Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mae West: Glorious Gaudy Girls

Years before she was nicknamed "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas," the 35-year-old vocalist was headlining with her Kings of Syncopation at the 44th Street Theatre (216 West 44th Street, New York, NY) at a holiday concert in 1919 that also featured a 26-year-old MAE WEST.
• • Sophie Tucker [13 January 1884 — 9 February 1966] was one of the most popular entertainers in America during the first third of the 20th century. Almost ten years older than Mae and not as controversial when she launched her career, Sophie Tucker had an ethnic appeal which upped her forward momentum and she was, in fact, a much bigger draw in vaudeville than the Brooklyn bombshell. Sophie Tucker made her first appearance in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1909, but did not last long there — — because Florenz Ziegfeld's other female stars soon refused to share the spotlight with the immensely popular singing comedienne.
• • Her towering stage persona made a big impression on Mae, still trying to find her footing and learning from those who had. Did they chat backstage, these two variety artists who were determined not to be overshadowed by the male entertainers? Or was it a chilly night behind the red velvet curtain at this 1465 -seat auditorium?
• • Operated by the Shuberts, the 44th Street Theatre was decorated in 18th Century Georgian style and above the main auditorium was a large enclosed roof theatre. In the basement, the original rathskeller became the "Little Club" during Prohibition and the Stage Door Canteen during World War II.
• • If you were not fortunate enough to be in the audience in 1919 when ticket-holders were applauding Sophie Tucker, the top-billed act, and appreciating Mae West, then you must pay close attention to this. Ninety years later, the two have reunited. Reviewers have been going crazy over this talented twosome and a splashy Las Vegas style evening has been planned for late October.
• • Make tracks to the Monticello Casino and Raceway [204 Route 17B, Monticello, NY] for the 21 October 2009 "GAUDY GIRLS" extravaganza, which kicks off at 1:00 AM. Reservations: 945-794-4100. You will want to catch this warm-hearted stage show.
• • Backstage with the Gorgeous, Talented, Bawdy GAUDY GIRLS • •
• • Anne Marie Finnie
Mae West • •
• • Anne Marie has been working as a professional actress for over 20 years. Some of her favorite roles have been in Little Shop of Horrors, Oliver, Sound of Music and A Little Night Music. Nine years ago, Anne Marie was cast in the starring role as Mae West in a professional production on Long Island. Over 150 "Mae West" shows later, she is still in demand all over the tri-state area.
• • Maggie Worsdale — Sophie Tucker • •
• • Maggie has been a professional cabaret entertainer for the past 20 years and has appeared with Bob Hope, George Burns, Mark Russell, and has sung with Les Brown and His Band of Renown.
• • On August 16th you can walk in the footsteps of two of the 1920s "gaudy gals" — — Texas Guinan and Mae West — — and win a special prize donated by those lovable GAUDY GIRLS. See below.
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• • Join us for a lively afternoon focused on Mae West & Texas Guinan!
• • On 16 August 2009, come up and enjoy an a-MAE-zing experience — — a walking tour of historical sights in the Times Square area. This year the Annual Mae West Birthday Tour also commemorates speakeasy hostess Texas Guinan, the generous friend who backed all of Mae’s Broadway shows during the 1920s.
• • During April 1929, the Feds padlocked the CIub Intime at the Hotel Harding, where Texas Guinan was the principal attraction. On August 16th, attendees will visit this speakeasy, which is doing brisk business these days.
• • Walking Tour: "Gaudy Girls on The Gay White Way: Mae West & Texas Guinan in the Theatre District"
• • When: 4:00 PM on Sunday — — 16 August 2008 — — rain or shine
• • Meet: Shubert Alley, 44th Street, West of Broadway, New York, NY 10036
• • Price: $10 [this walking tour lasts about 90 minutes]
• • Subway: N or R [BMT] train to West 42nd Street; 1 [IRT] train to Times Square
• • Attire: why not wear a Mae West-inspired hat?

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • "Gaudy Girls" Show in October 2009 • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

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