By Eve Golden
" Anna Held (1870?-1918), a petite lady with an hourglass determine, was once America's most well liked musical comedy superstar in the course of the 20 years previous global conflict I. within the colourful international of recent York theater in the course of l. a. Belle Époque, she epitomized every little thing that used to be glamorous, subtle, and suggestive approximately turn-of-the-century Broadway. Overcoming an impoverished lifestyles as an orphan to develop into a music-hall big name in Paris, Held rocketed to status in the US. From 1896 to 1910, she starred in hit after hit and fast changed Lillian Russell because the darling of the theatrical global. the 1st spouse of mythical manufacturer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Held used to be the brains and suggestion in the back of his Follies and shared his knack for exposure. jointly, they introduced the Paris scene to manhattan, entire with lavish costumes and units and a refrain of stunningly attractive girls, dubbed ""The Anna Held Girls."" whereas Held was once identified for a champagne snort in addition to for her million-dollar checking account, there has been a darker aspect to her lifestyles. She hid her Jewish heritage and her daughter from a prior marriage. She suffered via her husbands' playing difficulties and Ziegfeld's blatant affairs with showgirls. With the outbreak of struggling with in Europe, Held lower back to France to help the struggle attempt. She entertained troops and added clinical offers, and she or he was in short captured by means of the German military. Anna Held and the delivery of Ziegfeld's Broadway finds the most extraordinary ladies within the background of theatrical leisure. With entry to formerly unseen kin files and pictures, Eve Golden has exposed the main points of a unprecedented girl within the bright international of 1900s New York.
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Additional resources for Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway
Fourteenth Street had been the theatrical hub until such palaces as the Herald Square, Koster and Bial's, the Manhattan, and the Metropolitan Opera House drew audiences uptown in the 1880s and early 1890s. There were already a few scattered theaters farther up Broadway, near Forty-second Street, but that was still considered a declasse neighborhood of stables, butchers, and bordellos. T h e h u m o r in A Parlor Match was broad and none too demanding: Character names included Abel Leever, I. McCorker, and Vesta Bule.
O f course the fans were probably paid off by Ziegfeld, and a terrified Anna was jostled to the wrong hotel, but it made for a good story in the papers. T h e revival of A Parlor Match and its stars were enthusiastically received by the large audience and the stage was "literally loaded with barrel of flowers" (arranged for ahead of time by the management). ," invariably elicited several encores and a speech of thanks in French and prettily broken English. O n e critic concluded that the show "is good for another profitable tour in the provinces/ But A n n a s critical reviews were mixed.
But when he says I sell sour milk, that's another matter. " Few Broadwayites took the milk bath story seriously. " T h e habitues of the Rialto put a finger to the nose and said: Aha! T h e press agent,'" noted one reporter. T h r o u g h some stroke of serendipity, a cow in Port Chester managed to kill itself that same week by wedging its neck in the crook of a tree. " Even though the milk bath story had been disproved almost immediately, it developed a life of its own: For years after Anna Held's death, the tale of her milk baths stayed fresh in the public mind.
Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway by Eve Golden