Donna Darling – Vaudeville
By Don Taylor
“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertisements regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s. I received a newsletter from New York State (NYS) Historic Newspapers that they had several new papers digitized and others updated. So, I thought I’d check it out.
First, I found that she was mentioned in several ads in the Dziennik Dla Wszystkich = Polish Everybody’s Daily. The ads reminded me that Donna played at the Layfayette Square Theater in Buffalo, NY, between September 15th and 20th, 1923, which I had known about before.
Second, I learned from the Advertiser Journal (Auburn, NY) dated 6 January 1923, that she played at the Jefferson Theater.
The headliner will be presented by Donna Darling and Company, with Jack Finney and Mary [sic] Walker happily cast, presenting a song and dance revue of the better sort. They call the revue “A Song and Dance Romance” and one descriptive phrase is that it is a “dazzling dance phantasy.” Donna Darling and her partners have dressed the act sumptuously and introduce a number of novelty dances that have been winning success for the offering over the Keith Circuit. It is the kind of an act that vaudeville goers particularly enjoy, and will make a headline number of the most attractive sort.
Subsequent articles show she played at the Jefferson Theater in Auburn, New York, from January 8th through the 10th.
Because of those newly discovered articles, I was able to add another venue for Donna Darling & Company:
January 8-10, 1923 – Auburn, New York – Jefferson Theater – Donna Darling and Company in “A Song and Dance Romance”
My thanks to the folks at NYS Historic Newspapers for their providing online images of so many New York papers.