Posts Tagged ‘Casino Theatre (New York)’


Song sheet for ‘My Little Baby,’ sung by Dan Daly in The Belle of New York, first sung at the Casino Theatre, New York, 1897

August 17, 2014

song sheet cover for ‘My Little Baby’ as sung by Dan Daly in the role of Ichabod Bronson in the original production of The Belle of New York, which was produced at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 28 September 1897. The halftone photograph is of Mr Daly with Edna May as Violet Gray.
(photo: probably Byron, New York, 1897; song sheet published as the supplement to The New York Journal and Advertiser, New York, Sunday, 13 November 1898)

The first run of The Belle of New York closed at the Casino, New York, on 26 December 1897. The company then toured the United States before leaving for England and its engagement at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, where The Belle of New York, with its original American cast, opened on 12 April 1898. With various changes of cast and substitutions the piece ran successfully for 693 performances, closing on 30 December 1899.


Paula Edwardes in Winsome Winnie at the Casino Theatre, New York, 1903

February 6, 2014

Paula Edwardes (1870?-after 1926), American musical comedy actress as she appeared in the title role of Winsome Winnie, a musical comedy produced at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 1 December 1903.
(photo: unknown, probably New York, 1903; halftone postcard published by Carter & Out, New York, 1903)

‘Two new plays will be produced to-night and two to-morrow night. First-nighters will have to hustle to keep up with the procession. Paula Edwardes will be presented as a star to-night at the Casino in Winsome Winnie. The other new attraction will be at the Bijou, where Alice Fischer opens in What’s the Matter With Susan?‘ This is Miss Fischer’s second starring season and Miss Edwardes’s first.’
(The Sun, New York, New York, Tuesday, 1 December 1903, p. 6d)

‘The production on a New-York stage of such a musical comedy as Winsome Winnie shown last night at the Casino with Miss Paul Edwardes in the title part, illustrates how far musical comedy standards have been lowered in this country, or, at any rate, how well nigh impossible it is to find American musical comedy makers who can level up to these standards. Winsome Winnie is credited to the author of Erminie, Jakobowski and Paulton, but there remains only six musical numbers for which they are responsible; the rest have been supplied by Gustav Kerker with Frederick Ranken’s lyrics. And Mr. Ranken has made an ”American version” of the book. Was the original version so bad, then, that it has to be doctored out of all semblance of itself? By Erminie, it is hard to believe! Yet, if doctored, it must be, why not have done the job thoroughly? Why not have made a new comedy of it altogether, and announced it as a musical play by Ranken and Kerker, with a few interpolated songs by Jakobowski? Why weave, in short, upon the fabric of an old fashioned opera bouffe, such as Winsome Winnie must have once been, the violent, incoherent designs of an American machine made musical comedy, things of ”gags” and ”local allusions” and Dutch dialect and tripping ”show girls,” and then try to palm off the patchwork as art upon the public?
Winsome Winnie in its present form falls between two stools; it is neither a Broadway ”show” nor an opera bouffe, or old-fashioned musical comedy. Remarks about Chicago and the subway fall on the ears of Offenbachish brigands, show girls trip under trees such as Turner painted in his foregrounds, and the skeleton of a plot, poor Paulton’s dim, far off idea, appears and disappears fitfully, like the smile of the Chessie cat [sic].
‘Mr. Kerker, to be sure, has contributed some pleasing numbers, and the management a vast array of pleasing costumes on still more pleasing girls. And two, at least, of the few numbers by Jakobowki that are retained, one in each act, have the rhythmic swing and melodious and merry orchestration which helped to make Erminie popular. Miss Paula Edwardes, also, announced as a star, makes good the assertion, and is easily the most successful – the one successful, perhaps – mirth creator in the cast. She looks very charming, and plays with considerable feeling for the opera bouffe spirit that was evidently meant to animate the piece. As a whole, however, Winsome Winnie is not likely to set the town on fire.’
(New York Daily Tribune, New York, New York, Wednesday, 2 December 1903, p. 9a)

