Proprietor / Lessee:
Price: $1 for reserved seats, .50
Variety / Vaudeville
3 April 2021
Transformation of the hall.
Transformation of Tammany Hall into a temple of pleasure and amusement.
Alterations to the hall; performers engaged for the opening.
The hall is nearing completion.
Official announcement will appear on Christmas morning.
Brief: Howard Glover, English composer and conductor, has arranged the music for the new burlesque, to be brought out during the holidays.
Work continues on the hall.
The reinaugural concert at Tammany Hall will exceed in magnitude anything hitherto presented in this city. The artists are counted in the hundreds. The hall has been transformed into a beautiful theater and the adjoining rooms fitted out in luxurious style. The interior of the building has been modeled after the Crystal Palace, London.
“An enterprise that seems about the sweep into itself every form of amusement that has been contrived from the year one, when Tubal Cain built his organ, to the present date, it to be initiated on Wednesday evening at Tammany Hall. It comprises orchestra, chorus, ballet, a Punch and Judy show, casino, bazaar, café orchestrian, velocipede school, and a dozen other things. Certainly it is, on paper at least, the biggest enterprise that any manager has at yet undertaken. We shall be able to speak more at length of its merits at a later day.”
“Shorn of its political odor, and springing as it were into a new and profitable existence, Tammany Hall looms up adorned and reconstructed in the center of the metropolis.” The entertainment selected for the inaugural concert are taken from the opera, theater, burlesque, and ballet stages, the concert hall, cafes and restaurants. A club room in Tammany is going to be fitted up as a reading and conversation hall. All tastes are to be addressed. The opening performances in the theater will comprise a burlesque extravaganza, ballet by Bonfanti, a concert, in which Mr. Green, of London, is to take part, acrobatic feats by the Victorellis and the Senyahs, and operatic selections under the direction of Sig. Operti. Mr. Leonard Grover is the chief director of the Tammany.
Description of the new hall and its opening production.
The inaugural concert has been changed to 4 January 1869 because they have not finished the hall.
Description of the new hall and opening performance planned, including a list of the members of the company.
“‘The Tammany’ is a brand new attraction, so new and out of the course of the entertainments that we have been accustomed to that the public hardly knows yet what to expect. They have not long to wait, however, in order to find out, for to-night it opens with all its extensive programme of orchestral pieces, ballet, stilt-walking, exhibitions of magic, burlesque, and twenty other ertertainments. The question seems to be, whether the managers of Tammny won’t’ overdo the matter by giving oo much to their patrons instead of too little for their money. It is always well, the doctors say, for people to get up from table a little hungry. The man who is curfeited is not anxious to return at once.”
Variety of shows (from acrobats to singers) attracted more than 4000 people (one of the most attended events ever in the city).
“By far the largest audience gathered at any place of amusement last night was that attracted by the opening of Tammany Hall. The main theatre was crowded to excess and the various connecting rooms with their minor attractions were well attended. Punch and Judy indulged in their traditionalfamily quarrels, and the restaurants were freely patronized. A corps of uniformed uishers attended as far as was possible to the comfort of the audience. Tammany Hall has various continuous rooms with various attractions, all of which were well attended.
“In the theatre the performances began at about a quarter to eight with the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner, and an address written by Mayor Hall, and delivered in an almost inaudible voice by Miss Louise Moore, of Niblo’s Theatre. Ballet, ballad and madrigal singing, extravaganza, burlesque, monologue and pantomime followed in rapid succession in such liberal profusion that the performance was not over till nearly one o’clock. Of course such a protracted session is too much for even the most inveterate pleasureseeker, and in future performances the managers will do well to omit certain features which only serve to lengthen the programme without increasing its interest.
