Library Hall, 147-149 Market St, Newark, NJ 07102
Charles Heywood aka Frank Haffner (born October 24, 1848) was a male soprano and bird charmer whose act featured trained pigeons. He had an international reputation in minstrelsy as a female impersonator, possed a remarkably fine cultivated voice, which long experience taught him to use to the best advantage.
Charles Heywood was born in New York City, October 24, 1848. Heywood made his debut with an amateur minstrel company in Newark, N.J., in 1867, at the famous old Library Hall. In Jaunary 1868, he appeared professionally in New York with Kelly and Leon's Minstrels.
Later he was identified with Buckley's, Duprez and Benedict; Emerson's; Simmons and Slocum's; Haverly's, and several other notable organizations.
In 1881 he was with Thatcher and Ryman's Minstrels in Philadelphia, and the following year with Clark and Ryman's Minstrels he went to Australia — with his pigeons; for Heywood wouldn't travel without his pigeons, and the pigeons wouldn't travel without Heywood. The chief draw-card of the ‘Federal Minstrel Troupe’, which performed in Melbourne between April and August 1883 was Charles Heywood. Other acts included yodelling, comic monologues, sketches, songs, and instrumental items. The troupe was reorganized as ‘Heywood’s Minstrel and Burlesque Opera Company’ and opened a new season in Adelaide on 28 July 1883, promising ‘Glorious, uproarious, and boisterous fun’.
After the pigeon engagement, which lasted sixty weeks, Heywood joined Haverly's Mastodons in London, in 1884; again using the pigeons, 100 strong, as a feature of his act.
After several notable engagements in the music halls on the Continent, he returned to the United States, and subsequently built a theatre in Newark, N. J. As a builder Heywood admitted he wasn't a success, but as a hustler he was second to none. And then he opened a conservatory, where several who then achieved success in their profession received their tuition.
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