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January 30, 2013

Ada Reeve (née Adelaide Mary Isaacs, 1874-1966), English actress and singer
(photo: LPSCo, probably London, late 1880s)

‘Portrait of an English Actress Now Amusing Americans.
Ada Reeve, the clever English actress now in this country, was born in London, England, March 3, 1871. She is the eldest of the ten children of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Reeve, well-known professionals, her mother’s stage name being Miss Saunders. Manager Frederick Wright instructed Miss Reeve and placed her upon the stage at a very early age. She made her first appearance as a child actress as Willie Carlisle in East Lynne, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, she being at that time 8 years of age. Starting upon a four-months’ tour with this company, she acquired much experience by reason of being required not only to play child parts, but, in emergency, to don long dresses and do general utility work. Having made rapid advancement in her art, and displaying remarkable capability, she was next placed in pantomime, and made her first appearance in this new fields at the age of 9 years, at the Pavilion theater, London, playing the Old Man of the Sea in a production of Sinbad, in which Bessie Bonehill played the title role. She continued at the Pavilion playing children’s parts, until the date of the first production of George R. Sims’ play, Jack In the Box, in which she created the part of the Italian boy, a role specially written for her by the author. This production occurred at the Theater Royal, Brighton, with Fannie Leslie as the star, and with Ida Heath also in the cast. She continued to tour with Miss Leslie during that season, and returned to the Pavilion theater in time for the Christmas pantomime, Red Riding Hood, in which she played the title role. She then made a second tour with Jack In the Box, and again returned to the Pavilion for the pantomime season, playing on this occasion the Genie of the Bells in Dick Whittington, and being understudy for the title role, which she played for one week with great success. She was at this time 12 years old. At the age of 13 Miss Reeve began her music hall career, playing her first engagement in this like of work at Gatty’s [sic] Music hall, the Hungerford, at Charing Cross, London. Although she had become a favorite in the music-halls, she had no intention of abandoning pantomime, and her new manager therefore accepted for her an engagement whereby she appeared at the Elephant and Castle, London, playing this time the title role in Sinbad. Returning at the end of the Christmas season to the music halls, she appeared in turn at all of the prominent halls in the English metropolis until the return of the next holiday season, when she appeared in the Christmas pantomime at the Britannia theater, Hoxton, London, to which house she returned at the corresponding period a year later. Last year she was engaged at the Prince of Wales’ theater, Birmingham, to play the principal boy role in Aladdin, and at the termination of her present engagement in this country will return to England and at the same house will appear in the principal girl role in Little Bo Peep. She contemplates returned to this country next season, when she will probably be seen in farce comedy.’
(The Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, Wednesday, 27 December 1893, p.2c)

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