Posts Tagged ‘Florodora (musical comedy)’

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Katie Barry as Fifi in A Chinese Honeymoon, New York, 1902

October 12, 2014

Katie Barry (1869?-after 1909), English actress and singer, as Fifi in the first American production of A Chinese Honeymoon, produced at the Casino, New York, on 2 June 1902. The part of Fifi was first played in London (Strand Theatre, 5 October 1901) by Louie Freear who was succeeded by Hilda Trevelyan.
(photo: Gilbert & Bacon, 1030 Chestnut Street. Philadelphia, probably 1902)

A CHINESE HONEYMOON.
‘English Musical Comedy is Presented at the Casino.
‘Distinct achievement in A Chinese Honeymoon, the new musical comedy seen at the Casino last evening, is to be credited to Katie Barry, a diminutive newcomer, who, by reason of a quaint personality, a semblance of buoyant good nature and ability in the direction of grotesque activity, scored an unusual success with an audience that was not always as discriminating as it was demonstrative. From the occasion of her first entrance through the successive drolleries in which she figured, as well as in her individual songs, which proved among the most diverting features of the entertainment, Miss Barry’s efforts provided occasion for much spontaneous laughter. Entirely unknown here up to last night, her success is, therefore, a fact to be recorded.
‘Another surprise of the evening was provided by Aimee Angeles, who blossomed forth as an imitator of no mean ability, to the satisfaction of those who had heretofore known her simply as a graceful dance in the Weber and Fields ranks. The enthusiasm evoked by her mimicry, in which she was admirably assisted by William Pruette, was unbounded.
‘Mention of these distinctly favored features of the new musical comedy seem fitting in the very beginning for such success as the piece achieved is largely due to the efforts of the actors, and to those of the scene painters and costumers. If the author of the book and the composer of the music had been as successful as those who had the setting forth of their work, praise, which must now be qualified, might be accorded without stint. But there is little in the book, which is by George Dance, that provides any occasion for humor, and most of Howard Talbot’s music, which it is not reminiscent, is lacking in such tunefulness as is required to make it of the essentially popular sort. One has passed the stage nowadays of asking for great originality in such composition – or, at any rate, one is mightily surprised if it is forthcoming. But that the tunes shall fall pleasingly on the ear and that they shall come readily to the lips of whistlers and singers – that may be fairly demanded. Perhaps after a few nights, too, the tendency toward ear-crashing effects in the rendering of the choruses will have been overcome – that may well be hoped for, for last night noise, rather than melody, marked much of what was sung.
‘In point of lavishness of production A Chinese Honeymoon is entitled to much praise. The two scenes – ”the garden of the hotel at Yiang Yiang” and ”the room in the Emperor’s palace” – are well painted, and the pictures presented, with many richly dressed women on the stage, is one of Oriental splendor. In the combinations of colors one notes the absence of those faults in taste which so often mar. An exceptionally pretty and novel effect was obtained in the second act, where disappearing and reappearing lines of chorus girls in bright colored gowns provide a panorama of changing color.
‘The story of the Chinese Honeymoon is not important. It concerns one Simon Pineapple, who goes to China on a honeymoon with his bride, under the somewhat unusual conditions of being accompanied by her eight bridesmaids. The chief uses of these bridesmaids is apparently to blow screeching whistles, which add to the general clamor, and to wear ”creations” in the now absolutely essential ”octet speciality” [a reference to Leslie Stuart’s song, ‘Tell Me Pretty Maiden‘ from Florodora (1899]. Pineapple meets in China his nephew, Tom Hatherton, who is there for the purpose of falling in love with Soo Soon, the Emperor’s niece, Fifi, a waitress in a hotel, is in love with Tom, but sacrifices herself to make that worthy young man happy. The Emperor has ordered his Lord Chancellor to find him a bride, one of the conditions being that the aspirant for that position shall not known the real rank of her fiance-to-be, but shall be allowed to think that he is a bill-poster. Various complications result through the peculiarities of the Chinese laws. Pineapple finds himself married to his niece-that-was-to-be and Hatherton’s intended bride becomes his aunt-in-law. It may readily be observed, therefore, that atmosphere is not entirely forgotten even to the extent of providing a Chinese puzzle in the disposing of the variously related persons.
‘Thomas Q. Seabrooke, who played ”Pineapple,” won favor for a song, ”Mr. Dooley” and Van Renssalear Wheeler was particularly favored for his number, ”I Love Her.” Edwin Stevens was successful as the emperor, as was Amelia Stone, the ”Soo Soo”.’
(The New York Times, New York, Tuesday, 3 June 1902, p. 9a)

