About the Productions: Fun Facts

cover of Boston Opera House program
A program for a production of Madama Butterfly performed by the Chicago Grand Opera Company, Inc. at the Boston Opera House.
Source: Jean Elizabeth Goodrich Scrapbook

The Numerous Makeovers of Madama Butterfly

Puccini’s popular opera, Madama Butterfly, has been adapted multiple times. The opera itself is based on a play, which was based on a short story by John Luther Long. The success of the opera led to a film adaptation called M. Butterfly and the Broadway musical, Miss Saigon which updated the story to the Vietnam War.

Strauss: What a Man!

The Great Waltz, by Moss Hart and Desmond Carter, was a biographical musical about classical composer Johann Strauss. The musical numbers contain lyrics set to Strauss's famous works. The production was unusually large for a Broadway musical, containing extravagant song and dance numbers, and a cast of over 175 performers.

Program for a production of the musical play The Great Waltz
Program for a production of the musical play The Great Waltz.
Source: Jean Elizabeth Goodrich Scrapbook

Program for Autumn Crocus
A program for the play Autumn Crocus by Dodie Smith (as C. L. Anthony). The play was performed at the Hollis Street Theatre, on March 12, 1934.
Source: Jean Elizabeth Goodrich Scrapbook

A program from Camille shown at the Colonial Theatre
Program from the play Camille produced by Boylston Theatre Company and shown at the Colonial Theatre.
Source: Jean Elizabeth Goodrich Scrapbook

For Fans of One Hundred and One Dalmatians

The author of Autumn Crocus now known as Dodie Smith, wrote under the pseudonym CL Anthony until 1935. She later became a novelist and published well known novels such as I Capture the Castle and the children’s classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

A Doomed Romance Always Makes Great Fare for Drama

The play Camille, which Bettie saw at the Colonial Theatre, was one of the most popular plays of the early 20th century. It tells the tale of a terminally ill courtesan who falls in love with a wealthy suitor, but forces him to believe that she has been unfaithful in order to save his reputation. Just as he is about to forgive her, she dies in his arms. The role of Camille was a tour de force for both Sarah Bernhardt (on stage) and Greta Garbo (on film).

Satirizing Pop Culture Is Not New

Bettie saw a 1933 production of the musical As Thousands Cheer which was most likely an out of town tryout for Broadway. Its stars, Clifton Webb and Helen Broderick went on to originate their roles on Broadway to high critical acclaim, and both went on to become film stars. The play was a collection of sketches satirizing popular culture of the time, with the book written by Moss Hart and the music written by Irving Berlin, including the well known song, Easter Parade.

Bettie's comments on As Thousands Cheer: A swell show.  Some very good cracks!
Bettie's positive verdict on the play, As Thousands Cheer.
Source: Jean Elizabeth Goodrich Scrapbook

Park Theatre program for Minsky's Famous Burlesque
A theater program for Minsky's burlesque show
Source: Jean Elizabeth Goodrich Scrapbook

The Limon Dance Company Connection

Also in the cast of As Thousands Cheer: Jose Limon, as a chorus dancer. Limon went on to become one of the pioneers of modern dance, and started his own company in 1946 with his mentor, Doris Humphrey. The Limon Dance Company is still one of the world's best known modern dance companies.

Stripping Can Still Be Classy

Bettie saw Minsky's Famous Burlesque, which included star Gypsy Rose Lee, perhaps the most well known stripper in America. She was known for her "classy" and understated performances. Her memoir, written in 1956, was adapted into the popular Broadway musical Gypsy.

Before Keith Lockhart, There Was Arthur Fiedler

During Bettie's time, Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops. He made a name for himself by making many recordings of the Boston Pops' performances. Much like Keith Lockhart's current reputation, Fiedler was a local celebrity. Bettie calls him "adorable," but also has some other opinions about him…

Photograph of Arthur Fiedler
Photograph of Arthur Fiedler.
Source: Jean Elizabeth Goodrich Scrapbook
Bettie’s comment on Arthur Fiedler: Adorable Arthur Fiedler. But they say he's terribly disillusioned as regards women and such.
Bettie’s continuing comments on Arthur Fiedler: Too bad, because he's always been so sweet to me. But then, I'm only a chi[ld?]..
Bettie's comments regarding Arthur Fiedler whom she appears to have met.
Source: Jean Elizabeth Goodrich Scrapbook