Tony Pastor's Opera House
Variety / Vaudeville
7 March 2020
“Tony Pastor’s Opera House will open on Monday next, with all the old favorites and many new additions in the company. The house has been repainted and redecorated inside and out, and now looks as bright as a new pin. Poole, the versatile dramatist, will be on hand as usual, with an original play of the sensation order.”
“Tony Pastor’s Opera House opens for the fall and winter season to-morrow (Monday) evening with the old company and several new additions, among whom are Bobby Newcomb and Sam Collyer. During the recess the theatre has been altered and redecorated, and with a new drop curtain and new scenery will prove much more attractive than it has been heretofore. Poole, the ‘indefatigable,’ has prepared for the occasion of the opening a new drama entitled the ‘Champion of Ireland, or the Dead Boxer,’ giving the athletic Sam an opportunity of displaying his strength and agility. Miss Sallie Mason, a favorite songstress, will also make her first appearance here.”
“He must have been an honest if not an educated architect who built this favorite haunt, else the wails, galleries and perhaps the roof would have been violently attracted to the earth. The pressure and gravitation were strong last night, but the establishment stood it all, though rivulets of perspiration streamed in all directions. It was the opening night at Tony’s, and that speaks volumes for the attendance. The lights never shone brighter, and the little multitude outside plunged in when the doors were opened with a simultaneous rush, as if the ticket gate were the portal to Paradise. To the numbers that quickly crowded the seats the place appeared a haven of bliss. It was so in reality, for, judging from the enthusiastic reception accorded to the artists, who one and all acquitted themselves admirably, everybody present seemed in the height of enjoyment. The entertainment was, as usual, exceedingly varied and very interesting in its way. There were new songs, new dances, new comicalities, new everything, from the twinkling of a funny eye to the humorous twist of a heel. The selections, too, were most appropriate, and nothing was wanting to render the inauguration successful or to lead to the conclusion that the versatile performances will not be up to the usual standard. The audience retired after a capital Turkish bath, a rousing entertainment and aching sides, for the humor throughout the evening was immense.”
Renovations to the theatre over the summer.
“Tony Pastor was welcomed on Monday evening, the 2d inst., by a densely crowded audience—the largest he has yet had on any previous opening night of his Opera House. When the performance commenced and the gas was turned on full head, the auditorium presented a beautiful appearance, for Tony has had the house painted in oil instead of water colors, making it more endurable and inviting. The audience was a large one, among whom were quite a sprinkling of ladies. After the overture the Hibernian Boys appeared in a double song and dance. These youngsters have been with Tony for some time and have improved very much of late, until they now do a good act for their age, either as clog dancers or in a song and dance. Alice Somers followed with a fancy dance and received an encore. Miss Somers, who was formerly with the Carter Zouave Troupe, but who was with Tony Pastor all the past season, has, until now, made a specialty of clog and jig dancing, and went into the ballet the latter part of last season. Since the troupe went to Boston she has been learning fancy dancing, and is getting along very well. She is quite young and bids fair to make a smart and versatile performer. The very old act of ‘The Charleston Girls’ introduced George Warren and J. W. McAndrews, the former with his banjo and the latter as Old Uncle Snow. Mr. Warren is a good banjo player, while McAndrews is one of the best impersonators of the real old plantation nig [sic] that we have ever seen. His make-up is excellent, while his manner of speaking and his walk are just as we have met them in the south. His every action is in perfect keeping with the original, and on the whole he gives us the most truthful representation of a southern negro that we have seen since the days of old Daddy Rice. Helene Smith is an artistic danseuse and gave a medley in good style. Tony Pastor came next, with his budget of comic songs, and his reception was of the most enthusiastic description. He opened with ‘Good Bye, John,’ which is a taking song and is possessed of a pleasing melody. Tony sings it well. He was encored three times and gave ‘Happy, Gay and Free,’ sung by Alice Dunning at the Comique, also other songs. Tony is a good vocalist and has a style that just takes with the public. Following him came Bobby Newcomb, with his songs and dances, and he received four encores. Sallie Mason, a new candidate for public favor and on the east side, appeared in a variety of serio-comic ballads. She has a good stage presence and a fair voice. Frank Kearns, who is one of the most versatile performers that put on burnt cork, appeared in a protean act, and was enthusiastically encored. The make up and acting of Mistress Jinks was very laughable. The double clog dance by Jennie Benson and Alice Somers was a good act. Jennie is one of the best female clog dancers before the public, while Miss Somers is constantly improving and is now a good cloggist. ‘Pastimes on the Levee’ afforded McAndrews another opportunity of showing how good a performer he is. Marie Gorenflo is a most finished danseuse and has a host of admirers on the east side. The evening’s amusement terminated with the drama of ‘The Champion of Ireland,’ taken from the Clipper story of the ‘Dead Boxer,’ introducing Sam Collyer as Laudber O’Rourke. G. W. Thompson, T. G. Riggs and Addie Le Brun were in the cast, all of whom met with a good reception.”