Posts Tagged ‘Cinderella (pantomime)’


Alexandra Dagmar and Edmond DeCelle, duettists, United States and United Kingdom, 1890s

December 24, 2014

Dagmar and DeCelle (active 1890s), Anglo-American duettists: Alexandra Dagmar (1868-1940), English music hall vocalist and pantomime principal boy, and Edmond DeCelle (1854?-1920), American tenor
(cabinet photo: Robinson & Roe, 54 West 14th Street, New York, and 77 & 79 Clark Street, Chicago, circa 1890)

‘(By Our Special Commissioner.)
‘Few of the critics, lay and professional, who waxed so enthusiastic over Miss Dagmar’s performance in the pantomime [Cinderella, produced on 24 December 1894] at [the Metropole Theatre] Camberwell had any idea that the lady then made her first appearance in the capacity of a principal boy. But such was the case. Previously Miss Dagmar had appeared on our variety stage, and, as she is an important from America, the impression prevailed that she is a product of the United States. But that is not the case. Miss Dagmar is a London girl, of Danish parents, which may account for her Junoesque proportions and wondrously fair hair. Her association with the stage began some ten years ago, when a friend of the family, remarking her beautiful voice, suggested a professional career. Miss Dagmar was delighted by the very thought. Her father, however, was reluctant, and it was some time ere he could be prevailed upon to let his daughter avail herself of an introduction to Miss Sarah Thorne. But at length all obstacles were overcome, and Miss Alexandra Dagmar became a very humble member of the theatrical profession, playing a fairy, ”of something of that kind,” she vaguely recalls, in a travelling pantomime, on the old subject of ”Peter Wilkins.” She has a vivid recollection of papa escorting her to Maidstone and committing her to the sober and respectable care of a temperance hotel.
‘But good luck was in store for her – good luck that grew, as it sometimes will, out of another’s misfortune. The second girl fell ill – Miss Dagmar was, after no more than a week’s experience, promoted to the part thus vacated, and continued to play it during the fifteen weeks ensuing. Her great effort was a ballad entitled ”Waiting.” Miss Dagmar recalls that one of her companions during a delightful engagement was none other than Miss Janet Achurch, who played the Fairy Queen. After an experience on the stage as free from temptation and knowledge of the great world as a sojourn in a seminary might be, Miss Dagmar returned to the bosom of her family, and her further devotion to the stage was regarded with much disfavour. But the circumstances of her friends underwent a sudden change, and Miss Dagmar was, in fact, quite grateful for the necessity to make the most of her talent. The most lucrative engagement that offered was to visit America, and there join the Boston Redpath Lyceum Bureau.
‘This is a curious and interesting organisation. It forms concert parties and other entertaining bodies, and sends them the round of high-class social institutions – literary society, young men’s Christian associations, and the like. The performances were given in evening dress, and were as proper as proper could be. The company that Miss Dagmar first joined had especially a German character, and she became a notable singer of Volkslieder. For several years Miss Dagmar travelled with the Redpath Lyceum companies; and here one Mr De Celle appears on the scene. Mr De Celle comes from Chicago, and has all his life been devoted to music – as a singer and as a manager for eminent performers. In his time has has, for instance, engineered Remenyi and Ovide Musin, the violinists. Mr De Celle was the manager of the Lyceum company to which Miss Dagmar belonged, and took a special interest in the development of her voice. Some four years ago [sic] they were married.
‘When Miss Dagmar left the Redpath Lyceum she soon found herself in great request with the managers of high-class variety entertainments. At Koster and Bial’s, for instance, she is a great favourite. Alone, or as eventually she appeared, in association with Mr De Celle, Miss Dagmar has appeared at Koster and Bial’s for two years in the aggregate, and she rejoices in a general invitation from Mr Albert Bial to make the famous variety theatre her home. At first Miss Dagmar used to sing on the variety stage in evening dress. Then she had the happy thought of giving in costume excerpts from popular operas, her husband also taking part. The managers of the American theatres, so Miss Dagmar tells you, look upon the variety performer with friendly toleration. ”Sing your exceprt,” they say, ”and welcome. So far from your injuring us, you give us a valuable advertisement.” So Mr De Celle and his wife acquired a vast repertory of operatic fragments. An except from La Cigale was a notable favourite with American audiences. But when the duettists reached England a stern copyright law assailed their repertory on every side, and decimated it. They are left with nothing much to sing besides their always popular jödel. And the worst of it is, pay what money they will for original compositions, they get nothing to suit them.
