Lavish Cinema throughout Western side Dallas
(p. 101) “The Grand Theatre: the House of Ideas” by Jacob P. Adler is an intriguing glimpse of the beginnings and development of Broadway as it became a major cultural center of American life. (folio. (eds), New York: Schorer, 1986. Print. Pg. ).
In the book, Adler relates the history of the grand in relation to the evolution of Broadway. He sketches the emergence of the theaters of his day, the cultural significance of the newly popular form of entertainment, and the social and political impact of the rise of such popular venues as the Grand and the Lincoln theater. He covers these topics with entertaining clarity.
The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about the grand theater is the sound–its supreme purity and power. I can remember my first experience of the great theater, at the age of eight, when I went to see “Jesus Christ Superstar.” That performance of my junior high school years forever changed my view of what a great theater could be. Adler’s lively rendering of the drama, coupled with the powerful staging and costumes of Jean Hershey elevated “Jesus Christ” to a standard of art that has delighted audiences for decades. After that performance, I never again thought of a Broadway show the same way.
The birth of the grand theater marks the transformation of the American theater. It was after the premiere of “Jesus Christ,” that I came to understand the true scope and talent of America’s greatest classical drama performers. Though lacking in many aspects of the “Broadway Syndrome,” the Great Performances of the twenties and thirties (and the nearly equal number of comedies produced during those years) were bolder in the content and message they conveyed than any of their modern counterparts. For instance, I believe the first production of “Othello” to rival anything I have ever seen on Broadway was the production of “Hamlet.” Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the cast and the entire showmanship exuded a theatricality that had not been seen on Broadway for over fifty years.
Though the decade of the nineteen-twenties witnessed a veritable reign of power for the playhouse, there was a real age defying new resurgence in the theater, culminating with “Othello” and “The Merchant of Venice.” Branagh returned to his role as Don Marquis de Pompadour in “Othello,” while Christopher Columbus returned again to the part of the young prince in “The Merchant of Venice.” Both of these masterful performances elevated these great plays to critical acclaim and established them as the benchmarks of great drama acting. These successes set the tone for what would become the most prolific period of dramatic production in the history of the American theater.
Of course, age-old favorites like “The Lion King” and” Cats” still enjoy strong audiences today, but many of the newer shows directed by Wes Ball or starring Guy Pierce or Jack Lemmon have a far more modern flavor. These more modern productions are more in line with the current tastes of both audience and producer. The result is that the grand theaters of yesteryear are coming back, and the quality of the shows has reached a new level of quality. These productions are bringing back the charm of the grand old playhouses.
Theatrical fashion has also changed in this day and age. Many of the older style grand theaters have been updated to have more contemporary designs, and in general, the design has become more “less formal.” If you want to see the grand theater in its original glory, you might not be able to, but many of the newer designs are very “people friendly.”
So when considering booking a theater spot, you should look for the production of “Othello” or “Jesus of Nazareth,” or productions like “utherans” or “deranged” or dramas set in the past, like “Camelot” or “House of Cards.” You will find that these classic dramas and comedies have their own fans even today. However, the newer shows have a wider appeal, and they do not seem to be getting old as fast as the classic productions. Make your plans now, because there is a limited amount of space left for the grand theater.