The PRO Listening Room:


Post-Civil War America gave birth to an exciting new industry: “the show business.” But since the technologies for recording or broadcasting entertainment did not yet exist, Show Biz existed only as live performances in theaters. So virtually every American town and city had at least one theater (often called an “Opera House” or “Music Hall”), creating a vast network of like venues crisscrossing the nation. Filling these tens of thousands of stages were all manner of shows – minstrelsy, variety, melodrama, vaudeville, Extravaganza, pantomime, operetta, musical comedy, and revue. And each of these theatrical genres required special music which inspired a rich tapestry of characteristic styles. The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra plays them all, using Rick Benjamin’s vast collection of priceless historic scores. Begin your introduction to early American theater music with us here:


Broadway: Musical Comedy –

“The Yankee Doodle Boy” from Little Johnny Jones (1904)
(words & music by George M. Cohan)
Colin Pritchard, baritone; Paragon Ragtime Orchestra & Singers.
From the album You’re A Grand Old Rag.

Shuffle Along Overture from Shuffle Along (1921)
(Eubie Blake, arr. Will H. Vodery) 
Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. 
From the album Black Manhattan Vol. 2.


Broadway: Revue – 

Coming soon!


Broadway: Operetta – 

Coming soon!


Vaudeville –

Coming soon!


Music Hall & Variety –

Coming soon!


Dance Music
Popular Song
Silent Film Music
The Blues & Early Jazz
Concert Music
Classical Music & Opera
[Theater Music]

The Root: African-American Music

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Where America's Music Begins
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