All stories by Trav S.D. on BroadwayStars

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Three Cheers for “Four of the Three Musketeers” by Trav S.D.

We’d been drooling to get our mitts on Robert S. Bader’s Four of the Three Muskeers: The Marx Brothers On Stage, ever since we heard it was in the works back at Marxfest in 2014.…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:04AM

Frank Whitman: The Dancing Violinist by Trav S.D.

. Frank Whitman was often billed as  as “The Dancing Violinist”, “The Stepping Violinist”, “The Wizard of the Violin” and in 1926 his Loew’s Circuit billing wa…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 07:54AM
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On the Great Ghost Shows of Dr. Silkini by Trav S.D.

June 28 is the birth date of one John Edward Kessler, a.k.a. Jack Baker, a.k.a., Dr. Silkini (1914-1980). If you are easily frightened I urge you to turn back now!!! He was born Kessler bu…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:12AM

Vaudeville vs. Wagner: The Genius of “Spaceballs” by Trav S.D.

I write this post this morning at a time of stellar confluence, a constellational alignment — a harmonic convergence, if you will. Today is the birthday of Mel Brooks (b. 1926); Space…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:12AM

Kay Laurell: Too Beautiful for this Earth? by Trav S.D.

Kay Laurell (1890-1927) came into the world on a June 28. Born Ruth Leslie (an equally good professional name, I think) in Erie Pennsylvania, she moved to New York as a teenager where she ve…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:36AM
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Paul Colin: The Visual Spirit of Jazz Age Paris by Trav S.D.

June 27 is the birthday of the great French poster artist Paul Colin (1892-1985). A native of Nancy, Colin attended the École des Beaux-Arts and became a master of Art Deco style, incorpor…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:18AM
Monday, June 26, 2017

Did the Code Hurt the Marx Brothers? by Trav S.D.

The origin of this post: A few days ago someone on social media asserted with enormous confidence, that “the Code hurt the Marx Brothers” (meaning, if you’re new to such th…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 03:32PM
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Benny’s Bride: The Elusive Mary Livingstone by Trav S.D.

On this day was born was born the funny, if accidental, comedienne Mary Livingstone (Sadie Marcowitz, sometimes shortened to Marks, 1905-1983). Livingstone grew up in Vancouver. The lore is …

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:06AM
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Several Seminal Salomés and the History of the Dance of the Seven Veils by Trav S.D.

Today is St. John’s Day, the traditional birthday for John the Baptist. Note the timing: just as Christmas is pinned close to the winter solstice, St. John’s Day falls right afte…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:36AM
Friday, June 23, 2017

Cinematic Selfies: The Most Self Indulgent Vanity Movies Ever by Trav S.D.

This is by no means an exhaustive catalog of Self Indulgent Vanity Movies, but merely  some of the most egregious examples that sprang to mind. To qualify for this list, a film must: 1) be …

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:24PM
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Voice Over Actor Paul Frees (Boris Badenov) Got His Start in Vaudeville by Trav S.D.

Paul Frees (Solomon Hersh Frees, 1920-1986) made his entrance on a June 22. Seldom has there been a voice so well recognized without an equally well-recognized face to go with it. For well o…

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Helene Costello: Born with Summer; the Rest Was So Much Winter by Trav S.D.

Helene Costello (1906-1957) was born the first day of summer, June 21. She is usually spoken of as part of a pair with her older sister Delores Costello, also an actress. Both were daughters…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 07:42PM
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What’s Indie Theater? (Part 2) by Trav S.D.

Originally posted on mdd speaks: Trav S.D., who is one of the great Renaissance men of contemporary indie theater (actor, composer, author, playwright, critic, director, impresario, et al), …

Linked From Trav S.D. at 06:24PM

Six Tall Towers of Coney by Trav S.D.

I don’t want to weird you out too much, but I essentially wrote this post while I was asleep last night. I laid the whole thing out in a dream state. Granted, I’d been reading ab…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 12:36PM

Space: 1999 (When Past Future Becomes Past Past) by Trav S.D.

Today is the birthday of Martin Landau (b. 1928). Landau is one of those actors who’s worked constantly but sort of on a low profile, with periodic tent pole moments (usually one per d…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:18AM
Monday, June 19, 2017

“Three Way” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by Trav S.D.

