Showtime at the Empire with Little Nellie Kelly

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GET YOUR TICKET ... the Empire Theatre's latest attraction.

WELL they were going to make sure patrons got the message, weren’t they?

It had the tango, the charleston, the foxtrot, as well as mystery and romance.

There is all the brio here of the great Broadway showman George M Cohan himself - whose show Little Nellie Kelly had originally been.

I love this. It’s another picture from the small collection given me by a reader, which were taken by a South Shields photographer, the late James Cleet.

This is the King Street entrance to the old Empire Theatre in the town.

I’m not sure of the date, but Cohan’s show was on Broadway in 1922-1923, so presumably crossed the Atlantic a year or two later.

Little Nellie Kelly was a musical comedy about family conflict that bridged Ireland and the US.

It became better known years later, in about 1940, as a film starring Judy Garland.

There is a very smartly-dressed man standing to the left of the entrance to the stalls, and a note attached suggests this was the theatre manager, Captain Nicholls, about whom I really can’t tell you anything.

I’ve been looking to see who the star of Little Nellie Kelly was here, but there’s nothing to say.

The producers, MacDonald and Young, however, appear to have had their own touring musical comedy company.

Perhaps someone knows more.