Ziegfeld Follies Burlesque Show

Serena Doherty October 12, 2017 Burlesque, Burlesque History
Ziegfeld Follies

Ziegfeld Follies New York burlesque show was one of the most influential in burlesque history. Find out why and who they made into stars.

Ziegfeld Follies Burlesque Show New York

New York burlesque show, Ziegfeld Follies was created in 1907 by Florenz Ziegfeld. It was originally inspired by the Folies Bergère in Paris.

It took vaudeville and elevated it to an extravaganza while mixing in the variety show style of Victorian Burlesque. The latter of which was notorious for their relative controversy. Relative because showing a stocking-ed ankle would no longer cause quite the same furrore.

The first Ziegfeld Follies New York burlesque show was held at the Jardin de Paris roof-top theatre. They then went on to attract the crème de la crème of performers.

Three such women were Josephine Baker, Louise Brooks and Gilda Gray. The burlesque shows were also known for their stunning chorus line, known fondly as the Ziegfeld Girls. Plus, the amazing Ziegfeld Follies costumes from the likes of Erté, Lady Duff Gordon and Ben Ali Haggin.

Flo Ziegfeld’s death saw the downturn of the Ziegfeld Follies in the 1930s despite attempts to recreate their magic. Yet, their influence is still felt today. The pageantry, costumes and artistry have never truly been forgotten.

Ziegfeld Follies Movie

Ziegfeld Follies

(Image from Pinup and Pastry.)

The spectacle of the Ziegfeld Follies burlesque shows has been immemorialised in movies over the years. This amazing selection are must-sees.

The Great Ziegfeld

In 1937 The Great Ziegfeld won Best Picture at the 9th Academy Awards starring William Powell. Whilst, Luise Rainer won the Academy Award for Best Actress as Anna Held, Ziegfeld’s first wife.

Ziegfeld Girl

Then an even more star-studded line-up brought us Ziegfeld Girl (1941). Judy Garland, Lana Turner and Hedy Lamarr re-created the 1920s heyday.

Ziegfeld Follies

The Cannes Film Festival then saw the Ziegfeld Follies (1946) with the return of Judy Garland and William Powell. They were joined by the likes of Cyd Charisse and Lucille Ball (above) with iconic scenes.

Funny Girl

In 1968 there was the film version of Funny Girl (1968) based on the 1964 musical of the same name. Barbra Streisand played the character of Fanny Brice who had success at the Ziegfeld Follies.

Watch our story inspired by one of Ziegfeld Follies‘ best, Josephine Baker.

(Main image Untapped Cities)