Takes Name Part in Record-Breaking Comedy
Miss Patti Harrold is Succeeded By Miss Irene Dunn - And She's a Decided Hit
The following interesting account of the wonderful success with which Miss Irene Dunn is meeting with in New York is taken from the New York Evening Telegram of June 10, and will be great news for the talented singer's many friends and admirers in Madison.
On the program of the Vanderbilt theater', where the bright and witty musical comdey, "Irene", is nearing the end of its second year, there appears nightly the name of Miss Patti Harrold in the name part.
But does Miss Harrold sing nightly or is the management holding something back on its patrons? No one can tell who is not familiar with the geography of her pretty face and the ring of her pretty voice.
For every few performances a girl, slightly taller, slightly slenderer and with a somewhat better voice appears incognito, as it were, or perhaps, it would be more accurate to say, masking as Miss Harrold, in the role of Irene O'Dare, the hero of the opera.
So like Miss Harrold's is her impersonation and so smoothly and glibly does she say her lines that no one would ever suspect that she is absolutely new to the stage.
The latest and fourth Irene of "Irene" is Miss Irene Dunn, a twenty-year-old singer from Indiana, who a year ago had never seen Broadway and a month ago had never seen an audience from the footlights, looking outward. It is whispered that James Montgomery, author of the book of "Irene" is to feature her, next season in a new musical show and now she's getting her experience incognito.
But all events she's a success in "Irene." Her lines are spoken with all the assurance of a seasoned artist, and the lines in this opera are difficult with their interchangeable accent of Ninth avenue and the fashionable world. Though she is absolutely unknown to the public by name she is applauded as enthusiastically as any star whenever she sings.
As Irene O'Dare have appeared Edith Day, Adele Rowland and Miss Harrold, Irene Dunn is the first of the Irenes to be an Irene in real life.
Born in southern Indiana in a little town on the outskirts of Louisville, Ky., Miss Dunn was educated at Loretto Academy in St. Louis. Four years ago she won a scholarship in the Indianapolis Conservatory of Music and a year later she received a similar offer to become a student of the Chicago Musical College, where most of her musical training was accomplished.
Last summer she came to New York to make a name for herself on Broadway and received innumerable offers from musical comedy producers to sing anything from a chorus girl's part to that of an understudy to a prima donna. But she refused them all.
In a very roudabout way through a friend of a friend of a friend she was given a chance to sing for Mr. Montgomery and the producers of "Irene:" They liked her and at once proceeded to teach her all the tricks of a prima donna's trade. She was sent to a dancing school. She had never studied acting, so that part of her training was put in the hands of Mr. Montgomery. In a few weeks her education was considered complete. The audience didn't seem to realize that they were hearing a novice. They laughed a the jokes and applauded the songs and dances just as they had done at other performances. And now Miss Dunn is considered as a seasoned artist, ready to be starred in her own right.
(Madison Daily Herald, June 14 1921 - article courtesy of Charles Huffer)