Posts Tagged ‘Fifth Avenue Theatre (New York)’

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Nellie Braggins, American actress and singer in comic opera

April 16, 2014

Nellie Braggins (1872-1924), American actress and singer in comic opera
(photo: unknown, United States, circa 1898; Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes cigarette card issued in England, circa 1900)

‘Washington has a genuine musical treat in store for it. On April 18, The Highwayman will be presented at the Lafayette Square Opera House by the Broadway Theater Opera House by the Broadway Theater Opera Company. It is rarely that a piece comes so well recommended. The company to present The Highwayman is extraordinary in its number of clever and famous principals. Among them are Joseph O’Mara, Camille D’Arville, Jerome Sykes, Nellie Braggins, Harry Macdonough, Maud Williams, Van Rensselaer Wheeler, and Reginald Roberts.’
(The Times, Washington, DC, Sunday, 10 April 1898, part 2, p. 15c)

THREE LITTLE LAMBS TO-NIGHT.
Three Little Lambs, by the author of 1492 and Jack and the Beanstalk, which comes direct from an engagement of fifty nights at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York, will be presented for the first time here at the Academy of Music to-night.
‘The story of Three Little Lambs is full of characteristic humor. The banking house, with its head a confidence man and its minor officers flirtatious young woman, is eminently an original idea. The introduction to this remarkable financial institution of the banker’s former pal in a humble station and his frisky bride is the source of no end of amusing complications, and the transfer of the whole party to Porto Rico is a bold expedient that might daunt an audacious dramatist.
‘With all its extravagances and absurdities, its jollity and audacity, there is nothing to offend the most delicate sensibilities. Three Little Lambs is as clean as it is bright. The skill shown by members of the Fifth Avenue Theatre Musical Company, the brilliancy of the stage setting and costuming make the production noteworthy of its kind, and the large audiences that have witnessed it have given every evidence of enjoying all its many features. In the company are found the names of Miss Marie Cahill, Miss Nellie Braggins, Miss Clara Palmer, Raymond Hitchcock and Edmund Lawrence, and the fine appearance, good training and vocal strength of the big chorus makes it a musical success.’
(Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, VA, Wednesday, 25 April 1900, p. 5d)

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St. Louis, 25 June 1900
‘The wedding of Nellie Braggins and John W. Gantz last Thursday was strictly private owing to the serious illness of Emory Braggins, an uncle of the bride. Miss Braggins’ last appearance on the stage was in The Beggar Student at Uhrig’s Cave two weeks ago. She is under a provisional contract with the Uhrig’s Cave company for the remainder of the season, but will not sing again except in case of emergency. At the close of the season she says she will retire from the stage for good.’
(The New York Dramatic News, New York, Saturday, 30 June 1900, p. 10c)

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Marie Fenton, ‘The Blonde in Black’

April 11, 2014

Marie Fenton (active, early 20th Century), American musical comedy and vaudeville singer, billed as ‘The Blonde in Black’
(photo: Frank C. Bangs, New York, circa 1910)

‘Miss Marie Fenton, a strikingly beautiful singer, is known as ”The Blonde in Black,” and aside from the attractive picture she presents on the stage, she appeals with her selection of popular songs. Miss Fenton is best known through her connection with several important New York musical comedies, and for her vaudeville tour she has chosen several of the numbers she originally made popular on Broadway.’
(The Morning Standard, Ogden, Utah, Sunday, 25 September 1910, p. 3b)

Palace Theatre, London, week beginning, Monday, 5 June 1911
‘[One of] two special items at the Palace Theatre this week consist[s] of Miss Marie Fenton, an American singer after the style of Miss Clarice Vance, with the added reputation of extreme celerity in the changing of her costumes.’
(The Playgoer, London, Wednesday, 7 June 1911, p. 366b)

Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York, week beginning, Monday, 19 February 1912
‘Marie Fenton, in four different changes of costumes, all of which were beautiful, sang herself into the good graces of her audience. ”To My Home in Dixie,” ”I’m Afraid,” ”Please Leave My Baby Grand” and ”Everybody’s Doing It” were the songs sung by Miss Fenton. Her changes were rapid and she was a solid hit.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 24 February 1912, p. 8a)

