Chin Chin – Regent Theatre – Muskegon, MI – 23 Feb 1920

Donna and “Chin Chin” play at the Regent Theatre in Muskegon, Michigan, on 23 February 1920.

Background

February 1920 was a busy month for the cast and crew of “Chin Chin.” They began the month in Minneapolis and played across Wisconsin, on to Indiana, and then up to Michigan. I know they played the Powers Theatre in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Feb 20th and 21st. They probably had off Sunday, 22 February. Then they opened for one night at the Regent Theatre in Muskegon, Michigan.

Advertising

A standard “To the General Public” announcement was published by Paul J. Schlossman in the Muskegon Chronical on February 18th letting the General Public know that “Chin Chin” was coming to the Regent Theatre on Monday, February 23, 1920.  There would be two shows, a matinee at 2:30 and an evening show at 8:15.

Muskegon Chronicle – 21 FEB 1920, Page 2 (Via Genealogy Bank)

Articles

The Thursday paper before the show featured an article and a photograph. The article read:

Muskegon Chronicle – 19 Feb 1920, Page 10 via Genealogy Bank

Charles Dillingham’s Chin Chin, with a record of two solid years at the Globe theater, New York , and heralded as the greatest of all musical comedies comes to the Regent theater for a matinee and evening performance Monday, Feb. 23.

In the production of “Chin Chin” the producer, Chas. Dillingham is providing a glorious festival of fun and spectacular attractiveness, demonstrations of grotesque acrobatic specialties and dancing in numerous through this very musical concoction. Those who heard “The Pink Lady” and “The Little Café” cannot fail to anticipate with pleasure the prospect of hearing further gems in “Chin Chin” from the gifted composer, Ivan Caryll.

Charles Dillingham long ago established a reputation for good taste in his production so far as color, light, groupings, music and expression go to make up an ensemble. In the company are clever comedians, talented singers and dancers, besides plenty of beautiful, radiant women. The production in its original New York entirety will be seen here. By the box office returns, the most potent argument in the theater when the entertainments such this are under consideration, “Chin Chin” is the greatest and best.

Certainly the most exacting and sophisticated taste will ask for little or nothing more in facile playfulness, pretty dresses, swift dances and prankish amusement than this production has to offer.

Ivan Caryll’s score is rich with ingratiating melodies, and the various stage settings make attractive pictures.

Post Show

It is unlikely that the cast and crew had off on February 24th, so I need to continue searching for a venue that they played that day. It is probably a town between Muskegon and Bay City (but not Grand Rapids). “Chin Chin” played in Bay City on the 25th.

Regent Theater

Theater Image[i]
The Regent Theater, designed by Detroit architect C. Howard Crane, was built by Paul Schlossman in 1916. None of the theatrical guides that I have indicate the specifics of the theater, however, other sources indicate the seating was 1,100. A new façade and marquee were installed in 1939. The theater was demolished in 1972 to make way for the Muskegon Mall. The mall was torn down in 2003.[ii]

 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map[iii], Muskegon, Michigan, 1940, Image 10, Block 564 – Library of Congress

Today

Today, the location of the Regent Theater is an open park-like area with picnic tables next to the Muskegon Area Transit System.

Further Research

Find a theater guide from the 1920s and incorporate theater specifics from it into this article.

Disclaimer

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Endnotes

[i] Regent Theater in Muskegon, MI – Cinema Treasures. 2019. Cinematreasures.Org. Accessed August 16 2019. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/41270

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Image 10 Of Sanborn Fire Insurance Map From Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan. “. 2019. The Library Of Congress. Accessed August 16 2019. https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4114mm.g04122195001/?sp=10&r=0.498,0.987,0.434,0.213,0.

Donna Montran – 6th Street Theatre, Coshocton, OH – 4/12/1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played at the 6th Street Theatre in Coshocton, Ohio on 12 April 1920

 The “Chin Chin” production played at the Union Theatre in New Philadelphia, OH, on April 10th. They may have had off on Sunday, April 11th, or they may have played somewhere on that Sunday. But any event the cast traveled the 30 miles to Coshocton to play at the 6th Street Theatre on Monday the 12th for one night.  Advertising began on April 7th with typical written ads and display ads beginning on April 9th. The newspaper the day of the show describes the show and includes some of the characters in the show, including my grandmother, “The Goddess of the Light.”

