Donna in Vancouver, BC, Canada, at the Avenue Theater –December 25-27, 1919

Chin Chin Ad – Dec 20, 1919, Page 10
Vancouver (BC) Daily World
Source: Newspapers.Com

I haven’t found where Donna was before the showing at the Avenue Theater on Christmas Day, 1919. The “Chin Chin” company was in Pendleton, Oregon, on December 10th. I am sure that the company continued west, probably played in and around Portland, then headed north. They probably played in Seattle area before continuing on to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Advertising appears to have begun with a short article on the 13th of December letting people know that the show was commencing on Christmas Day – No holiday rest for the “Chin Chin” cast. The article points to the show’s success at the Globe Theatre in New York for two years and by the box office receipts during its road tour. There is also reference to the composer, Ivan Caryll, the writers, and the leading roles played by Walter Wills and Roy Binder.[1]

On December 20th, there was a long article explaining the show and many of its highlights. Also on the 20th was the first of many standard “Chin Chin” ads. Articles and ads continue on the 23rd.

The show began on the 25th and the newspaper the following day calls out Donna by name. “Donna Montran, as the “Goddess of the Lamp,” is a lovely singer and sings sweetly, as does Ethel Lawrence as “Violet Bond.” The reviewer went on to slam the other singers saying that the “producers had put looks before voices.”[2]

Theater
The Avenue Theatre opened on April 10, 1911 at the northwestern corner of Main and Georgia. The seating capacity was just over 1,200[3]. George B. Howard managed it. In 1914, it was taken over by Klaw and Erlanger (Theatrical Syndicate) as a theatre for touring companies such as “Chin Chin.”[4]

Neither the Julius Cahn Gus Hill Theatrical Guide (1913-1914) nor the 1922 Supplement include any Vancouver, BC, theatres. I did find another guide from the 1930s that mentioned the Avenue Theatre, but it indicated that the theatre hadn’t supplied any information regarding itself.

Herbert Lloyd’s “Vaudeville Trails Thru the West” (1919) does include Vancouver, BC, theatres. The Columbia, Orpheum, and Pantages’ Theatres are covered in detail, but nothing about the Avenue.

Avenue Theatre [Main and Georgia Streets]Photograph by Walter E. Frost
Source: City of Vancouver Archives

The theatre fell into disuse about 1930 and was demolished about 1936[5], It was only a 25 year-old building.

Today the location is part of the “Golden Gate Center.”

Endnotes

[1] Vancouver Daily World (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) · Sat, Dec 13, 1919 · Page 8. Newspapers.Com
[2] Vancouver Daily World (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) · Fri, Dec 26, 1919 · Page 11 – Newspapers.Com
[3] Article: “The Organization of Professional Theatre in Vancouver, 1886-1914” by ROBERT B. TODD – Source: University of British Columbia Library, Open Journal Systems – http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/viewFile/1035/1073
[4] Ibid.
[5] Vancouver As It Was: A Photo-Historical Journey – ELECTRIC VAUDEVILLE – https://vanasitwas.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/electric-vaudeville/.

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