ETYM French, from Vau-de-vire, a village in Normandy, where Olivier Basselin, at the end of the 14th century, composed such songs.
A variety show with songs and comic acts etc.; SYN. music hall.
Stage entertainment popular in the US from the 1890s to the 1920s, featuring a variety of acts such as comedy sketches, song-and-dance routines, and so on. Vaudeville is in the same tradition as music hall in Britain.
The forerunners of vaudeville, variety shows held in cities and frontier settlements, were often coarse and lewd and intended largely for male audiences. By the 1890s these shows had become suitable family entertainment. Many performers who later became famous for their stage and screen work—George Burns, W C Fields, and Will Rogers, for instance—began their careers as vaudeville artists. Vaudeville declined during the 1930s because of the economic hardships of the Depression and the growth of radio and motion pictures. It all but disappeared by the end of World War II, with the advent of television.