‘Marie Fenton, when seen at the Fifth Avenue theater in her new singing act, was cordially received, not only on account of the way she put the act through, showing experience and capability, but because she made a dashing and stylish appearance.
‘The frocks she wore for one matinee performance were: First – an emerald green satin made on slender graceful lines with a narrow pointed train, veiled in black net, draped and held to the front by a large gold and green jeweled ornament, a black satin girdle, and the round corsage a mass of gold and jeweled embroidery; one sleeve is of the black fabric, and the other sleeve and side is of the gold embroidery and jet. A high green aigrette in the hair finishes an effective toilette enhanced, of course, by a slender, graceful figures.
‘Her first change is to a smart black satin costume, also built en train, draped and slashed on the front, the outline bordered by jet banding; short tight sleeves of black net are set-in; there was a chemoisette of the net with jet bands over the shoulders and forming the girdle with tasseled ends down the side. Miss Fenton looked very handsome in all black, being a blonde and having the ability to wear clothes effectively.
‘The last frock was a black and white striped satin, a Princess in general design, the material plaited in at the waist and over the hips, making the stripes narrower and then wider; the short skirt is bordered by deep black fringe and black fringe also forms a bertha and falls over the shoulders, forming the tiny sleeves; black silk tights were worn and black satin slippers. A bandeau of rhinestones gave the tasteful finish to a very striking make-up.’
(The Player, New York, Friday, 1 March 1912, p. 9c)

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Burr & Hope, English music hall entertainers visit America, 1912/13

January 22, 2014

Burr and Hope (active circa 1910-1930), English music hall entertainers
(photo: Apeda, New York, circa 1913)

‘William Burr and Daphne Hope. ”A Lady, a Lover and a Lamp” (Talk and Songs).
‘13 Mins.; Four (Closed in with a black cloth).
‘Fifth Ave. [i.e. Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York City] (Week Dec. 16 [1912])
‘From England, Burr and Hope have been over the Orpheum circuit. They came into New York last week at the Fifth Avenue and put over a delightfully though simply set talking ”double” singing and talking act. It is so far removed from the usual as to be termed unique. Backed in by a black cloth nothing is one the stage but themselves, a white enamel table and two chairs of the same. Directly above them is a red fringed lamp. It answers the same purpose as a spot from the balcony, but vastly improves the effect, which is also greatly heightened by the class of these English artists. Miss Hope is a comely blonde, of the robust type, with a very pleasant voice. Mr. Burr is a clean cut fellow, suggesting before he hit the varieties, musical comedy owned him. As the turn opens Miss Hope sings from behind the drapery; Mr. Burr lounging about the table smoking a cigarette. In the centre of the turn they banter each other, he sings and they sing. The closing is injured by the lamp going out. It is replaced by the spot light. If this is necessary at all, the cheap looking tin arrangement or shade above the dingy looking piece of red cloth than had been so prettily disguised by the light effect, should be replaced or covered up. But they don’t need this trick of the finish, any more than Mr. Burr should have give the class of the turn a bump by uttering ”I’ve got yer, Steve.” He will pick up considerable American slang, no doubt, but may save it for home, for it isn’t required in the act. Comedy at the finale is furnished through Burr going outside to commit suicide via the revolver route. Miss Hope shrieks, ”Do come back. I’ll marry you,” when a pistol shot is heard. Immediately Mr. Burr reappears, taking her in his arms as he naively says, ”I missed.” Burr and Hope are all right. They are a sunbeam from the other side in the midst of all the shadows vaudeville has imported, and they can play even the big New York houses more than once.’
(Variety, New York, Friday, 27 December 1912, p. 16d)

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Lizzie Webster, American burlesque actress and singer

October 10, 2013

Lizzie Webster (1858-1937), American burlesque actress and singer, whose short career flourished between about 1877 and 1879 under the management of Edward E. Rice.
(photo: Mora, New York, 1877/79)

Lizzie (Elizabeth) Webster, who is said to have begun her career at McVicker’s Theatre, Chicago, retired from the stage upon her marriage in June 1879 to Jacob Nunnemacher (1853-1928), a Milwaukee businessman who built the Nunnemacher’s Grand Opera House at Milwaukee and who in 1880 was connected with Edward E. Rice in a theatrical venture. Nunnemacher was born in Milwaukee, one of the children of Jacob Nunnemacher (senior) and his wife, Catherine, who were natives respectively of Switzerland and Prussia.

