1920-1921 Glee Club (Corks

The 1920-1921 season of the Virginia Glee Club was conducted by Nevil Henshaw.[1] The season saw the performance of a musical comedy, The Visiting Girl.[2] Officers included John Koch, president; Thomas Munford Boyd, vice president; Robert Allen Gibbons, business manager; Francis Harcourt Parrish, advertising manager; and Harry Colton McKee, Jr., stage manager.

Shows[edit | edit source]

Score to The Visiting Girl

The Visiting Girl, with book and lyrics by Nevil Henshaw, was a musical comedy along the lines of "Oh, Julius!" (1916-1917). The show was performed in Charlottesville and in several locations on the road, including Roanoke,[3] the Homestead at Hot Springs, Virginia and the Greenbrier resort at White Sulphur Springs.[4]

The show received withering reviews in the Yellow Journal, which printed a house ad for the show ("To-Night: University Glee Club in a Musical Comedy. (Suggestion: Why not cut out the 'musical'?) (Suggestion: They might cut out the 'comedy' too.)") as well as a detailed review:

The Visiting Girl presented by the University of Virginia Glee Club, John Koch, president, director and chief actor. Jefferson Theatre as an April Fool joke, April 1, 1921.

We saw this show in December and later we saw it in Richmond during February. If it hasn't improved, and we doubt whether it has improved, we advise you not to go to see it. Go to the movies at the Lafayette instead. The chief attraction of the show is Jack Parrott as a girl and John Koch as a rube. Jack plays his girl's part very well, though he is a bit awkward. The girls' chorus looks about as much like a bunch of girls as a litter of pups does. Several of them are very nicely built and should please first nighters.

The songs are rotten and those who sing them very ably get through with the same impression. There is but one voice in connection with the show--the voice of disapproval. We know of fewer groups in college which are less significant than the Glee Club. Half of them have never been heard of, and most of the other half could never be heard of and the college would not suffer.

How Jere Willis and Frank Cox were ever persuaded to be in this show is a mystery. Shake Westcott plays the role of the baseball hero, who wins the game and the fair damsel. Shake is fair as an actor, being at his best in long hikes to Washington. Thomas Jefferson would turn over in his grave if he knew that Nicholson was playing the part of Jefferson in the show. This bird Akeley impresses us as being the wrong end of the candle.

The social end of the club's activities is well taken care of by "Gentleman Jim" Hennelly and a few others. Rudolph Carroll is electrician, and Harry McKee is stage manager. Allan Gibbons is supposed to be business manager, but the president of the club says he does all the work. In the men's chorus we have such celebrities as Willis Carey and Bobbie Taylor. Need we say more? The Yellow Journal doesn't like to knock. We like to praise, but we feel forced to criticize this show. It is rotten, but go to see it![2]

Roster[edit | edit source]

This roster is as listed in the 1921 Corks and Curls and may not include all participants in the season.

Norman Coleman Nicholson, Thomas Gibbs Akeley, Robert Watson Sadler, Arch John Riggal, Jere Malcolm Harris Willis, Fred B. Greear, Thomas Leigh Williams, William Franklin Cox, Jr., John Pier Roemer, Frederick R. Westcott, Thomas Austin Sydnor, James Hannan Hennelly, Henry Jefferson Lawrence, John James Morris, Jr., John Cromwell Parrott, Charles Venable Minor, Willis Todd Carey, Robert Wall Taylor, Elijah Fletcher Kahle, Jr., Morgan Birge, Randolph Fitzhugh Carroll, Albert Wilson Walker, Charles Marion Love, John Dismukes Green, Harry Glenn Kaminer, Jr., Joseph Lewis Mulford, Jesse Cox Beesley, Jr., Charles Greene Andrews, David Louden Black, John Conway Fox, Arthur James Ogle, John Emerson Gibbs, Harold Matthews Shuff, Alvin Friedlander, Solomon Barth Weinberg, Edward Wellford Withers, Fred B. Gentry, Fulton Lewis, Jr.

External links[edit source]

This article has more context at Jarrett House North, the blog of the historian of the Virginia Glee Club Alumni and Friends Association.

References[edit | edit source]

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1919-1920 Glee Club of the 1920s 1921-1922
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