Cutler Majestic Theatre
Opening Night Review
Taken from The Boston Daily Globe Tuesday Morning, February 17, 1903, Page 1
SPLENDOR OF THE MAJESTIC
Hub Proud of Beautiful New Theatre. Gold from Entrance to Exit. It's all That is Best and Modern. Crowded From Rail to Topmost Gallery. Brilliant Audience to Behold the Opening Piece. "The Storks," a Jolly Musical Comedy.
There appeared to be but one opinion among the great throng that attended the opening of Boston's new theater, the Majestic, last evening, and that was that it is the most beautiful playhouse Boston has yet seen.
It was a brilliant opening, for the house was crowded from orchestra rail to the topmost row of the gallery, and those who accepted the higher-priced seats well represented that prosperous element of the community that is able on each occasions to add no little to the picturesque effect of the ensemble by a handsome display of rich fabrics, laces, wraps and jewels.
The quality of the audience was indicated by the constant stream of carriages that discharged their daintily beflounced and beribboned freight through the richly ornamented and inviting entrance to the theater, for half an hour or more previous to the rise of the curtain, the constantly moving line of vehicles extending for a great part of the time from the point of the theater to Boylston and beyond.
It was an audience the composition of which was most promising for the future of the magnificent theater, for it was not composed, to any overwhelming degree, of any specific class, but it was an exceedingly interesting composite of the various social strata, from the famous Mrs. John L. Gardner to the industrious mechanic or shop girl, the intermediate gradation containing bankers, rich merchants, real estate operators, professional men who live in Easy street, to use an expressive if not elegant phrase, and the large body of middle class storekeepers and high salaried wage earners in a multitude of lines of human endeavor.
As a whole, the gathering was a notably dressy one, even the sea of humanity in the balconies presented an unwontedly gay appearance in that respect.
For 15 minutes before the time for the beginning if the play, the front lobby, and, indeed, the sidewalk, for some distance from the front entrance, contained a surging mass of well-bred and cheerful faced men and women, who endured the rib-crushing incident to getting inside the portals of the house with most commendable good nature.
The approach through the outer lobby was a most pleasing sight, the rich, warm bronze tones with which the graceful floriated ornamentation of the walls and cornices are tinctured, arousing confident anticipations for further beauty within, which are not disappointed when the observer has arrived within the inner lobby, or the foyer. Here the auditors received their programs from the hand of a boy gorgeous in a page's costume of the period of Louis XV of France, consisting of scarlet square-cut coat and small clothes and turquoise blue vest, with voluminous lace ruffles.
An onlooker raised a laugh by suggesting that the gorgeously arrayed youngster needed a pair of rubber boots instead of the patent leather pumps he wore, a comment that was inspired by the extraordinary amount of mud brought in by the thousands of feet that passed through the door, and deposited it on the beautiful mosaic floor of the lobby. Later it had to be shoveled with a coal shovel.
The orchestra portion of the audience found a new wrinkle in the use of a retiring room leading off the foyer, enabling them to discard their wraps before entering into the auditorium, and thus making their entree with every detail of their dress in apple pie order.
It is unquestionable to say that practically no one in the great audience approximately 2000 anticipated such a scene of beauty as is presented in the first glimpse of the interior of the auditorium. Everyone showed an anxious anticipation and gave evidence of surprise at the degree to which the interior exceeded their anticipations. It was at once a fact to every eye that this atest magnificent auditorium is destined to become an ideal place to serve as an environment for fashionable women to display their most luxurious gowns.
It was one of those occasions when even the most conservatively decorous are unable to resist the temptation to look around and to pass a sincere opinion upon those things that delight the eye, and are already stated in effect, not a comment was heard throughout the evening that was not tinctured by genuine enthusiasm for the original and exquisitely graceful architectural design and rarely beautiful combinations and harmony of coloring.
It was a general agreement that the house is distinctly unique among Boston playhouses and that among its chief attractions is an extremely happy avoidance of anything of the nature of the ***, in effect that the whole decorating scheme is at once both gorgeous and restful to the eyes, a rare combination in modern rococo decoration.It was hard for the auditor to really imagine himself in a Boston playhouse, it was all so foreign looking in its richness and originality of design.
