View Full Version : Old Broadway: 1957-58 Season Pics

January 12th, 2008, 05:37 PM
I came across the 1957-58 season edition of Theatre World, and was surprised at how many famous and yet to be famous performers there were. I'll post a few more if there is any interest. Personally, I love anything to do with old Broadway.

Back To Methuselah, Ambassador Theatre. Opened March 26, 1958.
Arthur Treacher(the fish & chips guy?), Faye Emerson, and Tyrone Power. Power would die of a heart attack only a few months after this performance.


Threepenny Opera, Theatre DeLys. Opened on March 26, 1958 Closed April 19, 1958
Judith Paige and a young Jerry Orbach from Law & Order fame.


Children Of Darkness, Circle In The Square. Opened February 28, 1958.
Colleen Dewhurst and George C Scott


Ulysses In Nighttown, Rooftop Theatre. Opened June 5, 1958
Bea Arthur (Maude, Golden Girls) and Zero Mostel


Same production, with a young Carroll O'Conner(Archie Bunker) and Anne Meara, of Stiller & Meara fame (who also appeared in another production that year)


Time Remembered, Morosco Theatre. Opened November 12, 1957. Closed June 14, 1958.

Helen Hayes, Richard Burton and Susan Strasberg


January 13th, 2008, 11:39 AM
i'd love to see any other old pix you have from that year or other early years on broadway. being a kid, i saw a lot of the musicals around at that time, but i was too young for the plays back then. there was an insane amount of talent on broadway at the time in ORIGINAL plays and shows... no upteemth revivals of "grease" or "chicago" in sight.

hopefully we'll get back to that time of talent and originality at some point.

January 13th, 2008, 07:47 PM
Very interesting pics. I, too, would like to see more, if you have them.

January 13th, 2008, 08:56 PM
Some info on that 1958 Off-Broadway production of "Ulysses in Nighttown" with Zero Mostel and directed by Burgess Meredith is found at the blog of Grumpy Old Bookman, HERE (http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/2004/09/ulysses-in-nighttown.html) and then HERE (http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/2004/11/ulysses-in-nighttown-again.html)

The full cast for the show is listed HERE (http://www.lortel.org/LLA_archive/index.cfm?search_by=show&id=4518)

The show was at the Rooftop Theater at 111 East Houston Street, just east of Houston Street -- now the site of the Avalon Chrystie development / Whole Foods.

At one time the building at the site housed both the National Theatre / Roosevelt Theatre (http://cinematreasures.org/theater/16276/):

The full address was 111-117 East Houston. The site had been home to a household supply manufacturer from 1871-1911. I believe the theatre was built by Louis Minsky and Max Steuer, open by May 1913, and was known originally as the National (along with the National Winter Garden). In March 1935, it became the combination house known at the New Roosevelt Theatre. Simply the Roosevelt by September 1936, it exhibited Ukrainian, Soviet, Yiddish, and Chinese movies in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The National Winter Garden, located on the sixth floor, seated 299 and was known as the Rooftop Theatre from at least the mid-1940s through the building's closing. The theatre proper was known as the Downtown National from at least 1941-1951. The theatre was closed when it was purchased by the Transit Authority in 1958.

PBS is airing "Jews in America" this month. About an hour and forty minutes into Part One, there are several shots of the eight-story building with separate marquees for the National and Roosevelt.

Before moving their shows to Broadway in the 1930s the four Minsky Brothers produced their then-risque burlesque shows (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsky's_Burlesque) at the National Winter Garden at this location (http://www.streetswing.com/histburl/1index0.htm):


... Another famous raid occurred in April, 1925, and inspired the book and film The Night They Raided Minsky's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_They_Raided_Minsky%27s). By this time it was permissible for girls in shows staged by Ziegfeld, George White (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_White) and Earl Carroll (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Carroll) -- as well as burlesque -- to appear topless as long as they didn't move. In a show at the National Winter Garden, Madamoiselle Fifi (nee Mary Dawson from Pennsylvania) stripped to the waist and then moved.

Occasionally a raid was triggered by the comedy material, but filthy comics didn't last long because they were a liability to the management.

