MUSIC AND DRAMA
The Easter holiday attractions for theatregoers in Hobart are at the picture houses, where unusually fine features are being filmed. "Over the Hill," at the Strand, had its first screening last
evening, and across the road at His
Majesty's a D. W. Griffith production "Way Down East," opened to a splendid house, and should maintain solid busi- ness for the rest of its stay. The Demp- sey and Carpentier boxing match is the feature of the bill at the National Thea- tre, and will be shown for the last time this evening. "The Fox," starring Harry Carey, is showing at the Palace Theatre where the crowds are constant day and night. The various theatres last even- ing were well patronised, and the pic- ture attractions proved irresistible to those who wanted a wind up a pleasant holiday.
Everybody who remembered him with the Famous Diggers when in Hobart last year were genuinely sorry to hear of the death of Will Crawford He was a performer considerably above the aver- age met with in musical costume comedy companies, and he had a magnetic per- sonality. He had a wealth of talent, of which he always gave his audiences the best, and his versatility had no limit. It is sad to see a good fellow like Will Crawford pass out. He was one of those who "did his bit" for his country in the hour of need, and it was an old war complaint that hastened his end all too
A mainland firm has, it is stated on good authority, taken a lease of the Na-
tional Theatre for a period of three years. Negotiations were concluded by cable a few days ago, and it is under- stood that one of the principals will ar-
rive in Hobart in the course of the next few days for the purpose of finalising matters, and also to discuss structural alterations to the theatre. The lease will commence at the beginning of June. So far it is not definitely known what form of entertainment the new management propose to introduce here.
The Humphrey Bishop Company had a remarkably enthusiastic send-off at Ade- laide, where they recently terminated a lengthy and highly successful season. The company is coming to Hobart in the course of the next four or five weeks, and will probably play here for a month.
If the criticisms in some mainland magazines are to be relied upon, several of the big theatrical productions have fallen very flat in the large cities, and have been withdrawn sooner than was proposed. The dressing and staging nowadays are said to be such as suffers by comparison with olden days. One writer remarks that "slipshod shows have been foisted on bored theatre-goers in a way that must have made the shades of J. C. Williamson and, more particu- larly, the meticulous George Musgrove, feel as uneasy as the ghost of Hamlet's father." Reports are read of bottle- green costumes shop worn scenery, and arthritic 'props' being dug up and made do for big productions," and that some of the characters looked like moth- eaten mannequins, from an old clo' em- porium." Certainly such things could not have happened in those palmy days of million prices (3s., 2s., and 1s., minus amusement tax, threepenny programmes, and early doors, when such great man- agers as J. C. Williamson, George Mus- grove, Brough and Boucicault, Bland Holt, and others were rivalling each other for popularity. Time has brought about changes, but apparently they have not been for the better, despite the
"boosting" of heavily-salaried publicity departments
News from the mainland is to the ef- fect that theatre-goers in Australia are getting very tired of American comedy. Allen Doone, it is said, had little success in Sydney with "Broadway Jones," and at latest he was back to "The Parish Priest." Allen Doone is excellent in Irish characters, but one can hardly pic- ture him being a success in a part that calls upon him to be wholly American.
Talented Madeline Rossiter, who will be remembered in Hobart as a member of Sydney James's Strollers' Company, is to appear at the Melbourne Tivoli at and early date.
Ada Reeve opened her farewell tour of Australia at Melbourne on Saturday last in "Spangles."
Louis Bennison, who plays the cow-
boy hero in "Johnny Get Your Gun" at
Melbourne Theatre Royal, has one of the finest cowboy outfits in existence, and, as the value of it is said to run into some hundreds of pounds, its elaborate- ness may be easily imagined. The sad- dle is ornamented with silver dollars, which have been stamped into relief, and other portions of the leatherwork are ornamented with silver effects. The leather is stamped with ornate designs, and jingling silver chains and spurs, a lariat, chased pistol holsters, long guns, leather chaps, high heeled boots, and other articles form portion of the out-
fit, which is Mr. Bennison's personal pro- perty, and of which he is very proud.
When the famous contralto, Madame Marguerita d'Alvarez, comes to Aus- tralia in June, she will be supported by the celebrated Belgian 'cellist, Horace Britt, who was bom in Antwerp, of Bel- gian parents, despite his apparently Eng- lish name. Amongst the famous con-
ductors under whose baton he has ap- peared are Edouard Colonne, Theodore Thomas, Gustav Mahler, Alfred Hertz, Andre Caplet, Arthur Nikisch, Felix Weingartner, and Arturo Toscanini. He has appeared as soloist with both the Lamoureux and Colonne orchestras — the most famous in all France.
