By Eve Golden
" Anna Held (1870?-1918), a petite lady with an hourglass determine, was once America's preferred musical comedy celebrity through the 20 years previous international conflict I. within the colourful international of latest York theater in the course of l. a. Belle Époque, she epitomized every thing that used to be glamorous, subtle, and suggestive approximately turn-of-the-century Broadway. Overcoming an impoverished lifestyles as an orphan to turn into a music-hall famous person in Paris, Held rocketed to repute in the United States. From 1896 to 1910, she starred in hit after hit and quick changed Lillian Russell because the darling of the theatrical international. the 1st spouse of mythical manufacturer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Held used to be the brains and idea in the back of his Follies and shared his knack for exposure. jointly, they introduced the Paris scene to long island, entire with lavish costumes and units and a refrain of stunningly appealing ladies, dubbed ""The Anna Held Girls."" whereas Held used to be identified for a champagne snicker in addition to for her million-dollar checking account, there has been a darker facet to her existence. She hid her Jewish historical past and her daughter from a prior marriage. She suffered via her husbands' playing difficulties and Ziegfeld's blatant affairs with showgirls. With the outbreak of combating in Europe, Held back to France to help the battle attempt. She entertained troops and added scientific offers, and she or he used to be in short captured by way of the German military. Anna Held and the start of Ziegfeld's Broadway unearths the most amazing ladies within the background of theatrical leisure. With entry to formerly unseen family members documents and pictures, Eve Golden has exposed the main points of a unprecedented lady within the bright global of 1900s New York.
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Extra info for Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway
Anna s welcoming party—including Ziegfeld and Teddy Marks—whisked her uptown to a suite at the H o t e l Netherland, on the corner of Fifth Avenue 26 ANNA H E L D and Fifty-ninth Street, T h e N e w York that Anna saw for the first time on her carriage ride uptown seemed to be a small provincial city compared with Paris. T h e streets were narrower, the buildings smaller and darker. M o s t buildings in N e w York were still three or four stories and made of brick or brownstone, with a few light-colored limestone facades thrown in.
And waltzed her offstage. T h a t night, a theatrical myth was acted out as fans unhooked Anna's carriage from her horses and pulled her u p Broadway to her hotel. O f course the fans were probably paid off by Ziegfeld, and a terrified Anna was jostled to the wrong hotel, but it made for a good story in the papers. T h e revival of A Parlor Match and its stars were enthusiastically received by the large audience and the stage was "literally loaded with barrel of flowers" (arranged for ahead of time by the management).
Russell—also a bicycling fanatic—loaned Anna a machine and the two rode together through Central Park. Both gourmands, the ladies were often seen dining at Rectors, the "Lobster Palace" and tourist trap that moved to midtown in 1899. They were each others greatest cheerleaders and consoled each other through romantic traumas as well. A Parlor Match opened for a m o n t h of out-of-town tryouts in Boston, but Anna did not join the company until it moved to the Herald Square Theater in N e w York on November 2 1 .
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