* * * * *

‘Paula Edwardes Says She Was Told to Go to Broadway and 23rd Street Corner and Pray.
‘New York, Aug. 17 [1926] – nearly a quarter of a century ago, a new an scintillating star twinkled in the firmament of tuneful musical comedy and opera bouffe.
‘some habitues of the theater and patrons of entertainment served up in musical form will remember The Princess and the Beggar [sic], a melodious classic produced by Charles Dillingham, the ”hit” tues of which are even yet played sometimes, somewhere.
‘Paula Edwardes was the star of that particular musical melange. She twinkled in all the brightness of the old-time production of that sort, with its princes and retinues, beggars and maids. She danced and pranced across the stage, sang lilting love songs to a manly prince and took her many curtain calls with all the fairy-like grace she possessed.
‘Early yesterday when the downpour of rain was at its height, policeman Belton saw a dim figure kneeling at the coner of Broadway and Twenty-third street. It was a woman praying, her face uplifted to the pelting rain.
‘The woman was Paula Edwardes.
‘She said she was fifty-six years of age and had been an actress for thirty years. She had been ordered to go to that corner and pray in a dream, she told police.
‘Paula Edwardes was taken to the Bellevue hospital for observation.’
(The Norwalk Hour, Norwalk, Connecticut, Tuesday, 17 August 1926, p. 3b)


José Collins heads the cast of The Merry Countess, Casino Theatre, New York, 1912

November 17, 2013

a scene from The Merry Countess, a comic opera based on Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, book by Gladys Unger, lyrics by Arthur Anderson, which was produced at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 20 August 1912. Members of the cast in this photograph are (left to right) José Collins (1887-1958) as Countess Rosalinda Cliquot, Forrest Huff (1876-1947), Maurice Farkoa (1864-1916) as Gabor Szabo, Claude Flemming (1884-1952) and Martin Brown (1885-1936).
(photo: White, New York, 1912)

The London version of this production was seen at the Lyric Theatre on 30 December 1911, with Constance Drever as Countess Rosalinda Cliquot and Maurice Farkoa as Gabor Szabo. Both the London and New York productions featured the striking black and white gown allotted to the character of the Countess, seen here worn by Miss Collins. This gown was the inspiration for a similar black and white outfit designed by Cecil Beaton for one of the ladies of the Ascot scene chorus in the film, My Fair Lady (1964).


Fascinating Flora

July 4, 2013

members of the chorus in Fascinating Flora, a musical comedy by R.H. Burnside and Joseph W. Herbert, with music by Gustav Kerker, Casino Theatre, New York, 20 May 1907
(photo: unknown, New York, 1907)

‘Fascinating Flora is just another musical concoction built along the same lines as scores of predecessors. Nothing but the expected happens; choruses sing, dance, and stand in line, smile, wear colored clothes; principals get into trouble and out of it, burst into song at intervals commensurate with their importance, make jokes about New York, do specialities of more or less cleverness; the curtain falls to divide the evening into two parts; the orchestra plays the air that the promoters hope will be popular. The whole thing is done according to formula as accurately as a prescription is compounded in a drug store. And the audience, strictly ritualistic as a musical comedy audience always is, is pleased.

‘It is the ingredients, the individuals and what they do that makes the success of a musical comedy. Fascinating Flora has the advantage of being made of good material. Its present faults are the faults of youth; the mixture has not aged sufficiently to develop effervescence and flavor.

‘The lady of the title is, of course, an actress, in this case an opera prima donna. She has deserted her husband on account of his incorrigible goodness and is seeking means of divorcing him in order to marry her impresario, Gulliver Gayboy. The desolate husband, Alphonse Alligretti, conducts a musical school in Paris, where the first act takes place. He attends a ball, becomes compromised with his wife’s maid, Fifi, suffers many tortures of conscience, and is received again into the affections of Flora. Incidental to the two acts there develop several complications relating to stock of a mining property owned by an impecunious German, Professor Ludwig Wagner, a series of love affairs between an operatic tenor, Edouard Valliere, and Rose Gayboy; a stock broker, Jack Graham, and Dolly Wagner; and a purely platonic friendship between Winnie Wiggles, who has taken vocal culture in a correspondence school, and Baron Reynard, an ancient patron of music. The first scene of the second act occurs in a broker’s office in New York, and the second scene takes place at Manhattan Beach. Some of the novel features are a duet between Winnie Wiggles and Caruso, the latter represented by a phonograph; a “Subway Express” song, with the chorus impersonating passengers in a Subway car; a ballooning episode that came too late on the opening night to be effective, and a dancing number by a dozen girls dressed as messenger boys. A bathing girl number in the second act promised well but failed to arouse much interest.

