Sarah Shepherd’s Hair and Makeup Research

Hi Cast,

Here is a link to Sarah Shepherd’s hair and makeup research. The power-point is broken down by principals and ensemble. There are notes on each slide, so make sure you read them!

For questions and follow up, you can contact either Sarah at:


Don’t forget to to some test runs and send them to Sarah McCarroll. That includes hair as well as makeup. The sooner the better. Both Sarahs have a lot more going on than they show you, so make everyone’s job easier and do the work ahead of time!

You’re almost there!





Hungarian Pronunciation

Mary and Tori,

We have pronunciations from a very fabulous Hungarian woman named Judit. She very kindly recorded your lines for pronunciation! Please check your email because I cannot upload audio files here.

Thank You!



Mama’s Hungarian – Scene 5

Szeretnem: shu (as in the beginning of the work “sugar”)-zet-nem (“e” pronounced as in the word “set”)
Haha (as in hahaha, or “aaaah” when at the doctor)
Megismerned: meg-ees-mehr (roll r once) – ned (as in the name Ned)
Ot: ot (as in oat)
Please refer to this reference guide as well:
I hope this helps. I will post in on the website and facebook momentarily. I will also post and email when I find something more.
Thank you,

Amos ‘n’ Andy

‘Amos ‘n’ Andy” was one of the most, if not the most popular radio shows in America from the late ’20s through the early ’30s. The show starred two white men portraying two black men. Its popularity is attributed with its relatability to white audiences and its multi-ethnic comic appeal. Of course, today we question the appropriateness of blackface and any cultural appropriate and misrepresentation in general. If it were produced today, this show would not have anywhere near as much appeal as it did back in the ’20s and ’30s or the following to attempt a television revival in the ’50s. When two black men were cast in the parts of Amos and Andy for this purpose, the production was met with protest from the black community and did not receive enough backing to continue production. However, this is not the punchline of Billy’s joke.

In terms of Chicago, this description of the characters will give some insight into what makes the joke funnier than Billy not getting his name right…

“The stereotypical portrayals of Amos Jones and Andy H. Brown were balanced by other attributes. Amos was unquestionably dense and naive, but he was also honest, dedicated and hardworking. And Andy, although lazy, conniving and pretentious as minstrelsy’s venal Jim Dandy, was also a good-natured fellow.”

…So Billy is really more of the Andy.

Watkins, Mel. “What Was It About ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy’?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 July 1991. Web. 01 Mar. 2017.

Vaudeville in Chicago: Theatres, People, and Hotels

Vaudeville in Chicago: Theatres, People, and Hotels

If you want an elaboration on any people or places mentioned, please reach out to me. 

Chicago was such a hub for Vaudeville and pop culture that is was considered only second to the Big Apple, New York City. Chicago boasted many theatres and circuits, but the biggest was the Western Vaudeville Managers Association.

As for theatres, the supporting character of Roxie’s daydreams, Sophie Tucker, preferred the American Music Hall situated at Peck Court and Wabash Avenue. Tucker described the AMH as “a long, narrow theatre, very intimate, and a very warm house.” This sounds like a floor for a party and entertaining.

There is also the Wilson Avenue Theatre which was managed by the Albees.

The Kedzie theatre was the first large venue that Ethel Waters played at.

The Chicago Opera House as a large space that was popular among African-American audiences. However, it is said that COH had “scrubby looking” dressing rooms.

Behind that COH was a shared alleyway with the  burlesque house, the Sam T. Jack Theatre. The STJ Theatre would book the same headliners as the COH except at the different rate. The performers would change the name of their act and add in some different choreography, perhaps a bit more risque, and the theatre would sell tickets at a cheaper rate. This sounds a little unorthodox, but any headliner getting to make money for the same act on the same day would take the job.

The Haymarket Theatre is well documented in the memories of Leo Carrillo. He first arrived in Chicago at the Haymarket and shared a dressing room with a monkey and a burro. That night he performed to an audience primarily made up of Sioux Indians who were in town for a convention. They took their cues from the other patrons, particularly “bravo!” from world heavyweight champion James J. Corbett. The success of Carrillo’s act with the Sioux and Corbett landed him a six week gig in New York.

At The Great Northern Hippodrome Theatre acts would interchange throughout the day. This method was not preferred among the actors or the patronage, but the theatre paid very well and the Hippodrome employed big-time acts with name recognition.

At the Schindler theatre, vaudeville fans didn’t like the manger because when he decided to cancel an act he would walk down the house aisles yelling, ‘You are shut!”

Al Capone was an intense fan of vaudeville and regularly reserved sixteen tickets throughout the theatre for himself and his bodyguards.

The Chicago vaudeville scene was not saved from censorship and social regulation, especially in 1910. Sophie Tucker was stopped by police from singing her song “Angle Worm Wiggle.” She took the situation to court and the judge ruled in her favor against censorship.

