Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels

Event Information

Kelly and Leon's Minstrels Hall (720 Broadway)

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
23 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

22 Jun 1868, Evening
23 Jun 1868, Evening
24 Jun 1868, Evening

Program Details

Music arranged by Prof. Zaulig; Wed.: benefit for Leon.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Belle L. N.
Text Author: Leon
Participants:  Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels;  Edwin Kelly (role: Paris);  John F. Oberist (role: A-Killer);  Add Ryman (role: Cal-Chase);  George W. Howard Griffin (role: All-Gammon);  Joe [bones player] Murphy;  George Guy [baritone] (role: Herald);  Mr. [harpist] Blamphin;  Sam S. [Ethiopian comedian] Purdy (role: Arrest-Us);  Mr. [tenor] Naylor;  Willie Guy [minstrel] (role: To-Bac-Cus);  William H. Brockway (role: Money-Less);  G. W. Jackson [minstrel tenor];  Francis Leon (role: Helen)


Announcement: New York Herald, 22 June 1868, 5.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 22 June 1868.
Review: New York Herald, 25 June 1868, 1.

“Last night this favorite minstrel organization closed their second season of regular performances in this city before a crowded and enthusiastic auditory. The occasion was also the benefit night of the ‘only Leon,’ author of the sparkling and decidedly successful burlesque, ‘La Bell—L. N.’  The leading parts in this capital piece de resistance were sustained by Leon and Edwin Kelly, as Helen and Paris respectively, and the remaining characters were well supported by the members of the talented company. The scenery and costumes were really elaborate, and in this respect were a novel and attractive feature of Ethiopian burlesque entertainment, which has hitherto been usually a carnival of absurdly exaggerated ‘jabber,’ by performers clad in disgustingly dirty and tottered ‘old clo.’ Kelly and Leon, with their superb company, will appear next in Washington, and thus inaugurate a travelling season of about two months, at the close of which they will return to this city and reopen at the establishment lately occupied, which will, in the interregnum, have been enlarged, rebuilt interiorly and beautified.”

Review: New York Clipper, 27 June 1868, 94, 2d col., middle.

“The present is the last week of the season of Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels, as they are obliged to vacate the premises to make room for carpenters and a host of other mechanics, for the purpose of making improvements and alterations in the hall for the fall season. Taken on the whole, the season now closing has been one of the most successful ever experienced by a minstrel band in this city, their receipts for eleven months—according to the returns as given to the Internal Revenue Collector—being a trifle over $80,000, averaging over $7,000 a month. The season just closing opened July 29th, with Edwin Kelly in the middle, Nelse Seymour and Add Ryman on the ends; Kelly, Guy, Buler and Oberist, quartet; Hoffman, Soloman, McKenzie, etc., instrumentalists; Sam Price, Guy Brothers, Stevie Rogers and Leon in the olio.  August 12, Delehanty and Hengler, cloggists, appeared and remained until Nov. 16th.  Fred Williams, tenor, opened on the 12th, but did not remain long.  Burlesque of ‘Kill Trovatore,’ was produced on Auguet 16th. The song of ‘Man the Life Boat,’ with dioramic illustration, was given the same night. Sept. 9th Harry Stanwood, banjoist, opened and remained a few months. Sept. 28th the matinee benefit of A. L. Parkes, treasurer. Sept. 30th burlesque of the ‘Japs’ revived. Oct. 21th Add Ryman left the bone end, which was taken by Nelse Seymour, with Sam Price on the tambo end. Nov. 4th burlesque of ‘Faust’ produced. December 2d, Hogan and Hughes, cloggists, opened and remained until April 9th. Hall closed on Dec. 12th owing to the Sharpley affair, and re-opened Dec. 17th, with a change in the company. G. W. H. Griffin took Kelly’s position of interlocutor, George Percival as balladist, Rollin Howard as prima donna, in place of Leon, and Dave Reed appeared in the olio for a few nights. Dec. 23d Master Lon, bird imitator opened. On Dec. 30th S.  S. Purdy appeared in the olio.  Feb. 3d, first performance of the burlesque of the ‘Grand Dutch S,’ with the re-appearance of Leon. G. W. Jackson, tenor, opened March 16th. During the week ending March 14th, Nelse Seymour did not appear, owing to ‘indisposition,’ and Sam Price occupied the end. During this week the first part contained eighteen performers besides the pianist, with nine voices in the chorus. J. W. Hilton commenced on the 30th. Owing to Leon being sick the ‘Grand Dutch S’ was not performed April 11th and 13th.  Joe Murphy took the bone end, and Nelse Seymour appeared only in the olio. April 27th the hundredth performance of the ‘Grand Dutch S,’ and the debut of James Blamphin, harpist, and F. B. Naylor, balladist. Add Ryman opened in the olio on May 18th. Reappearance of Edwin Kelly and first performance of “La Bell L. N.’ June 18th, and Add Ryman took the end and S. S. Purdy left the company.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 27 June 1868, 94, 3d col., middle.
Advertisement: New York Clipper, 27 June 1868, 95.
Announcement: New York Clipper, 04 July 1868, 102, 3d col., top.