Lulu Belle


Lulu Belle
   This lurid, melodramatic four-act drama by Edward Sheldon and Charles MacArthur* was produced by David Belasco at his theatre on 9 February 1926 for 461 performances, an impressive run inspired, in part, by highly publicized attempts to ban the play. Lulu Belle, a black prostitute in Harlem, seduces white family man George Randall, but leaves him for a boxer. She similarly deserts the boxer for the wealthy Vicompte de Villars, who sets her up in a luxurious Paris apartment. Tragedy befalls all of the characters, including Lulu Belle, who is strangled to death by the obviously insane Randall. Aside from moral protesters, there were also outcries from African American organizations condemning the play's content and the fact that leading lady Lenore Ulric was white and played Lulu Belle in blackface makeup, an increasingly outmoded stage tradition by the 1920s. Heavily rewritten, Lulu Belle became a motion picture in 1948.
   See also censorship.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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