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Miss Lulu Glaser
by David for group historicalziegfeld Feb 11, 2012

Lulu Glaser embodied the 1890s ideal of the American girl--vibrant, pert, charming, abrupt, athletic, and bold. Elevated from the chorus to company soubrette by Francis Wilson when his leading lady Marie Jansen departed for greener pastures, Glaser made the most of her chance. She became in an instant the most energetic young woman on the American stage. She had the uncanny ability to seem more alive than anyone else in a scene. Her fluffy hair shivered. Her eyes scintillated. Her motions seemed impetuosity incarnate. When dancing, she pranced and vibrated. When singing, she throbbed. As long as she seemed unstudied and young, she seemed winsome. When the vehicles that she performed became perfunctory in plot and characterization, as they did during the first decade of the 20th century, her vivacity seemed contrived. Inevitably given her training and disposition, her dramatic career was restricted to comic opera, and the demands upon her vocal dramaturgy rarely ventured beyond being charming and mischievous. Yet for a decade no one in musical theater--not even Lillian Russell--better conveyed the fun of being female. As the character portraits below indicate, Lulu was cute rather than beautiful, forward and engaging rather than aloof and statuesque. William Morrison, Jake Falk, and Aime Dupont all capture her characteristic tilt of the head. Morrison shows her in the costume for her first hit role, Erminie. Falk depicts her as Jacqueline. Her stage career lasted well into the second decade of the 20th century, faltering finally in the operetta "The Girl and the Kaiser." Victor Herbert composed "Dolly Dollars" for her, one of his lesser efforts. The highlight of her career was the 1902 production of "Dolly Vardon" where her buoyancy suited the characterzation, the costumes and historic setting tempered her inclination toward slang and new woman sass, and the Julian Edwards songs didn't tax her vocal range. David S. Shields

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