Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mae West: 23 June 1922

Variety often scolded MAE WEST or found a witty way to sling unkind or unpleasant pronouncements in her direction.
• • During the month of June — — on 23 June 1922 — — Variety's critics briefly changed their tone, moving from glacial malice to a reverential nod.
• • That summer, New York's air was jagged with mosquitoes as shadows stretched across vaudeville, slowly going under, a bare bright emptiness in its future.
• • Shoring up her options, Mae had written "The Ruby Ring" [1921] and "The Hussy" [1922] and she also was preparing to appear in "The Ginger Box Revue," scheduled to open in August 1922 in Greenwich Village.
• • Simultaneously, Mae was writing a new stage act for herself and an accompanist, featuring fast-paced skits and songs. Faced with choosing a pianist, Mae had auditioned two unknowns, Brooklynite Jimmy Durante [10 February 1893 — 29 January 1980] and Harry Richman [10 August 1895 — 3 November 1972], and selected the taller, more dapper fellow. Stagebills soon offered her new show: "Bits of Musical Comedy — — Mae West assisted by Harry Richman."
• • After some good notices, Mae snagged a booking at the Palace.
• • She had structured her turns to include a short version of "The Ruby Ring," a bit in which she was costumed as a Roman empress/ temptress in need of a new gladiator, and a blues segment in which she delivered a gutsy "Frankie and Johnny."
• • Reviewers sat up straight for this one. "She rises to heights undreamed of for her and reveals unexpected depths as a delineator of character songs, a dramatic reader of ability, and a girl with a flair for farce that will some day land her on the legitimate Olympus" [Variety, 23 June 1922].
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment