Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels

Event Information

Kelly and Leon's Minstrels Hall (720 Broadway)

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
15 March 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

12 Nov 1866, 7:45 PM
13 Nov 1866, 7:45 PM
14 Nov 1866, 7:45 PM
15 Nov 1866, 7:45 PM
16 Nov 1866, 7:45 PM
17 Nov 1866, 7:45 PM

Program Details

Excursion trip around the world includes the songs “The Fine old English gentleman,” “Comin’ thro’ the rye,” “La Marseillaise,” “Bingen on the Rhine,” “Home again,” and “The Star-spangled banner.” It also includes Seymour's banjo solos.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Yodel; Swiss song
Participants:  John F. Oberist
Composer(s): Hays
Text Author: Hays
Participants:  Edwin Kelly
aka That man with the wooden leg; Man with the wooden leg
Composer(s): Allen [minstrel/variety]
aka Musical twins
Participants:  George N. Christy
aka Original excursion trip around the world
aka Old English gentleman
Text Author: Dance
aka Coming through the rye
Text Author: Burns
aka Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin; Marseillais' Hymn
Composer(s): Rouget de Lisle
Text Author: Rouget de Lisle
Composer(s): Pike, Ordway
Text Author: Pike
aka Star spangled banned
Composer(s): Smith
Text Author: Key


Announcement: New York Herald, 12 November 1866, 5.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 12 November 1866.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 12 November 1866, 7.
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 12 November 1866, 5.
Review: New York Herald, 13 November 1866, 7.

“Last evening the entertainment given by Messrs. Kelly and Leon attracted a very full audience, every available portion of the house being jammed. This troupe have already become very popular in New York, and they are destined to become more so as they continue during this season. The bill for the present week is unusually full and attractive. The selections of the first part of the programme are made with taste and discrimination, as the applause of the interested and delighted listeners last evening bore evidence. Mr. Kelly sang the ‘Lone Grave by the Sea’ excellently, and the odd ‘Swiss Song’ of Mr. Oberist was heartily encored. The humor of the song of the ‘Man with the Wooden Leg’ was greatly enhanced by the laughable manner in which it was given by Johnnie Allen, and ‘The Twins’ of George Christy evoked roars of mirth. These two as end men are among the very first in the profession, and are established favorites here. Leon is wonderful both in his opera burlesques and in his dances, in which last he displays a proficiency and quickness that are marvelous. Sam Price personated the frightened darkey in the ‘Haunted House,’ which was received with shouts of laughter.”

Review: New York Herald, 16 November 1866, 4.

“Messrs. Kelly and Leon are doubtless as much gratified at the fashionable audiences that nightly throng their pretty little hall on Broadway, as they must be of the general success of their entertainments. Last evening every seat was occupied, and dozens were compelled to remain standing, so crowded was the hall. The programme presented was performed in a most satisfactory manner, and occasioned roars of laughter and repeated applause. A Trip through the World is one of the best panoramas that we have seen for some time and is well worth witnessing. A pas de comique by Leon was decidedly rich, as was also the Haunted House. The evening’s amusement closed with a burlesque entitled Consolio de Sopo, or the Barber that’s Civil, which was exceedingly laughable.” 

Announcement: New York Clipper, 17 November 1866, 254.
Review: New York Clipper, 24 November 1866, 262.

The Trip Around The World, made every night last week by Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels, succeeded in attracting a great many lookers on every evening; in fact, the house was crowded all through the week. The entertainment consists of the following. Instead of the usual ‘first part,’ the boys arranged themselves each side of the stage with their instruments. They start for the trip, and a panorama commences to move. On the arrival at each city, Kelly gives a description of the country, and the company sing songs characteristic of the place. For instance, on arriving in London, they sing ‘An Old English Gentleman;’ in Scotland, ‘Comin’ thro’ the Rye.’ The party then take a balloon trip across the Northern ocean to Paris. Here the party sing the ‘Marseillaise.’ Germany is reached and ‘Bingen on the Rhine’ is sung. Reaching the green sod of Old Ireland, the company enjoy a real Irish festival, such as singing and dancing and a good time generally. Returning home, they reach America singing ‘Home Again,’ and ‘Star Spangled Banner’ as the finale. The panorama is a very handsome one, and the different paintings are said to be very truthful. The affair is capitally placed upon the stage, and the manner in which it is performed reflects credit upon all concerned in it. While in London, Nelse Seymor and the two masters Guy are introduced. Nelse does a banjo solo and the two ‘kids’ perform on the bones and tambo. They were called out three times, when they did a walk around and a little ‘jigging.’ The naval battle between the Kearsage and Alabama was very nicely done. After the ‘trip,’ the regular second part entertainment was given, which passed off very pleasantly.”