Puerto Rican Vaudeville!

Teatro Puerto Rico

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is happening today in New York, an apt day to celebrate Puerto Rican culture general, and, here on Travalanche, some specific manifestations of it. For example it is little known that, during the Great Migration of Puerto Ricans to NYC that began in World War II, a kind of Latin vaudeville arrived as well. It flourished mostly in the Bronx, especially at the now defunct Teatro Puerto Rico, which presented variety show starring Latin American singers, dancers, musicians, comedians, ventriloquists — the whole vaudeville package. Wonderfully it existed long after almost all mainstream vaudeville had died in the U.S., lasting until the early 1960s. A comedian named Chicharrón was one of the hosts: there is a great interview with him here in the Daily News from 2002. Stars who performed in Puerto Rican vaudeville included Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Machito and Celia Cruz.

Performers of Puerto Rican descent we have celebrated here on Travalanche have included Olga San Juan, Tony Orlando, Marcelle Earle, Freddie Prinze, Henry Darrow and Michele Carlo.

Puerto Rico is still reeling from the effect of two hurricanes last year, and the lack of emergenecy response from the Federal government. Months after the fact, the people of Puerto Rico continue to need disaster relief. For ways to help go here.

To learn more more about vaudeville please read  No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous.

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