Donna in Lima, Ohio, at the Faurot Theater – 6 April 1920

by Don Taylor

The “Chin Chin” Crew packed up from the show Monday night in Sandusky, Ohio, traveled overnight the 100 miles to Lima, Ohio, to set up for another one night performance.

Advertising for the “Chin Chin” performance began in the Lima Daily News on 1 April 1920 with both an ad and a short article in the Theater and Movies section of the paper.

The article reads: And the Ad shows:
FAUROT–”Chin Chin” is scheduled for appearance at the Faurot on Tuesday night with Walter Wills and Roy Binder in the leading roles, assisted by the biggest musical comedy aggregation on the road today.

The Plot of “Chin Chin” is so arranged that there is ample opportunity for many vaudeville interpolations of a nature that assures one hundred and fifty minutes of entrancing hilarity.

To relate the tricks of the pair of Chinese as they go thru their Arabian Night’s take would require much space.

“Chin Chin” is a clean and wholesome play, in seven scenes, requiring two sixty-foot baggage cars; the company comprises 65 people, mostly girls who appear in rich oriental costumes of many designs and variegated colors.


The following Sunday another an article ran in the Sunday News which included a rare photo of Donna with fellow “prima donna” Ethel Lawrence.

Photo quality is not great, however,
Donna is clearly on the right.
The Lima News, April 4, 1920,
Via Newspaperarchive.com

Also, that issue of the paper included a much more thorough advertisement about the show including the Clown Saxophone Band and the Funny Laughing Horse. Further advertising on the day before the show and the day of the showing was similar.

The show appears to have gone on without problems. We don’t know if the company played on the 7th or 8th or if they had a couple days off, but they were in Steubenville on April 9th.

Faurot Opera House

Faurot Opera House Block
Lima, OH
Source: Card Cow

Benjamin C. Faurot was a successful businessman in 1881 when he began construction on the Faurot Block. Facing Main and High streets, the building would be five stories high and include offices, stores, a music hall, the Lima National Bank, and the Faurot Opera House. The block design was in an “Americanized composition of the French Renaissance and Queen Anne.” It was a strikingly beautiful design and structure, so much so, that it is said to have so impressed New Yorkers that they used it as a model for theaters there.

The opera house opened in 1882 and was used for plays, vaudeville, and movies until June 1934.

Julius Cahn Theatrical Guide for 1913-1914 reported that the Faurot Opera House seated 1,183 people; 467 on the main floor, 266 in the balcony, 400 in the gallery, and 50 in boxes. It had a 30’ by 30’ stage with a five-foot apron.

The auditorium was used for storage for a time in the 1940s, then the Opera House was demolished in 1953 to make way for a Kresge Drug Store.

Further Research

The newspaper articles I found regarding this show were from The Lima News. However, other newspapers of the time included the Republican-Gazette, Times-Democrat, the Advertiser, and the German language Courier. These papers should also be searched for potential photos and articles.

Sources:

“Chin Chin”

Newspapers.Com; The Lima News (Lima, Ohio) · Thu, Apr 1, 1920 · Page 11
Newspaperarchives.com; The Lima News – Lima, Ohio – Apr 4 1920 – 15970948  

Faurot Opera House

Internet: The 419; “Finding Faurot: The Rise and Fall of one of Lima’s Greatest Contributors” by Kate Ellis; http://the419.com/finding-faurot/
Internet: Wikipedia; “Lima, Ohio” Leadership and growth, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lima,_Ohio
Internet: Cinema Treasures, “Faurot Opera House” 135 N. Main Street, Lima, OH 45801, Closed, Demolished, 1282 seats. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/19555
The Cahn-Leighton official theatrical guide. 1913. New York, N.Y.: Publication Office, New Amsterdam Theatre Building. Page 519; via Google Books

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