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Ina Hayward



Ina Hayward began her theatrical career in a conventional way - a child performer playing "Peck's Bad Boy" supporting roles with John Kernall and finally earning the lead in "Sidewalks of New York." Yet she found variety more interesting than being a standard soubrette. She developed an equestrian act which became a sensation in the London variety halls. She sang and danced. Then she found herself singing and dancing at the Gayety as it became a burlesque house.

Performing in skimpier and gaudier costumes, Hayward transformed into "the Venus of Burlesque." The gayety troupe toured the eastern circuit - the Grand Theater in Trenton, the Gayety in Washington, D.C., the Star in Cleveland, the Gayety in Boston with a contingent of comedians and girls. Hayward was the prima donna. Her act interest the Shuberts who, by 1921 and 1922, were intent on injecting more sex appeal into their "Passing Show" series. Thus began the the rejuvenation of Hayward's Broadway career, a revival that last from the "Passing Show" to George M. Cohan's "Billie" (1929). Hayward was a favorite of Cohan's who slotted a role for her in "Manhattan Mary" as well.

When not on the musical theater stage, she toured vaudeville as a singer backed by a string and percussion band known as "Misha's Boys." Her final bow on Broadway took place in the brief eight-day run of the revue "Chamberlain Brown's Scrap Book" in August of 1932. David S. Shields/ALS