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Katie Barry (whose real name appears to have been Catherine Patricia Rafferty or, possibly, Laverty), was a niece of the actor and playwright, George Conquest (1837-1901), sometime manager of the Grecian Theatre in the City Road, London. She is said to have been born in London about 1869 and her career began as a small child at the behest of her uncle. She subsequently had a very busy career, including a tour of Australia in the late 1888s, before going to the United States in 1902 to star as Fifi in A Chinese Honeymoon. Miss Barry remained in America, where she became very popular, both in musical comedy and in vaudeville. Her career appears to have ended upon her marriage in 1908 as the second wife of Julius Scharmann (1867?-1914), a widower with three children and a member of the well-known brewing firm of H.B. Scharmann & Sons of 355-375 Pulaski Street, Brooklyn, New York. Mr Scharmann committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver on 3 December 1914. It was said that he was grieving over the recent death of his closest friend, Ferdinand Schwanenfingel (various contemporary reports, including The Brooklyn Daily Eagle,, New York City, Thursday, 3 December 1914, p. 1c). It is assumed that Mrs Scharmann (Katie Barry) remained in the United States but her whereabouts following the death of her husband is as yet unknown.

Katie Barry’s recording (Columbia 1797, circa May 1904) of ‘I Want to Be a Lidy’ is included on the CD, Music from The New York Stage, 1890-1920, vol. I, Disc 2, no. 11.

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The Serenaders

September 28, 2013

two members of The Serenaders (active early 20th Century from about 1900), English ‘masked singers,’ who specialised in song scenas and other refined entertainment for the music hall stage, at fetes, special events and private functions
(photo: Alfred Ellis & Walery, London, circa 1902)

‘THE SERENADERS’ ENTERTAINMENT.
‘A very agreeable and successful entrainment was given on Monday after noon, April 21 [1902], at St. James’s Hall, under the direction of Ashton’s Royal Agency, by The Serenaders, a troupe of masked singers, two ladies and three gentlemen, who have latterly proved popular at Cowes [Isle of Wight] and other places. Black satin, sequins, hoods, cloaks, big hats, and so on, are among the paraphernalia of their picturesque and romantic attire, and The Serenaders may fairly be classed with The Japs, The Follies, The Musketeer Concert Party, The Scarlet Mr. E’s, and similar organisations. The present troupe comprise a capital baritone, a very acceptable tenor, a high soprano, a pleasing contralto, and a gentleman pianist. They opened their programme on Monday with an introductory quartet, ”The Serenaders,” written by Alan Otway, in which familiar melodies were made use of wherewith to characterise the various singers. Other pieces arranged as quartets were the popular ”Tell Me, Pretty Maiden,” from Florodora, and its parallel, ”’A ,” from The Silver Slipper. The baritone gave ”In the shade of the Palm” as an encore for ”The Sweetest Flower that Blows”; the tenor also had to choose another song after his refined rendering of Goring Thomas’s ”Ma Voisine,” the charming quartet from ”The Daisy Chain,” ”Foreign Children,” was brightly sung; and other items were ”Across the Sill Lagoon” (tenor and baritone), ”Love’s Nocturne” (contralto and baritone), Eckert’s florid ”Echo Song” (for soprano, of course), and the well known ”A Regular Royal Queen,” from The Gondoliers. Appropriate dancing and business enhanced the effect of The Serenaders’ excellent performances. They were assisted by Mr. Charles Capper, who whistled as beautifully as ever (accompanied by Mr. Victor Marmont), and by Miss Helen Mar. That clever lady, besides giving several of her amusing American stories, was heard in a pathetic little piece about a game of hide and seek played by a lame lad and his aged grandmother, and imitated a girl reciting ”Curfew shall not ring to-night!” No doubt The Serenaders will have abundant opportunity of further proving their quality during the Coronation season. They had a numerous and highly appreciative audience on Monday.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 24 April 1902, p. 18c)

