It is not necessary to be a follower of the race track to enjoy the exciting play "In Old Kentucky," which received its initial performance in Lincoln at the Lansing theatre last night. Its "horsey" flavor is unmistakable from beginning to end, but the horse and the race, important as they are in the plot, are only supplementary incidents in the unfolding of a dainty little love story of just the kind that one expects to come out of the blue grass regions. The story is developed with the aid of a number of really exciting climaxes and with a wealth of scenery that throws the average play of its class quite in the shade. There is the conventional opening in the mountains, only the mountains are finer than usual, and the backwoods damsel who is discovered there by the young Kentucky aristocrat is if anything more attractive than the type commonly presented. There is a Kentucky stable yard, with a fine mansion in the background, and pickaninneis galore and all other accessories correctly presented. The young mountain girl comes down to visit the family of the young man, and comes just in time to lead the race horse "Queen Bess" out of the blazing barn while the gallery gods stand up and fairly scream with delight. It is indeed a stirring scene.
Of course the fortune of the young Kentuckian depends on the result of a race, and naturally enough the jockey gets drunk when it is too late to procure a substitute and everything seems lost. Then the mountain maid comes forward, dons the costume of a jockey and rides a race that ends victoriously in front of the grand stand, while the band boys strain their horns playing "Dixie" and the crowds go crazy over the pretty race. Here the whole house feels like rising to cheer, for the scene is really enough to fire the most phlegmatic.
The rest of the story tells itself. Everything ends happily, of course, and the villain receives proper attention.
The people were so absorbed in the play that they had not time to notice whether the actors were good, bad or indifferent. That is a sign that their work was well done. Laura Burt was the favorite, her part of the mountain girl giving her the affections of her auditors at once. Edward White was at times a trifle stiff as the villain, but the cold glitter in his eyes was something that lifted his part far above mediocrity.
The house was fairly well filled, but is predicted that much larger audience will be on hand tonight.
The concert given last night at the First congregational church was a very unpretentious affair and perhaps that is one reason why it was so thoroughly enjoyed. The pieces were all of simple character. Mrs. Raymond played a bright and spirited march by Wiley . Mr. Wurzburg gave Pinsuti's "What Shall I Sing to Thee" in good voice. Mrs. Casrie Nye of Omaha sang "If I but Knew," by Smith , and Nevin's "Twilight" in her first number, and "My Little Love," by Hawley, in her second. For an encore she gave Dennee's "Lullaby." Mrs. Nye has a full mezzo soprano voice of a rich quality. The only piano number was a march by Hollander , played by Mrs. Will Owen Jones . She was recalled and gave Nevin's "Narcissus." Mrs. C. S. Lippincott sang "My Bonnie, Sweet Bessie," in a voice marked for its clear and sweet quality. Her encore song was "Going to the Mountain." Prof. Frank Strong was on the program for one song, but the audience, of course, required two. Those who had not heard him before were pleased to find his voice rich and sympathetic and his singing in good style A duet, "Master and Man," by Mrs. Lippincott and Mr. Wurzburg, closed the musical part of the entertainment, which was just as delightful as it was unostentatious.
Light refreshments were later served in the chapel, and gave an excuse for a social hour after the concert.
The great and instantaneous metropolitan success "In Old Kentucky" will be repeated at the Lansing theatre tonight. The many novel and striking features of this new play seem to have landed it high in popular favor.
The laudatory comments expressed by the people in general and many urgent requests for a repetition of "The Captive" of Plautus and "The Antigon" of Sophokles by the students of the state university have led to the granting of the demands. Friday, February 23, is the date chosen and all evidences point to the Lansing theatre being filled to overflowing. While the plays are in Greek and Latin, it must not be supposed that they are uninteresting unless the auditor is a thorough scholar in these respective languages. The plot of each is very simple and has an actionable story, thus not depending upon the dialogue to any great extent. The prices are 25, 50, and 75 cents. Seats now on sale.
Saturday evening, February 24, at the Lansing theatre, Nibbe's French burlesque company will present the latest up to date burletta, called "His Nibs and His Nobs." This company is particularly noticable from the fact that there are none but artists upon its roster. Many European novelties are introduced in the olio and an unusually good peformance is promised.