David Braham

David Braham (1834 – April 11, 1905) was a London-born musical theatre composer most famous for his work with Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart. He is considered as "the American Offenbach".


Early life (1838–1873)

David Braham was born in London in 1838. As a young man, he aspired to become a professional musician and began studying the harp. However, because he was unable to get his bulky instrument on board a stagecoach, he later switched to the violin.[1] He proved to be an adept violinist, performing in concerts at a young age.[1]

The Braham family immigrated to New York City when David was at the age of 15. Upon arriving in New York, Braham began working as a violinist in the orchestra accompanying the Pony Moore Minstrels. He also played in the pit orchestras of various New York auditoriums and led a military band.[1]

The first Broadway musical to feature music by David Braham was Pluto,[2] produced by William Horace Lingard at the Theatre Comique in 1869.[3] Braham's success as a composer continued through the early 1870s, during which time he wrote numbers for such performers as James McKee, then-child star Annie Yeamans, and P. T. Barnum performer Major Tom Thumb.[1]

Harrigan and Hart (1873–1885)

Poster advertising The Mulligan Guard

In 1873, David Braham collaborated with Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart on the song The Mulligan Guard, with music by Braham and lyrics by Harrigan. The song was presented on July 15, 1873 as part of a vaudeville sketch which featured Harrigan and Hart wearing unusual American Civil War-era military costumes.[1]

This collaboration marked the first of many between Braham, Harrigan, and Hart. From that point onwards, Braham became firmly associated with the two. Although he did go on to write melodies for other lyricists, his success in Broadway theater came almost entirely as a result of his Harrigan and Hart scores. In November 1876, Harrigan married Braham's daughter Annie.[1]

The success of The Mulligan Guard led to a series of burlesques which would become known as the "Mulligan plays". The Mulligan plays focused on the everyday life of New York City, appealing to a variety of racial groups, including Irish Americans, German Americans, and African Americans.[1]

The first of these Mulligan plays was The Mulligan Guard's Ball, followed by The Mulligan Guard's Picnic, The Mulligan Guard's Chowder, The Mulligan Guard's Christmas, and various others. Although most of the Mulligan plays followed the same naming pattern, the final two shows in the series were titled Cordelia's Aspirations and Dan's Tribulations. The Mulligan plays featured several popular songs, all of which were written by Braham, including The Pitcher of Beer and Hats Off to Me.[1]

Late life (1884–1905)

The last Mulligan play to be produced was Dan's Tribulations on April 7, 1884. Shortly after it opened, the New Theatre Comique, at which many of the Harrigan and Hart shows had been produced, burned down. In 1885, Harrigan and Hart separated, and neither they nor Braham were ever able to singularly attain the same level of success that they had achieved as a team.[1]

David Braham died in 1905.[1] On May 21, 1906, Harrigan produced a revival of Old Lavender, a musical he and Braham had written together.[4] In 1985, a musical titled Harrigan 'n Hart was produced at the Longacre Theatre, featuring songs by Harrigan and Braham.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j David Ewen (1958). Complete Book of the American Musical Theater. Holt. pp. 44–46. 82625-0918. 
  2. ^ David Braham at the Internet Broadway Database
  3. ^ Pluto at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ Old Lavender at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ Harrigan 'n Hart at the Internet Broadway Database

Further reading

  • Chase, Gilbert (2000). America's Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-00454-X. 
  • Franceschina, Jo (2002). David Braham: The American Offenbach. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415937696. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • David Hume — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Hume. David Hume Retrato de David Hume, por Allan Ramsay, en el año 1766, Galería Nacional de Escocia …   Wikipedia Español

  • David Threlfall — Born 12 October 1953 (1953 10 12) (age 58) Manchester, England Occupation Actor/Director Years active 1977–present Sp …   Wikipedia

  • David Almond — Born 15 May 1951 (1951 05 15) (age 60) Felling, Tyne and Wear Nationality British Notable work(s) Skellig, Kit s Wilderness , The Fire Eaters , Clay …   Wikipedia

  • David Schofield (actor) — David Schofield Born 1951 (age 59–60) Manchester, Lancashire, UK …   Wikipedia

  • David Morrissey filmography — The filmography of English actor David Morrissey encompasses both acting and directing roles in film and television. Morrissey made his screen acting debut in 1983 as a main cast member in Willy Russell s One Summer. Since then he has appeared… …   Wikipedia

  • John Braham — (c. 1774 17 February, 1856) was a tenor opera singer born in London, England. His long career led him to become one of Europe s leading opera stars. He also wrote a number of songs, of minor importance, although The Death of Nelson is still… …   Wikipedia

  • Leonora Braham — (February 3 1853 ndash; November 23 1931), born Leonora Lucy Abraham, was an English opera singer and actress primarily known as the creator of principal soprano roles in the Gilbert Sullivan comic operas. Life and careerBraham was born into a… …   Wikipedia

  • John Braham — als Lord Aimworth , Stahlstich von Thomson/Foster, 1818 John Braham (ursprünglich Abraham, Abram oder Abrahams; * 1774 in London; † 1856 ebenda) war der zu seiner Zeit berühmteste Tenor und Opernsänger in England, u.a. der erste Hüon im Oberon.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexandra David-Néel — In Lhasa in 1924 Alexandra David Néel born Louise Eugénie Alexandrine Marie David (born in Sai …   Wikipedia

  • Edward Harrigan — (October 26, 1844 – June 6, 1911) was an American actor, playwright, theatre manager, and composer. Harrigan and Tony Hart formed the first famous collaboration in American musical theatre. Contents 1 Life and career 2 Works …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.