11 Facts About American burlesque


American burlesque is a genre of variety show derived from elements of Victorian burlesque, music hall and minstrel shows.

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Victorian American burlesque, sometimes known as "travesty" or "extravaganza", was popular in London theatres between the 1830s and the 1890s.

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The New York Times consistently expressed its disgust of American burlesque, even headlining an article with the plea “Exit British Burlesque”.

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The influence of the minstrel show soon followed; one of the first American burlesque troupes was the Rentz-Santley Novelty and Burlesque Company, created in 1870 by Michael B Leavitt, who had earlier feminized the minstrel show with his group Madame Rentz's Female Minstrels.

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American burlesque rapidly adopted the minstrel show's tripartite structure: part one was composed of songs and dances rendered by a female company, interspersed with low comedy from male comedians.

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London The New York Times

The popular American burlesque show of this period eventually evolved into the striptease which became the dominant ingredient of American burlesque by the mid 1920s.

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Stock American burlesque companies multiplied in other cities and snatched up former Mutual talent.

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In New York, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia clamped down on American burlesque beginning in 1937 and effectively put it out of business by the early 1940s.

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Counteracting this somatic ailment was a national distraction known as the American burlesque show, consisting of a coterie of rough-and-tumble comedians supported by twenty or more chorus girls.

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Low-budget documentations of extant American burlesque shows began with Hollywood Revels, where a regular production was staged in a theater and photographed from a distance.

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In 2008, The New York Times noted that American burlesque had made a comeback in the city's art performance scene.

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