‘One has run ahead a little. From time to time, ere yet they left America, Miss Dagmar and Mr de Celle appeared with ”combinations,” and notably with Mr William A. Brady‘s companies. They appeared in the variety scene when he produced After Dark, and when eventually he set out with Gentleman Jack, they ”supported” Mr Jim Corbett during a tour of the phenomenal success. Miss Dagmar, in making up her mind to visit England some nine months ago, had two objects in view. She wanted to ”go in for” a severe course of study; and she wanted to distinguish herself as a burlesque boy. Alas! burlesque boys were not in strong demand, and Miss Dagmar determined on a pilgrimage to Italy. But Mr. Brady, then about to exploit Corbett over here, begged his old friends to join him; and so they did, although there were not able to take part in the first week’s performances of Gentleman Jack at Drury-lane [21 April-5 May 1894]. This, by the way, was a memorable period of Miss Dagmar’s life. She wore tights for the first time! One’s demand for a full and particular account of the sensations that a young lady experiences in such circumstances is doomed to disappointment, for Miss Dagmar says, ”Well, you may call it the first time; for I had just had them on previously. That that began my career as a stage boy.”
‘London music hall managers were quick to appreciate the worth of the new turn. Since Miss Dagmar and Mr De Celle arrived in London they have never been out of an engagement, their notable successes having been achieved at the Palace Theatre, the Alhambra, and the Royal. Their services have been secured for well nigh six months to come, and during the spring and early summer they will visit a series of the great continental music halls. Meanwhile, neither of the objects that Miss Dagmar had in view when she determined to come to London has been lost sight of. She meant to study, and she is studying very diligently, with Mr [Albert] Visetti, at the Guildhall School of Music. As to the principal boy? Well, here is the progress of the principal boy. The tantalising delays attendant upon the completion of his theatre at Camberwell left Mr [John Brennan] Mulholland in grave doubt as to whether he should be able to do a pantomime this year or not. When at length he could make arrangements there was probably the shortest space of time at his disposal that ever a manager dared to contemplate for the preparation of a Christmas annual. But he had many potent influences at command, and with wondrous tact and energy he manipulated them to the point of success. Who should be principal boy? That was, indeed, a momentous question. Would Miss Dagmar like the engagement, said her agent? Was not Miss Dagmar, indeed, dying to show London what she could do in this capacity[?] She set to work, and for the first time in her life found herself an important figure in the development of a story on the stage. Miss Dagmar is perfectly delighted with her success. And, indeed, her ambition has received a particular incentive that is not yet the time to disclose. But the variety stage may, at any rate, take a hint to make the most of her while it can. Camberwell is not so very far from the Strand – nor too far for the excursions of observant managers, with eyes wide open when new ”talent” is airing itself, and words of honey on their lips when the discussion of future arrangements begins. Of one thing Miss Dagmar is quite certain. She never had a happier thought than when she determined, after so long an interval, to resume her theatrical career in circumstances curiously similar to those wherein she left it. The years ago she played in a pantomime with conspicuous success, and by the way of a pantomime she has stepped into a position of gratifying distinction on the London stage.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 12 January 1895, p. 11e)


