Donna – Jefferson Theatre, Auburn, New York

100 Years ago – 8 January 1923.

“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.

From the Advertiser Journal (Auburn, NY) dated 6 January 1923.

The Advertiser-Journal (Auburn, N.Y.)
January 06, 1923, Page 10.

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.

Auburn had several theaters in the 1920s.

  • The Auditorium Theater seated 2,600 people and played legitimate attractions,
  • Burtis Grand Opera House, seated 1,000
  • B. F. Keith’s Jefferson Theatre, managed by J. J. Breslin, seated 1,500
  • Morgans, seated 1,000
  • Universal, seated 980.

New Jefferson Theater

The New Jefferson Theatre opened in 1908. It continued to operate until after 1950 and demolished sometime later.[i]

Jefferson Theatre, State Street, Auburn, NY,
Photo courtesy Auburn Cinefile Society.

Specifications for the New Jefferson Theatre[ii]

Seating:

  • Ground Floor: 573
  • Balcony: 430
  • Gallery: 600
  • Boxes: 25

Stage:

  • Proscenium opening: 35×32 ft
  • Front to back wall: 38 ft
  • Between side walls: 63 ft
  • Apron: 2 ft
  • Between fly girders: 49 ft
  • To rigging loft: 57 ft
  • To fly gallery: 50½ ft
  • 20 Dressing rooms

Newspapers [iii]

  • “Advertiser” PM ex Sun – circulation 3,000
  • “News” Fri cir. 2,418
  • “Citizen” PM ex Sun – cir. 4,750

Endnotes

[1] Cinema Treasures – Jefferson Theater – 61 State Street, Auburn, NY 13021. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/18949
[2] The Cahn-Lighton Theatrical Guide – 1914.
[3] Ibid.

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