1949_St Louis Soubrette Virginia Gorski A Broadway Hit

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1949_St Louis Soubrette Virginia Gorski A Broadway Hit - St. Louis Soubrette Virginia Gorski A Broadway...
St. Louis Soubrette Virginia Gorski A Broadway Hit By Myles Standish VIRGINIA GORSKI, the little St. Louie girl who left the Municipal Opera chorus to become quite a hit in soubrette roles in Broadway musicals, sipped her lemonade and looked back from the pinnacle of her 22 years over her long career in show business. It is a perpetual surprise to look at the peach-bloom glow of Virginia, who's currently appearing at Municipal Opera in "The New Moon," and realize she's such a veteran. But she is. Since 1943, vhen she graduated from St. Al-phonsus High School at Grand and Finney and went to New York with a small wad of carefully paved bills and a determination to become a star, she has been in five hit musicals on Broadway and one rather dank flop. That's quite a bit of experience for her to tuck away, but she's still studying whenever she's at liberty. In spite of the fact she's lightened her reddish hair into a golden tint and she's acquired a hint of a New York accent, Virginia still seems, both offstage and on, a hit of an innocent who is lun 01 the fun of living. Her face has a pert cast, and she rolls her grey-blue eyes to point up ideas that won't come out as fast as she wants to talk her appearance is what a man might call "cute," and a woman, "darling." She is full of enthusiasm, has an engaging personality. Virginia seems to like everybody, and one gets the idea everyone is nice to her. She Bpeaks of her friends in the opera cast as "the kids." She talks about how kind Mr. Kennedy (John Kennedy), the Muny's producer, was to her, and how wonderful Jerry Robbins, the eminent choreographer, is to work for, and how ehe loves show business. ONE WOULD STJRBIISE that here was a case of a kindly providence guiding a naive child through the theatrical woods to a success which has eluded many a shrewder, harder babe. But there is a determined set to Virginia's chin that makes you realize she has looked after herself, and which is endorsed by her own statement of her formula for getting recognized whenever she was in a chorus she'd always immediately ask the director to understudy any role for which she was suited. Virginia was born in North St. Louis. Her parents are John and Mary Gorski, with whom she's staying while in St. Louis this summer at 2816 North Twenty-third street. Virginia attended the Sacred Heart grade school. She was always an eager participant in school plays, took dancing lessons, and in her senior year at high school in 1943, got into the Muny Opera chorus. "I KEPT PESTERING, Mr. Kennedy for bit parts, and he gave me ome," she says. "I finally became an understudy for one role, and got a chance to go. on in 'Good News. He told me very sternly, You asked for it. Now you'd better be good.' I was scared, but I did it. I saved my salary the first summer, and in the fall I and a girl friend from the chorus went to New York and answered the Equity calls for chorus girls in shows. I got into the chorus of The Connecticut Yankee' revival, and pretty soon became understudy for Vera-Ellen. Next season, after another- summer at the opera, I got into the Olsen and Johnson revue, 'Laffing Room Only,' dancing, and understudying Kathryn Lee, the dancer. ' I left the show to come back to Muny Opera for the summer of 1945. "Then in the fall of 1945, I got into 'Billion Dollar Baby,' a book musical and understudied Joan McCracken. When she left, I played her role for five or six weeks before the show closed and got a lot of attention from produc ers and agents. (She actually scored a ringing success.) "THAT GOT ME a role in 'Park Avenue,' a very sophisticated book musical about divorce in the New York upper crust. The night we opened in New York the blow felL There were some dirty laughs in the audience, and I had a sinking feeling. Next day, the critics panned the show to a frazzle, and one especially spoke of it as climaxed by a thoroughly unsavory incident.' That was me, unfor tunately. I played a daughter of Raymond Walburn by one of his six marriages. He didn't even recognize me and made a pass at me. Well, of course, I didn't write it, but I was the victim. Out I went, the very next day the part was cut entirely. They tried to spare my feelings, but had to tell me in front of the whole company. I took it on the chin and didn't cry, and they were nice enough to take me back a week later as understudy for Martha Stewart." IX THE SUMMER of 1947, Virginia returned to Municipal Opera Jn modest triumph as one of the leading players of "No, No Nanette" and "Babes in Toyland." The next season on Broadway, she was featured in the cast of "Look, Ma,' I'm Dancing," a highly successful musical comedy story of a ballet company. She sang two hit numbers, "Shauny O'Shay," which grew to the proportions of a curse on the radio, and "Little Girl Blues." This past season she was featured in the New York revue, "Along Fifth Avenue," which opened in January and is still running. She left at season's close May 29, to play in four Muny Opera productions this summer. At the time I saw her, she was rehearsing for the maid role in "Bloomer Girl," next week's production. She was having a time getting the pathetic whine into her voice for the "Tomorrow" number against all school rules for good singing. She gets just as homesick now for New York as she does for St. Louis lives there with the family of her good friend Helen Gallagher, the comedienne. She wants all the roles she can get now for the experience, and would like to become a straight dramatic or comedy actress. When I asked her if she had movie ambitions, ehe said no, nobody would notice me, but there .was quite a warm light in her eye, and 1 bet she makes it some day not too far away. ,

Clipped from
  1. St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
  2. 12 Jun 1949, Sun,
  3. Page 60

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