Mother Hubbard

Event Information

Wallack's Theatre

Proprietor / Lessee:
Lester Wallack

Manager / Director:
Theodore Moss

Thomas Baker

Event Type:
Variety / Vaudeville

Record Information


Last Updated:
18 October 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

07 Jun 1869, Evening
08 Jun 1869, Evening
09 Jun 1869, Evening
10 Jun 1869, Evening
11 Jun 1869, Evening
12 Jun 1869, Matinee
12 Jun 1869, Evening

Program Details

American debut of the Lauri Family. Mother Hubbard included the “Pearl Ballet.” The “Champagne dance,” the harlequinade, and the magic transformation seem to have been performed separately; it is unclear if they are part of Mother Hubbard, but the review in the New York Sun suggests that they are.

Performers and/or Works Performed


Announcement: New York Clipper, 05 June 1869, 70.

Lists cast.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 05 June 1869, 7.

“This piece is produced with…new music and novel dances.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 07 June 1869, 12.
Announcement: New York Herald, 07 June 1869, 7.

“Manager Moss inaugurates the summer season at Wallack’s this evening with the new burlesque pantomime of ‘Mother Hubbard.’ The piece has been in course of preparation for months, and we are assured that neither money nor labor has been spared in the endeavor to make it acceptable to the public. The Lauri troupe of pantomimists, from England, will make their first bow before an American audience in the piece, and Miss Effie Germon and Miss Rose Massey will sustain leading rôles in the burlesque.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 07 June 1869, 4.

Describes Mother Hubbard, looks forward to the Lauri Family, and introduces new artists. Concludes: “New scenery, costumes, and music are promised, and the ballet is said to be uncommonly fine and entirely chaste. It is understood to be the design of the management of Wallack’s Theater, in this Summer campaign, to present the most select burlesque entertainment ever offered here. Should that design be fulfilled, the enterprise ought to be abundantly successful; for, though this class of performance has of late been overdone, the very cream of it may still prove widely attractive and popular. That such stars are appropriate in the Summer season need not be urged. No one, indeed, would take the trouble to object to them at any time, if they were decent, and not in such excess as to bid fair to drive the drama altogether away. From what we know of Mr. Mesa’s plans, and of the details of this new entertainment, we incline to wish the fullest success to ‘Old Mother Hubbard.’”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 07 June 1869, 7.
Review: New York Herald, 08 June 1869, 7.

No mention of music. “While England is taking from us the remaining exponents of our negro minstrels and making it the best paying show in London, she is sending to us its outgrowth—the burlesque—together with the pantomime in exchange. Of the later character is the Lauri troupe, which made their first appearance last night, and had they come as a novelty, the excellence of their performances would have secured them a profitable reception…The performance of the Lauris was most excellent of its kind, and had not the audience been tired with a long prelude and a too long intermission would have been much more favorably received. The ballet is the best now on our stage, and the mechanical changes in the harlequinade are excellent…The performance as a whole will, however, hardly come up to the standard of Wallack’s audience, and will not do for a summer pastime at that cosey [sic] theatre.”

Review: New-York Times, 08 June 1869, 5.

Positive review; no mention of music.

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 08 June 1869, 4.

Long, positive, and difficult to read. No mention of music legible.

Review: New York Post, 08 June 1869.

“The summer entertainment intended for the patrons of Wallack’s Theatre began its career last night. It is a burlesque pantomime. In such productions neither plot nor consistency is looked for, and late experience has shown that it is also quite useless to expect witticism in the language of the piece. The burlesque under consideration is quite up, or down, to its immediate predecessors in these respects. The story—if such it can be called—consists of dim allusions to the nursery rhymes of ‘Little Bo-peep,’ ‘Little Boy Blue’ and [‘]Mother Hubbard.’ [Briefly reviews roles.]

The music of the new burlesque is pleasing and melodious, and the incidental songs are so satisfactorily rendered as to elicit frequent encores. The scenery is generally good, the final transformation scene being tasteful and elegant, if not as showily brilliant as some that have preceded it…

On this piece, we presume, the present management of the theatre depends chiefly for its summer support. Spectacular burlesques, however, something with which the public has been rather surfeited of late [sic]. To give an opinion eminently worth of Jack Bunsby, it may be said that if the public still crave for this species of entertainment, it will be gratified with the pantomime at Wallack’s, and crows the theatre for weeks to come, as it did last night; and if, on the other hand, the burlesque mania has subsided, as that for opera bouffe has done, the management will find it necessary to bring out other attractions to carry through a successful season.”

Review: New York Sun, 08 June 1869, 1.

“Nearly every month during the past winter seems to have brought us some new burlesque or pantomimic company. The last important is the Lauri Troupe, which made its appearance last evening at Wallack’s.

“The burlesque is entitled ‘Mother Hubbard; or, Harlequin Little Bo Peep and Little Boy Blue.’ It consists of the usual series of unintelligible songs and dances, connected together by little threads of even more unintelligible dialogue. In this matter of absence of plot, the burlesque that at present occupy the theatres of this city exercise a generous rivalry, and we are obliged to give this particular one credit of being not a bit behind its fellows.

“The actors, however, are many of them good, and capable of infinitely better work. Witness Miss Effle Germon, Mr. Beckett and Mr. E.M. Holland, who are of the cast—if cast can properly be applied to such a nondescript performance.

“The Lauri Company appear only in the pantomime, which is entirely disconnected with the burlesque. They are of the strictly English school of pantomime actors, and knock each other down and tumble about the stage, and leap over everybody and everything, and dash down trap doors and through holes in the wall with an agility that is little short of marvelous. Their humor is not that of face and gesture like that of George Fox, but of the vigorous rough and tumble sort. An excellent ballet makes part of the performance, capitally drilled and executing some novel and very interesting dances. The house was crowded and as the performance lasted till nearly midnight, we reserve a more detailed account of it for another occasion.”

Review: New-York Times, 09 June 1869, 8.

Another long review, mostly positive. Little mention of music. “There is a fragile attempt at a plot, involving a number of nursery tales, all of which are clumsily twisted together in uncouth rhymed dialogue, and relieved by irrelevant songs.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 12 June 1869, 78.

“At Wallack’s—the ‘model theatre of the country,’ and the ‘home of the legitimate drama’—they are playing that highly fashionable piece called ‘Mother Hubbard.’ Mrs Vernon did not survive to witness this desecration of the stage with which her name has so long and favorably been identified.”

Review: New York Clipper, 19 June 1869, 86.

Long review; no mention of music. “The burlesque of itself is about the trashiest affair we have witnessed in a long time.”