Posts Tagged ‘Alice Atherton’


Alice Atherton, American burlesque actress and entertainer

April 25, 2015

Alice Atherton (1854-1899), American burlesque actress and entertainer, who married Willie Edouin in 1873.
(photo: J. Gurney & Son, New York, early 1870s)


Lina Edwin, American burlesque actress and singer

May 11, 2014

Lina Edwin (otherwise, Lena Edwin, Mrs Bland Holt, 1846?-1883), American burlesque actress and singer.
(cabinet photo: Howell, 867 and 869 Broadway, New York, circa 1870)

‘A SOUTHERN LADY TAKES TO THE STAGE. – Miss Lina Edwin, who has just opened her theatre in New York, has a romantic history, according to the Brooklyn Union. ”She is a Southerner, well born, and highly educated. She lived on her paternal estates near Richmond, Virginia, and was brought up in the mollesse of the old southern aristocracy. During the war the paternal estates wee melted in the crucible of the Confederacy, and Miss Edwin turned pluckily to self-support. First she tried literature, and became well known in the internal newspaper world as a song writer. Then she set about writing music for her sons, and the orchestral world began to know her. She wrote waltzes and fantasias, and in all acquitted herself well. Next she took to the stage, and in two years or so from a brilliant beginning, reached the degree of manageress in her own right. An opportune legacy has set her right pecuniarily, but it did not arrive until she had got well into the expense list of her ledger on behalf of the public amusement, and now she will appear in her new capacity as manager.”’
(The Daily Phoenix, Columbia, South Carolina, Tuesday, 22 September 1870, p. 2b)

* * * * *

Notable among Lina Edwin’s first appearances were with W.H. Lingard and his actress wife, Alice Dunning, in the former’s production of H.J. Byron’s Orpheus and Eurydice (New York, 1 February 1869); and with Lydia Thompson and her troupe (including Harry Beckett, Pauline Markham, Alice Atherton and Eliza Weathersby) in the burlesque, Pippin; or, The King of the Golden Mines (Niblo’s Garden, New York, 4 April 1870). She subsequently gave her name to a theatre at 720 Broadway, New York, which became well-known for burlesques and other popular entertainment but in December 1872 was burnt to the ground. Meanwhile, in December 1871, Miss Edwin was in Ireland where she appeared as Doe Maynard in the comedy, Rank at the Queen’s Royal Theatre, Dublin. She became a great favourite there, remaining until October 1872. After returning to the United States, Lina Edwin then left for Australia at the close of 1876 in a company headed by Annie Pixley and Bland Holt. She continued her career in Australia until her death in 1883.

Melbourne, NSW, Australia, Thursday, 31 May 1883
‘Mrs Bland Holt, better known by her stage name of Lena [sic] Edwin, died to-day. About two months ago the deceased lady was seized with an apoplectic fit on the stage of the Theatre Royal [Melbourne], which resulted in paralysis, from which she was recovering, but to-day she was seized with a second attack of apoplexy, and rapidly sank. Mr. Holt is at present in Sydney.’
(The Sydney Morning Herald, NSW, Australia, Friday, 1 June 1883, p. 7f)


Harriett Vernon in The Japs, 1885

July 15, 2013

Harriett Vernon (1852-1923), English music hall singer and actress as Cammpi in The Japs; or, The Doomed Daimio, a burlesque by Harry Paulton and Mostyn Tedde, first produced at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol, 31 August 1885 and the Novelty Theatre, London, 19 September 1885. Other members of the cast included Lionel Brough, Willie Edouin, Fred Kaye, Kate James and Alice Atherton.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1885)


Lena Merville

March 8, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Lena Merville (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
English born American actress and singer, in an unidentified role
(photo: Max Platz, Chicago, circa 1890)

Vulcan; or, the Hammer-ous Blacksmith, Opera Comique, London, Saturday, 18 March 1882 ‘Vulcan, the burlesque by Messrs. Edward Rose and Augustus Harris, is a version of the same author’s [sic] Venus, which was brought out at the Royalty Theatre on July 14, 1879… .
‘[Among the cast, which also included Robert Brough, Nellie Claremont, Kate Lovell, George Temple, Annie Robe, Lottie Harcourt and Julia Vokins,] Miss Lena Merville throws much life and spirit into her playing of Cupid, though she is too self-possessed, and plays at the audience in a most objectionable manner – a rapidly-growing fault amongst burlesque actresses, and one which should be discouraged… .’
(The Stage, London, Friday, 24 March 1882, p. 9a/b)

‘French farces on the order of [Georges Feydeau’s] The Girl from Maxim’s do not often visit Richmond. The Turtle and Self and Lady have been here, but that is about all in recent years. A fairly large audience went to the Academy last night to laugh, and they laughed heartily. Perhaps some went to be shocked, but they were probably disappointed. True, there are some things in the piece that are risque, but the play does not make them unduly obtrusive. The Praline, Lena Merville, is supposed to be the center of attraction, but somehow others won more favor. She worked hard, and really played the part well, although her singing was only ordinary. The character work of Joseph Allen, as Gen. Petypont, was excellent. So was that of John H. Armstrong, as Le Due, and Florence Gerald, as Mme. Petypont. W.H. Turner was also successful as Dr. Petypont. The company was a large one, and only a few were really weak.’
(The Times, Richmond, Virginia, Friday, 25 October 1901, p. 3f)

Lena Merville was among the mourners at the funeral of Alice Atherton (Mrs Willie Edouin), which took place at the Little Church Around the Corner, New York, on 7 February 1899.


