Tom Brown

comedian, singer & dancer / 1900s




New York Dramatic Mirror; May 4, 1900
Miner's 125th Street Theatre

"...Tom Brown, the colored comedian..."


Boston Evening Transcript; December 4, 1900
Keith's Theatre; Vaudeville

"Tom Brown, colored comedian, mimic and singer, could give points to some of his white brothers in the same line and still come off best."


Blacks in Blackface: A Sourcebook on Early Black Musical Shows
- (Scarecrow Press/2013) by Henry T. Sampson

pg.217-18:

"Tom Brown Reviewed at Mott's Theatre, Chicago, Indianapolis Freeman, July 23, 1910

"Much to the surprise of the audience -- for his name did not appear on the program -- was the appearance of
Tom Brown of Brown and Navarro. Mr. Brown did a monologue act and his work was very clever. This was the first
time Mr. Brown had done this kind of work since the days of A Trip To Coontown. He kept the house in a
continuous uproar od laughter throughout his number. There was some class to his work and he was handsomely
dressed in an evening suit without 'make-up."

"Tom Brown's Parriott Minstrels, reviewed at the Pekin Theatre, Chicago, August 2nd, Indianapolis Freeman, August 6, 1910

"A change in the performance at Mott's Pekin Theatre Monday Night seems to have met the hearty approval of the
patrons. Tom Brown, of the team of Brown and Navarro, was responsible for lots of fun and merriment. It was the
first performance of Brown's Perriott Minstrels. Bones, tambourines, costumes, scenery and fresh jokes were the
features of the minstrel, and it deserves more than a passing notice, on account of the noticable abscence of
aught that could offend the most fastidious. Not a face was blacked but plenty of make-up was used to make Tom Brown
look the look of a real clown and he proved to be a most amusing entertainer.

On the whole, there was a freshness about the minstrel, and the performance is entitled to fullest praise, considering
that it was only a few days that Mr. Brown, assisted by Fred Burch, the musician, had time to completely get his talent
together. There was just the first part of the minstel, and it agreeably met the approval of the audience, and the
troupe made a decided hit and was enthusiastically received.

The troupers happily filled a void which existed in the amusement field. The singing which is always a big part of a
minstrel was superb. There were women of mixed voices in the chorus that far outreach the usual range in a minstrel,
there being songs of class as well selected by Tom Brown and harmoniously trained by Mr. Burch. The end men for the
most part were funny, there being Jimmy Smith and Jimmy Brown of the Ten Dark Knights to make the patrons laugh, and
this they did freely.

The minstrel opened with a well-rendered chorus, "Welcome To Spring.' Each performer seemed happy and gleeful, as
Tom Brown was the mimic. Miss Lottie Grady acted as interlocuter and Jack Smith, W.C. Washington and Walter Hill
rattled the tambos, and Jimmy Brown, Harrison Hall and Tom Brown rattled the bones.

'Pack Your Clothes And Leave' was the song sung by Mabel MacCrary and was well received. During the sing of the
chorus this little miss did some clever dancing that was in minstel form.

W.D. Collins of the Ten Dark Knights sang 'Deep In The Mines.' His voice was deep, rich and full. This number was
was followed by a song by Gertie Brown, 'I'm A Yiddisher Cowboy.' It proved to be a good minstrel son and well-selected
to the singer and the occasion.

Miss Lottie Grady and the big chorus sang 'Some Of These Days.' This very popular song proved to be the hit of the
choruses. 'What A Time,' a happy song by Jimmy Smith and the entire chorus was another hit. It was Miss Anita Wilkins
that received encores in the singing of 'What Is The World.' Miss Wilkins has a wide reputation as a soprano soloist,
she having figured conspicuously in a number of colored shows of some time ago. In her upper register she made a D that
was real sweet clear and rich.

The other numbers were 'Garden Of My Heart' by Leon Diggs, a sweet lyric tenor singer, J.L. Johnson singing 'Grizzly Bear';
W.C. Washington, 'Big Cry-Baby In The Moon,' and a song quartet by Messrs. J.C. Thomas, H. Tapley, W.C. Collins and L. Diggs.
The finale was 'When I Hear The Old Quadrille,' by Jack Smith and the company. It is expected to have another week's run.


- from Appendix A: A Partial List of Black Vaudeville, Road Shows and Burlesque Acts Traveling Over Major Theatrical Circuits: 1910-1940

- Lottie Grady and Tom Brown, songs 1910
- Tom Brown and Siren Navarro, singing and dancing, 1910-1911
- Tom Brown's Parriot Minstrels


  • Vaudeville / Keiths; Boston (1901)


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