Bryants’ Minstrels

Event Information

Bryants’ Minstrel Hall

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
21 April 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

02 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM
03 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM
04 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM
05 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM
06 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM
07 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Scene First: The Tyrolean Village of Too-rat?-loo-rad?; The Golden Fleece Inn; The Betrothal of Amina and Elvino, to the annoyance of Liza; Return of Count Crackabobsterciawski, the Ghost. Scene Second:A lovely pass in Gowan???; Who’s this stranger; Horrible, Can it Be?;No—yes—it must be;Taffy;Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief. Scene Third: Interior of the Golden Fleece Inn; The Count’s Bedroom; Amina caught napping; Triumph of Liza; Am I guilty?; Who will care for mother now? Scene Fourth: The Haunted Mill; Amina acts high on the wheel, she crosses a great water fall; Terrific descent of Alessio; Amina awakes from her forty winks; Embraces Elvino; Everything is lovely and the bells will go ring for Amina. The burlesque produced under the direction of Dan Bryant, who will appear in the screaming farce of “The Live Ingin”

Performers and/or Works Performed


Announcement: New-York Times, 26 October 1868, 5.

“It [“Lucrezia Borgia, M. D.] will be withdrawn after the present week to make way for a burlesque on “La Somnambula.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 31 October 1868, 238, 2d col., middle.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 01 November 1868.
Announcement: New-York Times, 02 November 1868, 5.

“The BRYANTS are also ready with a new burlesque on the well-known theme of “La Sonnambula,” cast to the entire strength of their admirable company.  The full title of this novelty is “La Somnambula, the Midnight Grecian Bender Who Walked in Her Sleep, or the Village Inn and the Count Out.”  If that don’t draw, there is no strength in a title.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 02 November 1868, 7.
Review: New York Herald, 05 November 1868, 7.

“The great progress in burnt cork minstrelsy which has manifested itself during the past few years has almost completely revolutionized this particular line of popular amusement, and performances which at one time comprised merely a potpourri of absurd caricatures and grotesqueries, presented without regard to stage mounting, and claiming their chief attraction from the disgusting and sometimes offensive costumes, composed of refuse clothing from all the rag shops of the city, are now replaced by the most complete and costly stage paraphernalia, scenery and appointments of the most lavish display. The last grand attraction at Bryants’ has actually eclipsed all former attempts to combine beauty, refinement and enjoyment on the Ethiopian stage. The new operatic burlesque of ‘La Somnambula, the midnight Grecian Bender who walked in her sleep,’ is one of the finest extravaganzas presented for a long time before a New York public, and would be highly creditable as a spectacle to any of the city dramatic establishments. Eugene as Amina is admirable in point of make up, and is an ebony beauty of no mean personal charms, although she (or he) is a bogus belle. In the matter of form and voice Eugene must unquestionably be classed as one of the first burlesque prime donne on the stage, and puzzles many of his auditors as to whether he does or does not actually belong to the gentler sex. Unsworth’s performance in whtever class of character he assumes is well known, and the reputation he first made in this country has been added to by the prestige of his great popularity and unequalled success in London during the seven years of his absence from us. His Alessio in the ‘Somnambula’ is replete with his proverbial wit, humor and finish and elicits encores and plaudits throughout the piece. The cast of chracters in the burlesque is unique and appropriate, and the chorus is excellent in all its parts. The scenery, particularly the mountains of the Tyrol and the cataract scene, are among Wallack’s finest productions, and is something new in minstrel representations. Dan Bryant’s irrepressible talent is a household word, and the company as a unit may be considered as unexcelled by anything in its line of business.”

Advertisement: New York Clipper, 07 November 1868, 247.
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 07 November 1868, 5.

“A very comical burlesque of the opera of ‘La Sonnambula’ has been produced at Bryant’s. It is in four scenes, and it introduces eleven characters. The thread of the operatic story is not very closely followed, but the original is very well ridiculed—and more than that could not be desired. Mr. Eugene takes a conspicuous part in the burlesque, as Amina, and Unsworth, who is a genius in absurdity, appears as Elvino. In other particulars, also, the burlesque is well cast, while the scenic mounting of it would do credit to any first-class theater. The song of ‘Taffy was a Welshman,’ sung by these Minstrels, would also furnish an adequate entertainment to such as like to laugh. The miscellaneous entertainment here is excellent. It includes, among other things, a capital performance of ‘The Live Injin.’

Review: New-York Times, 09 November 1868, 4.

“The BRYANTS have brought out a capital comic version of La Sonnambula—not so funny, perhaps, as “Il Trovatore,” but hearty and amusing. The music is mélange, with many of the original airs and choruses retained.  These are rendered with precision and fine effect. The scenery, too, is excellent, and the costumes leave nothing to be desired.”

Review: New York Clipper, 14 November 1868, 254, 2d col., bottom.

“Bryants Minstrels produced the past week a most excellent burlesque on ‘La Sonnambula,’ entitled ‘The Midnight Grecian-bender who Walked in her Sleep.’ Several new scenes have been painted expressly for it and the costumes are very appropriate. Nearly all the music is from the original opera, and is exceedingly well rendered by this troupe of black artists. The song of ‘Taffy was a Welch Man,’ sung with so much applause by Lydia Thompson, Pauline Markham, Lisa Weber and Harry Beckett at Wood’s Museum, has been happily introduced, and is sung by Nelse Seymour, Dempster and others in a manner that elicits thunders of applause and is demanded two or three times. The song of ‘The Bells are Ringing for Sarah’ (changed to Amina) is also effectively given by the entire company with bell accompaniment. Warren White, an old times rocks member of the profession, has been added to the company and is a valuable addition. The burlesque was acted throughout in a pleasing manner, and is the best thing of the kind this troupe have done this season. In the first part Charles Henry sang in a spirited manner ‘Oh Maggie When the Sun Goes Down,’ which was well received.”