Several of the principals of the J. C. Williamson company appearing in "A Night Out" at Her Majesty's Melbourne, had a novel experience last week, when they sang various numbers from the musical comedy on the stage of Her Majesty's, and these were transmitted by
wireless telephone to the soldier patients at the Anzac Hostel, Brighton, ships at sea, and all other stations that could listen in. Jascha Spivakovsky, the Rus-
sian pianist, also contributed to this novel concert, which was "picked up" by wireless stations within a radius of 500 miles. It is the intention of the J. C. Williamson management to send out regular entertainments by wireless telephone to hospitals and other institu- tions and the ships at sea. The mem- bers of the "Night Out" company who took part were Maud Fane, Alfred Frith, Madge Elliott, and Cyril Ritchard.
On Saturday night last "A Night Out" at Mer Majesty's, Melbourne, en- tered upon its fourteenth week. With this achievement, the musical comedy takes its place amongst the most suc- cessful of the firm's productions. Al- fred Frith is now making his farewell appearance in Melbourne, as before very long he leaves for England to enjoy a well-earned holiday, returning to the J. C. Williamson management later on in the year.
Among the personnel of the Sistine Choir are several celebrated soloists, including Signor Carpi and Signer An- geli, who will be heard in such fascinat- ing numbers as "Your Tiny Hand is Frozen," "E Lucevan Le Stelle," the "Flower Song" from "Carmen," "Dio Pos- sente" from "Faust," the great duet from "La Forza del Destino," the "Credo" from "Othello," and "The Dream" from "Manon." A boy-soprano will sing "Angels Ever Bright and Fair" and there will be solos duets, and trios from various operas. Of special interest to lovers of great music will be the inclu- sion of "Hagen" and men's chorus from "Gotterdammerung," and the boys' and men's chorus from the "Holy Grail" scene from "Parsifal." In direct con- trast will be the quaint and joyous Nea- politan dialect songs which are such a source of delight and wonder to travel-
lers in Southern Italy. These, with the Spanish and Italian madrigals and glees, and the rich, harmonious and imposing sacred music such as Allegri's "Miserere" and Palestrina's "Missa Papa Marcella," which have raised the choir's fame to a transcendant height, should arouse ex- traordinary attention. To the Sistine Choir belongs the secret of a unique method of combining two single voices or two complete sets of voices as one, and their manner of crescendi and di- minuendi, by increasing or diminishing the voices as well as the tone, is one that aroused the astonishment and fer- vour of both Mozart and Mendelssohn. Under the direction of such a master
as Monsignor Rella, the music world of Australia may be assured of a great artistic feast.
As an idea of just what a Griffith pro- duction is to get ready for presentation to the public, it is said that the ice scene, "Way Down East," cost over £200,000. It took ten weeks to take it up on the Connecticut River, near White River Junction, Vt., and there were ten engineers and 250 workmen employed in testing the ice, setting the floes, and in- cidentally watching the weather and ele- ments. Mr. Griffith took over 200,000ft. of film, in order to get the effects now shown in the production, which is all covered within a thousand feet of film. "Way Down East" is now running at Ho- bart at His Majesty's Theatre.
Sydney papers mention that Arthur Shirley, motion picture producer, of Rose Bay, is claiming £1,000 damages from Ernest H. Higgins, motion picture photo- grapher, of Darling Point, in respect of an alleged broach of contract in connec- tion with the motion picture called "The Throwback." Both parties are well known in Hobart, where they were born.
The following is the cast of "The First Year," the comic tragedy of married life staged at King's Theatre, Melbourne by J. and N. Tait's new company :—Marjorie Bennett, Grace Livingstone ; Edwin Les- ter, Fred. Livingstone ; Maggie Moore, Mrs. Fred Livingstone ; Gaston Mervale, Dr. Myron Anderson ; William Grenne, Dick Loring ; Phillips Tead, Thomas Tucker ; Elizabeth Dunn, Hattie ; Thomas Lloyd, Mr. Barstow ; Marie Eaton, Mrs. Barstow. The play, which is in three acts, is produced by Robert E. Homans. Phillips Tead, who appears as Thomas Tucker, played this role in the original production in New York for some time, and Frank Craven, who ia also the author of the play, was out of the cast. Mr. Tead has played over 300 different char-
acters during his theatrical career. He has also bean associated with several noted stars in pictures, including Norma Talmadge in "She Loves and Lies," and Elaine Hammerstein in "A Woman's Way."
Jascha Spivakovsky, the famous young Russian pianist, has taken Melbourne by storm. Spivakovskv is said to have marvellous technique, and a charmingly unaffected personality.
