The Theater: The Wonderful Leveling Off

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It was a heady night for the stage-struck—almost all of the 300-odd guests at the opening-night party at Manhattan's Hotel St. Regis. Some of them were towering eminences whose very names are magical incantations along Broadway: Noel Coward, Ethel Merman, Gilbert Miller, Lily Pons, Billy Rose. Mingling among the great and irradiated by their greatness were the humble and the hopeful—chorus girls and boys from the new show, stagehands and bit players. As Meyer Davis' orchestra blared forth the insistent rhythms of Irving Berlin's Show Business ("There's NO bus'ness like Show...

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