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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Vaudeville'

Vaudeville Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    vaudeville n : a variety show with songs and comic acts etc. [syn: music hall}]
Vaudeville Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Vaudeville \Vaude"ville\, n. Loosely, and now commonly, variety (see above), as, to play in vaudeville; a vaudeville actor.
Vaudeville Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Vaudeville \Vaude"ville\, n. [F., fr. Vau-de-vire, a village in Normandy, where Olivier Basselin, at the end of the 14th century, composed such songs.] [Written also vaudevil.]
  1. A kind of song of a lively character, frequently embodying a satire on some person or event, sung to a familiar air in couplets with a refrain; a street song; a topical song.
  2. A theatrical piece, usually a comedy, the dialogue of which is intermingled with light or satirical songs, set to familiar airs. The early vaudeville, which is the forerunner of the opera bouffe, was light, graceful, and piquant. --Johnson's Cyc.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Vaudeville'

Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts included popular and classical musicians, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, female and male impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, and movies. Vaudeville developed from many sources, including the concert saloon, minstrelsy, freak shows, dime museums, and literary burlesque. Called "the heart of American show business," vaudeville was one of the most popular types of entertainment in North America for several decades.

The origin of the term is obscure, but is often explained as being derived from the expression voix de ville, or "voice of the city." Another plausible etymology finds origins in the French Vau de Vire, a valley in Normandy noted for its style of satirical songs with topical themes.

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