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Charlotte Greenwood

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Charlotte and her critics

Unlike many stars of theatre and screen, of Charlotte's day and the present time, Charlotte Greenwood was open to criticism and thankful for any critical approbation she received. 
 
Because Charlotte's theatre work is not as well known as her filmography, it is fascinating to read reviews of her work on the stage, particularly as this work gained the applause of critics not disposed to handing out raves, including Alexander Woollcott, James Agate, Hannen Swaffer, Patterson James, Claudia Cassidy and others.
 
The following are a few of the many instances of critical praise for Charlotte and her extraordinary abilities, as comedienne, dancer, actor and joyous presence on the stages of New York and London:
 
The one person, very much out of the ordinary, was lanky Charlotte Greenwood, of the long limber arms and those marvelous legs which she raises and lowers in great stiff sweeps like solemn semaphores.  When the end came, with a racing shadowgraph of the whole company behind a white curtain, Miss Greenwood’s shade stood pensive as a stork and waved us a sad farewell in a characteristic manner. - Henry Taylor Parker, Boston Evening Transcript, reviewing The Passing Show of 1912
 
Miss Greenwood would probably be quite as funny as she is at present were she less of the skyscraper type of beauty.  She has the real vis comica, not merely the force to shoot her left foot into the air while she carefully guides it to a halt with her left hand. - New York Sun
 
But then there is Charlotte Greenwood, blowing through the show like a gale of fresh wind.... the lanky comedienne is a first rate actress who would do herself proud in a genuine comedy which did not require her meditatively to stroke the ceiling with her toe. - Alexander Woollcott, The New Yorker
 
Her art is as definite and sometimes as delicate as Chaplin’s.  - Ashton Stevens, Chicago Herald-American
 
Miss Greenwood ... the human semaphore, the animated Beardsley drawing who burst upon us in So Long Letty....  She is a true comedienne and not a low burlesquer. - Charles Collins, Chicago Tribune
 
Miss Greenwood, a long and humorous comedienne, is of course the principal comic spirit on display.  As a joke-cracker, she is superior...and she dances as does no other dancer in the American drama....  - Percy Hammond, Chicago Tribune
 
Charlotte Greenwood is a national institutiona sure cure for any sort of blues. 
- Edwin Schallert, Los Angeles Times
 
Some day Miss Greenwood is going to get a real play and if she gets away from the junk she is doing now I, for one, will be glad to say ‘I told you so.’ - Patterson James, The Billboard
 
I beg to inform my American colleagues, that I have discovered Charlotte Greenwoodthe actress. - Hannen Swaffer, London Daily Herald
 
Miss Greenwood remains as endearing a comedienne as the theater knows.  - Claudia Cassidy, Chicago Journal of Commerce

 

 



Grant Hayter-Menzies, biographer of Charlotte Greenwood, grant_menzies@yahoo.com
 

Lady Longlegs