Benjamin Franklin Keith and Edward F. Albee kickstarted the vaudeville craze in the United States with a chain of theaters across the country. Their first vaudeville theater opened in 1883 in Boston, which was followed by theaters throughout the U.S. The variety show remained one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the country for decades, until it was replaced by the feature film.
Boston was also home to one of the last vaudeville venues constructed. After Benjamin Franklin Keith died, the B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre was built in 1928 in his honor. The building was home to two vaudeville performances a day during its first two years. The building still stands today on Washington Street, having been renamed and repurposed as the Boston Opera House.
Vaudeville could be making a comeback – later this year, Boston will be getting a brand new vaudeville nightclub.