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Gabrielle Ray

July 7, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

‘… To-day, in musical comedy it is the day of Mr Sydney Ellison [1870-1930, who in 1900 married Kate Cutler]. To hear a new number – a pretty tune, some smart lyrics, a pretty woman to sing and dance – and to see it on the night, and to mark the vast difference between the one and the other, is to see where the genius of the producer comes in. The newest sample of his work will be seen at the Gaiety on Wednesday, when ”The Orchid” will be brought up to date with new songs and dances.
‘Mr Ellison -small, alert, active, quiet, vivacious, restrained, and, above all, with a marvellous grasp of every tiny detail, from the set of a scene to the shoelace of a chorus girl – is a wonderful type of a modern institution… .
‘To appreciate his skill, one must know that he sings, dances, designs costumes, paints pictures, acts, and nothing is too smell or too trivial for him to lavish his care upon. He will invent a step for a dance, plan a mechanical change of scenery, or design a colour scheme with equal facility, and some of his finest effects come to him on the spur of the moment.
‘He taught a Parisian company the cake-walk when he went over to produce ”Florodora,” and he produced ”Veronique” for Mr George Edwardes [at the Apollo, 18 May 1904], and he worked out the decorative embellishments of ”The Orchid” when the new Gaiety stage was literally in the hands of the builders, carrying the thing through to a triumphant and gorgeous success on a ”first night” [26 October 1903] that will long be remembered by all those who were privileged to be present… .
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, slim and graceful, tucks up her long silk walking skirt, takes off her big black hat, pats the wayward mass of shimmering hair, and sings her new song, the ”Promenade des Anglais,” that is going into the Carnival scene. Her voice is barely audible beyond the tall bracket with the lights, under which Mr Ellison stands and directs; but every action, every look even, is as it will be on the night. The verse ended, the chorus is given with a swing and a go quite irresistible even at twelve o’clock on a damp drizzly morning. Then Miss Ray dances.
‘Suddenly a brilliant idea strikes Mr. Ellison. She must do a complete turnover as a startling exit. Miss Ray, quick to respond to originality, sees it in an instant. With two of the chorus ladies as a sort of fulcrum, Miss Ray turns over, laughing the while, a swish of the skirts, and she alights on the dainty tips of her dainty toes. ”Excellent!” says Mr. Ellison. ”Oh! it’s really quite easy,” laughs Miss Gabrielle Ray. But those who know will tell you that the acrobatic feat, so neatly and withal so gracefully accomplished, involves thought and agility to bring it about.’
(Wakeling Dry, ‘Making Musical Comedy,’ from the Daily Express, London, reprinted in the The Wanganui Chronicle, Wanganui, New Zealand, 25 January 1905, p. 5g)