The vaudeville scene extended from the stage and into the hotels of Chicago. The House of All Nations was run by two spinsters. The house boasted it’s reputation by housing women of all nationalities. All of the rooms were decorated in the theme of a different country. Charlie Chaplin thought it was one of the most elaborate and expensive houses of its kind. He also regarded Chicago as having a “grimy, industrial atmosphere” and having a “frontier spirit.”

The Board of Health became concerned with the ait quality of vaudeville theatres, worrying that the constant ebb and flow of patrons and acts would pollute the air to contamination. It became mandated that the theatres had to close for two hours in the afternoon to air out the building. Of course, theatre owners were not in favour of this mandate because it meant losing money. A compromise was made with one theatre in which the Calumet Juvenile Protective League got a place on the bill by contributing lectures and lecturers to the theatre.

Smalltime vaudeville theatres performers typically stayed at Hotel Grant, the Revere House, or the Saratoga. These establishments were popular as after-party spots (like how we have a party after the last performance, except out in public and frequent as all get out; can you imagine having a cast party every night?) It was said that so much opium was smoked in the Revere that a new guest would fall asleep just by walking in the door. Apparently the Saratoga “was so run down no headliner would stay there.”

The Palace Hotel, owned by H.B. Humphrey, featured a turkish bath. The rate went $3.50 per week or $7.00 per week with a private bath. If Roxie could, this is where she would be.

Charlie Chaplin resided at a small hotel in Uptown Chicago. He described it as “grim and seedy” but liked the hotel because it was “heavily populated with burlesque girls” which inclined him to “love” the place. He once said, “In each town we always made a beeline for the hotel where the showgirls stayed, with a libidinous hope that never materialized.” Poor Charlie.

Perhaps the most interesting of Chicago’s temporary abodes was Mrs. Keller’s boardinghouse where vaude artists as well as “freaks” from circus and museum acts stayed. It was said that a usual night at the dinner table featured “George, the “turtle boy,” Eli Bowen “the legless wonder,”” and numerous other famous acts scattered around the table such as “the fat lady, the bearded lady, and the glass eater.”

DiMeglio, John E. Vaudeville U.S.A. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green U Popular, 1973. Print.

More on Cameras…


They just took down the Click! exhibit at the university museum, but I managed to click a few pictures of my own before they closed down. The top one is from 1947 but it has the same accordion style body as the ones from 1929. The second camera is smack in the middle of our period. Let me know if this helps and if I can do anything further.




Voice Recorders And Journalism


By 1929 it looks like most of the sound recording systems were most popularly used for entertainment purposes and music recording. Edison was the leader in recording sound. In 1912 he got recording time up to 4 minutes while also reducing noise for a better acoustic sound. From what I can understand, the recording devices were bulky and required a lot of hands-on operation. If you recall the scene from the courtroom in the movie version of Chicago, Mary Sunshine does speak into a recording device. I believe this would work in that instance because the press has a large set up to cover Roxie’s trial proceedings. There would have certainly been a crew with her to set up and maintain the equipment. Reporting on the streets was a very “each man for himself” kind of affair. Reporters would show up, usually to the police station, with a notepad and a pen or pencil to write notes. Even two reporters from the same newspaper were competitive and rarely spoke to each other at press conferences and such for the sake of delivering their own story. Genevieve Forbes was known for keeping to herself and getting the job done.


Schoenherr, Steve. “Recording Technology History.” Audio Engineering Society. Audio Engineering Society, 6 July 2005. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. <;.

Perry, Douglas. The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago. New York: Viking, 2010. Print.

Yellow Journalism

“We Both Reached For The Gun” is an entire number about the ability to persuade the press and the press’s complete lack of fact-checking. In America, we know this all too well, especially right now. How many times have you scrolled through Facebook to see a really enticing article that evokes a real and intense response? Everyone has had that moment, and no doubt some of those headlines have come from really unreliable sources, The Onion anyone? Or how about standing in line at the grocery store and scanning the magazine headlines? The National Inquirer, anyone?  How many articles have you seen for or against Trump or Obama? Most of those articles carry a specific agenda even if they come from a “reliable source.” Overall, yellow journalists are experts at fake news and alternative facts.

Yellow Journalism usually has some kind of agenda. In terms of Chicago,  the press is totally invested in everything that “Roxie” says, especially Mary Sunshine. Mary Sunshine is based off of the journalist Genevieve Forbes who worked at the Chicago Tribune with Chicago creator, Maurine Watkins. Her agenda was to push the stories of the Lady Killers. These women’s lives and livelihoods depended on the image that people like Genevieve portrayed through the papers.

So as you polish up “We Both Reached For The Gun,” think about how this number sets up the way the press is used throughout the rest of the musical.

Devyn, there is more about Genevieve Forbes on the page “Notable Crimes, Cases, and People.”


McCoy, Terrence. “For the ‘new Yellow Journalists,’ Opportunity Comes in Clicks and Bucks.”The Washington Post. WP Company, 20 Nov. 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2017. <;.