STRAW-HAT CIRCUIT: Tenting Tonight

High above the Delaware River shore, spotlights glowed dimly through the green-and-orange striped canvas tent. Inside, the audience of 1,500 foot-tapped to some sassy songs. Bells Are Ringing jangled tunefully onstage, and for the Lambertville, N.J. Music Circus, the box office kept ringing up boffo business.

Across the land, summer stock plunged hopefully toward a bull market, with its youngest, sprightliest offshoot clearly leading the way—musicals under canvas. By season's end, almost 5,000,000 Americans will have bought $12 million worth of tickets to the nation's 29 tent theaters. Few of the big-top producers will do better than a sometime carnival...

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