Fred Farren and Ida Crispi in the ballet, New York, Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London, 1911/1912April 20, 2014
Fred Farren (1874?-1956), English dancer, actor, choreographer, ballet-master and producer and principal male dancer at the Empire, Leicester Square, 1904-1912, with Ida Crispi (1884-1955), English actress, singer and dancer, and they appeared dancing ‘The Yankee Tangle’ in the ballet, New York, inspired by the then ragtime craze, which was produced at the Empire on 10 October 1911.
(photo: Alfred Ellis, London, 1911)
Fred Farren, whose real name was Michael Rouhan, was a talented dancer who also worked as a choreographer for ballets and musical comedies produced under the managership of George Edwardes in London during the early years of the 20th Century. Ida Crispi was born Jennie Florence Ida Worsley, daughter of William Henry Worsley, a furniture dealer, and his wife, Jennie; she was baptised on 4 May 1884 at St. Catherine’s, Barton-upon-Irwell, near Manchester. Like Farren, she went on the stage at an early age, first making a name for herself in the United States in 1910. Before that, however, she had married Ernest Vivian Silvester (1877-1945), a barrister’s son, at Brighton in 1904. This marriage ended in divorce in 1913 when Michael Ronhan (Fred Farren) was named as co-respondent; he had married in 1903 Clara Eliza Taylor, by whom he had a daughter. Miss Crispi’s second husband, whom she married in Kensington in 1916, was Charles J. Boothby.
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Ida Crispi made several recordings between 1912 and 1915, the most effective of which was her duet with Robert Hale (Binnie Hale‘s father), entitled ‘Everybody’s Doing It Now’ by Irving Berlin, which they sang in the revue Everybody’s Doing It, produced at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, on 14 February 1912. Their recording was made in London less than a month later on 13 March.