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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Chicago Grand Opera arrived in Spokane to present its spectacular production of “Thais” by Massenet at the Auditorium Theater.

The manager reported that two-thirds of the tickets were already sold, many of them weeks in advance for “box parties.” The star was Mary Garden, “the American Bernhardt.” The troupe had “captivated” Seattle audiences in their previous stop.

It was an enormous production by any standards. In fact, the Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co. took out a huge ad to brag that they would be providing 24 railroad cars – two entire trains – to transport the Chicago Grand Opera from Spokane to Denver after the local performances. The troupe consisted of 250 people.

From the vaudeville beat: In other entertainment news, Lydia Barry, “the comedienne of quality,” was appearing at the Orpheum.

Her act was apparently a spoof of vaudeville itself, in a series of over-the-top “Dance Studies.” 

The Spokesman-Review said it was all so pleasing and innocent that “Mayor Hindley himself” (who had recently banned certain suggestive ragtime dances) “could hardly be expected to object.”

Also on this date

( From the Associated Press)

1949: The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “South Pacific” opened on Broadway.