20 April 1922
By Don Taylor
“Donna 100 years ago” reviews my grandmother’s vaudeville life. Madonna Montran, aka “Donna Montran” & “Donna Darling,” had an exciting career during the 1920s. A definite headliner, she crisscrossed the country with her many shows.
Since my previous review, Donna at the Harris Theater, Pittsburgh, PA, in March, Donna had the following venues:
- March 12-16, 1922 – Canton, Ohio – Lyceum Theatre
- March 14, 1922 – Massillon, Ohio[i]
- March 27-??, 1922 – Pittsburgh, PA – Sheridan Square Theatre
- April 3-5, 1922 – York, PA – York Opera House
- April 6-8, 1922 – Harrisburg, PA – Majestic Theatre
- April 13-15, 1922 – Middletown, New York – Stratton Theatre
- April 17-19, 1922 – Lancaster, PA – Colonial Theatre
Finally, she arrived in Hazelton, PA, to play for three days at the Feeley Theater from April 20th to the 22nd.
Advertising for the show began on April 15th with a short paragraph on page seven in the Plain Speaker, “Big Bills at Feeley Theatre.”
Donna Darling, the favorite musical comedy star in a song and dance cocktail entitles “As You Like It” will be the feature vaudeville offering with the picture the last half of the week. Miss Darling is assisted by Murray Walker and Jack Finney, and this trio presents on the highest class variety acts in vaudeville today. They have a gorgeous stage setting in three scenes all of gold drapes and with wonderful lighting effects present a magnificent spectacle.
The Standard Sentinel ran the same article on the 17th.
Donna’s Scrapbook included a clipping showing the advertising copy from the show (Trimmed by Donna).
On the bill with her were:
- Walter Kaufman – “The Black Cloud”
- Chapman and Ring in “A Breeze From Musical Comedy.”
- Grant and Wallace – Those Two Fall Guys
- Two Movies
- “The Silent Call” movie starring Strongheart (the dog), “The Most Amazing Animal Ever Seen on Any Screen.”
- Buster Keaton in “The Playhouse”
But, the real gem from this show’s articles is a photo of Donna, the “Famous Musical Comedy Star Now Playing at the Feeley.
Beautiful Miss Donna Darling, who appeared here two seasons ago in “Chin Chin,” is presenting an elaborate Song and Dance spectacle at the Feeley in the Current Bill.
One hundred years ago, Donna played in the vaudeville act “As You Like It” at the Feeley Theatre in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.
Donna’s whereabouts are unknown for the next couple of weeks, but she appears at the Palace Theatre in Port Richmond (Staten Island), New York, on May 5th.
The Feeley Theater, Hazleton, PA[ii]
Specifications for the Feeley Theatre[iv]
Proscenium opening: 35×25 ft
Front to back wall: 35 ft
Between side walls: 65 ft
Apron 3 ft
Between fly girders: 40 ft
To rigging loft: 60 ft
To fly gallery: 20 ft
9 Dressing rooms
[i] Date and location provided by Russell Kees and not confirmed.
[ii] Hazleton is about 100 miles north-northwest of Philadelphia.
[iii] Source: Internet-Cinema Treasures, Feeley Theatre – Overview – http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/12631
[iv] The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill theatrical and moving Guide, V. 20, 1921, page 306.