• U.S.

The Theatre: New Musical in Manhattan: Dec. 12, 1938

1 minute read

Great Lady (produced by Dwight Deere Wiman & J. H. Del Bondio). Only the most rabid Manhattan sightseers have toiled uptown to inspect the handsome, aged Jumel Mansion. Great Lady is a “biography with music” of the mansion’s former chatelaine, high-stepping Madame Eliza Jumel. From being put in the stocks for misbehaving in Providence, R. I., Eliza went on to dally with a French cavalier, marry a French businessman, almost whisk Napoleon to the U. S. after Waterloo, curtsy before Louis XVIII of France and make a second marriage, late in life, with Aaron Burr.

In Great Lady this glamorous career of sin and scandal becomes as exciting as a sleeping draught. In vain Actress Norma Terris, as Madame Jumel, flaunts her jewels and warbles her high notes. In vain Actress Irene Bordoni leers, winks, ooh-la-las as she has done for over 25 years. In vain Great Lady’s, sets grow more & more lavish, its costumes more & more lacy. For the music is stock and tame, the humor callow and vulgar; the acting is wooden, the directing leaden, the writing brassy. Great Lady is the season’s gaudiest bore.

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