Alexandra Dagmar as Dandini in the pantomime Cinderella, Drury Lane Theatre, Christmas 1895

December 24, 2014

Alexandra Dagmar (1868-1940), English music hall vocalist and pantomime principal boy as Dandini in the Ballroom Scene of the pantomime Cinderella, produced at Drury Lane Theatre on Boxing Night, 26 December 1895.
(cabinet size photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, W, negative no. 20706-7, early 1896)

‘Miss Alexandra Dagmar, the Dandini, is an accomplished vocalist, and her singing adds much to the general effect.’
(The Standard, London, Friday, 27 December 1895, p. 2b)

* * * * *

Alexandra Dagmar, whose real name was Dagmar Alexandra Heckell, was born in Polar, east London, on 13 March 1868, one of the daughters of her Danish-born parents, Charles Heckell (1828?-1889), a ship’s chandler (bankrupt, 1868) and later a wholesale provision merchant, and his wife, Christine (1833?-1898).

Miss Dagmar first came to general notice on 8 November 1884 under the management of ‘Lord’ George Sanger at his Grand National Amphitheatre, Westminster Bridge Road, London. Sanger, who billed her as ‘First appearance in England of the celebrated American actress Miss Grant Washington,’ cast her as Richard, Duke of Glo’ster to appear in ‘the Fifth Act of ”Richard III.,” portraying the Battle of Bosworth Field and Death of White Surrey – a scene of unparalleled effect.’ (The Era, London, Saturday, 1 November 1884, p. 16b) ‘… and then the last act of ”Richard III.” was given, an especial novelty being the representation of the chief personages by ladies. It had certainly a comic effect when Miss Grant Washington appeared as the crook-backed tyrant with beard and moustache, fighting and declaiming in the most ”robustious” manner. If Shakespeare was shaky it could not be denied that Miss Grant Washington was a handsome young lady with a fine figure and a good voice, and her rendering of Richard was vigorous in the extreme.’ (The Morning Post, London, Monday, 10 November 1884, p. 2f)

Miss Dagmar subsequently toured the United States under the auspices of the Boston Redpath Lyceum Bureau. Here she met Edmond DeCelle (1854?-1920), a tenor, and the couple were married in New York in 1888; their son, Edmond Carl DeCelle (1890-1972), became an artist and costume designer. Mr and Mrs DeCelle subsequently appeared for a few years together on both sides of the Atlantic, billed as Dagmar and DeCelle, before Miss Dagmar resumed her solo career. She appears to have retired on the outbreak of the First World War, after which she and her family resided exclusively in America.

Alexandra Dagmar died in Mobile, Alabama, on 8 December 1940.


Dido Drake, English actress and singer

February 2, 2014

Dido Drake (1879-1970; theatrical career 1898-1909), English actress and singer
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1898; Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette card issued about 1900)

‘One of Mr C. Trevelyan’s dramatic pupils – Miss Dido Drake – has obtained a West-end engagement, Mr Thomas Thorne having selected her as understudy for the part of Margery, in Meadow Sweet, and Belinda, in Our Boys.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 6 August 1898, p. 12c)

Miss Drake appeared as Sparkle in the pantomime Cinderella at the Coronet Theatre, Notting Hill Gate, London, produced on 24 December 1898 – Frances Earle appeared as Prince Paragon, Julie Bing as Cinderella and Horace Lingard as Baron Stoney.

‘Miss Dido Drake, who is at present touring with Mr. Edward Terry and playing the part of Lavender, lately appeared at the Avenue Theatre with Mr. Weedon Grossmith in The Night of the Party. Previous to this she played in The Little Minister on tour.’
(The Tatler, London, Wednesday, 19 March 1902, p. 505c)

Dido Drake was born in Wavertree, Liverpool, on 11 November 1879 and baptised Harriette Jane Mercedes Drake at the chapel of St. Nicholas, Liverpool, on 3 December 1879; her parents were James Adolphus Drake (1846-1890), a broker and commission agent, and his wife, Alison (née Lycett), who was born in Edinburgh in 1855. In 1909 Miss Drake was married to the former actor, Arthur Steffens Hardy (1873-1939), a prolific writer of short stories for boys, whose real name was Arthur Joseph Steffens. Following his death she married in 1939 Leslie Binmore Burlace (1891-1962) and died on 12 October 1970.


