What Was The Chop Suey Circuit?

The Chop Suey Circuit is the not-very-respectful nickname for the loose network of night clubs and supper clubs that flourished in the various Chinatowns of American metropolitan areas from the 1930s through the 1950s. Generally owned by Asian Americans, they presented revues of Asian and Asian American entertainers, mostly for audiences of thrill seeking Caucasians. Who might have you seen there? Oh maybe performers like Anna May Wong, Ming and Toy, Toy and Wing, Long Tack Sam, et al. It was never a bona fide, organized circuit in the sense of the great burlesque and vaudeville wheels — merely an informal designation for the spots you’d hit as you worked your way around the country. I wish I was at one now!

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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