Dan Blanco in “Birds of a Feather.”
Dan Blanco, founder of Chicago’s Club Alabam, spent many years as a performer in cabarets and in vaudeville, learning what it took to put on a good show.
In January of 1919, Blanco starred in a musical skit, “Birds of a Feather,” playing a week’s engagement at Indianapolis’ Lyric Theater where seats sold for 10, 20 and 30 cents. There, he received positive reviews in the Indianapolis Star. The show was described as a nautical musical comedy. Dan Blanco portrayed Capt. Kidd, who is discovered on his treasure island by members of a twelve person company. Inez Bellaire, whose dimpled cheeks and blonde curls were featured on the sheet music for “The Girl You Can’t Forget” (1916), played the ingénue and the act was said to be one of the costliest then touring the vaudeville circuits. The costumes and scenery were particularly lavish and Blanco was called “a funmaker well known to devotees of musical farce.” One review noted that Blanco’s “piratical mustaches” and Bellaire’s “graceful dancing” were received with “hearty and impartial applause.”
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The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.