Business boomed during Prohibition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition) and the National Winter Garden's notoriety grew. Regular patrons included John Dos Passos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dos_Passos), Robert Benchley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Benchley), George Jean Nathan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Jean_Nathan), Conde Nast (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cond%C3%A9_Montrose_Nast), and Hart Crane (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hart_Crane).

January 13th, 2008, 09:13 PM

TIME Magazine (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,753309,00.html?iid=chix-sphere)
Monday, May 02, 1932

A suit more jocose than bitter was brought in Manhattan last week by Abraham, William, Herbert & Morton Minsky, proprietors of three burlesque theatres, against Sidney Ross, proprietor of one art gallery. Mr. Ross has been holding an exhibition called "The Theatre In Art (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,743542,00.html)" (TIME, April 11). There, on Sunday, he held "burlesque day." That made a bit of mutually profitable publicity for both Mr. Ross and the Minskys. One would have thought that it would cement their mutual respect and admiration, but such was not the case. On Tuesday Brother William Minsky caused his lawyer to write to Mr. Ross protesting a painting by one Myron Sokole, called "Burlesque a la Minsky." (NOTE: The artist's name is spelled MIRON Sokole (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7RNWE&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=%22Miron+Sokole%22&spell=1).)

"The painting, such as it is, depicting three dancing burlesque girls wholly lacking in form and beauty (one slightly cross-eyed and all ugly, fat, misshapen and sensuous) is a misnomer of its title. Remember, burlesque has done no harm to art. Why should art attempt to harm burlesque?" The Minskys asked $50,000 damages.

Undaunted, Mr. Ross stoutly declared that "it would be unfair not only to the artist but to the cause of freedom in American art to yield to your request." The suit will not come up for "probably quite a while." Curiously, the Minskys were not at all miffed with another painting called "Burlesque," by famed Thomas Benton, depicting a young woman gaily waggling her fundament at a dozen goggling male customers. "That's modernistic," decided the Minskys.

There are three burlesque theatres in Brooklyn, six in Manhattan. The Minskys own half of the Manhattan ones. Until last winter the Minsky mother house, the National Winter Garden, was at Houston Street and Second Avenue, teeming Jewish district. Father Minsky immigrated from Russia and became a leading merchant on Grand Street when Grand Street was the location of Lord & Taylor and Arnold Constable. He was also elected alderman and got in the construction business. With Lawyer Max D. Steuer he put up the Winter Garden Building. It housed two theatres, one on the sixth floor, one on the first. Brother Billy, 45, started showing films in the upper auditorium in 1912. Brother Abe, 54, had been running a nickelodeon theatre of his own and drifted in to help. When Brother Herbert, 40, acquired his law degree from Columbia and Brother Morton, 30, was graduated from New York University, they helped out, too.

For a while they showed vaudeville, but in 1915 they turned to burlesque. Brother Billy, onetime newspaperman, ablest of the group, had at that time never seen a burlesque show. He prefers Wagner, Dostoevsky, "deep books" and Edgar Wallace. Unlike other theatrical entertainment, burlesque requires no rehearsal. It is a traditional art. There are some 400 "bits" and Brother Billy simply specifies what series of bits he wants his stock company to perform each week. Sample "bit" is "Bibs & Bibs," involving two couples, one including a henpecked husband, the other a browbeaten wife. After a few drinks the situation is reversed.

"Bibs & Bibs" is "always good for a laugh." "Buzzin' The Bee" is another one in which the straight man persuades the two comedians to pretend they are bees. To ensure their silence each is given a mouthful of water. This "bit" terminates with one comedian getting a face full of water.

Inserted between the "bits" and song numbers are the "strip acts." A chorus and one of the principals comes out. When the chorus leaves the stage the principal begins disrobing. Up to a certain point she will continue to take her clothes off so long as the audience whistles, claps and howls for it. Since the Depression the pulchritude of the strip artists and chorus has visibly increased. The Minsky acts differ from week to week almost solely in their titles, which run to punning. Last week's performance was called Eileen Dover From Aiken.

From 1926 to 1929 the Minskys ran into palmy days. They advertised their show as the Folies-Bergeres of New York and were proud indeed of their "carriage trade": Otto Kahn. Horace Liveright, Frank Crowninshield. Gilbert Seldes, George Jean Nathan, who probably went to the National Roof less because it was like the Folies-Bergères than because it represented their country's one definite contribution to the theatre.