“Of the various items in this miscellaneous entertainment the most noticeable is the truly astonishing performance of the two Senyahs, man and wife, who seem entirely at home in the most dangerous positions, and who perform the most daring trapeze leaps with inimitable grace and boldness. The spiral descent of the lady on a rope depending [sic] from the ceiling is something quite new in this line, and is even more beautiful than the trapeze leap. The Victorelli brothers—three in number—also exhibit marvelous skill on the trapeze.
“One Parker performs a droll act on stilts, and the clown of the pantomime—James Maffit by name—is exceedingly funny. The chorus is better than is usually heard at theatres, and the glees and madrigals by male voices is a novel, acceptable feature, which further development would render highly popular; indeed, more prominence given to this feature, and less to extracts from negro minstrelsy and dancing in white faces, would give more character to the entertainment.
“There was a little pastoral extravaganza, called ‘The Page’s Reve,’ written by Mr. Farnie, in which Mr. Robert Green acted well and sang with good effect. He has a telling, resonant voice, and is apparently the most accomplished member of the company. Miss Bessie Sudlow sang well, but the orchestra and the vocalists were not always in perfect accord.
“Altogether, at the Tammany one can certainly get a greater amount of amusement for fifty cents than anywhere else in the city. The managers have a handsome theatre, a good ballet troupe with Bonfanti at its head, and the best gymnasts in the country. If they make their entertainment less diffuse, and continue to cater to the respectable portion of the community, Tammany must become a favorite family resort. Among the audience last night were evidently some of the rougher orders, who expected vulgarity; but in this they were thoroughly disappointed for the language and action of the entire programme were unexceptionable. Some parts of the entertainment were dull; more was most enjoyable; and none were vulgar.”
“‘The Tammany’ opened with a great flourish of trumpets and ended in ‘sound and fury signifying nothing.’ Apart from the utter incivility of the officlas at the doors and elsewhere, the pieces were precisely such as one would have expected at a third rate casino, and the acting, with a few slight shades of exception, was so far below the dignity of the art that we do not like to characterize it. We had hoped that ‘The Tammany’ would have inaugurated a new era of dramatic performances for the people, and given them things worth seeing and actors worth hearing, but we will venture to say that every unbiased man who stood out the performances last evening came away not only disappointed, but very sorrowful at their utter failure.”
“The opening of this new place of entertainment took place last evening as announced. Everything advertised in the initiatory programme was ready except the reading and promenade hall. These will be finished in a day or two, and then the establishment will be complete. The attendance last night was really great. Probably no less than five thousand persons visited the place and witnessed one portion or another of the numorous [sic] and medley performances. The entertainments in the grand theatre were prefaced by the National Anthem—sung by the entire company, which was followed by the delivery by Miss LOUISA MOORE, of Niblo’s Garden, of an inqugural address, understood to have been written by the Hon. OAKEY HALL. This was almost inaudible, on account of the passage of the incoming audience, and therefore it is impossible to state whether we have not to deplore the loss of a brilliant epic. After this came the medley of amusing acts which are to constitute the main attractions of the establishment, and of which, as well as of the house itself, there is much to be said by and by. The expressions last evening were about equally divided in regard to the entertainment as well as the performers. The leading impression, we think credits the managers with too great liberality, which is, after all, a good fault. The programme is somewhat too full, and was further prolonged last evening by encores which were too readily granted. The curtain did not finally fall until after midnight. Very hearty receptions were extended to all the leading artists, and to Mlle. BONFANTI particularly. Flowers of course were profusely distributed, and as usual in inverse ratio to the deserts of the recipients.”