Marie Tyler, English music hall comedienne and pantomime principal boy

January 11, 2014

Marie Tyler (1872?-1905), English music hall comedienne and pantomime principal boy
(photo: H.R. Willett, 5 Bristol Bridge, Bristol, late 19th Century)

This real photograph Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette cards records Marie Tyler’s appearance in the pantomime Cinderella, which was produced on Boxing Day, 26 December 1896 at the Pavilion Theatre, Mile End Road, East London. The cast also included Arthur Alexander, Rezene and Robini, Alice Lloyd, Julian Cross, Daisy Wood, Maitland Marler, Amy Russell, Lennox Pawle, Blanche Leslie, Arthur Bell, Florence Hope, La Petite Mignon, the Celeste Troupe and the Staveley Quartette.

Pavilion Theatre ‘In place of the usual Demon’s cave in which the plot of the pantomime is often hatched, the pantomime Cinderella opens in ”The Abode of Father Time,” a setting of clocks of every description, each showing the time in a different country. Topical allusions are plentiful through the piece, one referring to the East-end water companies finding special favour. Another leading scene is ”The Golden Ball-room,” in which electric lights are employed. As Prince Perfect, Miss Marie Tyler was yesterday warmly welcomed, and as Dandini, the valet, and Cinderella, Miss Alice Lloyd and Daisy Wood appeared for the third year as Pavilion pantomime favourites. Arthur Alexander, Julian Cross, and Rezene and Robini also took part in the production.’
(Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, London, Sunday, 27 December 1896, p. 2b)

‘Miss Marie Tyler, a lady we do not remember to have seen before in a London pantomime, does excellent work as Prince Perfect, and justifies her selection for such an important part. She gives a slightly melodramatic tinge to the Prince’s scenes, and her earnestness and conscientiousness enhance the point of her lines. Her vocal opportunities are wisely utilised in singing ditties that have been made popular at the [music] halls, one of the most successful being ”The song that will live forever.”’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 16 January 1897, p. 11b)

‘PRESENTATION. – On Tuesday night Miss Marie Tyler, who is playing principal boy in the pantomime, Cinderella, at the Pavilion Theatre, Mile-end-road, was presented with a magnificent bouquet of flowers, with long silk ribbons of pink and yellow. The presentation was made by the conductor at the finish of her soldier’s son, ”The Song that will Liver for Ever.”’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 30 January 1897, p. 10b)

* * * * *

Marie Tyler’s real name was Marian Frances Elizabeth Crutchlow. She was born about 1872 at Bethnal Green, East London, one of the children of Thomas Crutchlow, a wholesale confectioner, and his wife, Frances Elizabeth. She was married at the Registry Office, Brixton, South London, on 3 November 1897 to the music hall singer, Leo Dryden (1863-1939) whose son by his previous liaison with Mrs Charles Chaplin was the actor and film director, Wheeler Dryden (1892-1957). The latter was therefore half-brother to Sydney and Charlie Chaplin.

Marie Tyler died after a short illness on 27 June 1905.


Phyllis Dare as Peggy in The Dairymaids, 1907-1908

October 8, 2013

Phyllis Dare (1890-1975), English actress, singer and star of musical comedy as she appeared in The Dairymaids, a farcical musical play, with music by Paul Rubens and Frank E. Tours, 1907-1908
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1907/08)

The Dairymaids was first produced by Robert Courtneidge at the Apollo Theatre, London, on 14 April 1906, with Carrie Moore in the leading role of Peggy. The piece ran for 239 performances and closed on 8 December 1906. Courtneidge organized various tours of The Dairymaids, including one for the autumn of 1907 which began at the Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle of Man, on Monday, 19 August, with Phyllis Dare playing Peggy. Miss Dare was obliged to abandon her appearances for two weeks (Belfast and Sheffield) because of laryngitis, when the part of Peggy was taken by Violet Lloyd.

After a break during the Christmas season of 1907/08, during which Phyllis Dare appeared with Carrie Moore, Gwennie Hasto, Esta Stella, Rosie Berganine, John Humphries, Dan Rolyat, Stephen Adeson and Fred Leslie junior in the pantomime Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, she was again seen as Peggy in The Dairymaids. The production opened at the Queen’s Theatre, London, on 5 May 1908 for a run of 83 performances and closed on 18 July 1908.

