Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
K. C. Davis
Number of Pages
In 1955 the Jim Crow resort town of Las Vegas opened its first interracial hotel/casino, the Moulin Rouge, and staged its first all-black production show, the Tropi Can Can revue. On the Cafe Rouge stage were the wild antics Stump & Stumpy, bringing a sad reminder of the past; the romantic music of the Platters, bringing a hopeful note for the future; and the very non-traditional showgirls, bringing a host of audience expectations about the immediate present; This paper attempts to deconstruct and analyze that show and the theatrical elements of the resort, the differing experiences of white and black audience members, and the experiences of black performers on and off stage. Sifting through legend and hyperbolic show biz writing, I hope to clear up misconceptions about the resort and explain why the show was so groundbreaking for Las Vegas, so resonant for African Americans, and so much fun for everyone.
Las Vegas; Nevada; Performance; Race; Tropi; Vegas
Theater; Blacks; History; Blacks--Study and teaching; Ethnology--Study and teaching
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Womack, Malcolm, "Tropi Can Can: Race and performance in '50s Las Vegas" (2004). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 1754.