Sam Bernard

February 24, 2013

a photograph of a three-sheet lithograph poster by H.O. Minor Litho Co, New York, with a portrait of Sam Bernard (1863-1927), English born comic actor, in the role Hermann Engel in The Marquis of Michigan,
produced at the Bijou Theatre, New York, 21 September 1898
(photo: unknown, probably New York, circa 1898)

Marquis of Michigan Saved by Comedian and Alice Atherton.
‘Some of Its Redeeming Features Noted Together with the Plan of the Piece.
‘The principal members of the cast of The Marquis of Michigan – notably, Mr. Sam Bernard and Miss Alice Atherton – had a good deal more to do than the authors with the favor that marked its reception last night at the Bijou theatre. For two men as well known in the business of writing as Mr. Glen MacDonough and Mr. Edward Townsend to have turned out such a thin and inconsequential farce as this one, was a thing not to have been expected and not worthy of praise.
‘Mr. Bernard’s original humor and Miss Atherton’s remarkably clever singing of a number of new and attractive sons unquestionably saved the day – or, rather, the night. The hero of The Marquis of Michigan is the son of a brewer, and he has artistic tendencies which lead him to make a trip to Europe. While there he is captured by banditti, along with a wealthy clergyman who is his companion traveler, and the clergyman is shot. Before dying he tries to make his will, and being without writing materials he paints it upon the back of his young artist friend with that cherry youth’s own oils and brushes. That at least is the story the youthful artist tells on his return to America to foil the scheming daughters of the dead clergyman, who are having a former will probated.
‘It is developed later on that the will painting affair was accomplished by another prisoner of the bandits, a female circus performer who went through some sort of a marriage ceremony with the artist before she could be induced to even look at his bare back, ”out of feelings of delicatessen,” as Mr. Bernard cheerfully remarks. He has gone through all this decorative business so that the girl in American whom he loves, and who is a foster daughter of the dead parson, may inherit the estate.
‘The most of this is told in dialogue, and all of it is supposed to have happened before the curtain goes up on the first act. Here the brewer’s son has just returned , having escaped from the bandits, and he find his lady love practising law as an up to date member of the bar. Of course the circus woman turns up to interfere by her presence with his other matrimonial affairs, and this neither new nor specially diverting complication, coupled with the vicissitudes of the woman’s newest venture in the show world, serves as the backbone of the piece.
‘it is fortunate that Mr. Bernard and his associates had an opportunity to play The Marquis of Michigan for a term out of town in order to get it into shape for New York. It must have been a pretty crude affair originally, and it is to be presumed that the work will improve with further repetition and revision.
‘Of Mr. Bernard’s personal performance there is nothing to be said save in a commendatory spirit. He possesses a dialect which is at all times amusing and frequently so grotesque as to awaken the heartiest of laughter. The deep earnestness with which he performs trivial acts is intensely ludicrous, and it must be admitted without reserve that he is an actor of the utmost worth.
‘His extensive popularity in New York was manifested last night through the expression of enthusiastic good will that greeted him upon his entrance, the applause and laughter that followed him throughout the evening, find the great number of imposing floral pieces contributed by his admirers and former associates. It may be necessary to find a substitute for Mr. Bernard. He is distinctly all right and like any other actor, no matter how high his ability, he must have the right kind of material.
As already noted, Miss Atherton was the leading feature of the supporting company last evening. She played the circus woman with intelligence and spirit, and she sang her songs so effectively that her encores followed on upon another deafeningly. In the first act she had a song called ”Lady Jim” that met with a tremendous reception, and in the second she introduced among others a ”coon” ditty, the refrain of which, set to very tuneful music, ran:
‘Nobody’s business what my man does to me,
‘Nobody’s business if he takes me on his knee,
‘Nobody’s business if he chastises me,
‘Nobody’s business but my own.
‘These two songs were unquestionably the great hits of the evening, although there were others. One of these was contributed by William Burress, who played in the first act with a sleight of hand performer with a foreign accent and the gift of hypnotism. This was a capital study, well worked out.
‘Mr. Dan Collyer appeared as a sentimental burglar. Miss Harriet Sterling was the young woman loved by the brewer’s son. Miss Maud White was her bosom friend, and Mr. Charles Jackson was a young fellow with a perpetual hoo-doo. The prettiest girl in the company – of whom there were several – was Miss Helen Potter, and among those who ran her a close race were Vivian Townsend, Grace Freeman, Helen Lacy, Annie Black and Lillian Collins.
The Marquis of Michigan was prettily stage, and with further work in the line of reconstruction, it will probably serve Mr. Bernard’s purpose.’
(L.R., The Morning Telegraph, New York, New York, Thursday, 22 September 1898, p. 3e)

‘Sam Bernard has recovered from the nervous stress which made him too hard and loud in the first performance of The Marquis of Michigan at the Bijou. He is easier with the fun, and therefore more laughable. The venture of putting him forward as a ”star” is justified. The best characterization in the acting is done by Mr. [William] Burress as a hypnotist and a rural Sheriff, both excellent delineations. Alice Atherton’s songs are valuable contributions to the entertainment.’
(The Sun, New York, New York, 2 October 1898, p. 3b)