Summer 1985 • Vol. VII No. 3 1985 Ohio Shakespeare Conference |

Shakespeare Closing

By 1970, a remarkable change had come over theater audiences in New York. For the first time in the experience of regular playgoers, audiences became extraordinarily demonstrative. I recall precisely the first time I encountered this new behavior. It was at a performance of the revival of No, No, Nanette with Ruby Keeler. The wild reaction may have been a campy tribute to Ruby or a surprised appreciation at the durability of a musical from 1925. Whatever the stimulus, large sections of the audience received the finale with cries of "brava." They stood up to applaud and in a kind of ecstasy poured a torrent of approval upon the astonished actors. After this, whenever I went to see a play, I saw—and heard—similar enthusiasm. Cries of bravo—which hitherto had been the hallmark of the opera audience—became common. Standing ovations, at one time a rarity reserved only for the brightest star, became routine. A social change had taken place. The conventional, muted, supposedly

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.