Mabel Wayne: Pioneering Female Composer

As a composer Mabel Wayne (Mabel Wimpfheimer, 1890-1978) made good in a field dominated almost entirely by men. Brooklyn born and educated at the New York School of Music, she sang, danced and played piano in vaudeville and in concert settings. Her songs were often Latin-themed. The best known may be “It Happened in Monterey”, which she co-wrote with Billy Rose, and was used in the 1930 film The King of Jazz, and made popular by Frank Sinatra a quarter century later. With L. Wolfe Gilbert, she co-wrote “Ramona” and “Don’t Wake Me Up, Let Me Dream.” Other songs with her name on it include “In a Little Spanish Town”, “Chiquita”, and “Little Man, You’ve Had a Busy Day.”

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