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Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “The City & The Theatre” by Mary C. Henderson

The City & The Theatre by Mary C Henderson

“Whatever happens, the information and the images in this book provide us with food for reflection and many pleasant recollections of the way things have been in the past.”  Forward by August Heckscher

One of my favorite books when I want to go down memory lane and experience the plentiful theatres that marked New York City’s landscape throughout it’s colorful history.

Written by Mary C. Henderson and published in 1973.

(Mary C. Henderson was Curator of Museum of The City of New York)

Here is the forward by August Heckscher.



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Book description by Amazon:

Remarkably well researched and immensely entertaining, this definitive history of theater in New York City spans more than three centuries and relates the development of theater to the social, political, economic, and cultural climate of the time. Readers learn that it was in 1699 that a petition was first made for a license to perform plays in Manhattan and that 30 years later the first theater opened in Manhattan. From colonial New York, the story continues through the 20th century to the birth, and rebirth, of the theater district in Times Square and the revitalization of 42nd Street in the mid-1990s. An A to Z listing of every Broadway theater ever to exist is also included. Each listing features a photograph or illustration of the theater, its address, the architect, the opening production, historical information, and, if applicable when the theater was demolished.

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I met Mary when I was doing research for my book on ‘Quick Change’ in American Vaudeville. (which I never completed)

She was generous with her time and her patience was plentiful in dealing with my request about this very obscure topic.


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Performing Arts Variety Arts

Great books from storage!

Today I had a chance to go thru my storage space and find some of my favorite theatre/variety books.

I want to post the covers here to show you what I was reading back then.

Published in 1974 by E.F. Dutton & Co. Great autobiography of Jean Louis Barrault.

Pictured on the cover in his costume for Le Enfant des Paradis. His performance was patterned after the great Jean-Gaspard Deburau.

Which leads me to the next book

The biography of Jean-Garpard Deburau by Tristan Remy with an preface by Jean Louis Barrault.

Of course the ‘father of modern mime’ was Etienne Decroux. This is his book!

Parole sur le Mime by Etienne Decroux – Published 1963 by Gallimard/Paris

One of the wonderful things about the 60’s and 70’s was the diverse attention paid to all the variety arts.

Here is another great read in it’s coverage of the history of Magic.

Panorama of Magic by Milbourne Christopher – Published by Dover 1963.

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To see how the theatre influenced New York during it’s development you can read Mary Henderson’s book.

The City and the Theatre by Mary Henderson – Published by James T. White & Co. 1973

A great journey through the history of New York City. A unique story of the New York playhouses and how they developed over a period embracing three centuries.

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I will post more at a later date when I have more time to go thru the large boxes still left to peruse.