Today is the centennial anniversary of the launch of the Shubert Organization’s Passing Show series of Broadway revues. The Passing Show was the first attempt to compete with Ziegfeld’s successful Follies which had sprung up five years earlier. Many other annual revues would follow in its wake, and many would last longer; the last edition of Passing Show was in 1924. But while it existed it fostered the talents of many well known entertainers, including Willie and Eugene Howard, Ed Wynn, Fred Allen, George Jessel, Fred and Adele Astaire, Marilyn Miller, Charlotte Greenwood, Bessie Clayton, and Francis Renault.
In honor of the anniversary, my current show Travesties of 2012 is featuring a tribute to the Passing Show, including two songs written for two editions of the show, “Ragtime Jockey Man” by Irving Berlin, and “Carolina in the Morning” by Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson. The songs are being performed by the lovely Meghan Murphy. You simply must attend!
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.