“One of the strongest of the human inclinations is for ease. Some people may rejoice in slippered comfort. Our European neighbors have always endeavored to satisfy this inclination in their popular amusements, and have arranged innumerable pleasure gardens and promenade exhibitions, where there is no chance to tire after of a long performance and a cramped seat. But among native Americans such concerns have not found favor; most people (ladies particularly) go to theaters and concerts as they go to church, and would as soon be seen to leave their seats and walk about in one as in the other. In England and France, saloons, galleries and restaurants invite the patrons of theatres and the opera to increase their comfort and enlarge the pleasures of the evening, but in America our public places of amusement have only shining bar-rooms where men alone can refresh themselves, and then only standing like cattle at the stall. Besides this—Americans make it a business of theatre going; to be sought in a hurry and to be left in a hurry. A performance in New-York which commences at 8 o’clock and lasts longer than 10:30 is considered as an imposition on the good nature of its patrons. In England the entertainments usually begin at 7:30, and last four hours. This dislike for too large a measure of amusement for the money is extended even to a disclination for anything more than the plain theatrical or operatic exhibition itself, Indian punkas to fan the heated heads of the public, and gushing fountains in the parquette to refresh the eyes of the public, have never been found an additional attraction at the Summer theatres; should any reckless manager attempt to make his patrons a present of ice-cream in the Summer months, the chances are that they would stay away from his feast. Nor is this a peculiarity of the higher class of visitors, for the hgumblest audiences in the humblest theatres lovre the fashionable idea of constraint, and refresh themselves—if at all—in their seats with a shamefaced consciousness of doing wrong.
“The evils of cramped space and forced retention of one spot are not few nor trivial; it would be healthier for every one in a theatre to be able to get up at the end of each act, and walk about until the curtain rises again. It would not make any worse confusion than is now created by the frequent flight and return of the masculines who run out and in on such occasions, and would greatly oblige the fair sex, who cannot now follow their example without remark. We have always contended for the advantages that would flow from the introduction in this country of a respectable class of amusements which woiuld combine absolute freedom with the customary enjoyment of the stage. ‘The Tammany,’ which Messrs. JARRETT & PALMER have just opened to the public, is a step in the right direction, whether it come up to the best standard or not. It comprises in one building two theatres; a minor hall where steriopticon views and a Punch and Judy show are to be enjoyed over a cigar or any other exhilarant, and a grand saloon, where a varied entertainment is presented—any part of which might be omitted one night and witnessed another without inconvenience; a supper room for ladies; a smoking-room, lounge and reading-room for gentlemen; and the inevitable bar for those who cannot pass an evening without strong drinks.
“A striking defect in The Tammany is apparent at the entrance to the structure; a long flight of steps must be ascended, in full view of the loungers at the front doors, in order to reach the supper-rooms, and another flight of steps with two turnings must be ascended to reach the grand theatre. Long ascensions of this kind are not in favor with our people. It would have been better top locate the grand theatre below, and the supper-rooms, bar, &c., above it; thus, in case of any accident, the egress would not be so difficult nor so much delayed. This one objection passed, all the rest seems to have been arranged for the comfort and convenience of the public.
“On the opening night and last evening the vast crowd that flocked to the new place of amusement was attracted by curiosity, and gratified as a horde of Camanches would explore Barnum’s Museum. A tumultuous mass thronged every room, nook and corner, wondering what it all meant. But the assembly was was very orderly and respectable, and does much to elevate ethe charater of the Tammany Democrats, of which it was for the greater part composed. In fact, from the numbers present, it seemed as if the whole Democratic majority of the City at the last electionhad gathered to inaugurate the concern and listen to the opening address which had been prepared by the new Mayor it had elected.
