Saturday, June 6, 2015

Hotel Topsy Turvy

"Hotel Topsy Turvy," a burlesque farce, opened at the Lafayette Theater in Washington, D. C., on September 19, 1898.  It was an American remake of the French musical farce "L'Auberge du Tohu-Bohu."  The show, which proved to be immensely popular, did much to elevate the status of its stars, Marie Dressler and Eddie Foy.

The play was essentially a romantic comedy.  A young man, Louis, is heartbroken because the woman that he loves is to be married off by her father to a pompous count.  It doesn't matter to the father that neither he nor his daughter has ever met the count.  The father and the count arrange to finalize the wedding plans at the White House Inn.  In the meantime, Louis encounters Cluny's Colossal Combination, an impoverished troupe of acrobats that has stopped off in town.  Louis takes a liking to Mme. Flora (Marie Dressler), the manager of the troupe, and takes pity on her and her acrobats.  He figures out a way that he can help her.  His aunt and uncle are out of town and, while their home is unoccupied, he can let the troupe stay there.  Mme. Flora is grateful and proposes that she help Louis with his own problems.  She has two of her men take down the inn's sign and put it up across the street at his aunt and uncle's home.  Her plan is to have a clown acrobat (Eddie Foy) masquerade as the count and act so terribly that the father will cancel his plans for the wedding.

1 comment:

  1. I was just surfing thru the Library of Congress online theatrical poster archives and found the poster at the top of this blog post. The resemblance between this scene and the color Hanlon-Lees plate in my book CLOWNS has to be more than coincidental. The Hanlon-Lees scene is from "Le Voyage en Suisee" which premiered in Paris in 1879, in NYC in 1881, and successfully toured the USA for two decades.