Adelaide Hall: Vaud Expat in the U.K. Halls

Classy, elegant African American chanteuse Adelaide Hall (born this day in 1901) did play sporadic dates in American vaudeville (like when she played the Palace in 1930), but she is best known in the U.K., where the Brooklyn native moved on the eve of the Second World War.

A trained singer and college graduate, she first made her name in all-Black Broadway shows of the 1920s like Sissle and Blake’s Shuffle Along (1921) and Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds of 1928. Like Josephine Baker she made Paris her home base for awhile, performing at the Moulin Rouge and her own club La Grosse Pomme. She moved to London in 1938, and made that her home (with occasional trips back to the states) until her death in 1993.

Here she is singing in London’s Nightingale Club in 1948:

To find out more about  the history of vaudevilleconsult 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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