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Ralph Lynn and Helen Juliette head the cast of The Purple Lady on a tour of the United States, 1913/14

May 17, 2014

Ralph Lynn (1882-1962), English actor, as Algy Slowman and Helen Juliette (active 1911-1915), American vaudeville comedienne and singer, with other cast members on tour in the United States during 1913/14 in B.A. Rolfe‘s production of the one-act musical comedy, 26 minute The Purple Lady.
(photo: unknown, USA, probably late 1913)

The Purple Lady (not to be confused with a farce of the same name), written by Frank Kennedy, was first produced at the Orpheum, New York City, in May 1913. Ralph Lynn headed the small cast, playing opposite Mercedes Lorenze. ‘… Lynn and Lorenze get through with a nicely written story and a few good numbers, the best being ”The Girl I Met on Sunday Night” in which the chorus work to both Mr. Lynn and Miss Lorenze. Impersonating both girls and boys in this number the chorus get in their best work as the latter. It brought home several encores, although the other numbers failed with one exception. The title [The Purple Lady] is a mystery. The story tells of a double love affair with the usual complications and the usual finish. Lynn’s uncle is in love with Miss Lorenze’s aunt. Those characters are handled by Denny Dugmore and Adelle Barker. Both are capable and show good judgement on the part of the producer, B.A. Rolfe. It seems that Auntie at one time wore a purple dress. That’s the only reason given for the name. It doesn’t matter much, however, for the dialogue is excellent and the laughs are plenty. The costuming of the chorus of the chorus is nothing out of the ordinary, pretty, appropriate, but not a flash. The numbers are staged exceptionally well, At the Orpheum the act pulled a safe hit. With a few week’s [sic] work it will become a standard vehicle for the big time.’ (Variety, New York, Saturday, 31 May 1913, p. 16a). The Purple Lady, with Ralph Lynn but with various changes of cast, eventually left New York for a successful tour.

B.F. Keith Theatre, Washington, D.C., week beginning Monday, 8 December 1913
‘A one-act musical comedy filled with excellent vocal numbers and dances in The Purple Lady, featuring Ralph Lynn and Helen Juliette. Special stage settings and costumes added to the production.’
(The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, 9 December 1913, p. 9a)

Grand Opera House, Pittsburgh, March 1914
‘Ralph Lynn has a cane and the antics he performs with it in a ”silly ass” role make The Purple Lady a mirthful one-act tabloid musical comedy. The company of 10 has little music to assist them, and next to Mr. Lynn’s came Helen Juliette’s dancing is noteworthy.’
(The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Tuesday, 17 March 1914, p. 16b)

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