The Decline of the Theater
Another season is beginning on Broadway; shows are racing one another to town; playwrights’ names, actors’ names, producers’ names are being flung about as synonyms for beauty and excitement. The present moment is a delightful one for the press agent, for whom the sky is still the limit; the reviewer, however, if he would remain on solid ground, must look back to last season and bury it with what sighs and oratory it seems worthy of. But funerals, after all, offer excellent opportunities to generalize, to edify the living under pretense of extolling the dead. Or, it may be, of not extolling the dead: the evil that men do is repeated after them.
In any relative sense, the season of 1944-45 was a quite pleasant one. There were two, possibly three, superior musical shows—Carousel, On the Town, Bloomer Girl. There were some likeable comedies—The Late George Apley, I Remember Mama, Harvey. There were some more serious plays that had their good points—The Deep Mrs. Sykes, The Glass Menagerie, A Bell For Adano, Anna Lucasta. There were, finally, some interesting or instructive failures dotting the season, things like Common Ground, Dark of the Moon, Sing Out Sweet Land.
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