Danseur de Corde
Detail of Danseur de Corde (Rope Dancer) by Joel Carson Jones, 2021. Image subject to copyright restrictions.
Vaudeville stars were born in the Electric City
Born in France at the end of the 19th century, Vaudeville shows were popular in the United States between the mid-1890s and the 1930s. Specialty acts featured a mix of song and dance, burlesque, comedy, magic, and acrobatics.
The City of Scranton played an important role along the Vaudeville circuit. Downtown was home to multiple theaters, and a growing population made Scranton an ideal location for trial runs of new shows. Performances that did well here would move on to play for larger audiences in New York City. Hence, the famous saying, “If you can play Scranton, you can play anywhere!” The Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, Mae West, Harry Houdini, Fred Astaire, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Will Rogers were among the famous performers who appeared in Scranton theaters.
Danseur de Corde by Joel Carson Jones pays tribute to this remarkable time in our history. As part of Scranton Tomorrow’s Mural Arts Program, Danseur de Corde will be installed in the Downtown Business District. Its unique design showcases the artist’s mastery of trompe l’oeil. Meaning "to deceive the eye," trompe l'oeil is a technique used to create an optical illusion that the subject is three-dimensional. This technique will allow our Rope Dancer to stand tall at 3-stories high (36' x 100') on Penn Avenue.
If You Can Play Scranton, You Can Play Anywhere, by Ed Osmon, Lackawanna Historical Society Journal, Volume 38, No. 2, Spring 2008
Through the Eyes of P. W. Costello: Early Scranton Theatre, by Kristen A. Yarmey, The Harry and Jeannette Memorial Library, The University of Scranton, February 10, 2017
Vaudeville, Encyclopedia Brittanica
About the Artist
Joel Carson Jones is an internationally-acclaimed artist known for his still life and trompe l’oeil paintings. Designated a Living Master by the International Art Renewal Center, Jones lives, teaches, and paints in northeastern Pennsylvania,