Definition of music hall in English:

music hall


mass noun
  • 1A form of variety entertainment popular in Britain from c.1850, consisting of singing, dancing, comedy, acrobatics, and novelty acts. Its popularity declined after the First World War with the rise of the cinema.

    • ‘She cites in particular Vesta Tilley, the music-hall star born in 1864 who took London by storm through the 1880s and beyond by titillating both male and female audience members with her masculine attire and double-entendre banter.’
    • ‘Posters for the local theatre advertised an old music hall star who I'd assumed had been dead for at least twenty years.’
    • ‘Most of the students who were there at the same time have become stand-up comedians or music-hall singers.’
    • ‘After all, it was not unusual for traditional singers to adapt and reinterpret Victorian music-hall songs.’
    • ‘The play is structured like a revue, with each episode fashioned like an old-time music hall sketch, complete with wigs, props, funny voices and offensive, prehistoric foreign accents.’
    • ‘Its image became ever more widespread: postcards, advertisements and music-hall comedy routines and songs all played on the ‘bathing beauty’, and on its obverse, the obese, grotesque older woman.’
    • ‘With his receding hair, apologetic moustache and loping frame, he looks like every music-hall second-rater you ever saw: at one point entering with pith - helmet and butterfly net and at another in a print frock and hobnail boots.’
    • ‘Behind the wide smile, the nods and winks and the Bugs Bunny teeth, there hangs a familiar backdrop: the British music-hall tradition that stretches back over a century to the Victorian age.’
    • ‘He had translated his own music-hall humor from England to the United States and from the stage to the screen.’
    • ‘The music-hall song was a mass-produced article, with a select few numbers achieving immortality by virtue of an inspired tune or a good catchphrase.’
    • ‘Private jokes were another feature of the music-hall scene.’
    • ‘As a treat I was allowed to stay up late on Saturdays to listen to the evening music-hall programme on the BBC.’
    • ‘Gaining his first experience of the stage in a travelling pantomime, he drifted into the London and provincial theatre, specialising in comic dude roles and writing one-act plays and music-hall sketches.’
    • ‘The pair bounced off each other like an old music hall act, much of the time having the audience in fits of laughter.’
    • ‘Both his parents were music-hall performers and Chaplin quickly took to the stage before eventually moving to the United States after he was headhunted by Mack Sennett and the Keystone film company.’
    • ‘Freed early, in 1884, he published (then retracted) a confession of his misdeeds; set himself up, with no great financial success, as a music-hall act; and died in 1898.’
    • ‘Born in London, Charles Spencer Chaplin survived a difficult childhood to win early success as an English music-hall performer.’
    • ‘Like the great music-hall turn, they combine vulgarity and wit, musicality and buffoonery.’
    • ‘His humour was closely related to that of music-hall comedy acts (which he enjoyed seeing) and he said that the jokes for his postcards always came before the drawings.’
    • ‘It's very exciting to have songs, and music-hall elements, and drama and satire, a whole different bunch of concerns, slammed together in a way that actually makes quite a lot of sense.’
    1. 1.1count noun A theatre where music-hall entertainment took place.
      • ‘Importantly, these places were built as music halls, variety theatres - they were intended to serve popular culture, not the elite theatrical establishment that later claimed them.’
      • ‘The feud, which culminates in an incompetent duel with pistols, is finally forgotten when the theatre owners try to have the music halls shut down as disorderly houses.’
      • ‘‘In a music hall, you want the sound to bounce off the walls so it fills the space,’ he says.’
      • ‘He drops in to a music hall, which triggers the series of events that became one of the greatest spy stories of all time.’
      • ‘The extensive and original programme will bring to life the theatres, bars and music halls of the city for an indoor festival with something for all tastes.’
      • ‘Close to the present hotel, other more dignified entertainment was not lacking; there were several theatres or music halls in the neighbourhood - such as the famous one on Fishamble Street and Smock Alley.’
      • ‘Her solo turn as part of the act brought her considerable publicity, and she began to perform in music halls and charity shows with many of the day's top stage stars.’
      • ‘He began to draw for the illustrated journals, tackling modern subjects from the streets, theatres, music halls, cafés, and low life of Paris.’
      • ‘The cost of a theatrical production was huge; music halls, with far more modest operating costs, were more profitable.’
      • ‘It was a time when Parisians had more leisure time find money at their disposal, and they spent it on diversions and live ‘entertainments’ at music halls, theaters and cabarets.’
      • ‘Theatre, music hall and circus have all used fly-posting for centuries.’
      • ‘It was leased by the Empire and Bert ran it, mainly as an old-time music hall.’
      • ‘Between 44th and 45th Streets on Broadway, then a nondescript part of midtown, he erected the Olympia, encompassing a music hall, a theater, and a smaller concert arena.’
      • ‘To differentiate his venue from the Theatre Royal, he decided to turn it into a music hall.’
      • ‘The air raid protection department of the Home Office has announced that should war break out, all theatres, music halls and other places of public entertainment will be closed.’
      • ‘While a coup d'état storms the streets, two Russian actors try to make an entertaining performance in a music hall theatre.’
      • ‘Similarly, television has been criticized for replacing the local cinema and for reducing the number of visitors to bingo and music halls, theatres and football stadiums.’
      • ‘They leased the Victoria Hall, a former music hall, refurbished it (that, too, was in danger of falling down) and turned it into a cinema.’
      • ‘We're playing a place called Berns, an old music hall.’
      • ‘It used to be a music hall but this is the first production in its new guise and I really hope we can give it the best possible start.’


music hall