‘Rice’s Evangeline Combination.
‘Rice’s Evangeline Combination begins an engagement at the Memphis Theater Monday night. In speaking of this grand spectacular extravaganza, the Louisville Courier-Journal says: ”Evangeline comes to us with a new brightness and freshness. Several substitutions have been made, notably Miss Lizzie Webster for Miss Eliza Wethersby in the character of ‘Gabriel,’ Miss Venie Clancy for Miss Flora Fisher, as ‘Evangeline,’ and Mr. Richard Golden for Mr. N.C. Goodwin as ‘Le Blanc.’ The loss and gain are so evenly balanced that it is hardly worth while discussing, and, besides, the new-comers give to the extravaganza an air of newness quite refreshing. Many points have been added in the way of hits and in the business of the different characters, and there is such a variety of matter than the extravaganza will bear seeing many times and other seasons yet. Miss Lizzie Webster and Miss Eliza Wethersby differ in qualities rather than quality. The present ‘Gabriel’ has not quite the assertive dash of the former one; is not quite the actress or quite the singer, but is quite as charming in appearance, and has an air of sweet disposition, freshness, gentle archness and purity, with that degree of sprightliness which win the good-will and affection of the audience. Thus there is no loss in the change.”’
(The Memphis daily Appeal, Friday, Memphis, Tennessee, 30 November 1877, p. 4c)

Lizzie Webster appeared as Ralph Rackshaw in an ‘unofficial’ production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore when it was produced at the Lyceum Theatre, New York, under the management of Edward E. Rice on 23 January 1879.

‘It is published in the leading New York papers that Lizzie Webster has had a house in that city make a pair of tights for her which cost one hundred dollars – and she fills the bill plumply.’
(Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, Sedalia, Missouri, Tuesday, 18 March 1879, p. 2a)

‘Ned Rice’s Evangeline Revival and the Memories That it Awakes …
‘… Of Gabriels there have been many, but none more sweetly picturesque than Venie Clancy, a delicate and pretty little girl, whom consumption carried away all too soon; there was a roguish Gabriel in Lizzie Webster, a brunette whom to see was to worship, and whom Jacob Nunnemacher, the Milwaukee manager, now esteems as his wife… .’
(The News Herald, Hillsboro, Ohio, Thursday, 5 May 1887, p. 5b)

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‘In 1871, German-born [sic] businessman and theater enthusiast Jacob Nunnemacher was able to fulfill his aspirations of providing Milwaukee with its first opera house… . this, the Nunnemacher Grand Opera House was constructed at the northwest corner of Wells and Water Streets in the center of Milwaukee’s civic activity.’
(Megan E. Daniels, Milwaukee’s Early Architecture, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, &c., 2010, p. 34)

‘Messrs. E.E. Rice and J. Nunnemacher have leased the Fifth Avenue Theater, N.Y., for an indefinite period, commencing Monday, March 29, (Easter Monday,) and on that day will produced Mr. James A. Herne’s Hearts of Oak
(The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., Saturday, 20 March 1880, p. 2d)

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Billie Barlow

April 23, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Billie Barlow (1865-1937), English burlesque actress and singer, as Mercury in the burlesque Orpheus and Eurydice on tour in the United States, 1884/1885
(photo: Falk, New York, probably 1884)

‘The Event of the Season.
‘The Bijou Opera Company will appear at Nevada Theater on Saturday evening in the brilliant operatic burlesque entitled Orpheus and Eurydice. This Opera is full of pith and scintillates with bright music and amusing situations. They music in the present production is bright, the orchestration competent and the costumes superb. The cast includes many popular favorites and some new people who will be strong cards. Mr. Digby Bell as Jupiter, and Mr. Harry Pepper as Orpheus, do all that can be done in the vocalism and the lines. Mr. George C. Boniface, Jr., as Styx, the melancholy porter of Pluto, sings ”The Monarch of Arcadia” with becoming solemnity, and Marie Vanoni does the opera bouffe business of Eurydice with chic enough to make it tell. Miss Billie Barlow, as swift-footed Mercury, recalls the pleasant impression she made in Billie Taylor and other pieces. Miss Amelia Somerville gives an enlarged living picture of an ideal Juno, and Laura Joyce Bell is resplendent in lavender silk, satin stars as Diana. The best work of the evening is accomplished by Miss Ida Mulle as Cupid. She is like a bisque figure of the German-doll type, and as dainty a Cupid as St. Valentine, instead of Jupiter, might have chosen as an emissary, and the applause she gains is accorded without hesitation, and the little lady at once becomes a favorite. The presence of any number of ethereally dressed beauties in Jupiter’s Court will carry the opera to the satisfaction of the management and please the jeunesse doree, who delight in the frolic of the can-can, well danced, under the changing lights in a comfortable and pretty theater.’
(Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, Nevada, Thursday, 14 August 1884, p. 3c)

