Posts Tagged ‘Aldwych Theatre (London)’

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Maud Courtney

February 9, 2013

Maude Courtney (Mrs Finlay Currie, 1884-1959),
American variety theatre entertainer
(photo: Hemus Sarony, Christchurch, New Zealand, circa 1911)

Maude Courtney at the Colonial, New York, week beginning Monday, 15 October 1906
‘Maude Courtney, who used to sing the old songs, and who has been in Europe and other parts of the word for the past four years, made her reappearance and was given a very cordial welcome. She opened with a song called ”Au Revoir Hyacinth,” following it with a ditty called ”Put a Little Bit Away for a Rainy Day,” both of which are the hits of the present day in London. It must be recorded that they did not hit the fancy of the Colonial patrons to any extent. Miss Courtney’s personality and manner made as strong an appeal as ever which was proven when she recited ”Didn’t She Jim?” and sang a medley of songs that were once popular here and which she had sung in London. In her last selection she was assisted by a man in the gallery [probably Harry Calvo], who joined in very harmoniously. When Miss Courtney finds good substitutes for her first two song her speciality will be as attractive as ever, as she is an accomplished and gifted artist.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, New York, 27 October 1906, p. 18a) (The song ‘Au Revoir, My Little Hyacinth,’ by Herman Darewski, with words by A.E. Sidney Davis, was featured as an interpolated number in the popular musical comedy, The Beauty of Bath, which was first produced by Seymour Hicks at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on 19 March 1906. The star of that show, Ellaline Terriss recorded the song for The Gramophone & Typewriter Co Ltd of London on 10 January 1907, but it was it was rejected. The same company, however, had already issued a recording of the song made on 16 November 1906 by Phyllis Dare. The latter, who had not appeared in The Beauty of Bath, was well known through professional ties with Ellaline Terriss and her husband, Seymour Hicks. C.W. Murphy and Dan Lipton’s ‘Put a Little Bit Away for a Rainy Day’ was among the first songs recorded by the English music hall comedienne, Ella Retford; she cut it three times during 1906, twice for the Sterling label and once for Odeon. Michael Kilgarriff, Sing Us One of the Old Songs, Oxford, 1998, states that Carlotta Levey, another English music hall artist of the period, also sang ‘Put a Little Bit Away for a Rainy Day.’)

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Kitty Melrose, English musical comedy actress and singer, London, circa 1909

January 10, 2013

Kitty Melrose (1883-1912),
English musical comedy actress and singer;
(photo: Rita Martin, London, circa 1909)

This real photograph of the actress and singer Kitty Melrose was published in London about 1909 by A. & G. Taylor in its ‘Reality’ Series, no. 1353.

Miss Melrose first came to notice in 1905 when she made an appearance as Rectory Belle in a revival of Seymour Hicks’s musical dream play, Bluebell (Aldwych Theatre, London, 23 December 1905). Remaining with Hicks, she was next seen as one of the twelve Bath Buns in The Beauty of Bath, a musical play produced at the Aldwych on 19 March 1906. Again with Hicks, she then took the part of Miss Liverpool in the less successful musical play, My Darling (Hicks, 2 March 1907) before appearing as Trixie Clayton in Brewster’s Millions (Hicks, 1 May 1907), a comedy with Gerald du Maurier in the leading role. Miss Melrose’s next part was Fanny in Cosmo Hamilton’s farce, ProTem (Playhouse, 29 April 1908) before returning to musical comedy in Charles Frohman’s New York production of The Dollar Princess at the Knickerbocker Theatre (6 August 1909). Kitty Melrose’s last appearance was as Cleo in The Quaker Girl (Adelphi, 5 November 1910), starring Joseph Coyne, and Gertie Millar for whom she was sometime understudy.

