August 16, 1966, 3 p.m.
Blackstone Theatre, Chicago
Dear Pal Frank:
Well, I’m here at work and just finished reading your letter which I enjoyed tremendously and was glad to get. Life is dull here and sometimes the days pass slowly and it’s great to have a letter to answer!
I know too well that feeling of just “yetch” and being alone, and it is funny how a small thing like a letter can pick you right up. Funny and kind of wonderful too! Sure you miss your girlfriend and you’d be an idiot not to do so, but I’m glad that it doesn’t cloud the mind or louse up your life … she would be the last one to want to do that and I know you feel the same way about her.
Glad that Annie Get Your Gun is there for it helps to have a wonderful show around to pick up laggin spirits. If the manager is Milton Pollack please send him my best. He is a fine gentleman and was so loved by the How to Succeed Co. that I took over for. Also he was wonderfully kind to me when I needed it and I can’t say enough good things about him. Glad that you are meeting some interesting girls there too. You see, life is beginning not ending!
Hope you get to go to New York, but before you go, hope you patch up that quarrel with your mother. Maybe she is difficult but try to understand that being a parent isn’t the easiest job in the world and try and roll with it a little. She may have problems you know nothing about. Glad you enjoy talking to me and yes, I do listen, it’s easy if you care. I think I make a fine older brother.
Now for the exciting, tremendous & sensational report from the Windy City concerning the reports in the life of the handsome, rich and legendary Manager … here goes:::::: it’s dull!
The show did great last week and we are off this week. That picnic on Sunday was sort of fun but the weather wasn’t—hot, muggy, etc. That evening I went with Dan [Dailey] and [his girlfriend] Carol, Paula & Dick Benjamin to Drury Lane to see Jane Russell in Catch Me If You Can. It was just unbelievable. The place is furnished as if you gave Jayne Mansfield a million and told her to indulge her taste. The show was so bad and I saw the worst actor I’ve ever seen in my life that night. After the show we had drinks with the Company and we all were so embarrassed (spelling?) for it was so bad there wasn’t a “hook” to hang a compliment on. We left quickly and arrived back here and ate at a wonderful Italian place and didn’t leave the table until 2:30 a.m. The talk was stimulating and fun and very enjoyable. I shall be so sorry to see the talented and nice Dick Benjamin leave us. He is going to N.Y. to do the new Simon play with Anthony Perkins (our favorite) and maybe Jane Fonda. Elliott Reid arrives here the 4th to start rehearsals and will open the 19th of September, and if he isn’t as good as you said he was … watch out! It will cost about 5 thousand to make the changes in ads, billboards and extra salaries and I’ll send you a bill.
I splurged and bought a copy of the Gala Fledermaus performance they had at the Vienna Opera last year with guest chorus and special appearances by Leontyne Price, Jusse Björling, Luba Welitsch, and on and on. It’s so beautiful and it has even the dialogue which is still funny even though outdated. I played the aria that Rosalinda (Hilda Guden) sings called “Strains of the Homeland” (Klange der Heimat) and cried. Oh how bad can Saturday nights be when you are alone on the road.
Pat opened up last night Succeed and said it went well, but not great. She is considering murdering the conductor but they have stiff laws against such action. We talked for about an hour last night and I really can’t wait for her visit. We’ll have a ball. Also she is flying out here the end of October to be here when the great Helen DeWit shows up so it sort of cheers me up.
As for me, personally, I sort of don’t know how I feel. I guess mainly all right, but in a way, unquiet and sort of sad and I don’t know why. Chicago is fine and the money that comes in is wonderful, but I know in my heart this is not what I’ll end up doing. Frank it’s funny, I tell you things I’ve told no one, but maybe you understand. It’s as if I know that I will spend the greatest part of my life back in Europe and I’m just marking time until I finish up life here and leave, never to return. Happily, I am well adjusted to life enough to keep cheerful and “up” but there are times I’m not and I get terribly lonely as I am today. The theatre is dark, it’s cold and empty and I come here for there is not anywhere else to go. Then I come here and thoughts of the past come back and although they don’t get to me as they used to do, they still can cause a “twinge” or two. Like a scar that is perfectly healed but nonetheless acts up when the weather changes.