One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A type of entertainment popular chiefly in the US in the early 20th century, featuring a mixture of speciality acts such as burlesque comedy and song and dance.‘his comedic roots are in vaudeville’as modifier ‘a stage show with vaudeville acts and dancing girls’
light entertainmentView synonyms
- ‘About the same time, Bob Hope, like every other comic in vaudeville, learned a useful lesson: When a sketch starts to tank, it's safer to make the audience part of the act than to pretend it isn't there.’
- ‘The 16-year-old Shakespeare in the Park company moved into new digs this year in a former vaudeville house, the Rex, which had fallen into disrepair.’
- ‘The Classic has been many things in its lifetime: an acting space, a cinema, a porn palace, a vaudeville establishment, and - until recently - a disused warehouse.’
- ‘The dynamic reminds me of the old George Burns and Gracie Allen vaudeville routine about the property implications of marriage.’
- ‘Drinking songs, in vaudeville performances, were often performed by cross-dressed women.’
- ‘Once a vaudeville dancer on Broadway, Shirley Slesinger Lasswell is now 80.’
- ‘As for her most memorable lines, they are demonstrable reworkings of old vaudeville and burlesque gags that had been kicking around since the dawn of creation.’
- ‘Early film included actors from theater and vaudeville, entertainers from the circus, boxers, dancers, and non-actors caught in actualities or put on screen for staged events.’
- ‘Part of the appeal was the venue, the Théatre National, an old vaudeville house on Ste-Catherine E. recently restored to a semblance of its former glory.’
- ‘In 1924, Seldes came out with a book called The 7 Lively Arts, a celebration of comic strips, vaudeville, slapstick, musical comedy, and other non-elitist culture.’
- ‘As early as 1913, Billboard, a music industry journal, had begun printing weekly sheet music bestseller charts and surveys of the most popular songs in vaudeville.’
- ‘Adding drama to the downtown scene are the melodramas and vaudeville revues presented at the Gaslighter Theater.’
- ‘Singalongs, comedy acts, and ‘variety’ performances were staged in pubs regularly before music halls and vaudeville theatres became firmly established from the mid-nineteenth century.’
- ‘Like a vaudeville performer, Victorian novelist, or stand-up comic, Hirst will do anything to hold your attention.’
- ‘Hope instinctively knew that he needed to build a marketable image for himself if he was going to stand out from all the other vaudeville and radio comics trying to break into movies in the 1930s.’
- ‘Christmas would bring back the memory of losing his father, a minor vaudeville star and alcoholic, who died when Charlie was a child.’
- ‘Cutter is no suave sophisticate, but Grant's background in vaudeville honed his comic sensibilities and paved his way to wonderful performances in classic screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby.’
- ‘Father stayed on the vaudeville circuit for a few years after he and mother got married.’
- ‘Their march will take them to the old Town Hall, which has been replaced by ‘The Palace,’ a saloon that features vaudeville acts and dancing girls.’
- ‘He was effectively born in a trunk; his parents worked in a vaudeville company run by his grandmother, and as a child he joined them on stage in their comedy act.’
- ‘In Edinburgh, we are promised the best of contemporary burlesque and vaudeville performers.’
- 1.1count noun A light or comic stage play with interspersed songs.
- ‘It made its presence felt in turn-of-the-century vaudevilles and was crucial to many Hollywood comedies in the years surrounding World War II, particularly the films of Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder.’
- ‘In English Canada, Shakespeare served as protection against the incursions of American commercialism; in French Canada, against imported French vaudevilles.’
- ‘A character based on the prototypical French soldat-laboreur figured in La cocarde tricolore, a vaudeville performed in Paris in 1832 and set during the taking of Algiers two years earlier.’
- ‘Cellier wrote numerous comic operas, vaudevilles, one grand opera, The Masque of Pandora, and a few instrumental works.’
- 1.2archaic count noun A satirical or topical song with a refrain.
Mid 18th century: from French, earlier vau de ville (or vire), said to be a name given originally to songs composed by Olivier Basselin, a 15th-century fuller born in Vau de Vire in Normandy.
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