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George W. Walker in In Dahomey

July 10, 2013

George W. Walker (1872/73-1911), African-American vaudevillian, as Rareback Pinkerton for the song, ‘The Czar, He is the Greatest Thing,’ in In Dahomey, the all African-American musical comedy which took London by storm after its opening there at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 16 May 1903. In Dahomey was first produced at the New York Theatre, New York, on 18 February 1903.
(photo: Cavendish Morton, London, 1903)

The Grand Theatre, Woolwich, London, week beginning Monday, 25 January 1904
‘Mr. Clarence Sounes has undoubtedly scored in securing In Dahomey, played by Williams and Walker and their company, for the first week of its tour. There was an enthusiastic audience on Monday. Messrs. Williams and Walker are without doubt the mainstay of the play. Mr. Bert Williams as the lugubrious Shylock Homestead causes roars of laughter, and his son, ”The Jonah Man,” is redemanded again and again. As the mercurial Rareback Pinkerton, Mr. Geo. W. Walker causes much merriment, and his dancing is one of the features of the show. His song, ”My Castle on the Nile,” was on Monday encored five times. The chorus business in his son, ”The Czar,” is also well done. Mr. G.A. Shipp as Hustling Charley acts with a fine sense of comedy, and his dancing is extremely clever. Mr. Harry Troy scores with his son, ”Mollie Green.” As George Reeder Mr. Alex. Rogers acts quietly. Mr. J. Lebrie Hill and Mr. Peter Hampton are successful as Hamilton Lightfoot and Dr. Straight. Miss Hattie McIntosh makes a dignified Cecilia Lightfoot. Miss Lottie Williams as Mr. Stringer brings her part into prominence. As Rosetta Miss Ada [Aida] Overton Walker makes a decided hit, and dances in a capital manner. Her song, ”A Actor Lady,” is well sung, which touches of burlesque. Miss Ada Guignesse sings ”Brown skin baby mine” in a style that makes one regret that it is her only appearance. At the finale of the last act there is a cakewalk competition among the members of the company for a prize presented by the management. Thunders of applause greet the efforts of each pair of dancers. Mr. J. Gladwin, the courteous acting-manager, should have difficulty in finding room for his patrons for the rest of the week.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 28 January 1904, p. 15b)

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