The Kensico Vaudeville Project


I have been remiss in not informing you about a project I think my readers will find very important. My friend Kevin Fitzpatrick, founder of Marxfest and the Dorothy Parker Society, has started a project to investigate the lives of vaudevillians buried in the National Vaudeville Association section of Kensico Cemetery, which he calls the Kensico Vaudeville Project. It’s an important complement to my Stars of Vaudeville series. The focus of my series (begun in 2009), at least initially focused on the most famous vaudeville performers. As time went on, I began to work my way down the ladder a bit, but though I’ve done over 1500 of them, most of them are/were still pretty prominent performers. As I often stress, I am a writer; not a historian. I frankly do very little primary research, although it has become increasingly necessary for me to. Kevin’s series is especially valuable because many of the performers were NOT famous ones. They were buried by their union because that’s partially what they paid dues for. In some ways, it’s a step above Potter’s Field. Kevin’s been digging out the data on these folks, and because he is profiling “rank and file” vaudevillians for the most part (I think our only overlap is Ed Gallagher and Richie Craig, Jr) his work will give you a flavor of what life was like in the business for most vaudevillians. I highly recommend it. Kevin’s description of the project is here. And a list of performers he’s profiled is here. 

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