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1890 Poster
Charles H. Hoyt's A Trip to Chinatown
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1890 Poster, Charles H. Hoyt's A Trip to Chinatown

A Trip to Chinatown was a play written by Charles H. Hoyt. Opening on November 9, 1891 at Broadway's Madison Square Theater in New York City, A Trip to Chinatown became a huge success and was the longest-running stage show in the nineteenth century. Hoyt wrote the lyrics for the show, while Percy Gaunt wrote the music.

This poster, produced by an unknown artist for the Strobridge Lithograph Company for the play, A Trip to Chinatown, contains the lyrics from one of its most popular songs, entitled The Bowery. Although the show was set in San Francisco, Hoyt included this song about a part of New York City. The Bowery, with its refrain I'll never go there anymore, tells the story of a man's experience after being drawn to the lights of this seedy part of town. During the 1880s and 1890s, the Bowery was home to a mix of saloons, dance halls and prostitutes. Hoyt's lyrics tell a tale of the man's unfortunate encounters there, such as his confrontation with thieves, his forcible removal from a concert hall, his unsettling experience at the barber shop, and his involvement in a brawl at a "dive" bar. Thus, the song The Bowery, with its satirical look at New York's sordid nightlife became a huge hit, as did the play in which it was featured.


"A Trip to Chinatown" Musical Theater Research Project, The Catholic University of America's Benjamin Rome School of Music, 1999, available at http://www.geocities.com/musictheater/ [accessed 26 September 2005.]The Society of American Historians, The Reader's Companion to American History. Boston, 1991; Mike Santangelo, "Devil's Own Night: A Hick on the Bowery" New York Daily News, New York, available at [www.nydailynews.com/city_life/big_town/v-bigtown_archive/story/185741p-160893c.html [accessed 26 September 2005].

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