The Theater: Gentlemen, Be Seated

Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall last week honored a great anniversary in show business. One hundred years ago the Virginia Minstrels, at the Bowery Amphitheatre, introduced Manhattan to a new art form, conceived in blackface and dedicated to the proposition that the white man could equal Negro comedy, song and dance. The Music Hall's directors strewed its stage with comedians and buck & wing dancers, got themselves a towering interlocutor in a yellow satin dress suit, and put on a 38-minute minstrel show of huge, streamlined proportions.

The Music Hall imported from his quiet Mount Vernon home minstrelsy's last great survivor,...

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