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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 421 pages of information about Writing for Vaudeville.

A dramatic entertainment is not written on paper.  It is written with characters of flesh and blood.  Strive as hard as man may, he can never fully foretell how an ink-written act will play.  There is an inexplicable something which playing before an audience develops.  Both the audience and the actors on the stage are affected.  A play—­the monologue and every musical form as well—­is one thing in manuscript, another thing in rehearsal, and quite a different thing before an audience.  Playing before an audience alone shows what a play truly is.  Therefore, a play can only be made—­after it is produced.  Even in the fourth week of playing—­the first week of metropolitan playing—­Mr. Author and Mr. Producer made many changes in “Success” that were responsible for the long popularity it enjoyed.  Mr. Author had learned his lesson well.  He approached his next work with clearer eyes.

APPENDIX

NINE FAMOUS VAUDEVILLE ACTS COMPLETE

“THE GERMAN SENATOR,” A Monologue, by Aaron Hoffman.

“THE ART OF FLIRTATION,” A Two-Act, by Aaron Hoffman.

“AFTER THE SHOWER,” A Flirtation Two-Act, by Louis Weslyn.

“THE VILLAIN STILL PURSUED HER,” A Travesty Playlet, by Arthur
Denvir.

“THE LOLLARD,” A Comedy Playlet, by Edgar Allan Woolf.

“BLACKMAIL,” A Tragic Playlet, by Richard Harding Davis.

“THE SYSTEM,” A Melodramatic Playlet, by Taylor Granville.

“A PERSIAN GARDEN,” A One-Act Musical Comedy, by Edgar Allan Woolf.

“My OLD KENTUCKY HOME,” A One-Act Burlesque, by James Madison.

A WORD ABOUT THE ACTS

The nine acts which are given, complete, in the following pages are representative of the very best in vaudeville.  Naturally, they do not show every possible vaudeville variation—­a series of volumes would be required for that—­but, taken together, they represent all the forms of the talking vaudeville act that are commonly seen.

THE MONOLOGUE

The German Senator

This monologue by Aaron Hoffman has been chosen as perhaps the best example of the pure monologue ever written.  Originally used by Cliff Gordon—­continually being changed to keep it up-to-the-minute—­it has, since his death, been presented by numerous successors of the first “German Senator.”  It is doubtful if any other dramatic work—­or any other writing—­of equal length, and certainly no monologue, has returned to its author so much money as “The German Senator” has earned.

THE TWO-ACTS

The Art of Flirtation

For more years than perhaps any other vaudeville two-act, this exceptionally fine example of two-act form has been used by various famous German comedians.  It may be considered to stand in much the same relation to the two-act that “The German Senator” does to the monologue.  Its author, also Mr. Aaron Hoffman, holds a unique position among vaudeville and musical comedy writers.

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