Tuesday, June 11, 2013
With Broadway's Tony Awards just come and gone, we continue in a theatre vein with a new road show touring New England in 1932, "Hot off the griddle from Broadway" as the ad above says.
Everybody's Welcome was a musical comedy that played the Shubert Theater in New York from October 1931 through February 13, 1932. It arrived with its Broadway cast at the Court Square Theater in Springfield, Massachusetts, two weeks later in March.
The Court Square Theater Building, a grand old battleship of a building that mostly still stands in Springfield, once housed the Court Square Theater, where so many greats played. The local Springfield paper carried an interview with Oscar Shaw, who played the male lead.
I'm particularly taken by his assessment of the stock "juvenile" roles, which in theatre-speak at the time meant the charming young heroes, not children. When Mr. Shaw first trod the Broadway boards in 1915 -- With Very Good Eddie, and went on to perform in several popular shows of the day like Leave it to Jane, and a stint with Ziegfeld -- he noted the "witless sort of fellow" roles had changed through the years. "Dramatists now invest him with a sense of intelligence and give him some of the attributes of an honest to goodness human being." Mr. Shaw was about 44 years old when he appeared in Springfield with this musical comedy. One imagines he was looking over that steep precipice from male "juvenile" to character actor with a sense of discomfort.
Oscar Shaw would have a few more Broadway roles come his way, even a handful of minor roles in films, though in 1932, his peak years were behind him. You could see him at the Court Square Theater, if you had a buck for the cheap seats or $3 for orchestra.