Southern Illinois University Carbondale SCRC Text (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
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'Windy City' Keeps Audience on Alert
'Windy City' Keeps Audience on Alert
Title'Windy City' Keeps Audience on Alert
CreatorMurdock, Henry T.
Descriptionreviews "Windy City' as a "play with music" about the gritty side of life on South State street, portraying hard-living characters down on their luck , interlaced with blues, gamblers, comedy and cabaret. He says a few of the numbers go on a little too long, but likes the innovation of putting the chorus in the pit to avoid "large ensemble scenes". He compliments Dunham's choreography, particularly for the "reefer man interlude" but thinks it could have stood some editing.
CollectionSCRC Text (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
SubcollectionKatherine Dunham Papers
Place WrittenChicago, IL
Subjects -titlesWindy City
Subjects -peopleDunham, Katherine
Other topicsGreat Northern Theater
Collection ID/Box#FP20_7_F1DUNHAM_B102_F13_04
Rights StatementFor permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Phone: + 1 (618) 453-2516. Email:
Transcriptindy City' Keeps
lence on
By Henry T. Murdock
BEING exhibited these nights at the Great Northern Ttieater is an exciting display of stagecraft, the unique and arresting projection of what may be a bathetic story, but one which never fails to hold the attention. "Windy City" has a share of faults, some basic and some in common with ail tryouts, hut lack of courage and lack of effort are not among them.
This is the Philip Yordan play with music (as differentiated from the musical comedy) which holds up a somewhat flawed mir¬ ror to the local citizenry, concern¬ ing itself with that section of South State Street that is well equipped with smail-fry cabarets, .^mall-time playhouses and small- price hotels.
As was the case with ''Pal Joey, " the home town gets none the best of it in this lugubrious travel talk.
All Seek Originality
On the other hand, however, producer, author, composer, chore¬ ographer, designer, players and the men in the pU all sem to have been imbued with the idea of constructing along original lines. In its physical aspects, ^'Windy City" reaches in the same direction as did such worthy predecessors as *'The Three Penny Opera, " ''Knickerbi^cker Holiday, " *'Lady in the Dark" and the before mentioned 'Tal Joey."
Period of the story is 1933; the protagonists, Danny O'Brien, in-
"Windj City." Ilkhard Kollirnr presents a play u'lth musjc Oy Philip Yordan. Mu^ic by Walter JurinsD. Lyrics bv Paul Francis V^eb- ater. Directed bv Edward Reveauji. Chorec^- raphy by Katherine Duaham, Sets and IfEiit- ine by j.j Miolimier, Pre&ented at the Great Northefn TheB[ with the iollowiriE c&^t:
Ma-c E^y stEwart
Danny O Brienr.., ......-...John Conte
Bartender.-...¦....-Grovcr Eurgess
I-oJa -., , ., ., ... , , Su^i3n Miller
Pranbie Keaton............Ralph Herts
Sam --, ......., , ...., JacJt Dmmnnd
Ruby..-, ...., , ., .., jQoy Paye
MBrtm O'Brien n......... rLorin^ Smith
Grampfl CErion-, .., .. Al Shesn
A Little Girl, , ., ......Morma VgsJgviPii.
A "Vounpr Boy, , . james Russell
^ouis Robert Berry
J^ats., , , ..., ... Mickey Cochran
atony , Tom p^di
^Pifn......Irene Kawthoine
Jimmy Casino Stephen Chase
Reefer Man j^rfy Roes
MuslciaPB.... , ^. , Harry Day, KaJ Loraan
iiw:^TOW '
v, *
nf^ mm^^Ml^J:.^^
veterate gambler, and Lola, night club warbler. Danny is ardent and Lola carries a flaming torch, but she realizes that life with Danny would be too precarious. For most of the play they maintain the "blues In the night'* mood, abet¬ ted by some haunting lilts from Composer Walter Jurman :
Dialogue Is Pungent
No one is very happy abt ut anything. Characters are slugged^ drop over with heart attacks and attempt suicide, but at the same time there are bits of pungont dialogue and sharp situations which keep the audience on the alert.
Few of the players are big names, " but they have been well chosen, John Conte, heretofore a radio performer, acts Danny with sympathy and displays a good voice. Susan Miller, favorably' known among the cafe society set here, is luscious and well voiced as Lola.
Lorin^ Smith constantly builds up the character of Danny's gam¬ bling daddy, Veteran Al Shean fportrays his ditto granddaddy with skill, Joey Paye hvens the scene with some bits from burlesque and Frances Williams does some show stopping with two comic songs, ''Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" and *'Ifs the Better Me." And speak¬ ing of ballads, *'As the Wind Bloweth, " "Don't Ever Run Away from Love" and "Out on a Limb" should be winners in the South State cabarets, as elsewhere.
Settings Colorful
Jo Mielziner has designed some colorful and intricate settings, not all of which were well maneu¬ vered last night. But the pattern was easily discernible. After a couple of more drills, a fluid, everchanging stage should result.
Among the innovations in the production is the banishment of the vocal chorus to the pit, leaving the stage open for plot action and eliminating the necessity of large ensemble scenes. The ballets staged by Katherine Dunham are interesting, particularly a '^reefer man" interlude, but we felt that editing might have improved them.
At present, there's a tendency all through the show to sustain a mood or a scene and sometimes a song a trifle too long, though if that's considered a fault, it should be easy to remedy.
Original Formatreview
Original dimensions (cm.)32 x 11
Digital Object TypeImage
Digital File Format.tif
Digital File PublisherSpecial Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
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