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Illinois Theatre Performances

An assortment from 1908 from The Champaign Daily Gazette

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Miss Bob White, March 6, 1908

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Scene from The Red Mill

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19080328sa_CDG_pg02_Illinois ad_The Witching Hour_edited.jpg
19080424fr_CDG_pg02_Illinois Theatre ad_Two Merry Tramps_edited.jpg
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19080417fr_CDG_pg04_Illinois ad_The Country Girl_edited.jpg
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The Top O' Th' World company played the Illinois 

on Wednesday, 13 January 1909

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The Duncan Hypnotic Comedy Company played the Illinois the week beginning Monday, September 13, 1909.

Show Company’s Close Call

Top ‘O th’ World Company In Accident At Catlin

The “Top ‘O th’ World” company, which was at the Illinois Theatre on Wednesday night, came near being put out of existence Thursday afternoon while going from Urbana to Danville on the Wabash.  Three of the company were injured.  Arthur Hill, who played the bear, was the hero of the hour, for he prevented an almost certain collision.

The two baggage cars and a coach for 64 people were on the rear of the train and when near Catlin the rear car containing the people, broke loose from the train while it was going up a steep hill, and started backward at a 40-mile-an-hour-clip.  Hill was standing on the back platform and applied the hand brakes and succeeded in stopping the car within a few feet of a freight train rounding a curve, but the freight struck the car.  Miss May Poth and Miss Bernice Hudson, of the chorus, jumped before the car stopped.  The former’s elbow was dislocated and the latter received a sprained ankle.

Miss Dorothy Hutchinson, one of the collie ballet girls, was standing on the rear platform when the train struck the coach and was thrown against a telephone pole and injured about the shoulders and head.  Nearly all the members of the company were severely shaken up but escaped serious injury.

The Champaign Daily Gazette, Saturday, 16 January 1909.  Page 2.

That Hypnotic Company.

The Duncan Hypnotic Company opened the season at the Illinois on Monday, September 13, 1909.  They gave a good performance to a packed house on the first night of a week's engagement.  Mr. Duncan found several excellent subjects in the Illinois audience with Samuel Baird as the hit of the evening.  “The telepathy performance was a novelty and left few, if any skeptics.”  Tuesday evening a woman was to be put to sleep for 24 hours in plain view of the audience.

Champaign Daily Gazette.  Tuesday, September 14, 1909.  Page 1. 

Theatrical People Marry In Urbana

Parker Leonard of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Miss Ora Dawson of Clevland, O., members of the Corinne Company show that closed it’s run at the Illinois Saturday evening were married by Judge T. J. Roth in his office at the courthouse that afternoon.  It was the end of the Corinne Company’s season as part of the troupe then left to join the Blanch Ring company at the Garrick in Chicago and the rest went to New York to rehearse for a new Schubert attraction.

The Champaign Daily Gazette.  Monday, 29 November 1909.  Page 1. 

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Eddie Foy appeared as Mr. Hamlet of  Broadway on Tuesday 11 January 1910 
Ad from the Champaign Daily Gazette
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Eddie Foy as he appeared in his role in Mr. Bluebeard.

Eddie Foy was a  member of the Mr. Bluebeard company that was playing at Chicago's Iroquois Theatre on 31 December 1903 when the disastrous fire broke out that killed some 600 people and injured hundreds more.

Foy remained composed and helped cast members escape.  He took the stage and helped calm the audience, urging them to exit quietly and to not stampede the doors. 

The Paulist Choir

St. Patrick’s Church brought the famous choir from Chicago to the Illinois on Tuesday, 30 May, 1911.  The choir of eighty-five male voices was the only boys’ and men’s choral society in the United States.

Pictured are Father William J. Finn, director, and Harcourt Browne who sang two solos.

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An Urbana Woman Died In Theatre

Mrs. Shepherd Had Gone to Hear the Paulist Choir

Mrs. Hannah M. Shepherd of 702 West Main Street, Urbana, died Tuesday evening at 8:15 in the woman’s rest room in the Illinois Theatre.  The body was removed to the home in the Renner ambulance without the large audience assembled to hear the Paulist Choir of Chicago, knowing of the occurrence.

Mrs. Shepherd went to the theatre with Mrs. C. C. Gere, a neighbor, to attend the concert.  On the way there she complained of a shortness of breath and after resting on the theatre steps was assisted to the restrooms by Mrs. Gere.  Drs. W.F. Burress and C.A. Nichols and two nurses were summoned.  She became unconscious and died in about fifteen minutes.  Apoplexy is given as the cause of death.

Mrs. Shepherd had always been a very healthy woman and visited her husband’s grave in Woodlawn cemetery yesterday afternoon.  Her death came as a terrible shock to the family and scores of friends.


Part of a story in The Champaign Daily Gazette, Wednesday, 31 May 1911. Page 1.

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The Midnight Sons played the Illinois Saturday 6 May 1911

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Jas. Powers in Havana played the Illinois Saturday 13 May 1911

Assorted 1912 performances including some Sullivan & Considine Vaudeville. Ads mostly from The Champaign Daily Gazette.

