McAvoy performed in a half dozen plays 1901-1906. He played the lead role as Mr.
Bluebeard on Broadway. Harry Gillfoil picked up the part when Mr. Bluebeard went
on the road to Chicago. McAvoy was also a composer and lyricist. His tune, “The
Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous,” was composed specifically for Mr. Bluebeard.
It referenced Schlitz beer. According to one newspaper blurb, inserting
products and advertising was common in musical comedies and vaudeville. In
addition to beer, Mr. Bluebeard hawked cereal and medicines. The Victor record
of the tune was produced in Jun, 1903, sung by
tenor, Dan W. Quinn (1859-1904).
The Schlitz brand was in its heydays in the early 1900s. In 1902 it produced
more beer that Pabst and by 1934, Prohibition ended, Schlitz was the top selling
beer. Chicago had a particular fondness for Schlitz beer. When the 1871 fire
destroyed many Chicago breweries, Schlitz was there to fill the demand.
McAvoy was a Gus Hill discovery. Reviews of his performance in Mr. Bluebeard
on Broadway were so poor that he was replaced by Harry Gilfoil when the show
went on the road. He married actress Jessie May Kibbler (b. 1872) in 1890. She
died in 1901, leaving nothing to her husband who was said to have cheated her
out of her earnings held in a joint account. McAvoy stopped performing in 1905
after suffering a stroke that left one side of his body paralyzed. In Nov 1908
fellow performers held a benefit at the Majestic Theatre in new York to raise
money for him. He was said to be crippled. Dan died of heart disease in his home
at 1690 Broadway, Oct 1909.