Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mae West: Dinkelspiel's December

MAE WEST was still being billed as "MAY WEST" in 1912. Publicity printed for Vera Violetta, A Winsome Widow, and her vaudeville acts show that the public still knew her name with a Y.
• • Union Square • •
• • Over a century ago, when Union Square offered the best theatres, hotels, and opera house — — the Academy of Music — — B.F. Keith renovated a 14th Street playhouse between Fourth Avenue and Broadway.
• • Expensively refurbished for $20,000 and reopened in September 1893, the Union Square Theatre beckoned ticket-buyers to its expansive 100-feet-wide cream and gold frontage with colored lights, stained glass, intriguing placards, and a new concept: continuous performance. Variety artists entertained for a 3-hour stretch, then the show started all over again.
• • May We Present . . . • •
• • During 1912
— 1913, when the Brooklyn comedienne was occasionally promoted as "The Nell Brinkley Girl," or the "scintillating singing comedienne," or "the firefly of Broadway," she was a fresh-faced brunette teenager with a reputation for fast tap dancing and acrobatic feats onstage combined with "character" [novelty] songs. Unlike others who had one act to offer the public, Mae was always trying out new approaches and buying new material.
• • In the newspapers on 29 December 1912, readers noticed that B.F. Keith was offering "Dinkelspiel's Christmas" along with "MAY WEST
singing comedienne" [see the 29 Dec 1912 ad]. The 14th Street theatre is long gone but here is a glimpse of what you missed if you didn't dial STuyvesant 3400 to reserve your ticket.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1908 photo; 1912 news clip • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.

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