Showgirls and stars

Black-cast revues and female performers in Britain 1903–1939


  • Howard Rye Independent Scholar



Revue, British Popular Culture, African-American revue artists


This article is a study of the part played by musical revues in the provision of employment opportunities for African-American performers and the dissemination of African-American music into British popular culture. The role and artistic significance of dancers and musical-comedy artists has frequently been overlooked by conventional accounts concentrating on the contributions of recorded musicians. The study seeks also to give credit by name to the numerous female dancers who have joined the ranks of the artistic world's invisible women.

Author Biography

Howard Rye, Independent Scholar

Howard Rye is an independent scholar of African-American music. He is co-author of the current edition of Blues & Gospel Records 1890-1943, the standard blues discography. He was principal researcher for The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and is a member of the editorial team of Names & Numbers. He has contributed numerous articles to jazz and blues publications. 20 Coppermill Lane London E17 7HB


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How to Cite

Rye, H. (2004). Showgirls and stars: Black-cast revues and female performers in Britain 1903–1939. Popular Music History, 1(2), 167–188.




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