Vesta Tilley

Definition

Theater

  • (Matilda Alice Victoria Powles, 1864 - 1952) The most famousmale impersonator in British music hall. She made her provincial debutat the age of four and her first London appearance ten years lateras 'The Great Little Tilley', singing such songs as 'Following inFather's Footsteps' and 'Near the Workhouse Door'.

    Although famous for her tailored masculine attire, she sangsuch hits as 'After the Ball' and 'Jolly Good Luck to the Girl WhoLoves a Soldier' in a very feminine soprano voice. Well known forher impersonations of soldiers, she helped to recruit during WorldWar I by donning uniform to sing 'The Army of Today's All Right'.She also performed as a principal boy in pantomimes, usually at DruryLane. After her retirement in 1920 she spent the remaining 30 yearsof her life as a charity worker.

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