No Applause--Just Throw Money The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous

Trav S.D.

Faber & Faber



Trade Paperback

344 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
When Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin were born, variety entertainment had been going on for decades in America, and like Harry Houdini, Milton Berle, Mae West, and countless others, these performers got their start on the vaudeville stage. From 1881 to 1932, vaudeville was at the heart of show business in the States. Its stars were America's first stars in the modern sense, and it utterly dominated American popular culture.  Writer and modern-day vaudevillian Trav S.D. chronicles vaudeville's far-reaching impact in No Applause—Just Throw Money. He explores the many ways in which vaudeville's story is the story of show business in America and documents the rich history and cultural legacy of our country's only purely indigenous theatrical form, including its influence on everything from USO shows to Ed Sullivan to The Muppet Show and The Gong Show. More than a quaint historical curiosity, vaudeville is thriving today, and Trav S.D. pulls back the curtain on the vibrant subculture that exists across the United States—a vast grassroots network of fire-eaters, human blockheads, burlesque performers, and bad comics intent on taking vaudeville into its second century.


Praise for No Applause--Just Throw Money

"Exuberant . . . Trav S.D. makes grand claims for vaudeville . . . His well-researched excursions into vaudeville's prehistory, and his arguments for its influential role in American culture, make his book something more than a fast-moving tour of popular entertainment and long-forgotten stars . . . By turns shrewd and amusing."—William Grimes, The New York Times
"Sharpen[s] the mind and stir[s] the heart . . . [A] delicious cultural history . . . Nothing reveals a people more clearly than what entertains them and how they define it."—Margo Jefferson, The New York Times
"No Applause is a fabulous book worthy of its fabulous topic. Clever, thoughtful, and comprehensive, it is beautifully written and exhaustively researched, and it reminds us of the myriad ways in which vaudeville dominated urban America for half a century and more."—Kenneth T. Jackson, professor of history, Columbia University and editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City
"Trav S.D. has created an essential (and very funny) history of American popular entertainment, particularly for those of us trying to create popular entertainment today."—Greg Kotis, creator of Urinetown
"An astonishingly rich work of vaudeville itself."—Kirkus Reviews
"Much has been written about the American institution of vaudeville, but readers would be hard-pressed to find an account as humorous and sharp as writer and performer Trav S.D.'s tasty chronicle . . . A well-researched, riotous book."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

No Applause - Just Throw Money
1WHO PUT THE "DEVIL" IN VAUDEVILLE?While the vaudevillian, as we commonly think of him, did not take the stage until the late nineteenth century, he carried with him a couple of dozen centuries' worth of baggage. To truly appreciate the revolutionary nature of his performance it behooves us to look at the long, hard road that led him there. And so we begin our journey with a detour--back ... back ... through the murky mists of time ... back to the very dawn of creation ... back to the first act of nonconformity by any sentient being ... 
Old Scratch
Read the full excerpt



  • I Feel Great

    Trav S.D. performs the opening song in his revue "No Applause, Just throw Money: The Show That Made Vaudeville Famous", at Theater for the New City, Sept 2008.



  • Trav S.D.

  • Trav S.D.'s writing on theater, art, politics, and culture has appeared in The Village Voice, American Theatre, Time Out New York, The New York Sun, and Reason, among other publications. His plays have been produced in venues throughout New York City and across the country, and since 1996 he has been top banana at the American Vaudeville Theatre. By day, Travis Stewart, he toils as a mild-mannered director of development at Theater for the New City. He lives in Brooklyn.
  • Trav S.D. Joseph Silva