Reference Entry

Cole, Bob

Thomas L. Riis

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print November 2013 |
Published online October 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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[Robert Allen, Jr. ]

(b Athens, GA, July 1, 1868; d Catskills, NY, Aug 2, 1911). American songwriter, performer, and stage manager. As a musical teenager Cole set his sights on a show business career and migrated north from Georgia to Chicago, where he formed a number of different acts in the 1880s, published his first songs in 1893, and was hired to appear as a singer, actor, comedian, and eventually stage manager for Sam T. Jack’s Creole Show, a novel mix of minstrelsy and burlesque, featuring colorful skits and original songs. In about 1894 he founded his own acting troupe in New York, the All-Star Stock Company located at Worth’s dime museum, to attract and develop young black talent. In 1896, Cole joined the eminent operatic soprano Sissieretta Jones in her traveling company, the Black Patti Troubadours, but after a falling out with the Troubadours management, Cole took his scripts and songs and set off on his own. With his partner at the time, Billy Johnson, Cole then created what would soon become the first full-fledged musical comedy written, produced, and performed entirely by an African American cast, ...

Reference Entry.  488 words. 

Subjects: Romantic Music

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