In the late 19th Century, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan were entertainment superstars, having written such boffo light operas as H.M.S. Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance, both of which were hits not only in England but America as well.
In 1881 Gilbert and Sullivan premiered Patience, or, Bunthorne’s Bride in London, which “[spoofed] the British Aesthetic Movement, the small but influential group of artists and writers who heralded ‘art for art’s sake,’” according to this Wall Street Journal book review of Declaring His Genius by Roy Morris Jr. “They dressed fancily, wore flowers and sought to beautify their surroundings, somewhat pedantically insisting that everyone else do likewise.”
Problem was, “America had no dandies, or at least not the right sort. Satire needs a recognizable object or else nobody gets the joke.”
So Gilbert and Sullivan’s producer Richard D’Oyly Carte sent one to the U.S. . . .
Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.