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PASSING STAGES END OF THE LINE Howard Bruno, the amiable Stage Doorman at the Broadhurst Theatre, called us when he heard that A Chorus Line, next door at the Shubert, was closing after 15 years at that theatre. "A lot of people have asked me what the last show to play the Shubert was before A Chorus Line opened in 1975," he said. We did a little research and discovered that it was a revival of Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife, starring the late Ingrid Bergman, which opened there on April 14, 1975 and closed on May 10. A Chorus Line began previews at the Shubert on July 25, 1975. NO KIDDING In 1960 Michael Kidd won a well-deserved Tony Award for his electrifying choreography for the musical Destry Rides Again. Just as lively was the much publicized onstage fracas involving the show's star, Dolores Gray, her mother Barbara and the Kidd. According to newspaper reports, Kidd disliked one of Dolores's performances and eulogized her with a four-letter word. She kicked him in a tender spot, and he promptly slapped her. Barbara Gray, recovering from an operation in a hospital, read about the incident in a gossip column and, according to the late Dorothy Kilgallen, with some tubes still stuck in her, entrained to Boston where the show was trying out. She stormed into the theatre, asked the stagehands to point out Mr. Kidd, and when they did, she promptly slapped his face. She demanded a public apology from Kidd or threatened to sue for defamation of character, assault and battery and jeopardy of career. There is no public record of Kidd's apology. THE MERM RETURNS Ethel Merman fans will flip over a new compact disc - You're the Top - which features digitally restored original recordings the belter made from 1931 through 1940. In addition to "You're the Top" and "I Get a Kick Out of You," which she introduced in 1934's Anything Goes, you will hear songs from such Merman shows as Red, Hot, and Blue; Take a Chance; DuBarry Was a Lady; Panama Hattie; Stars in Your Eyes; and her films, The Big Broadcast, Kid Millions, and Alexander's Ragtime Band. Interesting liner notes by Merman historian Albert F. Koenig, Jr., detail the singer's early career in vaudeville, night clubs, films and stage (Pro-Arte/Fanfare Collector's Series). WORTHY PROJECT Robert Sarnoff, Director of Cultural Arts for the Career Education Center, has informed us of one of its admirable projects. C.E.C. is an N.Y.C. Alternative High School program that services various sites for homeless adolescents and transitional students throughout the five boroughs. "Through our project called 'Crossroads,'" Mr. Sarnoff explained, "we give these students the opportunity to see Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Recently, they've attended Black and Blue, Les Miserables, 3 Penny Opera, Gypsy and Grand Hotel. The program is sponsored through the auspices of the N.Y.C. Board of Education. I have seen individual students grow in their love and appreciation of theatre and grow in terms of their own sense of worth because of their participation in Crossroads." TOURING TONYS Back in 1948, when the Tony Awards were only one year old, special Tonys were given to two stars for "spreading theatre to the country while the originals perform in New York." Mary Martin received hers for touring in Annie Get Your Gun, while Ethel Merman starred in it on Broadway; Joe E. Brown was honored for touring in Harvey, while Frank Fay played the lead in New York. MASTER THEATRE QUIZ - #9 What theatre presented the world premiere of Brigadoon? (a) Forrest (b) Shubert (c) Blackstone Be A Broadway Insider It's easy. Read the magazine they're reading backstage - the new PLAYBILL® Subscription Edition - with news and features you won't get in the PLAYBILL distributed in theatres. There's advance information on new shows, often months ahead of official announcements. On-scene reports from London... regional theatres... the road. Behind-the-scenes news of stars, scripts and production (the kind of thing Broadway insiders love to talk about). A monthly calendar of what's current and coming up on Broadway and Off-Broadway. PLUS all the stories, features and fun of the Theatre - Edition PLAYBILL so you never miss a thing no matter where you are. It's a terrific value at only $18 for 12 monthly issues and a thoughtful gift for theatre-loving friends. Just send check or M.O. for $18 ($21 outside the U.S.) for each subscription to PLAYBILL, Dept. S86, 17 Vanderbilt Avenue, NY, NY 10169. If you prefer, just say "Bill Me" and we'll include an invoice with your first issue. Please allow 6-8 weeks for subscription to begin. [[image]] PHOTO: MARTHA SWOPE PLAYBILL is THE "CATS" MEOW. The Company of CATS at the Winter Garden Theatre PLAYBILL The National Theatre Magazine [[left margin]] PLAYBILL® is a registered trademark of Playbill Incorporated, N.Y.C. All rights reserved. [[/left margin]]
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