Theresa Ott Vaughn and our Golden days 1880-1890

Thank you for visiting and learning about my discovery of Theresa Ott Vaughn (1863-1903) and the Buckbee banjo. I published 5 books about Theresa, her music, and the Buckbee type banjo she accompanied herself with. Theresa transformed theater and culture. She evolved us from the Minstrel show era and put us on the road to Rodgers and Hammerstein II. Troubadours of the middle ages popularized Love, Romanticism, and Poetry. I believe William Shakespeare, Theresa Vaughn and Rogers & Hammerstein II are our most wonderful troubadours. We sorely need a renaissance of Love and Romance .... more such dream weavers.

Since 2014 I've researched Miss Theresa Ott Vaughn & the Buckbee banjo she played. The Buckbee added sparkle to her unequaled contralto singing. This study became THE key that opened my awareness and appreciation of that era. It was America's "Belle Époque" Hopefully people & cultures everywhere will benefit as I did from this awareness.
- Leonard Schneider This little clipping from 115 yrs. ago (1903) says much.
(Louis Armstrong is the only other musician I can think of who "scattered much sunshine in the world")      

Library of Congress: Western Kansas World.,(WaKeeney, Kansas. October 31, 1903

Hopefully my shows continue Theresa's work : Scattering much sunshine in the world.

Click here to learn more about the books and banjos Len is selling.
Click here Len describes 1880 Buckbee banjo design. He calls it our "Golden Age" banjo.
Click here To view all the YouTube videos posted by Len.
Click here to learn about new French connection to this project.

Lab Workshop Section

April 24:   I was thinking about the 1896 Lithograph image on page 6. It was used on the cover of my book "Little Christopher" and was used as a poster for the show. Theresa Vaughn starred in this major Broadway show. The book contains a photocopy of the full, original show script with handwritten stage notes. The costumes and scenery were said to be exceptionally beautiful. Depicted is the French Cancan dance. The Cancan's roots go back to the 1830s. Over the years it gained worldwide popularity. By 1890 it was highly perfected and spectacular. The history surrounding Cancan is VERY colorful. See the links below. The iconic Moulin Rouge cabaret was built in 1889. In this complex show, Theresa plays young Christopher Columbus when he was a cabin boy. In the show, the cabin boy was supposed to be Columbus's descendant. A situation develops requiring Theresa (as young Christopher) to disguise for a needed escape. Theresa ( as young Christopher) borrows clothes from girlfriend Pepita. While disguised as a girl she/he sings:

     "I'll dance you a dance when you're out at sea,
     A lady taught me from gay Paree!
     She danced it once to amuse the crew
     And I fancy her name was Grille d' Egout!"
     The only dance I learned at sea,
     A lady taught me from gay Paree
     l 'Twas a dance to make you stare,
     with a liberal show of underwear.
     For above her head she raised her toe,
     And the Captain ordered his wife below,
     She danced it once to amuse the crew,
     And I fancy her name was Grille d' Egout!
* A little adventure back to gay Paree inspired by Theresa Vaughn's 1888 visit to Paris.
   Music by Ivan Caryll from the "Little Christopher Columbus Show"(1893-1896).
Click here

* Hopefully this video shows how and when the American & French Belle Époque
   connected. It may have been the best of times since Ancient Sumeria!). Using Theresa
  Vaughn's favorite instrument (1880 Buckbee banjo ),
   Offenbach's 1858 Cancan and Cancan dance helps to show this connection. Theresa
   visited Paris in 1888. Later she starred in "Little Christopher Columbus" (1896).
   There she introduced Cancan to America.       Click here

* From Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad" about his trip to Gay Paree in 1867. This was
   22 years before the Moulin Rouge was but very close by in distance. At tab "8:23"
   on video counter He mentions Jardins D'Asnieres Cabaret Garden and his first
   exposure / reaction to the Cancan. Very droll.
     Click here

** Many thanks to the late Mr. Colin M. Johnson for his very fine, monumental work.
     He converted the wonderful music score (200 pages) from the "Little Christopher
show (1893-1896 ) by Ivan Caryll (1861-1921) to midi files.I then
    converted his midi files to mp3 format and then synchronized the music to the spoken
     script and prompt notes that I had converted to mp3 audio. See video 1 below.
    It's a summary of the wonderful 1890's.

