The Vaudeville Show of Tomorrow

In the process of moving and sifting through drawers and boxes of files, the other day I came across this early draft for a jokey “chaser” in my book No Applause which we never used, and I hope you will find entertaining...

Before you close the book, I’d like to take this opportunity to offer up some speculation about a subject I know will be near and dear to our readers — and that’s The Vaudeville Show of Tomorrow. Having already exhausted Vaudeville Past and Present, it is only appropriate that we now direct our gaze ahead.


First, I think it’s only safe to assert that the vaudeville theatre of the future, that is the structure itself, will no longer be made of stone, brick, wood, or concrete, but molded plastic, the sort of material we already use in furniture. Grand coliseums of plastic will ascend far into the heavens, as far as the eye can see, capable of holding hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of happy vaudeville patrons. Needless to say, the vaudeville circuits will in future times encompass not only the seven continents of earth, but all the known planets of the solar system, the performers to arrive at their engagements through the agency of Rocket Power. In the future, animal acts will be replaced by animatronic robots, eliminating the unpredictable misbehavior of biological animals as well as the mistreatment of cruel trainers. Further, animatronics will permit a wider variety of species to present onstage than are currently available, including those now too stupid to train, too ferocious, or even those that are now extinct, such as dinosaurs. Cybernetics will permit more mellifluous singing acts, as built-in pitch correction wipes out vocal errors in judgment by merely human singing groups. Anabolic steroids and vitamin injections will ensure top of the line Strong Men and acrobats. The use of amphetamines and other stimulants will also help to create a new breed of tap dancer, tireless and faster than ever before. Already, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have used computers to solve complex juggling problems too intricate for the human mind alone to grasp. It boggles the mind to think what superhuman demonstrations the machine-men of tomorrow may unleash.

Audience reaction, too, may be modified and conditioned by the judicious spraying of nitrous oxide, onion juice, and other chemicals into the theatre through a system of atomizers, helping performers produce the desired emotional reaction whether certain audience members are in a mood to cooperate or not.

Yes, live entertainment certainly promises to hold many surprises in days to come. I only hope that our children and our children’s children fully appreciate the wonders they will undoubtedly behold — at the VAUDEVILLE SHOW OF TOMORROW.


To find out about  the real history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


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