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Katie Barry


Katie Barry was English soubrette who incarnated the energetic girl at the turn of the 20th century. Belonging to the first generation of women who embraced athletics (Barry loved to play basketball, despite being rather short), she made the stage a venue for displaying her physical dynamism in comedies such as a slave in "A Chinese Honeymoon" (1902). Her first roles dated from 1889, singing featured player roles in pieces such as George Sim's burlesque "Up to Date." She appeared as the lead in a number of comic operas during the first decade of the century including "Fantana" and Raymond Hubbell's "Mamselle Sallie." Critics of the period styled her a "funmaker" and publicists dubbed her "the vest pocket comedienne."

The latter part of Barry's career was spent touring with Jefferson de Angelis and stints on the Orpheum circuit as a vaudeville headliner. "The diminutive bundle of fun is not gifted with the finest voice on the stage, but she manages to do things with it that have more entertaining qualities than are to be found in many really great voices." She excelled in Cockney dialect songs such as "'Enry Brown." She toured in vaudeville until 1913. David S. Shields/ALS