Wood's Minstrel Hall
9 June 2016
Gives lengthy details about the scenes, characters, and players in new burlesque.
Short description of Petroleumania. “The scenery is mainly local, including William street and the Exchange, and is got up in splendid style. The events are funny and appropriate, and the tableaux are said to be very fine. Of course it will draw an immense house.”
“Synopsis of Scenery, Incidents, &c.: Scene First—William St., Merchant’s Exchange, &c.
“The new farce show . . . is an immense success, more than equal to the real operations in Wall street. Such a piece is a novelty in Ethiopian minstrelsy. The piece is well got up, the scenic effect being particularly good. The dividends are declared nightly instead of monthly at the Petroleum Exchange.”
“ ‘Petroleumania,’ the new burlesque written by Charles Gayler expressly for Wood’s Minstrels, was produced on the 6 th inst. to one of the largest audiences ever seen in that Hall. The so-called burlesque is decidedly the lamest attempt of the kind that we have ever witnessed. There is no subject that we know of that has more salient points for sarcasm than Petroleum, yet no author that we know of , who has attempted burlesque, has made a worse use of his materials than Mr. Gaylor [sic]. His ‘burlesque’ is a mass of trash that has almost as much to do with Hamlet as it has with Petroleum. The author seems to have been merely desirous of perpetrating very common-place rhyme, and may be congratulated on having thoroughly attained his object. The taste of the day merely demands absurd parodies, ridiculous dances, and brilliant dresses; but at the same time these parodies must be emphasized, the dances abound in some kind of animation, and the dresses be worn not as if for the first time. ‘Petroleumania’ is no more suited to a minstrel company than Edwin Booth is to the burnt cork profession. The Company made as much out of the piece as the very little business allotted them would permit. There were some few things in the affair to force a smile, but they were like angel’s visits, few and far between. There are four new scenes painted expressly for the piece, the last one being very cleverly done. The first part of the evening’s entertainment was one of the best given by this Company for a long time. The comic and sentimental singing was very fine, and the end men were exceedingly funny, and gave their jokes with much vim. We actually heard one new gag that we had not heard before for a year. The Double Clog dancing, and ‘Double Song and Dance,’ by Messrs. Sheridan and Mack, were very good and elicited hearty encores. Uncle Frank Brower was called out and gave his ‘Uncle Tom Dance’ better than we have seen him do it for a long time.”