Monday, October 28, 2013

Charles Addams on Broadway, Gravely

Roald Dahl's farce comedy "The Honeys" opened on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre in April of 1955. It starred Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, and Dorothy Stickney. An illustration for this production by Charles Addams depicts a gravestone with a portrait of two closely-related men, perhaps twins or, since this is a farce, possibly the same person in disguise. The original artwork was sold last year by Heritage Auctions, which reported that it appeared in Playbill, but there is some reason to question this. It wasn't used as a cover illustration nor does it appear in any of the inside pages shown on the Playbill website, so doubts are justified.

The drawing of the gravestone may have been strictly promotional. An Addams illustration would be the perfect way to advertise a play, particularly a comedy, to The New Yorker's sophisticated audience which already delighted in morbid Addams cartoons. In fact, this drawing was published as an advertisement in The New Yorker issue of April 2, 1955 and perhaps elsewhere.

Charles Addams, original promotional artwork for "The Honeys," The New Yorker, April 2, 1955, page 50

Charles Addams, framed original promotional artwork for "The Honeys," The New Yorker, April 2, 1955, page 50

Charles Addams signature

Charles Addams, Advertisement for "The Honeys," The New Yorker, April 2, 1955, page 50

The Addams artwork appears somewhat elongated in the ad to accommodate additional type in the blank space below the double portrait. By the way, opening night orchestra seats were sold out, but mezzanine seats were still available for $4.60, $3.45, and $2.90!

Charles Addams, Advertisement for "The Honeys," The New Yorker, April 2, 1955, page 50

Incidentally, on this very magazine page there is an ad for the 1954 Broadway musical "The Pajama Game" in which you can just make out artwork by another legendary  New Yorker cartoonist, Peter Arno. Here's a better look at it:

Peter Arno, Playbill for "The Pajama Game" (1954)
Image added November 6, 2013

Peter Arno, U.K. sheet music for "Small Talk" from "The Pajama Game" (1954)

Note:  Naturally, I'd be grateful to anyone who can document any other uses to which this artwork for "The Honeys" was put.

You can find additional blog posts about the splendid Charles Addams here.

Spooky posts about Halloween may be found here.

The Tee & Charles Addams Foundation has its website here.

By the way, the exhibition "Chas Addams: Family and Friends" is on view at Southampton Center through November 3. Read all about it here.

Charles Addams still makes the news, and it is covered on Ink Spill here.

His artwork has been featured on The Pictorial Arts blog here.

It seems I've been neglecting Peter Arno lately, but I'll make it up to you at some point. In the meantime, my older posts can still be enjoyed here.

Additional blog posts about Broadway may be found here.

My blog post about last year's Hurricane Sandy is here.

Let's not forget the World Series! Attempted Bloggery's archive of baseball blog posts is here.


No comments:

Post a Comment