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Nellie Waring, English variety theatre vocalist

December 13, 2014

Nellie Waring (active 1907-1920), English popular vocalist and variety theatre and vaudeville entertainer. Her professional partnership with the American J.W. Wilson (John W. Musante, 1863/69?-1928), comedy duo, appears to have begun about 1912.
(photo: James Bacon & Sons, Leeds, circa 1910)

Shea’s Theatre, Buffalo, New York, August 1909
‘The bill at Shea’s Theater this week is full of entertaining qualities and every feature was liberally applauded at both performances yesterday. Nellie Waring, the clever and sprightly comedienne from England, has a pleasing voice and she sings her own topical songs inimitably. Her costumes are quite charming and her dancing is dainty and skillful [sic].’
(The Buffalo, Courier, Buffalo, New York, Tuesday, 24 August 1909, p. 7f)

‘Nellie Waring, the dainty English comedienne, who heads the bill at Shea’s theater this week, has made an instantaneous hit, and she has been called the second Alice Lloyd for the tunefulness of her songs and delightful personality.’
(The Niagara Falls Gazette, Niagara Falls, New York, Tuesday, 24 August 1909, p. 4b)

‘Nellie Waring is the latest of the English singers to invade our shores and she has met with a favorable reception.’
(Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, Sunday, 24 October 1909, part III, p. 8c)

J.W. Wilson and Nellie Waring appeared with nearly 150 other music hall and variety favourites in the ‘Variety’s Garden Party’ tableau at the first royal music hall performance at the Palace Theatre, London, on 1 July 1912, attended by King George V and Queen Mary.

‘NEW ACTS NEXT WEEK [October 1912] …
‘Nellie Waring. Singing Comedienne. 17 Mins.; One [stage set]. Bronx.
”’England’s Sparking and Dainty Comedienne” is Nellie Waring’s billing this week at the Bronx. Miss Waring is just a pretty girl. She sings four English made songs. For each there is a change of gown, and, in order the clinch the conventionality of the turn, a male ”plant” is seated in a box. The spotlight is aimed at him while she sings to him. In addition tot eh young woman’s limited abilities as a performer, her songs are not good. Jolo.’
(Variety, New York, Friday, 18 October 1912, p. 20c)

* * * * *

‘FORTUNES WASTED
‘VARIETY ARTIST DEAD
‘Pauper Despite High Pay
‘SPECIAL TO ”THE NEWS”)
‘LONDON, January 3 [1928]
‘The death is announced of Mr. Jack W. Wilson, variety artist, who once visited Australia.
‘Wilson, who was known as Mustante [sic], partnered Miss Nellie Waring in Britain, America, Australia, and South Africa. He was a contemporary of Cinquevalli, the famous juggler, and Chirgwin, ”the white-eyed Kaffir.”
‘He lost three fortunes on the Stock Exhange and the turf. Before he was 30 he gambles away £10,000 of his theatrical earnings in real estate in Seattle.
‘In 1898 he took £30,000 from Australia, but he lost £20,000 in a wheat gamble in New York.
‘An effort to make a recovery on the turn in 1907 resulted in a loss of £7,000, and further fortunes followed in the same way.
‘Wilson earned £100 a week in England and £200 in America, but died penniless of pneumonia at the Fulham Hospital [London]. Miss Waring sat at his bedside for 14 hours.
‘Wilson was born in California. He was the son of a ”forty-niner” (miner who went to California in the early days of the gold rush). He ran away with a travelling circus, then entered vaudeville, and later played in straight plays.’
(The News, Adelaide, South Australia, Wednesday, 4 January 1928, p. 7d)

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