‘Concerning Gabrielle Ray, it may be of interest to note that here is a prime West End favorite who has won a foremost place in her particular section with no special gifts beyond those of comeliness and that indefinable quality of attractiveness which her countless admirers express in the phrase of ”awfully sweet.”
‘Wins By Sheer Magnetism.
‘Even among the easily-pleased patrons of musical comedy the girls who are singled out for distinction have to make good either as singers, dancers or comedians but the case of Gabrielle Ray is an exception. Accomplishing nothing with special ability, she still has contrived by sheer magnetism of the prime favorites of the hallowed precincts of Daly’s and the immediate neighborhood. Ask an ardent admirer just why he goes to see her and he answers, ”Oh, she’s quite charming,” and you have to let it go at that… . As a picture postcard subject she is an easy winner from all rivals.’
(The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Sunday, 19 March 1911, p. 21c/d)

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Gabrielle Ray, English musical comedy dancer and actress

July 7, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

‘… To-day, in musical comedy it is the day of Mr Sydney Ellison [1870-1930, who in 1900 married Kate Cutler]. To hear a new number – a pretty tune, some smart lyrics, a pretty woman to sing and dance – and to see it on the night, and to mark the vast difference between the one and the other, is to see where the genius of the producer comes in. The newest sample of his work will be seen at the Gaiety on Wednesday, when ”The Orchid” will be brought up to date with new songs and dances.
‘Mr Ellison -small, alert, active, quiet, vivacious, restrained, and, above all, with a marvellous grasp of every tiny detail, from the set of a scene to the shoelace of a chorus girl – is a wonderful type of a modern institution… .
‘To appreciate his skill, one must know that he sings, dances, designs costumes, paints pictures, acts, and nothing is too smell or too trivial for him to lavish his care upon. He will invent a step for a dance, plan a mechanical change of scenery, or design a colour scheme with equal facility, and some of his finest effects come to him on the spur of the moment.
‘He taught a Parisian company the cake-walk when he went over to produce ”Florodora,” and he produced ”Veronique” for Mr George Edwardes [at the Apollo, 18 May 1904], and he worked out the decorative embellishments of ”The Orchid” when the new Gaiety stage was literally in the hands of the builders, carrying the thing through to a triumphant and gorgeous success on a ”first night” [26 October 1903] that will long be remembered by all those who were privileged to be present… .
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, slim and graceful, tucks up her long silk walking skirt, takes off her big black hat, pats the wayward mass of shimmering hair, and sings her new song, the ”Promenade des Anglais,” that is going into the Carnival scene. Her voice is barely audible beyond the tall bracket with the lights, under which Mr Ellison stands and directs; but every action, every look even, is as it will be on the night. The verse ended, the chorus is given with a swing and a go quite irresistible even at twelve o’clock on a damp drizzly morning. Then Miss Ray dances.
‘Suddenly a brilliant idea strikes Mr. Ellison. She must do a complete turnover as a startling exit. Miss Ray, quick to respond to originality, sees it in an instant. With two of the chorus ladies as a sort of fulcrum, Miss Ray turns over, laughing the while, a swish of the skirts, and she alights on the dainty tips of her dainty toes. ”Excellent!” says Mr. Ellison. ”Oh! it’s really quite easy,” laughs Miss Gabrielle Ray. But those who know will tell you that the acrobatic feat, so neatly and withal so gracefully accomplished, involves thought and agility to bring it about.’
(Wakeling Dry, ‘Making Musical Comedy,’ from the Daily Express, London, reprinted in the The Wanganui Chronicle, Wanganui, New Zealand, 25 January 1905, p. 5g)

‘Concerning Gabrielle Ray, it may be of interest to note that here is a prime West End favorite who has won a foremost place in her particular section with no special gifts beyond those of comeliness and that indefinable quality of attractiveness which her countless admirers express in the phrase of ”awfully sweet.”
‘Wins By Sheer Magnetism.
‘Even among the easily-pleased patrons of musical comedy the girls who are singled out for distinction have to make good either as singers, dancers or comedians but the case of Gabrielle Ray is an exception. Accomplishing nothing with special ability, she still has contrived by sheer magnetism of the prime favorites of the hallowed precincts of Daly’s and the immediate neighborhood. Ask an ardent admirer just why he goes to see her and he answers, ”Oh, she’s quite charming,” and you have to let it go at that… . As a picture postcard subject she is an easy winner from all rivals.’
(The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Sunday, 19 March 1911, p. 21c/d)

