Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Vaudeville! January 29, 2018–July 15, 2018

For more than a century, vaudeville was the most popular form of American entertainment and one of the country's largest cultural exports. Performances on the vaudeville stage included comic sketches, magic, acrobatics, animal tricks, blackface performance, celebrity appearances, early film, and more. Shows featuring immigrant acts, racial stereotypes, and frequent appeals to nationalism defined a complex and often problematic sense of American identity at the turn of the 19th century.

Explore vaudeville's influences from Roman mimes to the saloons of the American frontier. Learn what life on the road was like for the thousands of entertainers who traveled around the country performing in theatres that were part of a vast network of venues, and witness the mid-century revival of vaudeville's relevance in musical theatre, radio, film, television, and the internet. See artifacts related to some of Vaudeville's best-known performers—Harry Houdini, Mae West, W. C. Fields, Bert Williams, George M. Cohan, Burns & Allen, Tony Pastor, the Nicholas Brothers, Barbette, and more.

The exhibition features the Ransom Center's extensive holdings of Harry Houdini, Tony Pastor, and Florenz Ziegfeld, among others, to show the development of vaudeville's highly organized form and its long-lasting impact on contemporary film, television, and comedy.


Admission

Admission to the exhibition is free. No tickets or reservations are required. Your donation supports the Ransom Center's exhibitions and public programs.


Location

21st and Guadalupe Streets
Austin, Texas

Parking map
Parking for visitors with disabilities


Exhibition Galleries

Hours

10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday
Noon–5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Closure Dates

Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

Tours

Field trip and group tour information

Non-flash photography is allowed.


About the Center

The Harry Ransom Center, a world-renowned humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, houses extensive collections of literature, film, art, photography, and the performing arts.

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Media Contacts for members of the press

Jennifer Tisdale
512-471-8949

Suzanne Krause
512-471-6406

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Exhibition Poster
Join us for the Vaudeville! Member Event

Step right up and join the Harry Ransom Center for our members-only exhibition reception for Vaudeville! Enjoy an exclusive look at the exhibition, bites and drinks, and live entertainment. Members receive free admission; no tickets will be sold for this event. Capacity is limited.

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