Sunday, May 02, 2010

Mae West: Nixon Theater

Pittsburgh Mayor David Lawrence and MAE WEST shared the stage of the Nixon Theater on 29 April 1950 — — after the final performance of her play "Diamond Lil." The 47-year-old theater was scheduled for demolition, making way for the new headquarters of the Aluminum Company of America. The actress was almost 57 years old and still playing to packed houses.
• • According to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Len Barcousky, Mayor Lawrence also offered hope to the 2,256 people who came to the closing-night performance. "The Nixon is not dying," he told the crowd, according to the May 1 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We didn't come here to bury the Nixon [Theater], but to praise it and move it." ...
• • One of the longest curtain calls on record . . . • •
• • "Diamond Lil" was a short three-act play linked to "one of the longest curtain-calls on record," reporter Gene Jannuzi wrote in 1950, sixty years ago. Mae West offered the crowd "about 10 minutes of rehearsed coyness" as she took her bows. ...
• • This intriguing article focuses on the history of the Nixon Theater, where Mae performed when the playhouse had been located on Sixth Avenue (now renamed Mellon Square). You can read more at the Post-Gazette's web site — — — — and follow the tale of the venerable Nixon Theatre, which was relocated but eventually, alas, demolished.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
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