Biography J. Leubrie Hill (John Leubrie), d. 1916

Format Web Pages
Subjects Biographies
Hill, J. Leubrie (John Leubrie)
Parlor and Concert Stage
Popular Songs of the Day
Progressive Era to New Era
Social Change
Songs and Music
J. Leubrie Hill (John Leubrie), d. 1916
Subject Headings
-  Hill, J. Leubrie (John Leubrie) -- d. 1916 -- -- composer
-  Popular Songs of the Day
-  Songs and Music
-  Parlor and Concert Stage
-  Social Change
-  Progressive Era to New Era (1900-1929)
-  Biographies
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Image: Cover of When the Sun Goes Down
When the sun goes down by J. Leubrie Hill (Chicago: Will Rossiter, 1910). Performing Arts Reading Room, Library of Congress.

John Leubrie Hill was born about 1869. Little is known of his early life, but by 1896, he was writing songs with Alex Rogers. He also acted and wrote songs for the Williams and Walker musicals in the first decade of the 20th century.

In 1911 Hill's career started to take off in new directions. He wrote one musical, Hello Paris, with J. Rosamond Johnson, and another, My Friend from Dixie; neither musical did well. The following year, Hill formed the Colored Vaudeville Exchange. In 1913 he produced and starred in My Friend from Kentucky which played in Harlem's Lafayette Theatre. This show, short on scenery but long on big dance numbers, was a great success and has been credited with starting the trend of Manhattan patrons trekking uptown for entertainment.

Florenz Ziegfeld, producer of the Ziegfeld Follies, was impressed enough to buy the rights for a few of the numbers from My Friend from Kentucky including "At the Ball, That's All" to use in his next Follies production. Parts of My Friend from Kentucky also were used in 1914's Darktown Follies, which played in a more conventional Broadway theater; this production was not as successful. As a result, another black musical did not play on Broadway until 1921's Shuffle Along. Hill died in August 1916.