Just a few words of laudation for Three Way by composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote, staged by John Hoomes, co-produced by American Opera Projects and others, which we caug…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:33AM
Sunday, June 18, 2017

James Montgomery Flagg: Lived Up To His Name by Trav S.D.

Illustrator James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960) was born on June 18. Flagg’s best known work (above) is especially timely — the Uncle Sam/ “I Want You” poster was crea…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:48AM
Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rebla: Funny Music Hall Juggler by Trav S.D.

Here’s another one for World Juggling Day. Thanks, Todd Robbins, for introducing me to this interesting artist. Albert Rebla, usually billed simply as “Rebla” (Albert James…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 07:24AM

Darmody: Five Club Pioneer by Trav S.D.

This year World Juggling Day, sponsored by the International Jugglers Association, falls on June 17. We take the opportunity to honor juggler James Darmody. From Boston, Darmody was a popula…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:33AM
Thursday, June 15, 2017

The General Slocum Disaster and Its Impact on American Popular Culture by Trav S.D.

June 15, 1904 was the day the P.S. General Slocum burned and sank. I write about this dark day today for two reasons: 1) I constantly encounter people — even well educated people ̵…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:54AM
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

On the Acerbic Mary Wickes by Trav S.D.

Beloved character actor Mary Wickes (Mary Wickenhauser, 1910-1995) was born on June 13. The gawky, wise-cracking Wickes was ubiquitous on screens big and small for half a century, usually pl…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:36AM

On the Tiller Girls: Pioneers in Precision Dance by Trav S.D.

British music theatre director John Tiller (1854-1925) was born on June 13. While skilled and trained in music and theatre arts since childhood, Tiller initially made his fortune in the fami…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:33AM
Monday, June 12, 2017

100 Years Ago Today: Eddie Cantor and Will Rogers Debut in The Follies by Trav S.D.

100 years ago today, the 1917 edition of the Ziegfeld Follies opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Why is this worth noting? Because this was the edition during which Eddie Cantor and Will R…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:33PM

Irwin Allen: Mover of Worlds by Trav S.D.

It’s shocking to me to realize that I haven’t done a proper tribute to visionary producer/ director Irwin Allen (1916-1991) prior to now. Allen’s film and television produc…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 11:18AM
Friday, June 9, 2017

Some Tales of Vaudeville Suicide, Despair and Murder by Trav S.D.

This one is by special request — a reader (some morbid soul) wanted to see more stories like a certain tragic story we posted a few days ago. Essentially this is just a round up of sev…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:33AM
Thursday, June 8, 2017

Joseph Hart: The Original Foxy Grandpa by Trav S.D.

Performer, producer and songwriter Joseph Hart (Joseph Hart Boudrow, 1861-1921) was born on June 8. Hart was the nephew of Josh Hart, who managed Boston’s Howard Athenaeum. Through his…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:48AM
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Leo Dryden: The Kipling of the Halls, Correspondent in Chaplin Break-Up by Trav S.D.

Born this day: Music Hall star Leo Dryden (George Dryden Wheeler, 1863-1939). Dryden was quite a well known performer in his day, nicknamed “The Kipling of the Halls” on account …

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:12PM

Fifteen Famous Females Named “Billie” by Trav S.D.

This non sequitur of a blogpost came about because I noticed that show business has given us more than one female performer with the unusual first name of “Billie”. We post it to…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 11:04AM
Monday, June 5, 2017

The Ten Most Influential Vaudevillians Of All Time by Trav S.D.

In contrast with yesterday’s post, which reported who YOUR favorite vaudeville performers are, today we share a short list of those whom we deem to have cast the longest and widest sha…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:18AM
Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Top Ten Vaudevillians on Travalanche (Revisited) by Trav S.D.

On a sleepy Sunday four years ago, we did a little survey to see which vaudevillians were most popular on Travalanche; the results were posted here. Noticing that the standings had changed a…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:06AM
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Dorothy Stone: Broadway Legatee by Trav S.D.

Stage and screen performer Dorothy Stone came into the world on June 3, 1905. The daughter of Broadway and vaudeville legend Fred Stone (the original Scarecrow in the Broadway version of Th…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:42AM