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The PekinThe Rise and Fall of Chicago's First Black-Owned Theater$
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Thomas Bauman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038365

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038365.001.0001

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The New Pekin

The New Pekin

Chapter:
(p.41) 2. The New Pekin
Source:
The Pekin
Author(s):

Thomas Bauman

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252038365.003.0003

This chapter focuses on Robert T. Motts's conversion of the Pekin Theater to New Pekin after it was damaged by fire in January 1910. At the time of the fire the Pekin Temple of Music had already established itself as “a credit to the Negro race.” Motts saw rebuilding not only as necessary to “get under way again” but also as an opportunity to aim for something even higher. There were no more comparisons of the Pekin with beer gardens, cabarets, or cafés chantants, but rather with the best legitimate theaters that Chicago had to offer. At the New Pekin, Motts himself took over Will H. Smith's duties as general manager. Opening night on March 31 was a success. This chapter examines how the Pekin became a favored venue for black minstrelsy and considers the Pekin Stock Company's musical comedies, including Captain Rufus, a musical military play by J. Ed. Green and Alfred Anderson; it was also performed in New York City in August 1907.

Keywords:   minstrelsy, Robert T. Motts, Pekin Theater, New Pekin, Chicago, Will H. Smith, Pekin Stock Company, musical comedies, Captain Rufus, New York City

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