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July 7, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

’… To-day, in musical comedy it is the day of Mr Sydney Ellison [1870-1930, who in 1900 married Kate Cutler]. To hear a new number – a pretty tune, some smart lyrics, a pretty woman to sing and dance – and to see it on the night, and to mark the vast difference between the one and the other, is to see where the genius of the producer comes in. The newest sample of his work will be seen at the Gaiety on Wednesday, when “The Orchid” will be brought up to date with new songs and dances.
‘Mr Ellison -small, alert, active, quiet, vivacious, restrained, and, above all, with a marvellous grasp of every tiny detail, from the set of a scene to the shoelace of a chorus girl – is a wonderful type of a modern institution… .
‘To appreciate his skill, one must know that he sings, dances, designs costumes, paints pictures, acts, and nothing is too smell or too trivial for him to lavish his care upon. He will invent a step for a dance, plan a mechanical change of scenery, or design a colour scheme with equal facility, and some of his finest effects come to him on the spur of the moment.
‘He taught a Parisian company the cake-walk when he went over to produce “Florodora,” and he produced “Veronique” for Mr George Edwardes [at the Apollo, 18 May 1904], and he worked out the decorative embellishments of “The Orchid” when the new Gaiety stage was literally in the hands of the builders, carrying the thing through to a triumphant and gorgeous success on a “first night” [26 October 1903] that will long be remembered by all those who were privileged to be present… .
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, slim and graceful, tucks up her long silk walking skirt, takes off her big black hat, pats the wayward mass of shimmering hair, and sings her new song, the “Promenade des Anglais,” that is going into the Carnival scene. Her voice is barely audible beyond the tall bracket with the lights, under which Mr Ellison stands and directs; but every action, every look even, is as it will be on the night. The verse ended, the chorus is given with a swing and a go quite irresistible even at twelve o’clock on a damp drizzly morning. Then Miss Ray dances.
‘Suddenly a brilliant idea strikes Mr. Ellison. She must do a complete turnover as a startling exit. Miss Ray, quick to respond to originality, sees it in an instant. With two of the chorus ladies as a sort of fulcrum, Miss Ray turns over, laughing the while, a swish of the skirts, and she alights on the dainty tips of her dainty toes. “Excellent!” says Mr. Ellison. “Oh! it’s really quite easy,” laughs Miss Gabrielle Ray. But those who know will tell you that the acrobatic feat, so neatly and withal so gracefully accomplished, involves thought and agility to bring it about.’
(Wakeling Dry, ‘Making Musical Comedy,’ from the Daily Express, London, reprinted in the The Wanganui Chronicle, Wanganui, New Zealand, 25 January 1905, p. 5g)

‘Concerning Gabrielle Ray, it may be of interest to note that here is a prime West End favorite who has won a foremost place in her particular section with no special gifts beyond those of comeliness and that indefinable quality of attractiveness which her countless admirers express in the phrase of “awfully sweet.”
‘Wins By Sheer Magnetism.
‘Even among the easily-pleased patrons of musical comedy the girls who are singled out for distinction have to make good either as singers, dancers or comedians but the case of Gabrielle Ray is an exception. Accomplishing nothing with special ability, she still has contrived by sheer magnetism of the prime favorites of the hallowed precincts of Daly’s and the immediate neighborhood. Ask an ardent admirer just why he goes to see her and he answers, “Oh, she’s quite charming,” and you have to let it go at that… . As a picture postcard subject she is an easy winner from all rivals.’
(The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Sunday, 19 March 1911, p. 21c/d)

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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.

