Vaudeville Then and Now
Just before the turn of the last century, Vaudeville became a popular stage entertainment. It was a series of acts performed on the stage by many different performers. Its popularity stemmed from the comic acts that were placed between the magic acts, local musicians and the singers. The comedians were often the main draw of the show, and they poked fun at every elected official possible. Even the dog catcher was seldom immune to their ribald commentary.
Over time, many performers in Vaudeville moved on to other venues. They often advanced to regular stage performances in big city theaters. Some went on to become known around the world. The singers in these performances had to have an enormous amount of vocal stamina. They were expected to do at least one show per night and often had matinee performances as well. Traveling was also part of their routine as the shows generally did tours around the country by train.
Unfortunately, Vaudeville has never made a major comeback since its period ended in the 1920’s. Almost a half century of Vaudeville was apparently enough entertainment for several generations of audiences. Here and there, vaudeville style performances have been a local hit, but they have never made it back into the mainstream of entertainment. Whether modern society is too socially conscious or just prefers other forms of entertainment, no one has quite figured out the problem.
There are still a great many performers capable of working in a vaudeville style show. Many of them work in night clubs around the world. Some mix comedy and song for a show that has old time flavor and modern music. These performers often work in revues. Their shows have their original roots in Vaudeville acts, but have limited the comedy routines to the songs performed.