‘Golf Ball Hurts Actress.
‘Miss Melrose May Be Disfigured – Her Nose Fractured.
‘Kiss Kitty Melrose, an English actress, playing in The Dollar Princess at the Knickerbocker Theatre, received so severe a fracture of the nose on Friday afternoon from a blow of a golf ball that the doctors who have her in charge fear that she may be permanently disfigured.
‘She was hurried to this city in an automobile from the Links of the Danwoodie Country Club under an anaesthetic for treatment here. She had gone to the course with F. Pope Stamper of the same company. They had gone over the course once when Mr. Stamper prepared to make a long drive. Miss Melrose stood watching, about forty feet to the right. He swung with great force, but sliced the ball. It shot out, rotating at an angle, and, making a curve, struck Miss Melrose squarely on the side of the nose.’
(New York Times, New York, Sunday, 17 October 1909, p.18f)

‘Pathetic Death of Deserted Woman.
‘Actress Dead With Her Head Inside a Gas Oven.
‘London, June 7 [1912]. – the love affairs of the actress, Kitty Melrose, aged 29, who has lately been an understudy for Gertie Millar in The Quaker Girl, at the Adelphi theater and who was found dead in her flat with her head inside a gas oven, occupied the attention of the coroner at Westminster today.
‘Letters read at the inquest, showed that she had been living with Lawson Johnston, a young man about town, who had promised to marry her. Later he wrote her that he found it impossible to carry out his promise owing to the opposition of his people, upon whom he was dependent.
‘He acknowledged it was wrong for him to allow her to think that marriage was possible, but he added, the family had found out that they had been living together and said the marriage was impossible.
‘Kitty’s letters in reply were very pathetic. The last one said among other things:
‘“Eddie. By leaving me alone, you thought you were doing right, but it was all wrong. God forgive you, as I hope he will forgive me.”’
(The Evening Observer, Dunkirk, New York, 7 June 1912, p.7d)

The full story surrounding Kitty Melrose’s suicide, which took place on 3 June 1912, is recounted by James Jupp, The Gaiety stage door; thirty years’ reminiscences of the theatre, Jonathan Cape, London, 1923. She is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

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January 9, 2013

Zena Dare (1887-1975), English actress,
as the Hon. Betty Silverthorne and chorus singing
‘The Sea-Pink and the Nautilus’ in The Beauty of Bath,
Aldwych Theatre, London, late Summer 1906

And the sea-pinks softly whispered to the nautilus –
Our lot till now has been so hard and perilous,
We’d like to shelter, if we dare,
In the meshes of your silv’ry hair;
And we want to find a sole to quickly marry us.
So spread you silken sail and swiftly carry us
Far across the blue Atlantic,
For delay will drive us frantic,
Sail away you pretty nautilus,
You pretty nauti-nauti-nauti-lus!

(photo: Bassano, London, 1906)

The Beauty of Bath, a musical play by Seymour Hicks and Cosmo Hamilton, with music by Herbert E. Baines and lyrics by Charles H. Taylor, was first produced at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on 19 March 1906. The starring roles of Lieut. Richard Alington and the Hon. Betty Silverthorne were played respectively by Seymour Hicks and his wife, Ellaline Terriss. During their Summer holiday that year these parts were played by Hicks’s brother, Stanley Brett, and Zena Dare. The latter was assigned an interpolated song, ‘The Sea-Pink and the Nautilus.’

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Harry Nicholls (1852-1926), English actor, dramatist, song writer and theatrical manager, as Private Jupp in One of the Best, Adelphi Theatre, London, 21 December 1895

January 3, 2013

Harry Nicholls (1852-1926), English actor, dramatist, song writer and theatrical manager, as Private Jupp in One of the Best, a drama by George Edwardes and Seymour Hicks, first produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, 21 December 1895 (photo:Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1909)

This real photograph postcard was published in London in 1909 by the Rotary Photographic Co Ltd, no. 7473B in the Rotary Photographic Series. It shows Harry Nicholls as Private Jupp in One of the Best, a drama by George Edwardes and Seymour Hicks which was revived at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on 1 May 1909. Nicholls had created the part of Jupp when the play was first produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 21 December 1895.

‘Speaking of authors, I don’t suppose there are many people who know that the famous play One of the Best, which was one of William Terriss’ great successes, was written by George Edwardes and Seymour Hicks. I remember them discussing it in the office, and my being there gave them the name of the humorous character “Private Jupp,” played by Harry Nicholls. My name brought me a nice present in the shape of a heavy gold ring. Mr. Hicks said : “We’re going to christen one of our characters after you, Jupp – hope you won’t mind – and I want to make you a present. What about a gold ring as a memento?” Of course I accepted and went to Lewis and Salome in Cranbourne Street and got a beauty, which I wear to the present day.’ (James Jupp [who for many years was stage door keeper at the Gaiety Theatre, London], The Gaiety Stage Door. Thirty Years’ Reminiscences of the Theatre, Jonathan Cape, London, 1923,p. 299)