46th Street Theatre, (11/01/1977 - 11/05/1977)

First Preview: Oct 25, 1977
Opening Date: Nov 01, 1977
Closing Date: Nov 05, 1977
Total Previews: 8
Total Performances: 7

Category: Play, Solo, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Regency Organization, Ltd. (Irwin Meyer; Stephen R. Friedman; Lester Osterman)

Produced by Don Saxon and Kevin Krown; Produced in association with Kathy Raitt; Associate Producer: Dan Lieberman

Originally produced by George Spota and Four Star International (Dick Powell, Charles Boyer and David Niven: Founders)

Written by Jerome Alden

Directed by Peter H. Hunt

Scenic Design by John Conklin; Costume Design by John Conklin; Lighting Design by Peter H. Hunt

General Manager: Richard Horner Associates, Ltd.; Company Manager: Jo Rosner

Production Stage Manager: Martha Knight; Assistant Stage Mgr: Leanna Lenhart; Production Supervisor: Mitch Miller

"Ragtime Piano" by: Sam Anderson

Press Representative: Faith Geer; Advertising: Blaine-Thompson and Matthew Serino; Special Promotions: Nancy Seltzer; Photographer: Marque Neal, Jr. and Ken Howard

Opening Night Cast

James WhitmoreTheodore Roosevelt


New York Daily News: "Teddy in high gear"

What made Teddy run? You won't find out from James Whitmore's agile, strenuous, incredibly busy but necessarily superficial two-hour exhortation called "Bully," a one-man show about our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., that came to the 46th St. Theater last evening. In fact, while admiring Jimmy, you're likely to find Teddy a noisy bore.

Jerome Alden's scampering "play," staged like a merry-go-round by Peter H. Hunt, is, like John Conklin's all-purpose set, cluttered with detail. And so much so that Whitmore's feverish impersonation resembles somewhat an acquaintance who grabs your sleeve and proceeds to relate, rapid-fire, all his accomplishments and encounters of the past 24 hours.

Only here, Whitmore - plucking costume changes from two coat racks and addressing 22 unseen figures, mostly the famous and powerful of his time, while he moves from desk to tea table to rowboat to tree stump to platform and even to the theater aisle - is skimming a lifetime, hitting the high points so swiftly that his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize counts for no more than a phrase in an overloaded sentence having to do with other matters.

Yes, that's Whitmore all over, and I just couldn't keep up with him. Nor, faced with a grinning, chuckling, continually aggressive and positive automaton, did I care to. Whenever you thought, or hoped, that this hyperactive patriot, populist, leader of vision and all-around bully boy was about to settle back and disclose a few home truths, canned martial music would erupt and he'd be off and running again, at one point to fire off six deafening pistol shots straight up, perhaps to wake up the less-than-enchanted H. L. Mencken whom he'd address, shading his eyes, in the "balcony" from time to time.

The first half is called "The Adventures of Theodore Roosevelt," the second half "The Further Adventures of Theodore Roosevelt," and they're not kidding. The man who got the Panama Canal ("Teddy's Ditch") started, had an astonishingly active and varied career, and if today it is easy to label him a warmonger (the young Mencken thought so even then, of course) and other unpleasant or unpopular things, his achievements far outweigh the "shortcomings" of what was, after all, a bustling, lively, euphoric period totally unlike our own.

True, Whitmore, who attempts only to suggest (through mustache, haircut, spectacles, grin and all-around vigor) Roosevelt rather than actually look like him, does tell us about his frailty as a child and the while it took him to realize that his blurry vision was abnormal and required corrective eyeglasses. But is that enough to explain the man?

I can only conclude by saying that the veteran Whitmore is a whiz kid, sure enough, and an actor of unusual resources. And he and Teddy do lift the spirits from time to time. But hey - hold on there! That's quite a leap from President Wilson's desk, where our bully boy was turned down after offering to head a volunteer detachment in France during World War I, to the charge up San Juan Hill, with a brief stopover for a chat with the wife. Now, where were we?

New York Daily News

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