Tuesday, December 18, 2007

For the Republic Theatre in which it stands...
Abie's Irish Rose Playbill circa March 1923
Don't you just love the moment in the theatre before the play starts? There is always that zen moment when have that quiet moment where you can take a peek to see who has the cutest photo in the playbill. And to read the fluffy article about how Patti LaPone has changed through the years.

Things weren't much different 84 years ago when Abie's Irish Rose was only it's first few hundred of its 2,327 performance run at the Republic Theatre. Abie's Irish Rose was one of Broadways biggest hits and groundbreaking in it's subject: a Jewish man marrying an Irish woman. Sort of a post Victorian age Bridget Love Bernie. It ran at the Republic for five years until 1927. By 1923, it had already worked it's way into the American vocabulary by showing up in advertisements for tailors; and referenced in the song Lorenz Hart song, "Manhattan" "We'll take our babies to go see Abie's Irish Rose - we hope they live to see it close." Word was that the theatre community hated its success. In that sense it was the "Cats" of it's day.
The Republic Theatre has quite a long history too. It was built in the early 1900s by Oscar Hammerstein, Sr. and then leased to famed producer, David Belasco. In the 30's it became the home of the famous Minsky's Burlesque. It is now has been renovated and is called The New Victory Theatre (what an awful name) and ironically specializes in children and family shows.

I wonder if in the New Victory playbills they put cautionary articles warning children against rabies. Because you know when the temperatures go up, out come the roaming dogs!

But back to the finer things of life. Like perfumes, corsets, hosiery, and George's Wave Tress.
I'm not sure how affective this ad is, she doesn't look too happy with what she is smelling!
Ooh, la, la... In olden days a glimpse of stocking, etc...
I love the term 'vamp' for a young independent woman. I think it should be brought back. It brings to mind a young smart woman who might swill gin, dance 'til the cows came home, yet still would be at work bright and early the next morning ready to fight for her place in the man's working world. They were the first step in the women's movement, and they did it in these fabulous shoes.
In case you are interested J. Glassberg is now the home of Pax Foods.

and finally this Murad Turkish Cigarette ad is so beautiful it makes me want to start to smoke... or ride a giant turtle.

The Republic Theatre Today... the old girl still looks pretty good.


Anonymous said...

Johnny...the "vamp" in this case is not referring to a woman...a vamp is part of the shoe, specifically the upper part of a shoe or boot covering the instep.

Gary Airedale

Johnny C said...

I stand corrected... I think I jumped to the vamp conclusion because of the time period.

Defination: Vamp, or upper
Any shoe has an upper part that helps hold the shoe onto the foot. In the simplest cases, such as sandals or flip flops, this may be nothing more than a few straps for holding the sole in place. Closed footwear, such as boots, sneakers and most men's shoes, will usually have a more complex upper. This part is normally decorated or is made in a certain style to look fashionable and attractive for the buyer.

actor1959 said...

Beautiful pic of the Republic, oops, excuse me The Victory was it? Have a pic of Alan Reed in Abie's Irish Rose but I think it must have been a television adaptation because the costumes look like the 1950s. Great site, thanks!

Charlene said...

"Vamp" didn't quite mean an independent woman, either. It could on occasion be used to describe a flirt, but more commonly it was used to describe an unscrupulous woman who seduced or exploited men. It comes from "vampire".