‘BILLIE BARLOW’S SALARY.
‘Billie Barlow, the dapper Mercury of Orpheus and Eruydice, in the jaunty hat and superbly fitting cloth suit, ascended the witness stand before Judge Browne in the City Court yesterday, and, under the pilotage of Mr. A.H. Hummel, swore that while she was playing at the Bijou Opera House in 1884 it was proposed by Miles and Barton that she should travel with the company. She refused unless an increase of salary from $30 to $50 during the tour was given her. She was paid $50 for her Baltimore engagement, but the defendants declined to give the increase during the period of the performances at Niblo’s Garden, Williamsburg, and the People’s Theatre. Gen. Barton denied the promise of the increase and showed Miss Barlow’s written receipts in full for her salary up to the time she left them. The jury, after fine minutes’ deliberation, returned a verdict for the full amount claimed and costs.’
(The New York Times, New York, Wednesday, 20 March 1886, p. 3)

‘MISS BILLIE BARLOW.
‘This charming burlesque actress who has achieved such a conspicuous success as the principal boy in the pantomime at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, is not, as may be generally supposed, an American. Her stage appellative was given in America, and given under the following circumstances. Miss Minnie Barlow – her real name – was a member of a comic opera company travelling from Liverpool to New York. During the voyage a member of the same company jokingly called her ”Billie Barlow” after the old song with that title, and on arriving in New York Miss Barlow found herself announced with ”Billie” for a christian name. There was novelty in it, the name stuck, and Miss Barlow has been known by it ever since. Miss Minnie Barlow, however, is a Londoner. She was born in the Metropolis on July 18th, 1865. Her first appearance on the stage was in H.M.S. Pinafore at the Opera Comique, London, June 34d, 1879. In the following autumn Mr. D’Oyley Carte [sic] organised a company for an American tour. Miss Barlow was a member of this combination, and on Dec. 8 she sang in Pinafore at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York. On Dec. 31st she appeared in The Pirates of Penzance at the same theatre, and after going on a tour through the principal American cities, we find her in the autumn of 1881 playing in Patience at the Savoy Theatre, London. After remaining there for a year Miss Barlow made her second professional trip across the Atlantic, again with D’Oyley Carte’s company, which opened the season at the Standard Theatre, New York, Sept. 26th, 1882. Miss Barlow appeared successively in Les Manteaux Noirs, Rip Van Winkle, and Iolanthe, under D’Oyley Carte’s management, and then joined E.E. Rice and appeared at the Bijou Opera House as Mercury in Orpheus and Eurydice, and made a great hit. Subsequently Miss Barlow appeared in Falka and The Little Duke, in which she was last seen before her return to England. Her next appearance was in London as a member of the Dixey Burlesque Company at the Gaiety Theatre, when she played Artea in Adonis. When Dixey returned to the Stages Miss Barlow remained at the Gaiety, under the management of Mr George Edwardes, and before long she was playing Fernand in Monte Cristo, jun. During the temporary absence of Miss Nelly Farren from the role of Edmond Dantes, Miss Barlow took up the part at five minutes’ notice, and scored an unqualified success. The charming freshness of her style was quite a novelty to audiences saturated with the conventional. Managers on the look out for attractions for their pantomimes soon had their optics focussed on the new burlesque star, and the competition for her services ended in Messrs Howard and Wyndham securing the prize. Of Miss Barlow’s merits in The Babes in the Wood it is like gilding refined gold to say anything now. The grace and sprightliness of her acting, the conscientious desire she has to please, her sweet, well trained voice, charming face and figure, and above all her modest and becoming demeanour, make her performance of Walter stand out as a revelation in the method of playing burlesque boys.’
(The Newcastle Weekly Courant, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Friday, 10 February 1888, p. 5f)