     Click here 1. "Little Christopher" show. Full script and stage notes recited with
                             wonderful music of the show in background (1.25 hr)

     Click here 2. Two wonderful 1896 Newspaper articles about the show



In my lab, I enjoy exploring how the 1880 banjo was used both at home and on the Broadway stage by Theresa. This section is NOT meant to be a parking space for polished video performances. I like to share my experiments here to help show how others how to enjoy this kind of adventure and exploration. ie to have fun. It's an easy way to travel in time & place. I'm very interested to explore how Theresa transformed theater and helped usher in the music of Rogers and Hammerstein II, that followed her. Lately, I have been "connecting more dots" to better understand all this. I believe it's beneficial to be aware of culture and life in Paris, French in the 1880s and '90s. Broadway and Paris culturally were both in a wonderful golden age at that time. I believe that moment in time is a great role model for western civilization to emulate and learn from today. Theresa Vaughn ( 1863-1903 ) was America's most prominent performer. In Paris, the cultural and artistic leading edge was Louise Weber (La Goulue), an early developer of the French Cancan dance, Jane Avril perfected the Cancan and painter Toulouse-Lautrec (1838-1913) who wonderfully captured that Golden age. The Moulin Rouge cabaret was built in 1889. Meanwhile, Theresa Vaughn was brightly lighting up Broadway with her sparkle and magic. Just after Theresa's era, Broadway became electrified..... to become the "Great White Way"... thanks to Nikola Tesla! * Louise Weber (1866-1929) Gallery Click here

* Video 1st test applying the Buckbee to the Cancan. Great fun to play it. Click here * 1891 Large newspaper story about the Moulin Rouge Cancan.
   You can enlarge & scroll around it.
Click here

You can check in here and hopefully see progress as I explore banjo adaption to these songs below. I will update when possible.
The purpose here is to show progress as it happens. This is a "work in progress" lab/place . Perfection hopefully comes later :)
It would be wonderful if others will join these experiments.

... Earlier experiments
Test video showing my 4D concept ( More on 4D below ).
Rogers and Hammerstein II's, "Driving through the moonlight on a highway"

Laura Osnes (2013) and the Buckbee banjo. How Theresa might have played it. Click here My 1st video showing Theresa's transformation .. from early Appalachian & Civil war
     music to the road leading to Rogers & Hammerstein II's Broadway. 12 Min. Click here

... Some explorations:

1. "People will say we're in Love", 1943. Oklahoma Rodgers & Hammerstein II.
     Rough draft to show my 4D concept.
     Click here

2. "The Belle of Poverty Flats", 1896. A sensitive song from Theresa's show honoring
     Winnie Horn, a pretty poor working girl selling newspapers on NYC street corner.
     Click here

3. "My Little Sunday Girl" (with lyrics), 1896 Theresa sang this comic song. Click here

4. "Little Wooden shoes", 1893. Theresa sang this to raise money for the
      World Bread Fund to feed the poor in NYC. Click here

from Rogers and Hammerstein II's Cinderella. Sounds nice Theresa style
      on Buckbee. Click here

6. "Love Sweet Love", 1894. A very romantic song written for and sang by Theresa.
      Click here

7. "Surry with the Fringe on Top", 1943. Oklahoma Rodgers & Hammerstein II.
     Sounds good Theresa Style on Buckbee. Click here

8. "A Lovely Night", 1957. Cinderella Rodgers & Hammerstein II.
     Sounds good Theresa Style on Buckbee. Click here

The above songs can all serve well to demonstrate the 4D genre I speak of. It's interesting to jam with its ( key of B ) especially if using a Buckbee type banjo. You can soon get the idea that something new is happening. By connecting Rogers & Hammerstein II's music to its 19th ancestry banjo roots one can strongly sense the connection/entanglement between them. At the same time the banjo itself can fly to new places by this 4D inter-connection process I believe. Somehow it can bring out various new banjo styles including and going beyond frailing & bluegrass. A new jazzy and classical effect could happen.

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