Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mae West: Plymouth Rocks

An upcoming Midwest excursion that will dazzle tour-goers with the diamond sparklers once owned by MAE WEST brings to mind the bejeweled star of "Diamond Lil" as she sat in her dressing room on 20 January1950. This was the night before the closing performance when Broadway's box office queen would be returning her gems to Harry Winston for the last time and taking the show on the road again. Imagine her thoughts as she removed those expensive bracelets, brooches, rings, and necklaces, and handed them over to the jeweler's armed courier (the nightly ritual for these borrowed baubles).
• • The "Diamond Lil" revival enjoyed great success at the venerable Plymouth Theatre [236 West 45th Street]. It opened there on 7 September 1949 — — and had four months of performances on Broadway. Specifically, this return engagement enjoyed a 182-performance run.
• • In his admiring review of her 1949 reinvigorated Bowery queen romp through her popular "naughty nineties" hit, The New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson admitted he was moved to acknowledge what he called — — in an atypically poetic effusion — — ''the sublime fatalism of the entire business,'' and he went on to ask: ''Is she kidding or is she serious?''
• • Knowing Mae, the likely answer is both.
• • Built in 1917, the Plymouth Theatre [236 West 45th Street], which seats 1093, was renamed the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in 2005.
• • Nothing stays the same in New York City — — and yet the affection for the Brooklyn bombshell endures.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1949 • •
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Mae West.

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