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Vaudeville MelodiesPopular Musicians and Mass Entertainment in American Culture, 1870-1929$
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Nicholas Gebhardt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226448558

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226448725.001.0001

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On with the Show

On with the Show

(p.75) Chapter Six On with the Show
Vaudeville Melodies

Nicholas Gebhardt

University of Chicago Press

This chapter sets out the basic principles of a vaudeville show: the types of acts that appeared on the vaudeville stage, their relationships to one another, the kinds of aesthetic claims that performers made about them, and the broader dynamics that existed between performers and their audiences. The implementation of continuous programming, the emergence of the star system, and the integration of the national circuits contributed to a new set of artistic practices and conventions for popular entertainment. The first section focuses on the changes that took place in popular entertainment, as various nineteenth-century forms were incorporated into, and modified within, the vaudeville system. The next section concentrates on how performers accounted for those changes in published articles, interviews, and autobiographies. Finally, there is a discussion of two early and influential studies of vaudeville for what the authors have to say about the broader context for these changes and the kinds of claims that were made to justify them.

Keywords:   performance practices, vaudeville show, popular entertainment, artistic value

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