In the early 20th century, Lake Hopatcong was a vibrant summer resort that attracted many celebrities, including leading members of the vaudeville and burlesque circuits. One vaudeville’s biggest stars was Owen McGiveney, who discovered The Lake in 1914 and owned a house in the River Styx section for more than 30 years. The vaudeville luminary will be remembered Saturday in a special program featuring his son, Michael McGiveney, for the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum.
Known as a “quick change” artist, McGiveney drew upon his familiarity with the characters of Dickens’ "Oliver Twist" in a 10-minute act in which he would play five different roles. His success lay in the speed of his costume and make-up changes. He would go through a door as the character Bill Sikes and within seconds reappear as Nancy. By 1913, he was appearing at New York’s Palace Theatre, America’s greatest vaudeville house, on a bill featuring the legendary Sarah Bernhardt. Newspapers reported that he nearly stole the show. For the next two decades, McGiveney appeared as a headliner on the vaudeville circuit.
Michael McGiveney will present a selection of vintage footage allowing audiences to see and enjoy his father's act. He will also give a live demonstration of the art of the quick change.
This program is part of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum’s dinner series and will be held at St. Jude’s Church Parish Hall in Hopatcong at 40 Maxim Drive. An old-fashioned Beefsteak Dinner by Hap Nightingale of Clifton will be served featuring all-you-can-eat beefsteak, salad, French fries, rigatoni, ice cream sundaes, coffee and tea.
Dinner will commence at 6 p.m. with the program beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person.
For more information email LHHISTORY@att.net or call 973-398-2616.