* * * * *

‘LONDON, May 13 [1908]… . Revival of The Dairymaids this week at the Queen’s, the newest of London theaters, brings up that precocious little actress, Phyllis Dare, who, although she has been an established London favorite for three years, is only 19 years old. She has more ”puppy” adorers than any other woman on the English stage. The junior ”Johnnydom” goes mad over her, assures her of a well-filled house whenever she appears, and buys her postcards in thousands. It was the fair haired Phyllis who was summoned back from boarding school in Belgium when only 17 years of age to assume Edna May’s part in The Belle of Mayfair, when that independent American actress threw up her part because of the importance given to Camille Clifford, the original ”original” Gibson girl. The papers made so much of the fact that the little Phyllis’s studies had been interrupted by the siren call of Thespis that she packed the playhouse for many weeks with a curious public, many of whom had never before heard her name. Now I hear that Miss Dare will shortly essay the role of Juliet at a special matinee to be arranged by Robert Courtneidge, her manager.’
(Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, 23 May 1908, p. 16c)


October 2, 2013

Belle Ross (active 1907/09), English actress and dancer, as she appeared in a United Kingdom tour during 1908 of The Dairymaids
(photo: Bassano, London, 1908)

Belle Ross first came to notice during the Christmas season of 1907/08 as Little Red Riding Hood in the touring pantomime, A Fairy Pantomime; or, Little Red Riding Hood, which opened at the Lyceum Theatre, Ipswich, before moving on to the Royal Theatre, Peterborough, and then to the Royal Theatre, Norwich. She next appeared during 1908 as Rosie in a touring production headed by Phyllis Dare of The Dairymaids, a farcical musical play. The following Christmas Belle Ross was seen as Lord Chestnut in the pantomime, Cinderella, which was produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 24 December 1908, with Dan Roylat as the Baron, Mabel Russell as Mopsa, Carrie Moore as Rudolph and Phyllis Dare in the title role.


Belle Ross in The Dairymaids on tour in the UK during 1908

October 2, 2013

Belle Ross (active 1907/09), English actress and dancer, as she appeared in a United Kingdom tour during 1908 of The Dairymaids
(photo: Bassano, London, 1908)

Belle Ross first came to notice during the Christmas season of 1907/08 as Little Red Riding Hood in the touring pantomime, A Fairy Pantomime; or, Little Red Riding Hood, which opened at the Lyceum Theatre, Ipswich, before moving on to the Royal Theatre, Peterborough, and then to the Royal Theatre, Norwich. She next appeared during 1908 as Rosie in a touring production headed by Phyllis Dare of The Dairymaids, a farcical musical play. The following Christmas Belle Ross was seen as Lord Chestnut in the pantomime, Cinderella, which was produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 24 December 1908, with Dan Roylat as the Baron, Mabel Russell as Mopsa, Carrie Moore as Rudolph and Phyllis Dare in the title role.


the audience at the Brixton Theatre, 6 January 1906, during a performance of Cinderella

June 27, 2013

the audience at the Brixton Theatre, South London, during a performance of the pantomime, Cinderella, 6 January 1906
(photo: unknown, London, 6 January 1906)

The cast of the Brixton Theatre 1905 pantomime, Cinderella, which opened on Boxing Day, included Lily Iris as Prince Casimir, Milly McIntyre in the title role, George French as the Baron, Tom W. Conway as Tiny, Herbert St. John as Dandini, Adelaide Gracey and Madge Yates as Araminta and Elvira (the ugly sisters), and Ellaline Thorne as the Duke of Whistbridge.


Myra Hammon

June 16, 2013

Myra Hammon (1886?-1953), Australian singer, actress and pantomime principal boy
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1914)

Myra Hammon appears to have begun her career with J.C. Williamson’s Musical Comedy Company, touring Australia in 1902 and 1903 in Florodora and The Circus Girl. She afterwards in 1906 began a partnership with Alice Wyatt and together they were billed as a serio-comic duo or ‘the Sandow Girls.’