“Of the performances there might be considerable written, but a few words will probably enlighten our readers. The leading idea was variety. No fewer than fifteen distinct acts were presented in the grand theatre. The curtain rose upon a motley group, composed of all the artists engaged at The Tammany, in every variety of costume; Mr. ROBERT GREEN sang ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ and the chorus was indulged in by the company. Mr. HALL’S address followed, recited by Miss LOUISA MOORE, the theme of which was the change which had been effected in the theatre; converting it from the political to the theatrical use. Then there was music by the orchestra, followed by more singing by Mr. GREEN, who possesses an emininently pleasing voice, and this by a comic character-song by Miss DASHWOOD, which received the first favors of the evening; this number on the programme introduced to us a young lady attired in the traditional costume of a rompish young English girl, who sang in a ditty without much tune, a confession of the numerous pranks she was fond of playing on visitors at her ‘pa’s.’ This young lady and her song was a success; she was recalled and favored the audience with her recollections, in song, of SHAKESPEARE’S plays. A Madrigal chorus, ‘Men of Harlich,’ with boy chorus, was the next novelty, and was well received. The ballet, with the favorite BONFANTI, and Mons. and Mdme. CARLE, (fresh acquisitions) was of the conventional character. Mme. CARLE is a pleasing blonde and dances lightly, and Mr. CARLE serves as a sort of human punctuation mark, to put a stop to the enthusiasm created by the rest of the dancers. One of the principal features of the evening was intended to be an extravaganza, by H. B. FARNIE, Esq., called the ‘Page’s Revel.’ It is absolutely devoid of interest; and the only incident in it, the final one, is an adaptation of a story called ‘The Mu’eteer,’ imitated from BOCACIO [sic]. The costumes were the redemption of the trifle; half a dozen pages dressed in gorgeous trimmings being the feature of the performance. Mr. MAGINLEY, a new comer, sustained the comic character in a manner favorable to selfexamination and reflection on the part of the audience. The want of proper stage direction and rehearsal, as well as the weakness of the dramatic company of the establishment, was painfully apparent in this piece, and in a pantomime which was the feature of the closing part. Two dancers and pantomimists from Boston, MAFFIT and BARTHOLEMEW, was the only redeeming performance. A burlesque on ‘After Dark,’ by Mr. and Mrs. LOVE, (new arrivals from England,) was really the most noticeable feature of the evening. It iss one of a class of representatives novel in America. The whole story of the drama is recited by two persons, who make marvelous rapid changes of face and costume, in personating all the characters, and who alternately sing and tell the plot in a bewildering manner. Mr. and Mrs. LOVE are actors of considerate dramatic power, and do the comic business in a tragic way that leads an uncultivated audience in doubt whether to laugh or not. It was a thoroughly respectable and delicate performance, however, and free from any coarseness that usually attend burlesque. It would be wearying to continuethe catalogue in detail. Besides these which we have enumerated there are many other entertainments given at the Grand Theatre; There is a mid-air performance on the trapeze, the novelty of which consists in the ordinary acts upon that perilous support? Which men have hitherto monopolized, being given by a woman. Mlle. LENYAH, who gives the exhibition, is an exceedingly neat and courageous performer. The entertainments finish every evening with a ‘grand transformation scene’ by Mr. GETZ of Baltimore, which is very showy, and affords the ususal opportunity for the calcium xxx ad the colored fires to exhibit their artistic manoevres.”
“The Tammany was not opened last week, as announced. As soon as it opened to the public we will chronicle the fact.” The paper refers to the previous week (Christmas week, 1868).
“Tammany Hall has not had occasion to struggle with adversity, as many supposed it would from the magnitude of the enterprise. The entertainments are varied enough, and, in fact, are so ample that good legs and sound lungs are absolutely needed to do justice to the liberality of the managers. The guest has the run of the house from the basement to the garret—and the house is discouragingly large, even for the hungriest of guests. Nevertheless, it has been nightly filled. The ladies for the most part are on the stage, and the gentlemen in front.”
The theater is always full. Women needn’t be afraid of going. Entrances need some improvements. The smoking Room is dangerously too close to the entrances.
