Abingdon Theatre Company transforms Webster Hall into a 1930's dance hall for Marathon '33, a special presentation of a new stage show inspired by June Havoc's 1963 play of the same title. Tomé Cousin and Peter Gregus are set to direct and choreograph a cast of more than twenty performers as they jitterbug and jive to the sounds of a bygone era.
In December, 1963, June Havoc's Marathon '33 opened on Broadway, starring Julie Harris. The play, which Ms. Havoc also directed, recounted her experiences as a participant of dance marathons. In 1933, the entire country was amid the Great Depression, and unemployed, but a group of talented performers competed to see who could dance the longest -- and collect the much-need prize money. Sixty couples began the competition. After five to six months of endless dancing, the field was narrowed to a handful. The marathoners danced for 45 minutes out of every hour, 24 hours a day. The 11-minute rest-period and the two minutes to get to and from the dance floor were enough rest for the first 800 to 1,000 hours. Sleeping while leaning on one's partner was a necessity. Calluses developed after the first 500 hours. After the 1,000-hour mark, sprints, grinds and similar events occurred until contestants collapsed and fell by the wayside.
In addition to the entertainment, Abingdon Theatre Company will serve comfort foods of the era (and of today too) including hot dogs, pretzels, peanuts, cotton candy and beer. Raffles, door prizes and other surprises add to the evening's fun. Vintage attire is encouraged. MARATHON '33 begins at 6:30pm with swing lessons, taught by Myrna Caceres, who also teaches at the 92nd Street Y. The stage show begins at 8:00pm, followed by drinks and dancing.
Proceeds from MARATHON '33 benefit Abingdon Theatre Company.