February 18, 2021 10:00 EST

Books & Manuscripts

 
  Lot 56
 

56

[Literature] [Algonquin Round Table]
No Sirree!

Original playbill for No Sirree! An Anonymous Entertainment by the Vicious Circle of the Hotel Algonquin. Approximately 23.25 x 5.5 inches, archivally framed. The one-night-only performance was held at the 49th Street Theatre on April 30, 1922. The invited audience was made up largely of writers, critics, and friends of the cast which included the following: Franklin P. Adams Tallulah Bankhead Robert C. Benchley Heywood Broun Marc Connelly Jane Grant Helen Hayes Jascha Heifetz George S. Kaufman Neysa McMein Dorothy Parker Harold Ross Robert E. Sherwood Donald Ogden Stewart Alexander Woollcott The style of the show, as well as its title, was a spoof on the popular Russian/French revue, La Chauve-Souris, which was a big hit on Broadway from February to June 1922. The closest thing to a foundation document for the Algonquin Round Table that one can imagine. An almost mythical single performance that still resonates today. Dorothy Parker sang; Jascha Heifitz provided incidental music from the wings; Robert Benchley first performed his "Treasurer's Report" (which was deliberately left off of the playbill to fool the audience); O'Neill and Milne were spoofed among many others. Benchley's "The Treasurer's Report," was the one element from the performance that later found its own fame. The disjointed parody went over so well that Irving Berlin hired Benchley the following year to perform it as part of Berlin's Music Box Revue for $500 a week. Five years later it was made into a short sound film which also marked the beginning of a second career for Benchley in Hollywood. No copies of this playbill have appeared at auction since it was performed, almost 99 years ago and there are no copies recorded in WorldCat. It is our belief that this might be the only recorded copy/surviving copy. A similar example is pictured in "Wit's End" (James R. Gaines, 1977) but appears to be a program although identical in the way the type is set. From the library of author and playwright, Julian Street (1879-1947), whom we assume was there. It was found folded up in one of his books.

Sold for $4,410
Estimated at $1,500 - $2,500


 

Original playbill for No Sirree! An Anonymous Entertainment by the Vicious Circle of the Hotel Algonquin. Approximately 23.25 x 5.5 inches, archivally framed. The one-night-only performance was held at the 49th Street Theatre on April 30, 1922. The invited audience was made up largely of writers, critics, and friends of the cast which included the following: Franklin P. Adams Tallulah Bankhead Robert C. Benchley Heywood Broun Marc Connelly Jane Grant Helen Hayes Jascha Heifetz George S. Kaufman Neysa McMein Dorothy Parker Harold Ross Robert E. Sherwood Donald Ogden Stewart Alexander Woollcott The style of the show, as well as its title, was a spoof on the popular Russian/French revue, La Chauve-Souris, which was a big hit on Broadway from February to June 1922. The closest thing to a foundation document for the Algonquin Round Table that one can imagine. An almost mythical single performance that still resonates today. Dorothy Parker sang; Jascha Heifitz provided incidental music from the wings; Robert Benchley first performed his "Treasurer's Report" (which was deliberately left off of the playbill to fool the audience); O'Neill and Milne were spoofed among many others. Benchley's "The Treasurer's Report," was the one element from the performance that later found its own fame. The disjointed parody went over so well that Irving Berlin hired Benchley the following year to perform it as part of Berlin's Music Box Revue for $500 a week. Five years later it was made into a short sound film which also marked the beginning of a second career for Benchley in Hollywood. No copies of this playbill have appeared at auction since it was performed, almost 99 years ago and there are no copies recorded in WorldCat. It is our belief that this might be the only recorded copy/surviving copy. A similar example is pictured in "Wit's End" (James R. Gaines, 1977) but appears to be a program although identical in the way the type is set. From the library of author and playwright, Julian Street (1879-1947), whom we assume was there. It was found folded up in one of his books.

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