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The Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps

April 14, 2013

Seven of the The Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps as undergraduates in A Knight For a Day, a musical comedy by Robert B. Smith, with music by Raymond Hubbell and Lyrics by Robert B. Smith, produced at Wallack’s Theatre, New York, 16 December 1907
(photo: Hall, New York, 1907)

‘This scene [above] from A Knight For a Day gives an excellent idea of the liveliness of The Eight Berlin Madcaps. One of the Madcaps missed the picture (count ‘em), and yet the pose is so novel that if she were here you don’t know where she’d be. (Tut, tut.) But if she missed a performance – well, then The Madcaps wouldn’t be over seven and the Gerry Society might stop ‘em. Harrowing thought, that. Still, the rest of the show is so blame good you can take a chance on going to Wallack’s Theater anyway.’
(The Standard and Vanity Fair, New York, Friday, 15 May 1908, pp.10 and 11)

‘The eight dancing madcaps, with the latest musical furore, A Knight for a Day, is an imported acrobatic terpsichorean novelty. And a true, emphatic and striking hit they undoubtedly are. The act is not easy to copy and would have many imitations were it not for the time, trouble and expense in producing one fact, by the way, never included in The Knights management. Laughing at expense and earnestly desiring to please is one motto that repays.’
(The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Friday, 24 April 1908, p.14b)

Helen Hoz

Helen Hoz, the eighth of the Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps in A Knight For a Day, Wallack’s Theatre, New York, 16 December 1907
(photo: De Youngs, New York, 1907)

‘From Our New York Dramatic Correspondent.
‘At Wallack’s theater, New York, is A Knight For a Day, a musical comedy written by Robert R. Smith, the younger brother of the nestor of American librettos, Harry B. Smith, and composed by Raymond Hubbell, who wrote the music for Fantana and who removed from the stage when he married that charming prima donna Helen Lord.
‘John Salvin, a small but unctuous comedian, who was one of the strong favorites at the Casino when George W. Lederer in control there and who has since become a bulwark of burlesque in Chicago, heads the company. May Vokes, who has made several successes in eccentric roles hereabout, is likewise in the cast, and Miss Sallie Fisher, who made the song “Dearie” famous, impersonates the gurgling ingenue.
A Knight For a Day has had a strange and varied career. It was produced a year or so ago at the Grand Opera House and then at the New York theater under the title of Ma’mselle Sallie and was so vigorously condemned that it put its manager, John C. Fisher, once wealthy through Florodora, practically out of business, and the company, in plain language, “busted.”
‘The production was then galvanized by B.C. Whitney of Detroit and sent to Chicago, where it ran for a long white at Whitney’s theater and where, in fact, it is sill in evidence in its thirty-seventh week.
‘The play is now greatly improved and is, in fact, a success.’
(Robert Butler, The Evening Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, Saturday, 11 January 1908, p.7c)

* * * * * * * *

‘Chorus Girl Can’t Stand Baldheads.
‘New York, Jan. 16 [1908]. – Miss Merri Corye has gone to Chicago, whence she came. For months and months until last evening Miss Corye was one of the “wholly Chicago” merry-merry ensemble feminines of A Knight for a Day, the musical comedy at Wallack’s.
‘Merri, who is nineteen and pretty, cannot abide baldheads. W.M. Hale, the manager of the play, got this note at the theater last night:
‘“I am going black to Chicago, where there aren’t any baldheaded men except those who come from the East, and where, anyhow, the theatres don’t let ‘em sit in the front rows to make girls google-eyed. I haven’t seen a young man in a front seat since I’ve been here, and if I stay here any longer I know I shall have to wear specs on the stage or go to a nunnery. A chorus girl has as much chance to win a young husband in a Broadway musical show as a fly has of ticking an elephant.”
‘The front rows at Wallack’s last evening didn’t hold as many baldheads as usual, the ushers said. Lobby rumor had it that baldheaded men, unaccompanied by their wives or toupees, were being encouraged to sit in the balcony.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Friday, 17 January 1908, p.13e)