Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels

Event Information

Lina Edwin's Theatre

Manager / Director:
C. P. [manager] Kendall

F. [conductor] Zulig

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
28 June 2023

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

21 Aug 1871, Evening
22 Aug 1871, Evening
23 Aug 1871, Evening
24 Aug 1871, Evening
25 Aug 1871, Evening
26 Aug 1871, Evening
26 Aug 1871, 2:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Original excursion trip around the world
Composer(s): Russell
Text Author: Sargent
Participants:  Edwin Kelly
aka Harp that once thro' Tara's halls, The
Composer(s): Stevenson
Text Author: Moore
Participants:  Edwin Kelly
aka Perichole, La, Hoop la
Composer(s): Offenbach
Participants:  Francis Leon;  Edwin Kelly
aka Cat duet
Composer(s): Rossini
Participants:  Francis Leon;  Edwin Kelly
aka Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin; Marseillais' Hymn
Composer(s): Rouget de Lisle
Text Author: Rouget de Lisle
aka Macht am Rhein; Guard on the Rhine; Watch on the Rhine; Watch upon the Rhine
Composer(s): Wilhelm
Participants:  Billy Rice
aka Star spangled banned
Composer(s): Smith
Text Author: Key


Advertisement: New York Herald, 20 August 1871, 2.
Announcement: New York Herald, 20 August 1871, 7 .

Includes a selection of appropriate national songs.

Review: New York Sun, 22 August 1871, 2.

“The Kelly & Leon minstrels introduced last evening a new form of entertainment. They have had a panorama prepared representing in a series of pictures views of various foreign places. It is entitled ‘A Trip around the World.’ The panorama is set at the back of the stage, and the minstrels are ranged on either side. As the picture moves its various scenes are commented on by the whole company—funnily by the end men, and didactically by the middle man. Of course they give occasion to a good deal of music. When we come to England, we have ‘The Fine Old English Gentleman,’ and of course ‘God Save the Queen.’ Scotland leads naturally to ‘Coming through the Rye;’ France to the ‘Marseillaise;’ Germany to ‘The Watch on the Rhine;’ Ireland to a variety of the national songs of that country; and America to ‘Home Again’ and the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ A variety of comic scenes and laughable incidents are interspersed. The second part of the programme consists of the usual olio, introducing The Only Leon in his extravagant songs.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 26 August 1871, 166.
Review: New York Clipper, 02 September 1871, 174.

“During the trip, at various stages, Edwin Kelly sung with pleasing effect ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave,’ ‘The Harp that once through Tara’s Halls,’ and with Leon, ‘Hoop la,’ duet from ‘La Périchole,’ and the Cat duet, both of which latter were vociferously applauded. Charles Storme sang ‘La Marseillaise’and ‘Wacht am Rhein’ with much effect. Billy Rice gave the ‘Irishman’s Shanty.’ We may remark here that only one verse each of all the songs was sung, and the entire entertainment moved with such celerity that it was by no means tedious. Many mechanical figures of steamboats railway trains, wagons and horses, diversified the passing scenes. At the scene in London, Eng., a band of street Negro minstrels gave a brief entertainment on the stage. There was a naval combat between two miniature vessels, the Kearsage and Alabama, which was well managed, and on the arrival home in New York the entire company played ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ upon brass instruments. In the Leon sang the ‘Sweetest of Williams,’ with accompanying monologue, and in response to an encore gave an imitation of a German prima donna, which being encored, he responded with the ‘Tipsy Song,’ and being loudly recalled performed a dance which met with much favor. Leon has made a very marked improvement in his business of late. The accompanying monologue to his songs are well composed, archly delivered and are excellent delineations of the idiosyncracies of the girls of the period, whose manners are faithfully reproduced, while the admixture of the slang of the day is so artfully introduced and so peculiarly delivered that, far from giving offense, it creates hilarious mirth. If minstrel performers in general would bestow as much study upon their profession as is evinced in Leon’s performances, we should hear no longer of the decline of minstrelsy. He obtained the only real enthusiastic applause of the evening, there being scarcely a hand idle in the auditorium after each of his songs. The remainder of the programme contained no novelty.”