A Revue is multi-act popular theatrical entertainment that combines music, dance, and sketches. The revue has its roots in 19th-century popular entertainment and melodrama but grew into a substantial cultural presence during its golden years from 1916 to 1932. Though most famous for their visual spectacle, revues frequently satirized contemporary figures, news or literature. Like the related subforms of operetta and musical theatre, the revue art form combines music, dance and sketches to create a compelling show. In contrast to these, however, revue does not have an overarching storyline. Rather, a general theme serves as the motto for a loosely related series of acts alternating between solo performances and dance ensembles.
Owing to high ticket prices, ribald publicity campaigns and the occasional use of prurient material, the revue was typically patronized by audience members who earned more and felt even less restricted by middle-class social mores than their contemporaries in vaudeville. Like much of that era’s popular entertainments, revues often featured material based on sophisticated, irreverent dissections of topical matter, public personae and fads. However, the primary attraction was found in the frank display of the female body.
The shows of the 20th century already included different erotic plots, musical numbers, greater production and different elements that make them what it is now. Revue shows were frequently presented in theatres, burlesque houses and cabarets around America and Europe, prevailing in countries such as the United States, England and Argentina. The productions of the revue began to focus on a specific female character played by a renowned actress of great beauty and talent; such a celebrity was called a vedette.
Revue shows were popularized in Buenos Aires from the 1920s, mainly in the Teatro Maipo. Tita Merello became one of the most famous vedettes of the time.
In the 1950s, vedettes of Cuban origin appeared, like Blanquita Amaro, Amelia Vargas and Rosita Fornés. They had all the glitz, grace and glamour that characterized the era and shared the stage with local stars like Nélida Roca.
In the 1960s appeared, figures like Zulma Faiad, Nélida Lobato, Susana Brunetti, Norma Pons, Egle Martín and the Puerto Rican Iris Chacón, called the “Vedette of America”.
The 1970s and 1980s gave way to other stars like Graciela Alfano and the sister’s Ethel and Gogó Rojo. Others who arose then and remained in force in the following years were Susana Giménez, Moria Casán and Bettina Vardé and the men-vedette Jorge Perez Evelyn.
In the 1990s, new vedettes appeared, some of whose fame would spread to the next decade, such as Cris Miró, María Fernanda Callejón, the Puerto Rican Lourdes Chacón and Monica Ayos.
In the first years of the 21st century, the revues in the Avenida Corrientes were returned with figures like Florencia de la V, María Eugenia Ritó, Adabel Guerrero, and Valeria Archimó.