2 3 Throwback Thursday and Pat Chapelle | Ballet Webb

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Throwback Thursday and Pat Chapelle

Throwback Thursday and Pat Chapelle

Born in 1869, Patrick Henry Chapelle was a guitar player and entrepreneur from Jacksonville, Florida. He opened Excelsior Hall on Bridge Street in Jacksonville, the first black-owned theater in the South. It seated 500 people. He also established other theaters in the south. Chapelle was sometimes compared to P.T. Barnum.

Because black performers often experienced discrimination and unfair treatment from booking companies and theaters, Pat Chapelle decided to organize his own traveling vaudeville troupe which eventually became Pat Chapelle’s Rabbit’s Foot Company.

“organised a small vaudeville circuit, including theatre venues in Savannah, Georgia, Jacksonville and Tampa. By 1902 it was said that the Chappelle brothers had full control of the African-American vaudeville business in that part of the country, "able to give from 12 to 14 weeks [of employment] to at least 75 performers and musicians" each season.”

Chapelle was known for presenting exciting shows, and his performances drew large crowds. His performers included dancers, aerialists, comedy, music, drama and even opera. The group performed and toured until 1916 – even after Chapelle died.

Pat Chapelle died in October 1911 at the young age of 42. He was reputed to be one of the wealthiest African-Americans in Jacksonville Florida. He also owned a several pieces of real estate.

For more fascinating details about his life: https://uncoveringjax.com/patrick-chappelle/.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #202:
“Pat Chapelle opened the first black-owned theater in the South.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“You see, Evey, all the world's a stage. And everything else...

... is vaudeville.”
― Alan Moore

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