The New York Times

Hague and Orin Go Public in Performing at Drake

She was smiling at him and he was looking at the piano, and when he started to speak he sounded like Henry A. Kissinger. Still, with the smile, the big bow tie and the spotlight's reflection off his glasses he was Gemütlich, a middle-aged Teutonic cherub. This was Albert Hague performing.

"I grew up in a tough neighborhood--Germany," he said, and "in Cincinnati I played in a place so tough the truck drivers were afraid to go in there." Hague smiled through the glasses and over the big bow tie, and his pretty wife smiled even more Gemütlichkeit was everywhere.

Hague, who wrote, among other things, the music for the Broadway shows "Redhead" and "Plain and Fancy," was appearing with his wife, Renée, at After Ten, the new supper club in the Drake Hotel. Hague plays the piano and his wife sings, and frequently they do songs that Hague wrote. It is their article of faith that no one can do a song the way its composer con.

"'Miss Moffat' was my masterpiece, no question about it," Hague was saying now. He was sitting at a table, talking about the show he did with Joshua Logan and Emlyn Williams. It folded in Philadelphia.

Contradiction by Wife

"Excuse me. I must contradict my husband," Orin said. She said he had written several masterpieces. Under the name Renée Orin, she was in, among other things, "Fiddler on the Roof" with Jack Guilford and "Take Me Along" with Gene Kelly, and she is now standing by for Joan Copeland in "Pal Joey." She has also done soap operas. Orin is a professional, too.

"But my favorite is 'Plain We Live' from 'Plain and Fancy' because that was the most difficult one," Hague continued. "Plain and Fancy" was done in 1955 and "Redhead," for which Hague won a Tony, was done in 1958. There were other shows after that, but none so successful, and this year the Hague's decided to go public.

"I've done well, and gotten royalties on music. they call it royalties because fleetingly you live like royalty," Hague said. "But you get involved in something like 'Miss Moffat,' with the top people in show business, and then something happens to the show, and the next day your telephone stops dead."

Hague said that since he and his wife opened at the Drake he had received three offers to write musicals. He said that finding a new musical project was in itself an act of creation, and that for years, whenever he had got stuck in his work, he had simply sat down and done exercises.

A Serious Musician

Now Hague is a serious musician, whose friends, among them the late Langston Hughes, with whom he wrote the song "Early Blue Evening," were serious artist too. Moreover, his father ran a mental institution in Berlin, and his mother was one of the best chess players in Germany. It is possible that Hague is an unlikely man to play in a supper club, but he says he likes it.

"In this room I play only songs I consider unequivocal masterpieces," he said. "A masterpiece is a work that appeals to more than one generation. Richard Rodgers! One of the greats! Two, three, four generations!"

Then Hague sat down to play "Sweet Lorraine," "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love" and "The Last Time I Saw Paris." When his wife came over he played "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," and when she began to sing, her voice rising over the babble that drifted in from the bar, he looked rapt.

Then Orin did some patter, and gradually, the room falling silent, she smiled incandescently and began to sing some of her husband's songs. Two waiters and the maitre d'hotel stopped what they were doing to listen, and very softly Hague said, "In the final analysis, if they don't listen to your music, you're dead."