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 February 26, 27, & 28 1912
Princess Indita was a snake handler.  Three of her rattlesnakes died at the Illinois due to it being too cold.
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Maude Adams appeared
as Peter Pan on
Monday 3 February 1913
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Postcard showing

Maude Adams as

"Peter Pan"

Program courtesy of the

Champaign County Historical Archives in

The Urbana Free Library

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19130201sa_TCDG_pg04_Illinois ad_Peter Pan_edited.jpg

The Champaign Daily Gazette, 1 February 1913


Maude Adams and Mildred Morris as "Wendy" in a scene from Peter Pan.  Undated, from Harper's Weekly.

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19131018sa_CDG_pg03_Group of principals in Henry W Savage's Everywoman, Illinois Theatre_e


Played Friday & Saturday, 31 October - 1 November 1913'

Ad and photo of a group of principals from the production.

Both from The Champaign Daily Gazette, Saturday, 18 October 1913

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The Blindness of Virtue

Beginning Thursday, 9 October 1913.

Ad and scene from the play.

From The Urbana Courier Herald. Ad from Saturday 4 October. Scene from Monday 6 October.

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Eva Tanguay played the Illinois on Saturday 4 April 1914
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Grace Van Studdiford played in The Paradise of Mahomet on Thursday 11 May 1914

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John Philip Sousa and His Band Friday 16 October 1914
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Peg O' My Heart
Played the Illinois Tuesday, 23 February 1915

Draws Capacity House

Elsa Ryan in “Peg O’ My Heart” Pleases Everyone.


Elsa Ryan in Peg O’ My Heart” played to a capacity house at the Illinois Theatre last night.  Every seat on the lower floor and in the balcony was taken.  People were turned away.  No show produced at the Illinois this winter, has given greater satisfaction than did the performance last night.

Champaign Dailly Gazette.  Wednesday 24 February 1915.  Page 1.

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Minstrel Shows and Black-Face acts were fairly popular during a significant part of theatre history despite their racist nature. 

We are limiting the number of ads for those performances, but  not ignoring them in the interest of historical accuracy,

"The Ham Tree" played January 28, 1915

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"The Mikado" with DeWolfe Hopper and the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company appeared 17 February 1915
De Wolfe Hopper Mikado program UFL.jpg

Program courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives in The Urbana Free Library

Ad and scene from The Champaign Daily News

Sarah Bernhardt played the Illinois on Tuesday 16 October 1917
Sarah Bernhardt souvenir program UFL.jpg

Ad from the Champaign Daily Gazette.

Ticket and program courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives in The Urbana Free Library

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Sarah Bernhardt at age 20 

Photo from an unidentified magazine

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Cohen and Sale

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January 9, 1912

Ad from Champaign Daily Gazette

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December 26, 1919

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

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Julius Cohen

Photo courtesy Champaign County Historical

Archives at The Urbana Free Library


Charles 'Chic' Sale

Photo courtesy Champaign County History Museum

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May 27, 1913

Ad from Champaign Daily Gazette

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Sol Cohen

Photo courtesy Champaign County Historical

Archives at The Urbana Free Library

Tea Time In Tibet

Presented by the Pierrots of the Illinois Union at the Illinois Theatre on 7 & 8 April 1922.

Tea Time In Tibet Pierrots program UFL ed.jpg
1924 Illio - Tea Time In Tibet 1.jpg
1924 Illio - Tea Time In Tibet 2.jpg

Program courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives.

Photos from the 1924 Illio.

Mask and Bauble at the University of Illinois

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1924 Illio pg 290 - The Pigeon 2.jpg

The Pigeon

Performed March 17-18

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1924 Illio pg 291 - Rollo's Wild Oat 2.jpg

Rollo's Wild Oat

Performed October 20-21

Photos from the 1924 Illio

Boxing and Wrestling

January 19, 1921

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

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May 30, 1923

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

January 24, 1922

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

April 11, 1923

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

July 30, 1923

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

February 14, 1923

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

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October 23, 1923

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

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December 13, 1923

Ad from Champaign-News-Gazette

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November 22, 1923

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette 

January 16, 1924

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

December 20, 1923

Ad from Champaign News-Gazette

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Welsh Male Choir

Tuesday, 1 February 1921

Ad from The Champaign News-Gazette, 23 January 1921

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Fads and Fancies

Thursday & Friday, 10-11 February 1921

Ad from The Champaign News-Gazette, 5 February 1921

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All Star Vodvil

Week beginning Monday 12 November 1923

Ad from The Champaign News-Gazette, 11 November 1923

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The Melody Four

Friday, 16 November 1923

Ad from The Champaign News-Gazette

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All Star Vaudeville

Week beginning Monday 17 December 1923

Ad from The Champaign News-Gazette, Sunday 16 December 1923

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Friday & Saturday, 7-8 May 1926

Ad from The Champaign News-Gazette, Friday 7 May 1926

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Thursday, 3 June 1926

Ad from The Champaign News-Gazette, Wednesday 2 June 1926

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