‘Adele Ritchie in the leading role of Flora played much in her usual manner. Of her two solos, a march song called “Yankee Land” has a catchy air. In the topical songs, “What Will Happen Then?” sung with Allegretti and Gayboy; “The Subway Express,” in which Allegretti has the other “Ballooning,” sung with the chorus, Miss Ritchie acquitted herself well. Louis Harrison was very agreeable in the role of Allegretti, and his own song, “Romance and Reality,” with music by Sloane, was the most favored vocal number after “The Subway Express.” Fred Bond as Gulliver Gayboy played with his customary ease and understanding. James E. Sullivan as Professor Ludwig Wagner was the conventional German, rather funny than otherwise. Charles Jackson, as Baron Reynard and Edward M. Favor as Edouard Valliere both added to the comedy element. Ella Snyder made an attractive Dolly, but Kathlee Clifford was dull and neutral as Rose. Tremont Benton had no chance to shine in the role of Fifi.
‘The really best work in the piece was done, as usual, by Ada Lewis. Her intelligent appreciation of the value of seriousness in burlesque makes her appearance in a musical play a surety of at least one interesting feature. In Fascinating Flora she has an inconspicuous part, but it becomes the most prominent through her work in it.
‘The staging of the play is elaborate. A clever dark change is made in the second act, from the interior of a broker’s office to the front of a hotel at Manhattan Beach. The color scheme of the first act is discordant. The chorus is dressed in light blue, pink and lavender, and the scenery is painted light green, with lavender trimmings.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 1 June 1907, p.3a)

Edna May in The Belle of New York

June 29, 2013

Edna May (1878-1948), American star of musical comedy, as she appeared as Violet Gray in The Belle of New York, which was first produced at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 28 September 1897 and then at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on 12 April 1898.
(cabinet photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1898; the photograph has been inscribed by Miss May to Reginald Edward Golding Bright (1874-1941), the English literary and dramatic agent.

A chat with Miss Edna May, ”THE BELLOF NEW YORK.”
‘PROSPERITY, through a fascinating Salvation [Army] lass, has come to the Shaftesbury Theatre. Crowded houses are nightly and at every matinée welcoming with rapture the gay American Company which has come, I hope, to stay. So delighted was I with my visit to this comfortable playhouse that I obtained an introduction to
Miss Edna May,
‘the sweet-voiced Belle herself, and found her as charming and as delightfully ingenuous as she appears before the footlights, where she takes all our hearts captive.
”’Perfectly lovely,” is Miss Edna May’s concise opinion of her reception. ”We were told before the curtain went up not to be disheartened if we did not get encores. Therefore the reception you gave us made a still more agreeable surprise. Indeed, your enthusiasm outrivalled even that of New York.”
”’So you are inclined to lie us here in London?”
”’Everything is Delightful.
”’I have not seen much as yet, but I mean to do so. I have been to see ‘The Geisha,’ and immensely admired dear little Maggie May’s voice; and last Sunday I lunched at Richmond, and then explored Hampton court. Your parks are splendid. But why do your women wear such long skirts when biking?
”’Do I Bike?
”’What a question! Yes, ever since I was twelve. I wouldn’t be without my Spalding wheel for anything.”
”’Is this your first appearance in a musical fantasia?”
”’Why, yes. I haven’t been on the boards more than eighteen months.”
”’Indeed! From where did you get your charming young voice, which for strength, timbre, register, and perfect harmony pleased me immensely?”
”’Well, I was born in Syracuse, New York State, but my schooling as a girl was acquired in New York, where I receive a general education, my musical instructor being Professor Walters; but I fear I gave most of my attention to fencing, which, although the most delightful exercise, is not particularly beneficial to the voice. But you must know that
”’I Never Studied for the Stage ”’in any way, my parents being of quite a different turn of mind. Nor have I sung before in public, excepting solos in church occasionally, at home, and in New York. However, a friend recommended me to go on the stage when I was barely seventeen – i.e. two years ago [sic] – when
”’I appeared in ‘Santa Maria
”’under Mr. Hammerstein at the Olympic Theatre in New York, and in the chief cities of the United States. Afterwards I played a small part with Mr. Hoyt, his wife being the star, in ‘A Contended Woman’; but seeing no prospect of getting on, I returned home rather discouraged.”
”’And then came your opportunity?”
”’The Character of Violet Gray
”’in ‘The Belle of New York.’ Isn’t it a sweet-sounding name?”
”’Your voice is so fresh and natural, and its register is very great; quite up to upper E I should say.”
”’Yes, that is the extent of my register. The music of ‘The Belle of New York’ scarcely does me credit, as it is written for a medium register. It is when I get on the higher notes that I feel most at home. The fact is
”’I Really Love to Sing.
”’I got the nickname of Adelina Patti at school, partly for that reason, and because my patronymic is very similar. Edna May, my stage name, being really Christian names only.”
”’Before I go I wonder if you would oblige me with a verse of that charming Salvation-lass song, which has haunted me ever since I heard it?”
‘Most obligingly Miss May sat down and sang the sweet, demurely expressed refrain, which has become the talk of London –
”’When I ask then to be good,
As all young men should be,
they only say they would
Be very good – to me.
Follow on, follow on,
Till the light of Faith you see
But they never proceed
To follow that light
But always follow – me.”’
(The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, London, Saturday, 30 April 1898, p. 276)