Tivoli Theatre, Adelaide, Saturday evening, 16 February 1907
‘The Tivoli Theatre was crowded in every part on Saturday evening, when a change of programme was given, and several new artists made their first appearance. The performance was bright and lively all through, and called for vigorous demonstrations of appreciation. The Sandow girls, Misses Myra Hammon and Alice Wyatt created a favourable impression, first by their physique, and next by their vocal talent. In the second part they gave an amusing travesty of heavy weight-lifting and Sandow exercises, and the ease with which they manipulated huge dumbbells afforded genuine mirth, not unmixed with astonishment on the part of many in the audience.’
(The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia, Monday, 18 February 1907, p. 8 f; the Sandow Girls routine would appear to have been inspired by the song sung by Carrie Moore, herself an Australian, and chorus in the London production of The Dairymaids, a musical comedy which opened at the Apollo Theatre, London, on 14 April 1906)

Hammon and Wyatt were included in Allan Hamilton’s Mammoth Vaudeville Company, when it played at the Theatre Royal, Hobart, Tasmania, on Saturday, 15 June 1907.

‘Myra Hammon and Alice Wyatt, the Australian Sandow Girls, are doing splendidly in Great Britain, and having a good time.’
(The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People, Sydney, New South Wales, Saturday, 14 August 1909, p. 2c)

‘Myra Hammon and Alice Wyatt, the Australian Sandow Girls, are touring the Continent, opening at Vienna in August.’
(The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People, Sydney, New South Wales, Saturday, 21 August 1909, p. 2a)

At Christmas, 1910, Myra Hammon and Alice White were appearing in the pantomime of Babes in the Wood at Brixton, South London. Shortly afterwards they seem to have gone their separate ways and in the Spring of 1914 Miss Hammon was married:
‘News has leaked out in Birmingham (Eng.) of the marriage, which took place quietly in a registrar’s office, of one of the local ”principal boys” – Miss Myra Hammon. The happy man is Mr. Charles Butler, a well-known business man in that city. Miss Hammon is leaving England for a world’s tour, including Australia, South Africa, and India. In the [music] halls she appears with her sister, Edie [sic] Wyatt, as ”Hammon and Wyatt, the Australian Sandow girls and singers.’
(The West Australian, Perth, Western Australia, Saturday, 4 April 1914, p. 9g)

Miss Hammon did not retire from the theatre until about 1920, however. She was the Prince Perfect in the pantomime Cinderella at Christmas 1914 at the Grand Theatre, Middlesborough, before appearing in Look Out, a revue, produced on 4 October at the Empire, Newport, prior to an extended tour, including the Hippodrome, Leeds, the Empire, Finsbury Park, and the Hippodrome, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Cast included Ennis Parkes (Mrs Jack Hylton). Myra Hammon was then seen as Principal Boy in the pantomime Babes in the Wood at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, at Christmas 1916, and again at the Bordesley Palace, at Christmas 1919.


Harry Leybourne

June 2, 2013

Harry Leybourne (born about 1873), British music hall comedian, impersonator and pantomime dame
(photos: Charles & Russell, Belfast, circa 1908)

Percy G. Williams Theatre, Washington, DC, September 1909
‘The first appearance in America of Harry Leybourne, who is said to be one of the most versatile of English mimics, will be in the Percy G. Williams theatre.’
(The Washington Times, Washington, DC, Friday, 10 September 1909, p. 8g)

‘Harry Leybourne.
‘Pianolog Comedian.
‘18 Mins.; Full Stage (Close in One).
‘Colonial [Theatre, New York City, week beginning Monday, 27 September 1909].
‘Mr. Leybourne first appears in frock coat and light trousers in the conventional street dress and sings several songs, either accompanying himself on the piano or with the aid of the orchestra. The surprise of the act is his quick change into woman’s garb near the finish. The transformation is made in a twinkling and is followed by a burlesque female impersonation. These is plenty of laughable material in both parts of the turn, and the Colonial audience endorse it Monday evening when it played ”No. 2” on a big bill.’
(Variety, New York, Saturday, 2 October 1909, p. 16b)

Harry Leybourne has been noted as a singer of Herbert Rule and Fred Holt’s comic song, ‘Ours Is a Nice House Ours Is,’ which was recorded for Columbia (Col 887) in London by Alfred Lester in 1921. Leybourne’s pantomime engagements included Fred Fulton’s Cinderella at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, Christmas season, 1920/21.