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Life Upon the Wicked Stage: New Books in the Performing Arts: Madcap May: Mistress of Myth, Men & Hope


Richard Kurin, Undersecretary for History, Art, and Culture for the Smithsonian Institution, has just written a book on the rags-to-riches life of May Yohe, the Gay Nineties queen of the stage. Yohe was born at an inn in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, had at least 3 husbands (twelve were rumored), owned the Hope Diamond, washed floors for a living, was sued for maternity, and escaped an insane asylum. Kurin's very readable biography creates a wonderful window into musical theatre in New York City at the turn of the century.