The Plantation, a Broadway cabaret–restaurant formerly known as the Folies Bergère was located in the Winter Garden building and opened on 15 February 1922, with an all-coloured show in a Southern plantation setting staged and conceived by Lew Leslie.
This was the inspiration behind the creation of the Southern Plantation setting at the Acacias nightclub in Paris in June 1922 with a show that featured Jenny Dolly and Clifton Webb.
At the New York Plantation, you went through a gate at the entrance and were immediately inside a big room where there was a log cabin with a big black Mammy cooking waffles. The 45-minute show had a Mississippi river set and was called Night-time Frolics in Dixieland, starring Florence Mills from Shuffle Along and other featured performers and six chorus girls. The music was by the Red Devils’ Jazz Band, who looked as if they came straight from a farm in Virginia playing Southern melodies. Variety observed that the New York night-going public did not mind the $2 cover charge, because it was a novelty and well worth watching. The Plantation was a huge success and anticipated the rise of the Harlem nightclubs that were soon to proliferate, and Lew Leslie became the pre-eminent figure in their development.
The Dolly Sisters: Icons of the Jazz Age out now in paperback and e-book versions