Tony Pastor, Father of Vaudeville

Overview

Apprenticed at 14 to life in the circus, Tony Pastor seemed destined for a career in show business. Indeed, true to his desire and his rigorous training, Pastor spent his life within the theater milieu. He made significant contributions to both variety and vaudeville as a songwriter, performer and theater owner. With a head for business, a knack for discovering new talent, and a sharp understanding of popular taste, Pastor initiated new business practices in theater and gave ...

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Overview

Apprenticed at 14 to life in the circus, Tony Pastor seemed destined for a career in show business. Indeed, true to his desire and his rigorous training, Pastor spent his life within the theater milieu. He made significant contributions to both variety and vaudeville as a songwriter, performer and theater owner. With a head for business, a knack for discovering new talent, and a sharp understanding of popular taste, Pastor initiated new business practices in theater and gave audiences what they sought in entertainment.

This book offers a moving and thorough examination of Pastor's rise and gradual decline during the growth and development of the New York stage. Through the story of his life and career, the reader discovers Pastor's unique contributions to popular American theater and the performing arts professions.

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Editorial Reviews

Intellect Journals
well-documented
Early Popular Visual Culture
enjoyable
Library Journal

Tony Pastor (1837-1908) started out as a circus performer and progressed to songwriter, musical performer, and finally theater manager and owner. Onstage, he specialized in comical, topical, and patriotic songs, and offstage he displayed a shrewd business sense in every aspect of theater operation, from backstage to the front of the house. Although referred to as the father of vaudeville, Pastor preferred the term varietyto describe the entertainment his theaters offered, and his aim was to present shows that would appeal to a family audience. A typical variety show might include comedy sketches, singers, clowns, dancers, and even boxers. Social historian Fields (Women Vaudeville Stars) incorporates the history of popular theater in New York from the middle of the 19th century to just after the dawn of the 20th. His detailed biography is punctuated by a number of contemporary portraits, photographs, and stage bills. Perhaps the only in-print book on this influential performer, this is recommended for popular culture and performing arts collections.
—Carolyn M. Mulac

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786464241
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/23/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 221
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Armond Fields was a social historian specializing in American popular theater. The author of numerous books about vaudeville and other early theater figures, he lived in Culver City, California.

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