Reviews

The following day a reviewer in The Coshocton Tribune praised the show. The second paragraph of the review read:

“… Starr Dunham appeared in the role of Aladdin while the part of the cruel Abonazar was well taken by Joseph Robinson. The wealthy American, Cornelius Bond was played by English Cody, while Ethel Lawrence appeared as his charming daughter Violet. The Goddess of the Lamp, an unusually pretty and charming girl, who never failed to delight her audience with her solo numbers, was Donna Montran…. 

Post Show Info

The cast next headed 30 miles further south to Zanesville, Ohio and the Weller Theatre for the show on Tuesday the 13th.

The 6th Street Theatre

The 6th Street Theatre was built in 1903 by a group of businessmen who called themselves the Coshocton Theater Company. The Julius Cahn Reports for 1913 indicate the Seating capacity was about 1,000. The theater was on the ground floor and had a proscenium opening of 32 x 22 feet.

6th Street Theatre, Coshocton, Ohio in 1959.

Eventually, the theater converted to a movie house and it closed in May 1959. The building was demolished in 1974.

Sources

The Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) · Sat, Apr 10, 1920, · Page 3, Advertising “Chin Chin” https://www.newspapers.com/image/323058644 – Downloaded on Sep 1, 2017, via Newspapers.Com.

The Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) · Tue, Apr 13, 1920, · Page 3, Column 4 “6th St. Theatre – Chin Chin Drew Large Audience” – https://www.newspapers.com/image/323057655 – Downloaded on Sep 1, 2017, via Newspapers.Com.

Update: Union Opera Theater – New Philadelphia, Ohio

I heard back from the wonderful people at Tuscarawas County Historical Society. Their responses helped my determine exactly where the Union Opera Theater was located, when it closed, and when it was demolished.  (Refer: Donna in New Philadelphia, OH, at the Union Theater – 10 April 1920.) Thank you, Tuscarawas County Historical Society!

Image of Union Opera House.
Union Opera House,
New Philadelphia, Ohio
The Daily Times, May 24, 1957; Page 1

The Union Opera House was located “at [the] rear of Hotel Reeves Building” on Ashwood Lane.  The city directory of 1921 indicates that the Hotel Reeves was at 133-135 North Broadway[i], behind the Tuscarawas County Courthouse.

In 1893, the Sharp Opera House burned and the city was without an entertainment venue until the Union Opera House company was organized and the theater built adjacent to the Sherman House (later the Reeves Hotel.)

The Union Opera House opened on December 9, 1897, with “Pudd’nhead Wilson” with Edwin Mayo in the leading role.

The Union Opera House had a capacity of 1,057 – 502 on the main floor, 230 in the balcony, 300 in the gallery, and 24 in box seats. The US Census indicates that the population of New Philadelphia, OH was 10,718, so the venue could hold nearly 10% of the population of the city. However, the city of Dover is adjacent to New Philadelphia and contributed another 8,000 to the population.

The opera house continued with a mix of live shows until 1925 when it changed over to movies only.

The Union Opera House closed on 26 May 1957. The final bill included Rock Hudson’s movie “Never Say Goodby” and Richard Widmark’s film, “Backlash.”[ii]

In July 1957, the Reeves Realty Co. announced that the Union Opera House would be razed for the installation of an outdoor parking lot for patrons of the Reeves Hotel.

Specifications for the Union Opera House:[iii]

  • Proscenium opening: 32×22 ft
  • Front to back wall: 42 ft
  • Between side walls: 66 ft
  • Apron 5 ft
  • Between fly girders: 43 ft
  • To rigging loft: 40 ft
  • To fly gallery: 23 ft
  • 11 Dressing rooms

Further Research

According to the Julius Cahn Theatrical Guide, there were four newspapers associated New Philadelphia at the time; the “Times,” “Tribune,” the “Democrat,” and the “Reporter” (at Canal Dover). I have been unable to find copies of those papers. Find sources for the three papers and see if they have any articles regarding the show.

Endnotes

[i] Ancestry.Com – U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 – New Philadelphia, Ohio, City Directory, 1921, pages 136 and 219.

[ii] The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, OH); Friday, May 24, 1957, Page 1, “To Close Historic Union Opera House Here Sunday” via Newspapers.com.

[iii] The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide (1913-1914) – Page 525 – New Philadelphia.

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