jacoby, as Little Buttercup, makes her first appearance in a small boat. She is rowed across the tank to the huge vessel.
'Imagine ''The Nightingale's Song'' and ''Maiden Fair to See'' sung high up in the rigging of a ship. As Ralph Rackshaw Vernon Dalhart qualified as an expert balancer in the rendering of these two songs. Albert Hart's ''Dick Deadeye'' was one of the hits of the enlargement of the much-produced ''Pinafore.'' Adding to the novelty of the production, ''Dick Deadeye'' is forced to swim as well as sing when he is pushed overboard and covers the full length of the tank.'
(The Fort Wayne Daily News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Saturday, 25 April 1914, p. 4e)

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