The notable theatrical events so far, in this new decade, have taken place mostly outside of the provisional theatre. Robert Frost read his poem at President Kennedy's inaugural in Washington and the rostrum caught fire. FBI security agents rushed to the rescue and in full view of the TV audience (probably the largest ever assembled in the world's history) put out the fire by pouring ginger ale on it.
I speculated at the time on the various ways this spectacle would have been staged in other countries. In England, they probably would have removed Mr. Frost to a place of safety and then carted of the burning rostrum. In the Soviet Union, they no doubt would have arrested Mr. Frost. In France, the Pompiers would have perhaps just peed on the fire.
Other highlights of the past seasons have been Castro's performance up at the Hotel Thérèse in Harlem and Premier Kbrushchev's balcony scene from the second-boor porch of the Soviet Embassy on Park Avenue. Both of these turns have been (to borrow an adjective from Brooks Atkinson) “rewarding-'' But undoubtedly the most dramatic off-Broadway extravaganza so far has been the staggering production of shooting a man into outer space.
In the ensuing years I expect to find myself, on alternate weeks, either in New Haven, Boston, Philadelphia or Washington, making sketches of a show to be correlated into a design for the Sunday drama section of The New York Times. If my ink bottle holds out and the patience of my editors endures I intend to continue this procedure until space sends a man for me.
Al Hirschfeld 1961
Begins "Unlikely Casting" series for Playbill with Carol Channing as Lady Macbeth. Continues for 13 months.