Sixteen-year-old Ethel M. Lytle
(1887-1961) was in the chorus of Mr. Bluebeard.
According to her 1920 passport Ethel was 5'1" tall
with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complextion.
Ethel's mother, Louisa J.
Moore Lytle (1868-1970), wife of the late Robert E.
Lytel (?-1895?), worked in
costumes and traveled with the theater company,
sometimes cited as assistant to the
She remarried in 1905 to Thomas J. Newkirk.
When the cast was on route from Chicago back to New
York and between trains in Pittsburgh, a newspaper
reporter interviewed Ethel. She said she had
on the fifth floor of the dressing rooms when the
fire broke out, her mother on the stage floor.
Her mother went up to the fifth floor to alert Ethel
and she then fled with other dancers, all of them barefoot and
clad in ballet costumes.
At age nine Ethel Lytle (1888-) sold
enough newspaper subscriptions to win a bicycle.
The Lytle's lived in Allegheny, Pennsylvania,
later moving to New York City to advance Ethel's
At age thirteen she became a chorus girl.
At age fifteen she performed at the Pan-American
Exposition in the "Trip to the Moon" exhibit.
At age sixteen she danced in
Mr. Bluebeard and survived
the Iroquois Theater fire, along with her mother.
The Pittsburgh newspaper reported that Ethel was
one of the
aerial dancers but that conflicts
with other information. Elsewhere the
aerialist dancers were said to be from Europe.
Ethel was not a member of the Pony Ballet
dancers so she might have been in the chorus and
training to become an aerialist. Her
mother, Louisa Moore Lytle,
traveled with the company and helped with Pony Ballet costumes.
At age twenty Louisa prevented
Ethel from marrying Frank Perley, an accountant
for a theater producer, by her
mother, who did not want her to marry someone in the
At age twenty-five she performed in her fifth, and
perhaps last, Broadway play.
At age twenty-six she performed
at Churchill's Cabaret in New York City.
At age twenty-nine she performed
as a vaudeville comedienne with Gus Shy's
Passing Parade Musical Comedy Company.
In 1921 at age thirty-three
Ethel became engaged to Frank Perley,
manager of East is West.
Discrepancies and addendum
There were two men named
Frank Perley in the entertainment industry:
Perley (using a middle initial, "L") was a well
known producer and theater manager. He was a London native who
began his career in the circus industry, later
switching to acting and talent management, including
Nielsen, and theater management, including the
Knickerbocker in NYC. His brother,
Herman Perlet, directed musical comedies.
Perley (without the middle initial L.) Ethel
Lytle's fiancé, entered the industry as a
performer and moved into management of traveling
obituary inaccurately cited her mother Louise
Newkirk as her daughter. I found no evidence
that Ethel married or bore children.
Margaret Buehrmann and
Annie Jones and Warner Saville
Illinois state senator
Albert Clark helped triage Iroquois Theater victims
Eger, Bloom and Reiss
families lost 5 to Iroquois
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