by George M. Cohan
Webmaster's note: After decades of touring the US in vaudeville and musical theater, George M. Cohan had firsthand knowledge of almost every city on "the road." In later years, he composed this alphabetic poem assessing the business possibilities of various locales. A few terms that may require explanation
- "jay" means "hick"
- popularly priced melodramas were known as "ten, twent', thirt'" shows because ticket prices ranged from 10 to 30 cents
- Providence, Rhode Island was Cohan's birthplace, but he often complained that he invariably got a tepid audience reception when he played there.
A stands for Albany, good for one night.
B stands for Boston, for two weeks alright.
C for Chicago, big money, no yaps.
D stands for Denver, break even perhaps.
E stands for Evansville, Sunday night stand.
F is for Frisco, you must have a band.
G for Grand Rapids, for ten, twent' and thirts.
H is for Houston, and getting there hurts.
I for Indianapolis, fills in on the tour.
J stands for Johnstown, capacity sure.
K, Kansas City, big coin for the West.
L, Louisville, just one night at its best.
M, Minneapolis, as good as St. Paul.
N for New York, the jay town of them all.
O for Oswego, they always come late.
P is for Pittsburgh and Philly both great.
Q is for Quebec, gross 389.
R is for Rochester, S.R.O. sign.
S is for St. Louis, for big shows O.K.
T is for Toledo, ain't played it, can't say.
U is for Utica, taking a chance.
V is for Vicksburg, sold out in advance.
W, Washington, always a doubt.
X is for Xenia, get in and get out.
Y is for Youngstown, the management cheap,
Z is for Zaneville, you'll stand 'em ten deep.
Not one stands for Providence none in the lot.
I wouldn't insult the proud capital "P."
I can't stand for "Prov.", and it's can't stand for me.