Theatre, Daily Racing Form, 1958-05-12


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THEATRE By Whitney Bolton NEW YORK May 10 No matter what anyone tells you about New York It isnt every day that someone gives 3000000 to build a new theatre It isnt every day for that matter that anyone gives 3000000 for anything This is what is known along Broad ¬ way as a substantial sum and lest you think that Mrs Vivian Beaumont Allen de ¬ partment store heiress who gave it is not forget it She is what is known in Wall Street accounting circles as an exact and perfect whiz at figures figuresMrs Mrs Allen lives on top of Carlton House and from that aerie goes on theatrical sorties regularly and with opinions One is that despite occasional disappointments and items to be regarded as distressing the theatre is a wonderful thing Result she has given 3000000 for the building of a theatre in the new Lincoln Square cultural project She also has made it plain that there are no stings attached an artistic board will decide what plays are to be done Also although she plainly did not specify this as a string the theatre probably will be named for her There are exactly no strings to her donation None NoneA A A A ABut But that does not mean that Mrs Allen is lacking in a fixed point of view or a series of them She has been quoted as speaking of the unpleasant plays of Ten ¬ nessee Williams and she certainly finds a friend here in me when she speaks of such a dreadful thing as the Moliere item re ¬ cently reviewed here Specified loves The Diary of Anne Frank which to her was my idea of a beautiful play and The Music Man which she calls cheerful and enjoyable although nothing great greatDonations Donations are nothing new to Mrs Allen Last December she gave 850000 to build a rehabilitation center in Denver as a memorial to her father and her Vivian Beaumont Allen Foundation is no secret to musicians as well as veterans and some hospitals All have benefited from that foundation foundationA A A A AThe The source of all these benefactions which now include a legitimate theatre for Lincoln Square Center for the Performing Arts is tiny but not fragile She married at 16 a banker and also received income from her fathers estate he having been one of the founders of a noted nationwide department store combine In addition the oil whistling through the transcontinental pipelines contributes to her wellbeing as do varied and large real estate holdings She is the product of a man who went broke in Dayton Ohio prospected for gold in Colorado where he went flat broke and in a moment of striking sagacity said in effect This prospecting around is nothing for me Im going to start a store where those who do find gold can spend it He and a man he met at elbowside in a Crip ¬ ple Creek saloon put together a small gen ¬ eral store and it bloomed It bloomed into several others in the mining camps and finally into departmental size in the west Ultimate name The May Company Now you know how big it is Her idea for the Lincoln Square theatre theatreshe she has financed is a repertory theatre over which she can beam a happy eye not be ¬ cause she has laid down orders as to what plays are to be done but because she trusts her theatre board to chose wisely and artistically She has said that she does not want to stand guard over the productions and cut to ribbons the things she doesnt like She doesnt donate money that way But it is a fair guess that visiting Moliere troupes are T Williams are not likely to find haven in the Allen Theatre As to why Wall Street looks upon her as a pintsized package of economic and arithmetical wisdom it happened because of her odd life from 6 to 16 years of age she traveled the world with her father and never really went to school at all But when she was 16 and in Berlin her father decided that since she was to inherit a for ¬ tune she ought at least to know how to add subtract divide and figure interest simple or compound The way to do that he figured further was to hire the best German professor at hand to drum it into his daughters brain He did just that and for one winter the Mrs Allentobe lived in a 12hour day of mathematics mathematicsI I came out a whiz a real whiz she says saysShe She also came out a bride but riot of the professor I

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