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Marie Aimée (1857-1887), French actress and singer

February 1, 2013

a stereoscopic photograph of Marie Aimée (1857-1887), French actress and singer
(photo: Sarony, New York, early 1880s)

‘DRAMA IN AMERICA. (From our own correspondent.)
‘NEW YORK, December 19, 1884…
AIMEE opened on Monday night [29 December 1884] at the Fifth Avenue in Mam’zelle, and will play a two weeks’ engagement to a good business. Dramatically considered, the piece is a mere trifle, claimed to e from the pens of Messrs [George H.] Jessop and [William B.] Gill, but it bears a strong flavour of La Mariée de la Rue St. Denis, produced at the Déjazet in Paris two years since, and a still stronger resemblance to the German play called Theatre Scandal, which was played at the Stadt Theatre in this city in 1863. Its principal merit consists in the fact that it give Madame Marie Aimée an opportunity to show off her capabilities in the English ”as she is spoke.”
‘AIMEE’S part in that of a little French milliner, who has a craze for the stage. She is promised to have her ambition gratified if she will make love to an old married gentleman, so as to make his indifferent wife sufficiently jealous of him to return his affection. The first act tediously explains these relations, and the stage of the Variety Theatre in which Mdlle. Fleur de Lys makes her first appearance. The jealous wife has been told that she will catch her husband if she goes to a box in the theatre; the little milliner’s lover, whom she has jilted, goes there to create a disturbance, and sits in an orchestra seat. Her long-lost uncle, whom she came to America to discover, has a seat in the balcony. When he arises to make his presence known it is the surprise of the evening, and the most comical incident in the play. The lover then made a row, and was put out by a masher and a policeman – the latter, on the first night, appeared to be actually taken in by the mimic show – and then the jealous wife made quite a scene in the box. At all this, half the audience laughed most heartily, and the other portion appeared to be quite in doubt about it. The songs and dances of Aimée were the principal attractions, and she was as successful as ever. Her English is quite good and distinct. The cast was fair, and the mounting acceptable.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 3 January 1885, p. 9c)

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February 1, 2013

a stereoscopic photograph of Marie Aimée (1857-1887), French actress and singer
(photo: Sarony, New York, early 1880s)

‘DRAMA IN AMERICA. (From our own correspondent.)
‘NEW YORK, December 19, 1884…
AIMEE opened on Monday night [29 December 1884] at the Fifth Avenue in Mam’zelle, and will play a two weeks’ engagement to a good business. Dramatically considered, the piece is a mere trifle, claimed to e from the pens of Messrs [George H.] Jessop and [William B.] Gill, but it bears a strong flavour of La Mariée de la Rue St. Denis, produced at the Déjazet in Paris two years since, and a still stronger resemblance to the German play called Theatre Scandal, which was played at the Stadt Theatre in this city in 1863. Its principal merit consists in the fact that it give Madame Marie Aimée an opportunity to show off her capabilities in the English ”as she is spoke.”
‘AIMEE’S part in that of a little French milliner, who has a craze for the stage. She is promised to have her ambition gratified if she will make love to an old married gentleman, so as to make his indifferent wife sufficiently jealous of him to return his affection. The first act tediously explains these relations, and the stage of the Variety Theatre in which Mdlle. Fleur de Lys makes her first appearance. The jealous wife has been told that she will catch her husband if she goes to a box in the theatre; the little milliner’s lover, whom she has jilted, goes there to create a disturbance, and sits in an orchestra seat. Her long-lost uncle, whom she came to America to discover, has a seat in the balcony. When he arises to make his presence known it is the surprise of the evening, and the most comical incident in the play. The lover then made a row, and was put out by a masher and a policeman – the latter, on the first night, appeared to be actually taken in by the mimic show – and then the jealous wife made quite a scene in the box. At all this, half the audience laughed most heartily, and the other portion appeared to be quite in doubt about it. The songs and dances of Aimée were the principal attractions, and she was as successful as ever. Her English is quite good and distinct. The cast was fair, and the mounting acceptable.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 3 January 1885, p. 9c)