Paul Draper: Aristocrat of Tap

PaulDraper

Paul Draper (1909-1996), came along too late for vaudeville, but oh how that would have been the perfect platform for him!

A son of wealthy parents, and a nephew of society monologist Ruth Draper, it was his innovation to mix tap dance (after only six lessons) with ballet (after much formal training) often done in time to classical music. In 1932 he began performing in night clubs in Europe and then brought his back to that States where he danced in top flight rooms like the Rainbow Room and the Persian Room at the Plaza, in several Broadway shows and even Carnegie Hall. From 1940 through 1949 he performed in a duo with virtuoso harmonica player Larry Adler; the two were a frequent fixture at City Center. In 1948 Draper played the tap dancing comedian in the film version of William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life. Supposed communist affiliations hurt his career in the 1950s, although he continued to appear on Broadway and on television shows like The Ed Sullivan Show. In later years he worked as a teacher and choreographer and occasionally still as a performer.

To find out more about vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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