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Viola Paulson


Viola Paulson exemplifies the showgirl entertainer ideal of the 1920s-30s revue: a capable dancer, a stylish clothes horse, an expressive rather than schooled singer, and enough range as actress to manage zaniness, sincerity, bemusement, and sophisticated repose. She began in the chorus in 1927's "The Nightingale," and remained in various ensembles in various shows until 1930 when she secured a speaking part in "Sweet and Low." Her greatest Broadway role was "wynsome dancing girl" in 1932's "The Laugh Parade."  This enabled her to have minor roles in numbers of touring companies of Broadway hits, such as the "The Gay Divorce," but when back on the Great White Way her average abilities found her consigned to the ensemble more often than not for the rest of the 1930s. David S. Shields/ALS