Nicola, the master magician, after a remarkable season in Melbourne, goes to Adelaide and the West prior to a visit to Tasmania and New Zealand. Nicola's latest achievement, the Indian rope trick, astonished Melbourne.
Toscha Seidel, the brilliant young Russian violinist, who is the next of the J. and N. Tait musical attractions, following Jascha Spivakovsky, was born in Odessa in 1900, and is, therefore, only 11 years of age. At a very early age he showed unmistakable musical talent, and at eight years had mastered the
Beriot concerto. Professor Auer heard him, and immediately accepted him as a scholarship pupil. Auer was also the instructor of Jascha Heifetz. The J. and N Tait management have an in- teresting photograph in which Heifetz, as a boy of fifteen, is seated at the piano, with Seidel in a knickerbocker suit, playing the violin, while the fam- ous teacher is watching them proudly. Seidel commences his Australian sea- son at the Sydney Town-hall on Satur- day next.
The "Hymn of the Hearthstone," as "Home, Sweet Home," has been called, is a feature of the present Melba con- certs on the mainland. It is not gener- ally known that the cottage in the Long Island village of Easthampton, which in- spired John Howard Payne to write "Home, Sweet Home," has been saved from destruction. There was a danger of the small, simple dwelling (which is over 200 years old) being torn down to make way for an "improvement," but it has been rescued from such a fate by a purchaser, who, out of regard for the world-wide sentiment attaching to it, intends to preserve its exterior just as it has remained since Payne lived there as a boy. The composer was not born there. He was a New Yorker, but his father, a schoolmaster moved to East-
hampton, one of the loveliest villages of the Long Island ridge, which faces the shining white beach of the Atlantic. "Home, Sweet Home" was written in London while Payne was on his way to Africa to take up the post of United States Consul at Tunis.
It is the contention of English theatri- cal managers that theatres are losing money because of the high entertain- ment tax. Mr. Gillespie, managing director of the Moss Empires, said re- cently that since the inception of the tax his company alone had paid £1,250,000 in entertainment tax, and the London Hippodrome was now paying something like £1,000 a week. "To take one week at random," said Mr. Gillespie, "one theatre paid £124 in tax, and made a loss of £152. Another paid £181 tax and made a loss of £287, while a third paid £207, and made a profit of £54." Mr. Charles Gulliver, managing director of London Variety Theatres, operating 30 halls in the country, said that, speak- ing generally, music halls have been run- ning at a loss for a year past. Since the tax was instituted the Palladium has paid over £200,000.
Thus a leading London daily paper :— "The Sentimental Bloke," an Australian production, handled by Gaumont, is a delightful film. It is the picturisation of the famous verses writcn by C. J. Dennis, and these appear as the sub- titles, rough, slangy, doggerel, which yet manages to make a great appeal. The Bloke is played with real charm by Arthur Touchert. It is a sure "win- ner."
Appearances in Holland in "The Gei- sha" and in Berlin in "The Miracle," di- rected by the noted producer Max Rein- hardt, have been among the unusual experiences of Miss Nella Duval, who has come from England with Miss Ada Reeve's company to play soubrette parts. In the productions of Mr. Seymour Hicks, Mr. Douglas Furber, and other managers. Miss Duval has appeared in such plays as "Vanity Fair," Airs and Graces," "Jack in the Box, "Ring Up," and "The Man in Dress Clothes."
On the Fuller vaudeville circuit Miss Jennie Hartley is billed as "The Vital Spark." Anything that suggests alert- ness and animation is certainly a suit- able description of Miss Hartley. Middle- aged theatregoers may remember that Mr. Harry Rickards used to advertise Miss Peggy Pryde on her first visit to Australia, as "the clever daughter of the late Jenny Hill—'The Vital Spark.'" Theatrical descriptions, like everything else have their returns of fashion. And, as with other fashions, these styles have many sources of origin. It is curious to remember that "The Vital Spark" takes its origin from some lines of Pope's which were suggested by the Em- peror Hadrian's address to his soul.
Wish Wynne who will be remembered with pleasure by her Australian admir- ers, is back again at the Coliseum, Lon- don. Speaking to an interviewer on her return, she remarked :— It was a plea- sure to go to Canada, where, of course, mv character sketches of slum children were thoroughly understood. Australia and South Africa were the same. In Australia I met Steele Rudd whose com- edy 'On Our Selection,' is a household word out there. I also came across C.
J. Dennis, author of 'The Sentimental Bloke' —to me the first of Australian classics. In New York I met J. L. Shine, one of the oldest and best of our legiti- mate actors. You know him —and so do all your readers —what?"