Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels

Event Information

Kelly and Leon's Minstrels Hall (720 Broadway)

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
21 May 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

28 Sep 1868, 8:00 PM
29 Sep 1868, 8:00 PM
30 Sep 1868, 8:00 PM
01 Oct 1868, 8:00 PM
02 Oct 1868, 8:00 PM
03 Oct 1868, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

Participants:  Francis Leon (role: Boulotte);  Edwin Kelly (role: Barber Blu)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 27 September 1868.
Announcement: New York Herald, 28 September 1868, 4.

“Kelly & Leon’s Minstrels have changed the first and second parts of their entertainment, but still find it profitable and pleasant to continue their laughable travesty of ‘Barbe Blue’ as their grand finale.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 28 September 1868, 9.
Review: New York Herald, 29 September 1868, 7.

“The beautified and reconstructed hall of this popular troupe is nightly crowded with the admirers of good singing, wit, puns and excellent acting—qualities that are not often combined in one minstrel company. The clever musical travestie entitled, ‘Bar-Ber Blu,’ forms the principal feature of attraction at this house, but the good old comic eccentricities and delineations of negro life, such as are associated in the minds of our citizens with Southern plantation life, have not been overlooked and form the first and second parts, or properly speaking, the first and second acts of the evening’s entertainment. The entire programme, with the exception of ‘Bar-Ber Blu,’ has undergone a radical change and presents many new and enjoyable features. Twenty-seven performers occupy the stage in the musical or first part, instead of twelve, while, in the burlesque, ‘Bar-Ber Blu,’ the whole troupe make an active part and are ably seconded in their efforts to please by a full and efficient orchestra. Mr. Leon as Bullyette and Mr. Kelly as Bar-Ber Blu not only act and sing their parts perfectly, but likewise imitate to perfection their repertoire prototypes at Niblo’s. The burlesque has been placed upon the stage without regard to cost, and the original music has been strictly adhered to throughout. To Messrs. Kelly and Leon is due the credit of the elevation of tone that minstrelsy in this city has sustained of late; and that the public fully appreciates their painstaking efforts to please is nightly evidenced in the large and fashionable audience, that, rain or shine, invariably fills their large and handsome hall.”

Review: New York Herald, 05 October 1868, 7.

“Kelly & Leon’s Minstrels are still burlesquing ‘Barbe Bleue;’ and so superbly has the piece been mounted that it is only with difficulty that one is enabled to decide which to see the oftener—the original or the burlesque. The costumes employed in the pice are gorgeous in the extreme, and the acting and singing excellent.”

Review: New York Clipper, 10 October 1868, 214.

“‘Barber Blu’ remains on the bills at Kelly & Leon’s Minstrel Hall, and, with such a performance, who can wonder that the audience increases nightly, and the visitors go home at a reasonable hour in the best of humor? The burlesque, although almost too faithful a copy of the original, is received each evening with screams of laughter and applause. The adaptor has shown great talent to present the opera bouffe in its present shape. It is highly diverting and the dialogue sparkles with local witticisms. In the first part Talbot has the bones and J. C. Campbell tambourine.”