On Stage and Off

Theater in Georgia

Black Vaudeville

Circular for the Douglass Theatre advertising Macurio's Indian Vaudeville Company with Jack Macurio, Sue Ray, Chief White Eagle, and Wild Horse Harry, and the Watts & Willis Stock Company. The flier describes Jack Macurio, a Cherokee Indian, as "King of the Rifle;" Sue Ray, who acts as a human target, as a "daredevil cowgirl;" Chief White Eagle, a Crow Indian, as a "prize dancer;" and Wild Horse Harry as an "old time Indian campaign scout." The flier promises shooting, music, roping, singing, and dancing. The comedic Watts & Willis Stock Company is also described as a vaudeville act. Also promised are a matinee and two night shows.
Circular for the Douglass Theatre advertising Macurio's Indian Vaudeville Company with Jack Macurio, Sue Ray, Chief White Eagle, and Wild Horse Harry, and the Watts & Willis Stock Company. The flier describes Jack Macurio, a Cherokee Indian, as "King of the Rifle;" Sue Ray, who acts as a human target, as a "daredevil cowgirl;" Chief White Eagle, a Crow Indian, as a "prize dancer;" and Wild Horse Harry as an "old time Indian campaign scout." The flier promises shooting, music, roping, singing, and dancing. The comedic Watts & Willis Stock Company is also described as a vaudeville act. Also promised are a matinee and two night shows.
Circular for the Douglass Theatre advertising Macurio's Indian Vaudeville Company with Jack Macurio, Sue Ray, Chief White Eagle, and Wild Horse Harry, and the Watts & Willis Stock Company. The flier describes Jack Macurio, a Cherokee Indian, as "King of the Rifle;" Sue Ray, who acts as a human target, as a "daredevil cowgirl;" Chief White Eagle, a Crow Indian, as a "prize dancer;" and Wild Horse Harry as an "old time Indian campaign scout." The flier promises shooting, music, roping, singing, and dancing. The comedic Watts & Willis Stock Company is also described as a vaudeville act. Also promised are a matinee and two night shows.

Popular from the 1880s to the early 1930s, vaudeville was the first genre of theater to differentiate the American stage. Developed from minstrelsy (also known as blackface minstrelsy), vaudeville was a form of variety theater marked by physical comedy and lewd humor. White actors typically parodied Black Americans, depicting them as unintelligent and obscene.

When Black actors began to enter the American stage, they participated in—and subverted—vaudeville's demeaning traditions. As the form gained popularity, Black vaudevillians were among the most visible African American performers, and many saw themselves as uniquely situated to critique America's racist norms. Though segregated, the performances held different valences for Black audiences, making them meaningful to Black theatergoers even while they were still attended by and written for the entertainment of white audiences.