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Editor Turns Hobby Into Community Project

When an editor gets mad enough, most anything can happen. When Ralph Matthews, Editor of the Washington Afro-American was transferred from New York to Washington six years ago, he got mad about two things. First he was mad because he couldn't see his Broadway musical comedies and, second, he was mad because of the treatment accorded amateur performers in talent night shows in which the audience hooted and boo'd and rang cow bells discouraging many promising young artists, who never dared to set foot on a stage again. 

Combining his pet peeves, Matthews decided, that if these artists were rounded up, trained and presented in a credible fashion, that not only would the community get the benefit of good entertainment, but the youngsters would get a chance to try their theatrical sea-legs. 

With the help of Mrs. Vivian Baber Johnson, a former Broadway star, he organized the New Faces Guild and set out to produce musical shows as a community project. Many agencies including the Y.M.C.A., Police Boys' Club, the Girls' Vocational School, the Department of Recreation and the War Hospitality Committee, all joined in to help put over the program.

[[image: black & white photograph of Ralph Matthews]]
[[caption]] RALPH MATTHEW [[/caption]]

The Guild has raised during the past six years more than $1,200 for charity, underwriting the work of the Citizens Committee for the Aid of Physically Handicapped Children, which supplies braces, crutches, orthopedic shoes for cripples and also does an annual benefit show for the Camp Lichtman Fresh Air Fund. 

Although the Guild's productions are done on an elaborate scale with Broadway costuming and scenery costing nearly $1,000, last year the Guild turned over to Charity $2,222 in and above its operational cost. Much of this was due to the fact that the Afro-American gives free publicity to the project and Lichtman Theatre Corporation furnishes the Howard Theatre without charge.

The Guild furnishes and outlet for hundreds of war-workers, who have had either professional or dramatic training in schools and colleges. Between shows the group entertains soldiers in nearby camps and U.S.O. clubs. "My biggest headache," said Matthews, "is caused by our slogan, "the most beautiful girls in Washington belong to the Guild.'" This has served as a standing invitation to the local wolves, who generally raid the cast after each production carrying off the glorified damsels making it necessary to recruit a new cast each season. 

Mr. Matthews writes his own plays, designs his scenery and costumes and then turns the creation over to Mrs. Johnson and her production staff to whip into shape. The Guild has now become a Washington institution. 

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PROGRAMME

"The Devil to Pay" - story and scenery by Ralph Matthews; directed by Vivian Baber Johnson; dances by Lulu Wyatt; ballets by Albert Grayson.

THE GUILD HOSTESSES - Bonnie Booth, Grace Hobson, Madeline Mahoney and Mary Gray.

SATAN - Ralph Matthews
LUCREZA BORGIA - Grace Butcher
SALOME - Mary Gray
JEZEBEL - Bonnie Booth
DUBARRY - Madeline Mahoney
DELILAH - Grace Hobson
THE GODDESS OF LOVE - Lois Campbell
CANDY BRADFORD - Kitten Burrell
ALICE KESSLER - Lula Wyatt
ELDER GOODEED - Charlie Ford
JACK NORTON - Charlie Johnson
SUE SALTERS - Vivian Baber Johnson
BETTY NICHOLS - Mauryne Brent

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JON KAY BUTLER - 14TH AT YOU STREETS, N.W. - COLUMBIA 6805
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