After Dark

Old Rialto Theatre, NJ / 1929 (listed humorously as 1868)



Although the date is clearly printed as "Week Of March 11th, 1868"
this production was actually staged in 1929.

The Old Rialto Theatre in Hoboken, New Jersey was restored in 1929 by a group of artistic friends (including Christopher Morley) who used it to produce shows for their own amusement. They had an unexpected hit with this show in 1929. The "1868" date was obviously a little joke (referring to the year the original show ran on Broadway).

Time Magazine, March 25, 1929:

"Last week in Hoboken, N. J., their 'last seacoast of Bohemia,' Christopher Morley, Cleon Throckmorton, Conrad Milliken and Harry Wagstarf Gribble revived The Black Crook. Next day not a newspaper blushed, no pulpit peeped. Nevertheless, Hoboken's Lyric Theatre had scarcely more than standing room, not, of course, because The Black Crook is shocking in 1929, but because it is "quaint.'' The only trouble with it is that it is entirely too quaint. In their efforts to be sure the audience understands just how funny it looks and sounds after all these years, the actors fall into too-broad burlesque. Moreover, the producers have" sought to modernize the script and t, and for the Amazons who marched their hourglass figures before the oglers of 1866, have been substituted some more or less fleshless girls of the 1929 model. ...The Black Crook is, of course, only the latest chapter in the astonishing adventure of four gentlemen in Hoboken. For years the Three-Hours-For-Lunch-Club, a semi-mythical organization of Manhattan gourmets, has met occasionally in the New Jersey port, drawn across the Hudson by German cooking and the fact that Hoboken's beer has scarcely heard of the 18th amendment. It was on one of these trips that Cleon Throckmorton, scenic designer, discovered the old Rialto Theatre, buried under 70 years of dust. He interested Christopher Morley, novelist-playwright-essayist-colyumist; Harry Wagstaff Gribble, playwright; and Conrad Milliken, lawyer-poet. Eventually the four leased it and dusted it. Their original intention was merely to use the old playhouse for their own amusement. They gathered together a company best described as semiprofessional and last Labor Day threw the doors open for their first production, a revival of The Barker, a Broadway hit, not caring much whether they even paid expenses. They didn't. Nor did they care. They kept on, producing Mr. Morley's own play, Pleased to Meet You, reviving Broadway and The Old Soak, going into red ink but having a very pleasant time of it. Then, just before Christmas, they produced After Dark, or Neither Maid, Wife, nor Widow, a play as old as their theatre by Dion Boucicault* Before they really knew what had happened they had a hit on their hands. People came over from sophisticated Broadway to hiss the villain. Telephone calls for reservations were so numerous that six telephones were in stalled. ...

The original After Dark opened on Broadway November 16, 1868 at Niblo's Garden Theatre. (Closing date unknown.)

(Actual program measures 5 1/2"x 16")


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