Review: A History of Burlesque

Dear Constant Reader,

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A History of Burlesque by Ettore Rella (1940).

During the Great Depression, the Work Projects Administration put many unemployed people to work. The common image is of hard physicval labor, like roadwork, but the WPA employed artists and writers as well. One such WPA sponsored project was the San Fransico Theatre Research monograph series. There were at least 15 manuscripts published on the history of theatre in San Francisco, specific theatres, performers, and theatircal genres, including burlesque.

Mr. Rella looks at burlesque from 1850 until the present day, that being 1940. His focus is obviously on appearances of burlesque in San Francisco, but it’s still a good overview of the evolution of burlesque over almost a century. He studies individual shows as well as performers and frequently quotes from the scripts.

If you’re interested in early burlesque, this is a great resource.

Published in: on 13 March 2012 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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