“TAMMANY has at last opened to the public and gives evidence of becoming a permanent institution. Long before the doors were opened the pavement in front of the house was densely crowded with human beings mixed up of all sorts, from the gentlemanly ‘knuck’—and there were plenty of them—to the gay young sport. Ladies were few and far between. When the doors were opened there was such a rush as is seldom seen at any place of entertainment. Long before the hour of commencing had arrived there was not a vacant seat, or standing room in any part of the auditorium. The bar room, the lower room where Punch and Judy is exhibited, the Turkish divan, and all the lobbies were crowded with masses of human beings swaying to and fro, crowding one another, and oaths were as thick as blackberries in season. The admission is 50 cents in the house, with extra charge for seats in the orchestra and orchestra circle, and never before was there seen or offered so much for so small a sum. There are portions of the performance to which objections may be raised on the score of quality, not quantity. But taken on the whole the evening’s entertainment is certainly a most enjoyable one. Here we are presented with snatches pf Opera Bouffe, sensational drama, the Circus, Black Crook, the Can Can, spectacle, pantomime, the regyular variety business, together with almost everything that is to be found in the amusement line. If a person tires of the performances in the theatre he vcan adjourn to the Divan, there sip a cup of coffee or smoke a pipe as long as his arm, or to the refreshment saloon for a cold [illeg.] creams, jellies, etc., or to the bar reoom where from eight to ten are waiting behind the bar. Having become satisfied with what has now [been] offered, go farther down stairs to the basement or the promenade room, where an orchestra is playing during the early part of the evening, followed by the Punch and Judy show capitally illustrated by Messrs. Brewer and Gardner. This is one of the most amusing parts of the evening’s entertainment, for it be sure to please the little ones. After Punch and Judy comes more music by the orchestra, then the performances on the two wheel velocipede, magic tableaux, etc. In the theatre on the opening night the Star Spangled Banner was sung by the entire company, followed by the opening address, exceedingly well delivered, by Miss Louisa Moore, of Niblo’s Garden. Then followed the regular programme, among which was a grand ballet by Bonfanti and twenty-four coryphées, madrigal chorus by a quartet of gentlemen and fourteen boys in the chorus, Ernee Clarke, the comic vocalist in the Topsy Toy song and Tommy Dodd, Lizzie Dalhawd in a character song and dance, and Maffit and Bartholomew in a wooden shoe dance which concluded the first part. The second part introduced the dramatic company in an extravaganza called ‘The Page’s Revel,’ but a more conglomerated mass of non-sensicaltrash, without the slightest meaning, we never before saw. Alice Harrison looked charming as Captain of the Pages and sang very well. Ben Maginley made all that was possible out of his part. Bessie Ludlow was fair to middling. This lady must be very careful of her side speeches, for fear they may be heard by those she would not like to hear them, as was the case on the evening of the 8th. Sheridan and Mack did a song and dance very nicely, and Charley Parker a grotesque stilt act. A burlesque on ‘After Dark,’ called ‘After Dusk,’ was presented by Mr. and Mr. Val Love, both of whom are versatile and very clever actors. They sing well and act well, and understand their business thoroughly. Mons. and Mad. Senyah followed in gymnastic performances on the single trapeze and swinging rings, concluding with a transept flight from the gallery to a trapeze held by Mons. Senyah from the flies directly over the stage. The act known as the Niagara Leap introduced here by the Buislay Family at the New Bowery Theatre three seasons ago. This ended part third. The pantomime of ‘Nicodemus’ opened part fourth, introducing Maffit as Clown and Bartholomew as Pantaloon. These two gentlemen are two of the best in their business in this country and afford a fund of amusement. The pantomime went off with roars of laughter. The triple prapeze by the Victorelli Brothers, and Getz’s Allegorical Scene, ‘Birth of the New Year,’ terminated the performance, which was not over until past one o’clock. Every one appeared delighted with the arrangements about the house excepting that no checks were given at the door, consequently if any one wanted to go out he had to remain out and buy another ticket. This one thing will, we thimk, do more injury to the establishment than any thing else. People do not like to be forced to buy their drinks within the building, no matter how good they may be.”
By this date the theater continues to be always full to capacity. The ballets and the string band (at the “salon de concert”) are among the most interesting features the theater has to offer. There is an account of different performances (most of them non-musical) on a particular day (I think Tuesday, January 26).