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Lillian Russell

June 12, 2013

Lillian Russell (1861?-1922), American star of comic opera, appears in vaudeville at the Palace Theatre, New York, 1915
(photo: White, New York, circa 1915)

‘Lillian Russell, a prominent resident of Pittsburgh and well known in these parts as a creator of cosmetics, returned to the stage at the Palace. Many gentlemen with double chins and other visible indications of profitable leisure were present and the welcome back was hearty.
‘Lillian Russell and “My Evening Star”
‘Miss Russell sang four numbers, including “Chloe.” Once more she invited “My Evening Star” [recorded circa 1912, from www.archive.org] to come down. These songs are of the Weber and Fields pre-broiler period, when the chorus girls were required to have – let us say – architectural stability.
‘It was, we’ll confess, our first glimpse across the footlights of Miss Russell. When she was at her height we were observing “Superba” and the second company in The Chinese Honeymoon from a perilous and provincial gallery seat. So, of course, our review is devoid of memories.
‘Watching Miss Russell, we couldn’t help but think that – say forty years from now – we’ll be brushing cigar ashes from our waistcoats, and applauding – with elderly difficulty – the youthful Ina Claire and the girlish Elsie Janis.
‘Anyway, Miss Russell is promising.’
(Frederick James Smith, The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 13 November 1915, p.19a)

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