Year ago Lincoln's Birthday the Minskys shifted the focus of their operations by moving into the Republic Theatre on West 42nd Street. When Billy Minsky applied for a renewal of the license which permits his operations there, he was last week faced with litigation that threatened to be far more serious than his embroilment with Sidney Ross. License Commissioner James F. Geraghty gave a hearing to citizens who objected to renewing licenses for the Republic Theatre and the flea circuses, dime museums, and minor side shows which thrive nearby. Reformer John S. Sumner, Director Henry Moskowitz of the League of New York Theatres, counsel for Forty-Second Street Association and others said that such enterprises lowered the neighborhood's moral tone, depreciated property values, gave the whole city a bad name. Commissioner Geraghty seemed inclined to agree. He said that his own inspectors had been subjected to improper proposals after watching a burlesque show.

January 13th, 2008, 09:22 PM
... a painting by one Myron Sokole, called "Burlesque a la Minsky." (NOTE: The artist's name is spelled MIRON Sokole (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7RNWE&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=%22Miron+Sokole%22&spell=1).)

"The painting, such as it is, depicting three dancing burlesque girls wholly lacking in form and beauty (one slightly cross-eyed and all ugly, fat, misshapen and sensuous) is a misnomer of its title. Remember, burlesque has done no harm to art. Why should art attempt to harm burlesque?" The Minskys asked $50,000 damages.

Undaunted, Mr. Ross stoutly declared that "it would be unfair not only to the artist but to the cause of freedom in American art to yield to your request."

Artist Miron Solkole ...

http://davidcookfineart.com/large/Sokole_6055.jpg (http://davidcookfineart.com/1/Sokole_6055.htm)
Autumn Leaves (http://davidcookfineart.com/1/Sokole_6055.htm)
c. 1935

Miron Sokole
oil on canvas, signed lower left

19 ½ x 23 ¼ inches

The Person Inside (http://www.artnet.com/Artists/LotDetailPage.aspx?lot_id=15851398A26A6E6B81619884 C1C72DAB)
c. 1940
Miron Sokole
Mixed Media on Paper
7.2 x 5 in. / 18.4 x 12.7 cm.

Cotton Seed (http://www.ragoarts.com/onlinecats/05.06FA/648.jpg)
c. 1939
Miron Sokole
oil on canvas (framed)
24" x 30"

January 13th, 2008, 10:24 PM
Simply Heavenly, The Playhouse. Opened August 20, 1957. Closed October 12, 1957.
Generally unknown cast; Melvin Stewart(far right) in lead role.

West Side Story, Winter Garden. Opened September 26, 1957
"The Rumble" Ken LeRoy & Mickey Calin

The Egghead, Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Opened October 9, 1957. Closed October 26, 1957.
Phyllis Love, Karl Malden (from Streets of San Francisco), Edward Franz

Romanoff and Juliet, Plymouth Theatre. Opened October 10, 1957
Peter Ustinov as The General

Same production, with Fred Clark, Natalie Schafer (Mrs Howell on Gilligans Island), and William Greene

Copper and Brass, Martin Beck Theatre. Opened October 17, 1957. Closed November 16, 1957.
Scenes includes Nancy Walker (Rhoda, waitress in Bounty commercials) in black, and Alice Pearce (the first Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched).

Jamaica, Imperial Theatre. Opened October 22, 1957.
Cast included Ricardo Montalban(Fantasy Island), Lena Horne:), and Ossie Davis. No Tattoo?

Montalban and Horne

Nude With Violin, Belasco Theatre. Opened November 14, 1957. Closed February 8, 1958
Noel Coward as Sebastien

The Rope Dancers, Cort Theatre. Opened November 20, 1957. Closed May 3, 1958.
Art Carney (the Honeymooners) in the center rear.

Carney and Siobhan McKenna

January 13th, 2008, 10:33 PM
"The painting, such as it is, depicting three dancing burlesque girls wholly lacking in form and beauty (one slightly cross-eyed and all ugly, fat, misshapen and sensuous)