Lottie Medley

February 25, 2013

Lottie Medley (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
American actress, singer and dancer
(photo: unknown, USA, late 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card of Lottie Medley was issued in England about 1900 in one of Ogden’s Guinea Gold series.

‘To Miss Lottie Medley has been assigned the important role of Jeanette Durling in The Runaways at the Casino. She succeeds Miss Mabel Carrier [who] by reason of the continued illness of Miss Helen Lord has been promoted to the task of playing Dorothy Hardtack. Miss Medley, who is not only a good singer, but a talented actress in comedy roles, also becomes the understudy of Miss Fay Templeton in the leading role of the performance.’
(The Trenton Times, Trenton, New Jersey, Tuesday, 28 July 1903, p.2a)


February 25, 2013

Lottie Medley (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
American actress, singer and dancer
(photo: unknown, USA, late 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card of Lottie Medley was issued in England about 1900 in one of Ogden’s Guinea Gold series.

‘To Miss Lottie Medley has been assigned the important role of Jeanette Durling in The Runaways at the Casino. She succeeds Miss Mabel Carrier [who] by reason of the continued illness of Miss Helen Lord has been promoted to the task of playing Dorothy Hardtack. Miss Medley, who is not only a good singer, but a talented actress in comedy roles, also becomes the understudy of Miss Fay Templeton in the leading role of the performance.’
(The Trenton Times, Trenton, New Jersey, Tuesday, 28 July 1903, p.2a)


A Chinese Honeymoon, 2nd Anniversary Souvenir, 5 October 1903

January 22, 2013

cover of A Chinese Honeymoon souvenir,
distributed at the Strand Theatre, London, 5 October 1903
(from original artwork by ‘Kin’,
published for the Strand Theatre by The Stage Souvenir Co, London,
printed by David Allen & Sons Ltd, London and Belfast, 1903)

This attractive souvenir of the long-running musical comedy by George Dance, with music by Howard Talbot, which began its career at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, on 16 October 1899, contains photographs of and text by the leading personalities of the piece (including Picton Roxborough) on the occasion of its second anniversary at the Strand Theatre, London, where it had opened on 5 October 1901. A Chinese Honeymoon eventually closed there after 1,075 performances on 23 May 1904.

George Dance

George Dance (1858-1932), English dramatist and theatrical manager
(photo: Lizzie Caswall Smith, London, 1903

