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ENCOUNTERS

Playwright-director Edward Chodorov ("Kind Lady," "Oh, Men! Oh, Women!") has, during his many years of working in the theatre and the movies, met many legendary figures in the performing arts. He is currently engaged in sharing his amusing in the nostalgic memories of these luminaries in a book, which is herewith sneak-previewed for Playbill's audience.

LADY HARDWICKE'S MOTHER

She is the heroine of the best theatrical mother's story I know.

Lady Hardwicke was Mary Scott, a lovely American girl who understudied Lilli Palmer as Cleopatra to Sir Cedric's Caesar in George Bernard Shaw's play in New York.

Unbelievable luck! On the very day that Mary's mother arrived from the West to visit her Mary was notified that Miss Palmer was indisposed and could not perform.

Mary was understandably breathless. "Mother!" She said, "you won't believe this but I'm going to play Cleopatra today!"

"Oh dear," said mother. "Do you mean that I'm not going to see Lilli Palmer?"

GERTRUDE LAWRENCE

Some day someone is going to do a stage or movie musical about the star who collapses psychologically on opening night and tries to disgrace him or herself except that those surrounding the star will not allow it. (I saw this happen twice with the same fabulously successful musical on its opening out of town and in New York!)

Or failing that, there is a plot which deals with the night the great star is nearly robbed, but not quite, of stardom and goes on to demonstrate what a real star is made of. And this I have also seen happen – once.

Gertrude Lawrence was the star of the Moss Hart/Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin musical, Lady in the Dark, one of those songs, "Jenny," was the cause of constant friction during rehearsals between Miss Lawrence and the creators. She did not like the number and refused to sing it; but was finally prevailed upon to give it at least a try out of town and promise that if it did not work for her it would be withdrawn. She agreed to this arrangement, except that she was firm in saying she would not under any circumstances, definitely not, do the grinds and bumps with which the singer was supposed to accompany the chorus. Burlesque grinds and bumps, Miss Lawrence said, were away out of her range and style and whatever. So the grinds and bumps were forgotten.

[[Image: black and white photo of four people on stage in costume]]

[[caption]] Gertrude Lawrence, bumping, grinding, and stomping Lady in the Dark with her raucous "Saga of Jenny." [[/caption]]

There was a young red-haired comedian in the show in a minor role who had been picked up from his act at a nightclub called "La Martinique".

The young red-haired comedian was Danny Kaye; and his big moment in Lady in the Dark was a fast patter song which sounded funny during rehearsals but at the opening night in Boston brought down the house. In fact, the audience literally could not allow the show to continue until


by EDWARD CHODOROV

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