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Cissie Curlette, English music hall singer and mimic

October 22, 2014

Cissie Curlette (active 1905-1917), English music hall vocalist and mimic, in costume for her song, ‘What You Never Had,You Never Miss.’
(postcard photo: Schmidt, Manchester, circa 1909)

Tivoli Theatre, Adelaide, Australia, August 1909
‘Cissie Curlette, who is a clever, dainty, and refined comedienne, scored another success. The little lady is popular with all parts of the house, and she knows how to make very point tell with the audience. Miss Curlette will close her season at the Tivoli on Wednesday evening, as she sails for Europe by the Orsova on Thursday.
(The Register, Adelaide, Australia, Monday, 23 August 1909, p. 5c)

‘MORRIS’ PERSONAL PICKING.
‘Monday at the American, New York, Cissie Curlette, personally selected by William Morris in England, will be present as a feature of the vaudeville program for the week.
‘It will be Miss Curlette’s first American appearance. Mr. Morris is willing to gamble on her success. The outcome of the English woman’s debut will be watched with much interest by the vaudeville people. Mr. Morris saw her at the Holborn, Empire, London, immediately booking her twenty weeks yearly for the next three seasons. She was also among the acts last listed by VARIETY’S London correspondent as suitable for America.
‘Miss Curlette is on the style of Vesta Victoria. Miss Victoria claims to ”have but Cissie Curlette in the business.” Among Cissie’s songs are ”What I Never Had, I Will Never Miss,” ”Yea, Verily, Yea,” and a new ”Chantecler” number.
‘The accompanying photograph of Miss Curlette [similar to the postcard photograph, above] resembles somewhat Cissie Loftus in looks. The costume is worn singing ”What I Never Had”.’
(Variety, New York, Saturday, 7 May 1910, p. 11d)

American Music Hall, week beginning Monday, 23 May 1910
‘Daintiest of All English Comediennes CISSIE CURLETTE Direct from a Remarkably Successful Engagement in New York, where Press and Public Proclaimed Her the Best English Artist Ever Seen in America.’
‘Cissie Curlette, the latest importation from Europe, who has been winning a remarkable success for the past two weeks in New York will be the big feature at the American Music Hall this week. Miss Curlette is so different from the average run of English music hall artists that her success in this country was instantaneous. She has been likened to Vesta Victoria, Lucy Weston and Yvette Guilbert, but just where the similarity lies would be hard to say. She in an incarnation of dainty demureness and is gifted with a personal magnetism which fairly electrifies her audience.’
(The Boston Sunday Post, Boston, Massachusetts, Sunday, 22 May 1910, pp. 39b and 40d)

‘CISSIE CURLETTE, CHARACTER SINGER.
‘American Music Hall, No. 4. In one; thirteen minutes. Seen matinee, June 7 [1910]
‘What You Never Had You Never Miss, Chantecler and Toodle-I-Oodle-I-Oo was the repertoire which the much-heralded Cissie Curlette offered to the unsuspecting, but the eternal question, Who is Cissie Curlette? had been answered, and that was satisfactory. She acts her numbers cleverly, even to the lusty crow of a male rooster in her Chantecler number, and has a modest bearing, that won a place for her in the hears of the Music Hall patrons on short notice. Miss Curlette will never rival Halley’s comet, however, for sensational honors, her offering being a plain and ordinary singing act, with in its class, if it will be allowed to remain there, it is good with no moment of exception, and that much is enthusiastically shown by warm applause.’
(The Billboard, Cincinnati, New York, Chicago, Saturday, 18 June 1910, p. 11b)

‘Cissie Curlette was tremendously boomed by William Morris ere her American appearance. She scarcely lived up to the advertisement, but was reckoned a fair success.’
(The Newsletter, Sydney, NSW, Australia, Saturday, 23 July 1910, p. 3d)

* * * * *

Cissie Curlette was born, probably in Liverpool, about 1876. She was one of the 11 children of John Leary (1832/35-1910), an undertaker of funerals, formerly a mariner, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Leary, 1844-1935). She was living in the early 1920s in the Hampstead area of London but further details of her life are at present uncertain.

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