Bryants’ Minstrels

Event Information

Mechanic's Hall

Price: $0.25

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
26 November 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

06 Jul 1863, 8:00 PM
07 Jul 1863, 8:00 PM
08 Jul 1863, 8:00 PM
09 Jul 1863, 8:00 PM
10 Jul 1863, 8:00 PM
11 Jul 1863, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Last Night of the Season – Benefit of Dan and Neil Bryant [SAT].

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Sally come up
aka Mac's essence; Little Mac's essence of Old Virginia
aka Blacksmith jubilee
aka Grand scene Norma
aka Dat's what's de matter
Composer(s): Foster
aka Jeems the poet
Text Author: Leavitt, Egan


Advertisement: New York Herald, 06 July 1863, 11.

Announcement: New York Clipper, 11 July 1863, 99.
“Bryants’ Minstrels will close their season of 1862-3 on Saturday evening, July 11, after one of the most successful campaigns known in the history of minstrelsy, the business showing an almost uninterrupted series of crowded houses for ten months; and this, too, be it understood, with an auditorium larger than usual; the hall having been enlarged previous to re-opening in the fall of 1862.  The brothers Bryant have worked hard and steadily during the season about to close, and their efforts to provide a good bill of fare for their patrons have been most creditably seconded by those in their employ, from the man who helps to make the ‘cash’ for a finale, behind the scenes, to the gentleman who takes the money at the little port hole in front.  The ballad singer has not found it necessary to get ‘indisposed,’ neither have the funny men quarreled among themselves, as it is too often the case in minstrel organizations.  Everything has gone along as ‘slick as grease,’ and the proprietorial brothers have been enabled to lay aside a snug sum of O! be joyfuls, for that rainy day of which we hear so much.”
Advertisement: New York Clipper, 11 July 1863, 104.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 11 July 1863, 7.
“[L]ast night of the season.  BENEFIT OF NEIL AND DAN BRYANT.”
Review: New York Herald, 13 July 1863, 2.

“The Bryants closed their hall on Saturday evening, with a benefit for Messrs. Dan and Neil.  The establishment has certainly been liberally patronized by the public, and deservedly so, the entertainment being of a most amusing mixture—save and excepting those sentimental ballads which are so out of place in a negro concert.  It is not cheerful by any means to have a stout seeming darkey, with a voice not remarkable for quality or cultivation informing you that ‘He Has Come Home To Die,’ or that ‘He is Sad and Lonely To-night,’ to say nothing of those ladies whom we are told ‘Lie in the Valley beneath the Green, Green Sod,’ or are ‘Lost to Him Forever.’  When he informs us that ‘His Heart is Broken,’ we can but take little interest in the matter, and on the whole we heartily condemn this introduction of sickly sentimentality into what at one time was strictly a funny entertainment.  The Minstrels are supposed to represent negroes, and their songs should be such as negroes indulge in.  Some years since they confined themselves to such songs, and the Minstrels were then most amusing.  Let them by all means abandon the sentimental melodies and the attempted emotional dramas and give negro melodies and burlesque, with their usual amount of witty conundrums and charm.  The public will not feel the loss of sentiment we dare say.”

COMMENT: Interesting criticism of current minstrelsy.

Review: New York Clipper, 18 July 1863, 107.
"Bryants Minstrels brought their season of 1862-3 to a triumphant close on Saturday evening, 11th inst., the occasion being set apart for the benefit of Dan and Neil Bryant, the popular managers.  For a few weeks, the boys will enjoy their olium cum dig, in the bosoms of their own respective families, or in the bosoms of other people’s families.  In their privacy, we wish them a season of pleasure as successful as the business season just closed has proved.”