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The Soul of PleasureSentiment and Sensation in Nineteenth-Century American Mass Entertainment$
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David Monod

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702389

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702389.001.0001

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Laugh and Grow Fat

Laugh and Grow Fat

Minstrelsy and Burlesque

(p.42) Chapter 2 Laugh and Grow Fat
The Soul of Pleasure

David Monod

Cornell University Press

This chapter presents the The Three Fra Diavolos that opened at Mitchell's Olympic Theatre in 1884. It told the story of three rich young gentlemen who are smitten by three rich young ladies. The Olympic was the first theatre in the city to specialize in comedy: farces, burlesques (or operettas), and trimmed-down versions of comic operas (the Three Fra Diavolos was preceded, for example, by a one-act version of Mozart's La Nozze di Figaro.) The Olympic, a “bandybox temple of Thespis,” spearheaded the theatrical naissance of the 1840s in New York. What its success signaled, to all who paid attention, was the emergence of a new taste for popular entertainment.

Keywords:   The Three Fra Diavolos, Mitchell's Olympic Theatre, bandybox temple, popular entertainment, comic operas

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