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From The Era, Sunday, February 22, 1880

THE DRAMA IN AMERICA
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 7.—The latest and greatest success of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan threatens to become another Pinafore. Not, however, for piratical Managers; but for the rightful owners of the piece. The Fifth-avenue Theatre is besieged daily by eager crowds purchasing seats weeks in advance. Whether the immense business will continue is dependent wholly upon the success of the Management in procuring a renewal of the lease of this house. Already a bonus of $1,500 has been paid to Mr. Rice, of the Rice Surprise party – a very successful burlesque company – to give up his four weeks' lease on the Theatre, obtained some time previously. With this handsome sum in his pocket, the lucky Rice sweetly consented to open, with his clever company of burlesque artists, at the Standard Theatre in Horrors, an entertaining musical and farcical jumble – an extraordinary extravaganza, abounding in song and fun and dance and lovely females lightly clad – and proving very diverting. Horrors has been a financial success throughout the Provinces. The company is very large, and contains some of the best specialty talent in the country.

But to return. The surreptitious companies bent on Pinafore-ing The Pirates of Penzance are being closely watched, and measures have been taken to sternly repress any infringement on the author's rights. Mr. Gilbert states that arrangements have been made with legal firms in every considerable town of the United States to proceed against every company, Manager, or Lessee of Theatre playing the piece without authorisation.

There seems to be an unaccountable backwardness in sending off the legitimate companies organising, and numerous blunders in making engagements with out-of-town Managers. Mr. D'Oyly Carte's companies should have been ready to go "on the road" weeks ago. He also contracted to send his company to M'Vicker's Theatre in Chicago, and afterwards agreed with Haverly's, of the same city. Both Managers insist upon a fulfilment of their contracts. To avoid a suit he will send two detachments of The Pirates to Chicago. It is stated that a New England Manager has offered $20,000 to play the piece for a limited period in that section. If Mr Carte's companies were now off in the provinces all trouble from threatened piracy would have been avoided.

Mr. Gilbert said to a reporter that, in order to gain the full benefit under the United States Copyright laws, he and Mr. Sullivan will reside permanently in New York, take a furnished house in the Fifth-avenue, and live here nine mouths in the year. The American Copyright laws protect citizens and residents. Good judges say that the American profits from The Pirates will amount to £10,000 per annum for the next two or three years. Within two weeks the piece will be presented simultaneously in most of the large cities of the Union. All the provincial Managers are clamorous for oontracts, and are offering immense terms.


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