The Theater: Olivier's Lear

While Manhattan theatergoers took what cold comfort they could from warmed-over operettas and a blurry reprint of The Front Page, London had Laurence Olivier's majestic production of King Lear. By early morning of the day before the opening, Londoners had queued up for gallery seats in the Old Vic's new theater on St. Martin's Lane. After the show a mob of howling men converged on the stage door chanting "Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? LARRY!"

Theatergoers in Manhattan who saw Olivier as Oedipus last spring knew that he had most of...

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