BROADWAY: THE GREAT WHITE WAY MUSICALS AND SHOWS.
THE THEATRES. UNUSUAL NOVELTIES IN PLAY HOUSES. LUXURIOUS MOVING PICTURE PALACES. THE GIGANTIC HIPPODROME. REVIVAL OF THE "INTIMATE" ROOF GARDENS. CABARETS. OUT DOOR PAGEANTS. THE LEWISOHN STADIUMS. MUSIC HALLS. GRAND OPERA COMMUNITY SINGING. LECTURES. INTELLECTUAL RECREATION.
DIRECT From Broadway, Original New York Cast." So runs the legend on the bills that announce the coming of another New York success to the provinces. And yet many a good play has failed in the Metropolis only to find unbounded success on the road. Oh, the joy of being the rejected stone that becomes the chief stone of the corner!
Well, here you are right in New York, and on Broadway, too. Some two thousand places of entertainment are open for you. Which shall you choose—comedy, tragedy, light opera, grand opera, vaudeville, circus, concert, pantomime, recitals of all kinds, or movies?
About seventy-five or eighty of these houses are legitimate, serious theatres, featuring the best productions and employing the highest class talent. Aside from the theatre, with which every one is familiar, New York rejoices in several unconventional enterprises materially different from the usual run.
The Hippodrome, for instance, is unlike any other playhouse in America, and everything in it is planned on a scale so enormous as to belittle all others by comparison. It is mainly given up to a performance which pleases the eye more than anything else. It has a perfectly marvelous and enormous water tank, which extends under the entire huge stage. It's patent-secret construction enables the players to submerge and disappear completely. No one has yet been able to fathom the mystery. It seems certain that they must positively perish. You have hardly recovered from the shock of the tragedy (?) 'ere the whole host blithely reappear, climb out of the water and burst gaily into song!
This is one of the most baffling illusions ever produced in the mimic world. The stage is larger itself than the whole of an ordinary theatre, and the auditorium in proportion, consequently speaking parts are practically out of the question except for the actor with a voice like a mega-phone. The plays are mostly spectacular with plenty of chorus singing and several old-time circus acts in which an elephant usually appears. The late Fred Thompson, who conceived the Hippodrome, thought the elephant an emblem of good luck and adopted this for his chief scheme of decoration. We all go there once a year, at least, and oftener when we can pick up some small nephews or nieces to furnish an excuse for going again.
The next unique playhouse is undoubtedly the one where moving pictures are given in a stage is gorgeously grand, producing a stunning effect. It has special lighting arrangements, and the whole scheme is decidedly pleasing and refined. It has certainly done much to elevate the standard of the movies, and is a great success.
Other houses have since followed suit, and we now have the Rivoli, the Capitol and the Rialto, in addition to the Strand, and those visitors who have not been able to patronize anything but the local livery stable turned into an open-air theatre will be very much impressed by the elaborateness of the movie in New York.
At the same time it must be admitted that many smaller communities saw the possibilities of high class moving pictures before New York did and our first attempt came as the result of representations from out-of-town men.
The success which has attended the effort to give the "movie" in a building specially built for them may ultimately suggest to producers that the employment of brains in the construction of the plays themselves might also prove equally profitable.
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