Vaudeville Show History

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In the decades following the Civil War, the United States underwent major changes in virtually every field; this included the entertainment industry which witnessed the rise of vaudeville shows and experienced major transformations. Vaudeville shows changed how theatres were owned and operated, the shows altered how many Americans spent their leisure time and vaudeville shows quickly became an important and memorable element of American popular culture. Vaudeville shows provided people with the opportunity to escape their everyday lives and be entertained, the shows were appealing because the variety of acts within a single performance allowed for diverse amusement. Vaudeville shows "first appeared during the Civil War and peaked between…show more content…
It demonstrates that comedic actions on stage are an act and the real conditions are frequently hidden to mask the truth. Buster Keaton was subjected to traumatic working conditions to bring other people pleasure; "the violent stage performance and the stories about the many dangerous accidents that the young child only narrowly escaped were designed by his father, Joe Keaton, for the entertainment of vaudeville audiences (Kramer 255-256). Vaudeville shows were not perfect, but the historical significance must not be overlooked because it helped to unite the country and represented an important form of entertainment. Despite the negative working conditions, vaudeville shows were able to experience a large degree of success. One of the reasons behind its prosperity was because of the shows ability to consistently attract large audience, including many of the elite class and its geographical expansion to other major cities throughout the United States. President Calvin Coolidge and his wife attended a vaudeville show in Washington and they were accompanied by Senator Butler, a prominent Massachusetts senator and close personal friend of the president, who attended the performance as their guest. On April 9th, 1925 the New York…show more content…
It is important to note the theatre's location in California, this proves that vaudeville was truly an important part of American popular culture instead of being confined to a specific region. The poster proves that vaudeville had transformed the American entertainment industry from coast to coast. Originating in New York and other eastern cities, its popularity and success had travelled all throughout the United States and in the process, it served as a unifying tool which was important given the political, economic and ideological divisions that followed the Civil War and continued into the twentieth century. In addition to its geographical significance, the image promotes the important elements of vaudeville and the significance of a specific show. By advertising a 15 act show the image illustrates that variety of entertainers will be present and that it will be an in-depth show (Vaudeville Frolic). The advertised fifteen acts highlighted how this performance was a must see by emphasizing the number of acts which was unusual, "[t]ypically, a vaudeville show included eight or nine acts" (Rydell and Kroes 23). Not only was the image promoting the show as
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