Nan Halpern became famous on the vaudeville stage not just for her comic performances but for the rapid costume changes that earned her the nickname “The Wonder Girl.” Halperin began acting at age six in local productions in Minneapolis, beginning with Little Black Me. After high school, she toured the US and Mexico with several stock theater companies, and became known for her number, “Nan Halperin and Her Suffragettes.” She made her Broadway debut in A Broadway Honeymoon and by 1914 had become a major audience draw. She first performed her song cycle Five Stages of Girlhood in 1916, quickly changing from a child to a valedictorian to a bridesmaid to a bride and ending as a “blasé divorcée.” By 1919, she was one of the highest-paid actresses in vaudeville. That year, she created a second song cycle where she played a frustrated debutante forced to make herself pretty to catch a man. Halperin performed in a variety of shows throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s, including the popular musical Little Jesse James in 1923, which despite its title was set in a New York apartment. Halperin retired from the stage in 1934.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Nan Halperin." (Viewed on July 11, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/halperin-nan>.