David Bruce: The Funniest People in Theater: 250 Anecdotes — Animals, Audiences


• William Butler Yeats wrote some plays in the Japanese Noh style, including The Hawk’s Wells, which created a problem. The stage direction “The Girl gives the cry of the hawk” appears twice, but Yeats, choreographer/dancer Michio Ito, and costume/mask designer Edmund Dulac did not know what the cry of the hawk sounded like. They made a few trips to a zoo, but were unsuccessful in hearing the cry of a hawk, even though Mr. Dulac prodded a hawk with his umbrella. Finally, they decided that the Japanese word for hawk, taka, was onomatopoeic, and so when the Girl gave the cry of the hawk, she cried taka.

• Before he became a success, Jack Benny was desperate for work. Hearing that an animal act was needed at a vaudeville theater, he borrowed two Pekinese dogs and showed up to work. However, Mr. Benny simply tied the dogs to some scenery on stage, and then performed his regular act of telling jokes. While paying Mr. Benny his $25 fee, the theater manager remarked that the animal act was very peculiar and asked, “Don’t your dogs do any tricks?” Mr. Benny pocketed the money, then replied, “Not at these prices, they don’t.”

• The part of Nana, the nanny-dog in James M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan, was based on Luath, Mr. Barrie’s Newfoundland dog. To create the costume for Nana, costumers copied Luath’s black-and-white coat. For one performance, Luath made an appearance on stage during a curtain call — the audience was delighted. Afterward, Luath was famous and took liberties during his walks at Kensington Gardens. Sometimes, he would even eat buns that he had taken from babies.

• Jack Benny once performed in USO shows in Europe. After a performance one night, he and some other performers were riding back to their quarters on base when an MP ordered them to stop. The jeep didn’t stop fast enough for the MP, so he fired some shots into the air. After the jeep had stopped and the MP was inspecting the entertainers’ papers, a black cat crossed in front of the jeep. Mr. Benny watched the black cat, then said, “Now he tells us.”

• Mrs. Patrick Campbell certainly loved her dog. When a taxi driver accused her dog of making a puddle in the back of his taxi, Mrs. Campbell rose to the defense of her pet by claiming, “I did it!”


• Marga Gomez, the lesbian author of Marga Gomez is Pretty, Witty, and Gay, ran into problems the first time she performed this one-person theatrical piece. Because the piece was new, she placed cheat sheets on the set, out of the sight of the audience. Unfortunately, she accidentally kicked the sheets, mixing them up, and she had to wing the rest of the performance. However, this was not her most terrifying performance. That occurred when she thought Cher was in the audience. All during the performance, she was afraid she would forget her lines. After the performance, she discovered that Cher hadn’t been there — just a man who looked like Cher.

• When Eli Wallach was studying to be an actor, he often attended plays (with cheap tickets) in New York. He once watched a play titled Waiting for Lefty, which was about a taxi-driver strike. Mr. Wallach sat by a man who looked as if he was a taxi driver and who became very interested in the acting on stage. Eventually, an actor on stage started shouting, “Strike! Strike!” The man next to Mr. Wallach jumped to his feet and started shouting, “Strike! Strike!” Carried away by the emotion beside and in front of him, Mr. Wallach also jumped to his feet and started shouting, “Strike! Strike!” Other members of the audience felt the same way and did the same thing.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Os Mutantes — “Ave, Lucifer”


Music: “Ave, Lucifer”


Artist: Os Mutantes

Artist Location: Brazil

Record Company: Luaka Bob

Record Company Location: New York, New York

Info: “The late 60’s in Brasil produced an explosion of creativity that is still reverberating throughout the worid … and Os Mutantes (The Mutants) were the most outrageous band of that period. Their creative cannibalism produced psychedelic gems unlike anything else, and they sound as relevant today as anything happening anywhere. They were exactly what their name implies — a mutant genetic recombination of John Cage, The Beatles, and bossa nova. A creature that was too strange and beautiful to live for very long, but too strong to ever fade away. It lives again. Be prepared.” — David Byrne

“Luaka Bop is a record label established by David Byrne in 1989.”

“How did 60s Brazil produce the wildest, most psychedelic rock’n’roll group of them all? And why, three decades on, has the rest of the world gone crazy over them? As the DAILY TELEGRAPH put it ‘people talk about cult bands, but there should be a separate category for Os Mutantes, who have had a fanatical following among music lovers for years.’ Against all odds, in May 2006 the band reunited for the first time in over 30 years for a euphoric show at the Barbican’s Tropicalia Festival. This is the recording of this historic concert, with special guests Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson.”

“Os Mutantes are an influential Brazilian rock band that were linked with the Tropicália movement, a dissident musical movement during the Brazilian dictatorship of the late 1960s. They released their acclaimed self-titled debut album in 1968. Although the original line-up made the most notable breakthrough for the group, it has gone through numerous personnel changes throughout its existence. After a hiatus from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, the band reunited in 2006, touring and recording new material.”

Price: $1 (USD) for track; $10 (USD) for 21-track album

Genre: Rock.




Os Mutantes on Bandcamp


Os Mutantes – Topic




Luaka Bop


Caitlin Kraus at Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) Scripps Amphitheater: 9 September 2021

At Scripps Amphitheater (Jenna Reitz: Photographer)

Above: “Pink Cloud”

Above: Interview and “Waiting for the World”

Caitlin Kraus YouTube Channel

Caitlin Kraus: Top Tracks

Caitlin Kraus Music Official Site

Caitlin Kraus: Ohio University Adjunct Professor of Music Therapy

Caitlin Kraus, MT-BC, LPC (she/her)

Music Therapist – Board Certified

Licensed Professional Counselor

Above: “Follow Me”

Caitlin Kraus Music on Facebook

Caitlin Kraus Music on Instagram

Caitlin Kraus Music on Spotify

Caitlin Kraus on YouTube Music

Caitlyn Kraus at Salvage Vanguard Theater (Full Show)
Caitlyn Kraus Band
Caitlyn Kraus Images from Google Search

Caitlin Kraus on Bandcamp