May honestly claim to be the most successful of all musical comedies. Originally produced by Mr. George Dance’s Company on October 16th, 1899, at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, it at once leaped into pubic favour. Two companies were sent immediately on the road, and it was while paying a visit to the Theatre Royal, Darlington, the following year that Mr. Frank Curzon first saw it. He determined to bring it to London, and he produced it eventually at this theatre on October 5th, 1901. Since that date it has been played here without a break, and this evening it registers its second anniversary.
In addition to the Strand production, A Chinese Honeymoon is being represented to-night by five different companies in the British provinces, under the direction of Mr. George Dance.
Messrs. Shubert ‘presented’ it at the Casino Theatre, New York, on June 2nd, 1901, where it met with an enthusiastic reception, and 500 consecutive performances were given – hereby establishing a record for musical plays in New York. It is now being played by four ‘road’ companies in the United States and Canada, under the management of the Messrs. Shubert.
It was produced by Mr. George Musgrove at the Princess’s Theatre, Melbourne, on June 30th, 1902, with equal success; and ran into 165 performances – a record for the Antipodes. Mr. Musgrove’s Company is now touring it in Australia and New Zealand [and Tasmania].
One February 14th, 1901, Mr. George Walton produced it at the Theatre Royal, Capetown, with its customary success (a success that was continued throughout South Africa) and a second tour is now being organized to open in Capetown in a few months’ time.
A German version was given at the Central Theater, Hamburg, by Mr. C.M. Roehr on February 12th, 1903, whtn the universal verdict was repeated. It is now included in the répertoire of the principal theatres throughout Germany, Austria and Hungary.
Mr. Maurice E. Bandmann is at the present time taking it on a third tour through the English-speaking cities situated round the Mediterranean.
Arrangements are already conducted for its presentation to the Parisian public. And it would seen that with this last invasion it had no other worlds left to conquer; but this is not so, for a series of unauthorized performances were given last year in China itself.
R. Byron Webber, Business Manager. Strand Theatre, Oct. 5th, 1903.


January 16, 2013

a stereoscopic photograph of Willie Edouin as the phrenologist Anthony Tweedlepunch, impressing Charles E. Stevens as Cyrus W. Gilfain in the original production of Leslie Stuart’s successful musical comedy, Florodora, which opened under the management of Tom B. Davis at the Lyric Theatre, London, on 11 November 1899.
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1899)

Mr Edouin repeated his Tweedlepunch when Florodora was first presented to American audiences at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 10 November 1900.


Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam in The Passing Show, Palace Theatre, London, 1914

January 13, 2013

song sheet cover for ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’
words by Harry B. Smith, music by Jerome D. Kern
sung by Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam
in Alfred Butt’s production of the revue
The Passing Show, Palace Theatre, London, 20 April 1914
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1914;
published by Francis, Day & Hunter, London, and
T.B. Harms & Francis, Day & Hunter, New York, 1914)

The first revue entitled The Passing Show was staged at the Casino Theatre, New York, in May 1894. The name was revived on Broadway for a similar production, The Passing Show of 1912 (Winter Garden, 22 July 1912). Thereafter there was a Passing Show every year until 1919, and the last of the series was The Passing Show of 1921 (Winter Garden, 29 December 1920). Meanwhile in London the format was reproduced by Alfred Butt at the Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus, where The Passing Show was produced on 20 April 1914 with Elsie Janis, a young Broadway star making her first appearance in London, Basil Hallam, Clara Beck, Gwendoline Brogden, Winifred Delavanti, Marjorie Cassidy, Jack Christy, Mildred Stokes, Florence Sweetman, Nelson Keys and Arthur Playfair.

Elsie Janis and her partner Basil Hallam were an immediate hit. They recorded their two duets from the show, ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’ (HMV 4-2401; 1.20mb Mp3 file) and ‘I’ve Got Everything I Want But You’ (HMV 04116) in London on 4 June 1914.

The Passing Show proved so popular that Butt repeated his success the following year with The Passing Show of 1915 (Palace, 9 March 1915, with a second edition on 12 July), again starring Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam.

‘Elsie Janis Manager
‘Makes Alfred Butt of the Palace Talk Terms for New Act.
‘London, April 4 [1914]. – Elsie Janis has become a “manager,” according to Alfred Butt, proprietor of the Palace theater, where Miss Janis is to open in the new Revue in a fortnight.
‘“When Miss Janis was in London last summer,” Mr. Butt explained today, “I signed her to appear at the Palace. When she arrived back here a few weeks ago she informed me she had brought two other artists and I must find places for them on the bill.
‘“I saw them to-day for the first time and asked them both to sign contracts. To my amazement they said they couldn’t sign, that they already were under contract to Miss Janis. I asked her what it all meant and she told me she had both these music hall artists tied up tight for twelve months. If I wanted their services I must negotiate with their manager – and I did.”’
(The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 5 April 1914, Section 1, p.1b)<br><br>

Listen to a cover version of ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’ sung by Olive Kline and Harry Macdonough, recorded for Victor, Camden, NJ, 17 February 1914.