MINT theatre streams another rediscovered classic

New York-based MINT Theatre company are generously making available to the public past productions around the world for free.

Streaming globally until March 19th is the 1931 play PHILIP GOES FORTH by Pulitzer Prize-winner George Kelly.

PHILIP GOES FORTH tells the story of a young man who rebels against his father and a career in the family business and ventures to New York to write plays. He leaves home without his father’s support or blessing, but with this warning: “Don’t imagine, whenever you get tired floating around up there in the clouds that you can drop right back into your place down here;—that isn’t the way things go—”

George Kelly was a celebrated author in the 1920s, the man who wrote the 1925 psychological drama CRAIG’S WIFE, centered around an obsessive, destructive housewife, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize. By this time, notes Foster Hirsch, “a new play (by Kelly) was as keenly anticipated as a new one by Eugene O’Neill.”

PHILIP GOES FORTH made its debut at the Biltmore Theater on Broadway in January of 1931. George Kelly’s comedy has some discouraging words for its title character—and this rubbed a few critics the wrong way. The Times’ Brooks Atkinson was especially disgruntled. “To discourage the neophytes about coming to New York and trying their fortune with the arts is to accept considerable responsibility,” Atkinson proclaimed, while missing the point of the play. Kelly was so disappointed by the lack of critical perception that he gave up writing for the theatre for the next five years.

MINT Theatre’s 2013 production—the play’s first in 82 years—finally garnered the play the critical perception it deserved.

You can find out more about the play, and stream it until March 19th, here

Mint Theatre streams free a rediscovered play by Miles Malleson

Miles Malleson, photo credit unknown

If he is remembered at all today, Miles Malleson would be best remembered for the numerous film and theatre roles in which he seemed to perpetually play dithering vicars or absent-minded petty officials in British comedy films from the 1930s to the 1960s. His charming expressions of befuddled Britishness made him a much-loved (and often working) actor.

But what is less remembered about the man that he was also a produced writer and translator of plays, particularly of those by Moliere. He also adapted for the stage works including short stories by Tolstoy and Chekhov. In the thirties and forties Malleson also contributed to many film screenplays, some of which he had small acting parts in.

After his death in 1969, his work became increasingly forgotten, especially as a writer. Until Mint Theater came across his work, over forty years later.

Mint Theater Company is a company based in New York, established in 1992, which stages rediscoveries of unjustly-forgotten works. One could could think of Mint as the American equivalent of London’s mighty Finborough Theatre in its work to revive plays worth seeing again.

Mint Theatre staged Malleson’s YOURS UNFAITHFULLY (1933) in 2016/7 to much acclaim, and followed this with staging his play CONFLICT (1925) in 2018.

CONFLICT is now available on demand until July 10 for free in the USA and UK. Please check for availability in other countries.

The recorded play lasts for 1 hour 52 minutes.

Directed by Jenn Thompson, the play follows Lady Dare Bellingdon, who craves something more. Unwilling to commit to Sir Major Ronald Clive, a Conservative standing for Parliament whose values don’t extend to his sexual relationship with Bellingdon, she ends up caught between Clive and his political opponent, the passionate and crusading Tom Smith in the work set in 1920s London. The play features two of Malleson’s favourite subjects for drama, sex and politics.

Recorded live in June 2018, with a three-camera HD setup, the production features Jessie Shelton as Lady Dare Bellingdon, Jeremy Beck as Tom Smith, and Henry Clarke as Sir Major Ronald Clive.

“We know there are many theatre lovers out there who are not in New York or are not ready to attend live performances, so we’re happy to share this wonderful production, which shares a director, set designer, and two actors with our current production of Chains by Elizabeth Baker,” says Mint Production Artistic Director Jonathan Bank. “Our national streaming audience was vitally important to us in 2020 and 2021 and we won’t abandon them now that we’re back to producing live performances.”

To watch CONFLICT and find out more, click here


Discover The Origins of Broadway on June 2nd

On Thursday, Jun 2nd from 10:30 pm– 12:00midnight BST, the New York Adventure Club present The Origins of Broadway: Rise of New York’s Early Theater Scene in an online presentation.

(Before you dismiss this one out of hand due to its timing, it’s worth noting that if you can’t make the live broadcast, or simply miss it, your ticket allows you access to the event recording for a week afterwards.)

While Broadway is widely considered one of the top theatrical destinations in the world, have you ever wondered what came before it? And why, and how, New York City became the theater capital of America? This is the story of New York’s earliest theaters and how they transformed a city once fixated on only business and trade into one dedicated to culture and the arts.

Join New York Adventure Club as they explore the evolution of New York’s theater industry through the mid 1800s, and the actors, production managers, and playwrights who helped pave the way for modern-day Broadway to grow.

New York theater-maker Ralph Lewis is the presenter for this discussion which will include:

– An overview of NYC’s very first theaters, including surprising details on the plays, playwrights, managers, and actors who worked there
– A look at how New York’s early theaters compared to those in other cities, and how competition, politics, and touring companies shaped America’s theatrical landscape for centuries to come
– The reasons why so few theaters succeeded, and the importance of their building’s design to that success
– Historic maps showcasing the theatrical locations from Broadway to The Bowery, along with photos of the sites today
– A listen to what critics of the day had to say about these performances, including over-the-top anecdotes, scathing reviews, and lots of gossip
– Excerpts from the rare 1851 book, Before and Behind the Curtain by William Knight Northall, which inspired this presentation

After the presentation, there’ll be time for a Q&A with Ralph so your questions are welcomed.

Tickets are $10 (approximately £7) and you can book them here

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice……

Carnegie Hall – from the venue’s own website

Yes, I know it’s an old favourite quip, but it helps me to introduce the amazing free online tour that this iconic New York venue is offering in March.

On March 22nd, you can take a free online tour of this venerable building, learn its secrets and go into areas not seen by audiences or visited on in-person tours.

The tour is scheduled for Tuesday March 22nd at 7.00pm UK time / 2.00pm US CT

For tickets and more information click here. A Zoom link will be sent to all those registered. But please be aware that space is limited, so sign up today!

With grateful thanks to my New York and Los Angeles blog followers for highlighting this great opportunity.

Kings Theatre Brooklyn reopens for tours!

Image courtesy Kings Theatre website

Attention all of our wonderful New York blog readers!

The magnificent King’s Theatre in Brooklyn, New York has reopened and has scheduled a number of tours, twice monthly into May.

This incredibly opulent theatre was opened in 1929 as one of the five original Loew’s Wonder Theatres. Kings Theatre was initially a movie palace offering movie together with stage shows supporting the film attractions, which was the standard at that time in film exhibition in large prestige theatres.

Closed in 1979, a victim of changing entertainment tastes, population changes and its own vast size (3055 seats), it lay forgotten, unused and deteriorating for decades. Thankfully in 2013 a comprehensive multi-million dollar restoration began and it reopened in 2015 with live music performances.

The 75-minute tour unveils historical and architectural highlights, beginning in the majestic grand lobby. You’ll be shown through ornate speakeasy lounges and both levels of the huge auditorium. Music fans will be treated to an up-close glimpse of the fabulous Robert Morgan Wonder Organ as well as hearing about the daily workings of the theatre. Tour members have the chance to upgrade their experience with two drinks and access to one of the theatre’s private speakeasies for a post-tour chill-out.

Tours take place on selected Saturdays until 28 May at 1.00pm local time. Please note that proof of COVID vaccination is required to join these tours. Standard tickets cost $20.00 plus fees.

If I were in New York, I’d jump on this before they all sell out.

You can find more information and tickets availability at the Kings’ website here