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Mabelle Gilman

December 28, 2012

Mabelle Gilman as Yvette Millet in The Mocking Bird (photo: Falk, New York, 1902)

‘MABELLE GILMAN’S PAPA.
‘Speaking of home, it is home-and-father, not home-and-mother with Mabelle Gilman, chief chirper in
The Mocking Bird, at the Bijou. The story goes that out in Sacramento, Cal., Miss Gilman’s father keep[s] a small every-day-is-bargain-day dry-goods and notion store. Every new photograph of herself that Miss Gilman sends home her father, it is said, places in the show window, where it stands in stage, festooned with bleached and unbleached muslins and stockings upon which ”the price is plainly marked.”
‘Whenever a fresh picture arrives and is exhibited in the window, the father, so they say, takes the greatest pleasure in calling it to the attention of friends and customers. He is very proud of Mabelle. He knew her when she had only one ”l” and one ”e” to her name. Now count ‘em!’ (
The Evening World, New York, Monday, 17 November 1902, p. 5e/f)

‘MABELLE GILMAN AND CROWN PRINCE.
‘Mabelle Gilman isn’t numbered among the grand-opera stars, and, what’s more, she never expects to be. But, according to a boastful little secret she’s telling, she has warbled her way into the heart of the Crown Prince of Siam, who, it is further alleged, would put the pretty ”Mocking Bird” of the Bijou in a gilded cage were it not for the fact that his royal parents have told him he mustn’t.
‘The Crown Prince, it is said, capitulated to Mabelle’s charms when she was singing in
The Casino Girl in London two seasons ago [Shaftesbury Theatre, 11 July 1900]. So lasting has been the spell, Miss Gilman avers, that on the opening night of The Mocking Bird the Prince sent her, along with some flowers, a diamond mocking bird with a royal crest. She also holds out a white little hand to show a ring, likewise ”crested,” and points with pride to her corsage, whereon sparkles a solitaire pin which is represented to have set the Crown Prince back several hundred ”plunks.”
‘Mabelle will dream on with the Sires a couple of seasons and then –
‘But what’s the use wondering whether dreams will come true?’ (
The Evening World, New York, Saturday, 29 November 1902, p. 9b/c)

National Theatre, Washington, D.C.
‘Mabelle Gilman, with dainty wiles and coquettish grace, as Yvette Millet in
The Mocking Bird, will come to the New National this week. This new opera is said to have captivated theatregoers generally, and to about in sparkling wit and satire, with music which is tuneful and catchy.
‘A. Baldwin Sloane, who is responsible for the pleasing music, has been identified with a number of New York successes, and in
The Mocking Bird he is said to have accomplished his best work. Some of his successes have been Jack and the Beanstalk, The Hall of Fame, The Liberty Belles, and The Man in the Moon [sic].
‘Miss Gilman, in 1897, was one of the many pretty, graceful, and bright girls who graduated from the Mills Seminary, in San Francisco. At the closing exercises she, like the others, participated in recitations, dancing and singing. Among those present happened to be a wire prophet who penned some lines on this order:
”’Beautiful Mabelle Gilman is another California girl who, should the opportunity be presented, will grace the dramatic profession and create a name for herself on both continents.”
‘The well-known theatrical manager, Augustin Daly, who was then visiting San Francisco, proceeded to hunt up this ”sweet girl graduate,” and the result was that the name of Mabelle Gilman was soon on the program of the company playing
The Geisha. Without previous study or even without being stage struck, this California girl made an instantaneous hit with both audience and manager. Her next steps toward the top was in [A] Runaway Girl and The Casino Girl. Now, as the creator of the star role in this tuneful comediettea The Mocking Bird, Miss Gilman has reached a height in a few years that is a little less than amazing.’ (The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., Sunday, 19 April 1903, p. 2f)

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