In this day and age of 4G phones and HDTV, of cars that double as movie theatres for passengers and music reduced to binary code, how much appeal can there be in a vaudeville show reminiscent of the 1920s?
“It didn’t take long to sell out,” noted Peter Tulumello, Langley Township’s Cultural Services manager.
The museum is hosting the exhibit Voices of the Town – History of Vaudeville in Canada and the related Saturday evening show that gives people a glimpse at old-time entertainment.
There are only 200 tickets available, and they are going fast, he noted.
The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Fort Langley Community Hall.
Its appeal is variety.
There will be a mix of dance, music, magic, slapstick comedy, and other audacious acts – a similar kind of variety people would have enjoyed when the train cars or wagons and buggies carrying vaudeville entertainers pulled into town.
“They would have stopped here,” Tulumello explained.
The travelling troupes of entertainers were a novelty from the late 1800s to the Great Depression era, when the tough economy and the emergence of radio and movies put out them out of business.
The exhibit kicks off with a reception on Feb. 23, starting 6:30 p.m., at which people can check out the artifacts at the museum on King Street.
The exhibit recreates the ambience of an evening at the theatre, complete with a stage, reproduction ticket booth and some silent films.
Photographs from the Ballsillie Collection of Roy Studio Images and the authentic costume of “Oklahoma Jack” (a sharp-shooting Vaudevillian who performed with Buffalo Bill Cody).
After the reception people make their way over to the Fort Langley Community Hall for the live Vaudeville Variety Show starting at 8 p.m.
Overseeing the show has been Professor Douglas Fraser.
A musicologist and entertainer with a background in vaudevillian music and performances, Fraser is an impresario of musical comedy and variety-style presentations.
Not only has he produced many shows, Fraser is a speaker, singer, comedian, and banjo and tenor guitar player who has toured with Bryan Adams, Boz Scaggs, the Knack, George Carlin, and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Earlier in life he opened for greats such as Buddy Rich, Earl Hines, Les Brown and his band of Renown, Stan Getz, and Eubie Blake.
Fraser will be the emcee for the evening, and will perform as a solo act, as well as with the Genuine Jug Band.
“We are thrilled to have a performer of such a calibre bringing his expertise to this show,” Tulumello said.
“In addition to this outstanding line-up of confirmed entertainers, rumour has it that a very good mind-reader will be making an guest appearance,” Tulumello added, “so I am advising everyone to bring their nicest thoughts and be open to some family-rated fun and entertainment.”
For tickets to the Vaudeville Variety Show, call 604-532-3536 or visit recexpress.ca and quote barcode 425371.
Tickets are $15 purchased in advance.
In the unlikely event that there are any left, the price will be $20 at the door.