EXTRA – EXTRA: READ ALL ABOUT IT: DEADLINE IS SEPT 19th GET YOUR TICKETS ASAP. This post is about our ANNUAL FRIENDS AND FAMILY THEATER EVENT. We will be going to see THE FRONT PAGE on Saturday, January 21st at 2pm. Tickets are $120 each. Members, please go to the Sign-Up tab on the menu ribbon on the Members site or the Reservations/ Payments tab in the Members Info section of the site. A little closer to the event we will arrange for a get-together afterwards.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …. newspapers were the dominant medium of the day. Most big cities had several dailies and people routinely read several every day. Before the historic 1962-63 newspaper strike in NYC, our city had seven daily papers (Daily News, New York Times, NY Journal American, The NY World-Telegram & Sun – itself a conjoining of three newspapers – the NY Daily Mirror, the NY Herald Tribune and the NY Post). The world of journalism was a tough, rough and tumble sort of profession where a lot of really smart – but not necessarily well-educated – people would do anything to get the story. It was a break-neck, competitive, intense world full of colorful and wise-cracking smart-alecks.
Nowhere was the craft practiced with more zeal and intensity than in Chicago – the classic “city of big shoulders” in the industrial heartland. This is where the brilliant theatrical duo Charlie MacArthur (husband of Helen Hayes) and Ben Hecht set their streetwise comedy of no-manners. Long before people extolled Aaron Sorkin’s ability to compress more words into a single line of dialogue than anyone else, these two wrote with the same staccato, rapid-fire pace that not only moved the story along – it was also great to listen to. –Almost an early version of rap.
Their play, THE FRONT PAGE, was first produced in 1928 before the twenties stopped roaring and the country was awash in colorful, American archetypes. Most avid theater-goers or old movie afficianados have seen this work at least several times – it has been produced on Broadway four different times and has been made into a movie three times. An all-time favorite adaptation is HIS GIRL FRIDAY starring Rosalind Russell as a gender-bending Hildy Johnson and Cary Grant as Walter Burns, the most unrealistically suave journo ever. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon starred in a mid-‘70’s version, directed by Billy Wilder, which is many people’s favorite.
So, it comes as no surprise that a crazy, truly star-studded group of performers is eager to be part of this limited run romp of THE FRONT PAGE. Nathan Lane (The Producers), John Slattery (Mad Men, Spotlight), John Goodman (Roseanne ), Jefferson Mays (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Holland Taylor ( Ann Richards), Sherie Rene Scott (Everyday Rapture) and Robert Morse (Mad Men, How to Succeed …) are ALL in this new production of an iconic American work which also just happens to be a lot of fun.
While there is a plot here – the real point is the period, ‘20’s setting, the characters and the knock-out dialogue. The action takes place in the Press Room of Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building. Hildy Johnson, a star reporter for the Examiner, drops in to say he’s leaving the squalid press corps for an advertising job and a respectable life in New York. But his editor, Walter Burns, has other ideas and would do – does – just about anything to hold onto his talented reporter. Meanwhile, there’s a jailbreak, as he has one foot out the door Hildy gets a once-in-a-lifetime, exclusive access to a hot story … and mayhem ensues.