music hall

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music hall.

In England, the Licensing Act of 1737 confined the production of legitimate plays to the two royal theaters—Drury Lane and Covent Garden; the demands for entertainment of the rising lower and middle classes were answered by song, dance, and acrobatics, and later by pantomime and comic skits and sketches provided by keepers of inns and taverns. The atmosphere, amidst eating and drinking, was boisterous and gay. Following the abolition (c.1843) of the royal-theater patents, the rise of the music hall as a separate place of variety entertainment was rapid. Personalities, such as the English Joseph Grimaldi, Dan Leno, Beatrice Lillie, and Gracie Fields and the French Yvette Guilbert, Maurice Chevalier, and Edith Piaf became stars, beloved by their audiences. Like American vaudevillevaudeville
, originally a light song, derived from the drinking and love songs formerly attributed to Olivier Basselin and called Vau, or Vaux, de Vire. Similar to the English music hall, American vaudeville was a live entertainment consisting of unrelated songs,
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, the music hall went into a decline with the coming of radio and motion pictures.


See D. Howard, London Theatres and Music Halls, 1850–1950 (1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Music Hall


a type of variety theater. It derived from early 18th-century shows in English taverns, in which devices of farce, buffoonery, and grotesque were widely used.

One of the first music halls was organized at Vauxhall, a suburb of London. In 1890 the Alhambra Music Hall was opened in London, with variety and circus performers appearing in reviews; particularly successful were the comic clown acts. At first, music-hall performances were intended primarily to appeal to the broad masses of the people; however, European and American music halls later produced extravagant stage acts, grandiose spectacles (reviews), and vulgar erotic performances (with nude dancing girls).

The futurists devoted much attention to the music hall, contrasting its mechanical quality with dramatic theater. They attempted to justify the place of music halls in an industrial society. In the USSR the first music hall was opened in 1923 at the Moscow Aquarium Gardens. In 1926 a music hall was established on the present-day site of the Second State Circus (including the following reviews staged in 1934: How the 14th Division Entered Paradise by Dem’ian Bednyi and Under the Circus Dome by Il’f, Petrov, and Kataev). Music halls were also opened in Leningrad, Gorky, Rostov-on-Don, Baku, Taganrog, and other places. (They remained open until the mid-1930’s.) In the early 1960’s, the Moscow, Leningrad, and Georgian traveling music halls were established.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

music hall

Chiefly Brit
a. a variety entertainment consisting of songs, comic turns, etc.
b. (as modifier): a music-hall song
2. a theatre at which such entertainments are staged
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
While they continued to use rock elements to make their music, there is almost as much British Music Hall in their later work as there is rock.
The total repertory is far too vast for anything like a comprehensive survey--some music-hall composers claimed authorship of literally thousands of titles--so Kilgarriff has chosen each song based on "popularity, topicality, and significance in the career of its singer." He has also included songs that are "still remembered and performed," as his intended audience is primarily performers and producers of music hall today--the so-called old-time shows (p.
(14) Canterbury Music Hall publicity pamphlet held by John Earl.
Architects and planners were determined from the first to make sure that the new city centre should have a real urban mix of uses: as well as offices, there will be housing, shops and restaurants, a hotel, a cinema, big screen 3-D theatre, the casino and music hall. As in the A+T development across Linkstrasse, the Piano site has been divided among several architects, for masterplanner and client decided that the area and its 17 blocks were too big to be created by one firm (all participants won prizes in the Daimler Benz competition).
They play Dublin's Whelans on October 24 then The Empire Music Hall on the 25th and 26th.
(5)See variously Peter Davison, Songs of the British Music Hall (New York, 1971); Martha Vicinus, The Industrial Muse: A Study of Nineteenth Century Working-Class Literature (London, 1974), ch.
Aberdeen's historic Music Hall reopened its doors in December following a two-year, multimillion-pound transformation, but the rich history of this venue goes back decades.
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The walk will include the Joe Wilson plaque on Stowell Street where he was born; St Andrew's Church where Joe Wilson and his brother were baptised; Nelson Street music hall where Charles Dickens featured twice; Grainger Market around which Cushie Butterfield chased Geordie Ridley to try and get him to stop singing about her; Grainger Street Vaudeville Theatre; J G Windows in Central Arcade, where Tyneside Songs was first published in 1912; Grey Street Victoria Music Hall; Balmbra's music hall; St John's churchyard where William Watson, writer of the classic Dance to th' Daddy, is buried; Dr Gibbs premises in Westgate Road which is mentioned in Blaydon Races; the Tyne Theatre and the plaque to Ned Corvan on the site of the Royal Olympic music hall, near the Central Station.
It was the Continental Music Hall from 1959 to 1963, then became a popular bingo hall for an incredible 34 years until 1997.
Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment commissioner Julie Menin, center, Darren Pfeffer, executive vice president of MSG live, left, and Bruce Gillmer, global head of music/talent MTV International announce the MTV VMAs' return to New York City and symbolic street renaming outside Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in New York.
He did get booed off in London, however, after serenading a Geordie rower's victory on stage at Wilton's Music Hall in an accent Cockneys found hard to understand.