One of the striking features is the graceful effect of the series of arches in the two sides of the auditorium, gradually grading downward in their relative height toward the stage, and the same effect characterizing the opening in which the boxes or loges, as they are called, are set.
And these loges, six on each side of the stage - two tiers of three each, have architectural charm compatible to nothing of the kind that Boston has seen before. They extend outward apparently to about half the depth of the auditorium and serve to break up the monotonous uniformity which the customary extension of the balcony facades to the proscenium arch usually presents in a most agreeable manner.
The peculiar architectural aspect afforded by the radical departure from tradition of doing away with the fashion of the proscenium arch that has prevailed since the modern playhouse first came into vogue, an effect which really makes of the entire auditorium a vast sounding board, sloping gradually upward and outward from the top of the proscenium opening, attracted a great deal of attention and by those who appreciated the *** of the innovation was strongly commended.
Even the many who thought it but an impulse of the architect inspired by artistic motives, admired it as contributing to the beauty of the interior.
The use of lighting, too, contributing, as it does, to the general decorative admiration, not only for its originality, but for its appeal to the love of the symmetrical and beautiful as well.
All the boxes and principal architectural lines, such as pillars, the sides of the proscenium opening and arches spanning the ceiling, being outlined by rows of incandescent lights, afforded a strikingly spectacular effect that was particularly the theme of admiring comment, when viewed from the front portion of the orchestra or the boxes.The decorative accessories of the boxes, notably the crimson draperies with a touch of turquoise blue in the center, and the richness of the stage curtains of plush and silk of the same colors as the box draperies were themes of unquestioned admiration.
The original artistic treatment that characterizes the whole house is not missing in the act drop, which is in notable harmony with the rest of the auditorium, being a study in dull blue, mainly representing a court garden party in the time of Louis XV, with many attractive female figures in the foreground.
One feature that should not be forgotten was the orchestra, which was apparently not only of unusual dimensions, but played with an excellence that is too rare in Boston theater of late years.
There was every indication that the audience felt they had participated in a remarkable opening and had given well-deserved assistance, by their presence, to the managers Messrs. Edward Stair and A.C. Wilber, who are said to be at present in control of 90 theatres throughout the United States.
After the play was over, and when the audience was dispersing, it was manifest that every one was in the frame of mind to say nothing but commendatory things of the purveyors to the public desire for amusement who have so generously provided in this new playhouse the things that satisfy the human desire for the esthetic.
Not an adverse criticism was anywhere heard on the beauty of the playhouse and it is extremely probable there were none.
It is difficult to discriminate in mentioning names among such a large audience, but it may be said that well down in the orchestra Mrs. John L. Gardner was seen, with a party of a dozen guests.
In the boxes, among others, were Mrs. Eben D. Jordan and her son, with half a dozen or more guests Mr. A.L. Wilber and friends, Mr. E.D. Stair with one of the active managers of his theatrical enterprises, Mr. George H. Nicolai Col. and Mrs. George W. Moses, Col. and Mrs. Herbert W. Moses, Mr. Charles E. Rowe, Miss *** Donovan, Mr. C.J. Whitney, a well known manager in Detroit Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Barnet, Julius Whitmark of New York, chairman Dowd of the board of aldermen, Mr. M.M. Cunniff, Mr. and Mrs. James E. Rice, Mr. D.J. Finnerty of Brookline, Miss Harriet and Miss Alice Loring, Mr. and Mrs. Crompton C. Wilson of New York, Col. and Mrs. W.H. Woods, Mrs. Anna P Ames and party, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick L. Hooper, Mr. and Mrs. Clark M. ***, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton C. Weegs and party, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew C. Clemin(?), Dr. J.G. Schroder, Dr. Charles H. Loring, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney L. Bracket, Mr. and Mrs. Walter C. Robbins, Mrs. Francis T. Skinner and party, Mrs. Amelia C. Gardner and party, Mr. and Mrs. *** D. Michaels, Mr. and Mrs. C. James Connelly, Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Chickering, Mr. and Mrs. William R. Kaufman, Mr. William J. Holden, Mr. Joseph J. Nagle, Mr. Hamilton J. Drake, of London, Hon. William Nye, Hon. Walter J.D. Bullock, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Houston, Mr. George S. Lowe, Mr. Edward Keith, Mr. Ernest McKim and Mr. George W. Walker.