Show Business: Back on the Bawds

When the nude revue Oh! Calcutta! opened in New York in 1969, it became at once an asterisk in theatrical history. Devised by Britain's man-about-the-theater Kenneth Tynan, it sought unabashedly to tap the voyeur market — or rather, that part of it unwilling to get its jollies in a topless go-go bar. Tynan's tease was dressed up with skits by Samuel Beckett, Jules Feiffer and Tennessee Williams, among others, and it was billed as an evening of "elegant erotica." Outraged clerics and unimpressed critics called it other things, but Calcutta ran three years in New York (where it...