Posts Tagged ‘George Edwardes’

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Gladys Saqui, Australian-born dancer in the pantomime Aladdin, Grand Theatre, Leeds, Christmas 1907

March 23, 2014

Gladys Saqui (1884-1919), Australian-born dancer, as she appeared as Nicee in the pantomime Aladdin, produced at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, at Christmas 1907. The principal parts in this production were played by Constance Hyem (Aladdin), Nell Emerald (Brigette), Frank Danby (Widow Trankey) and J.F. McArdle (Abanazar). The cast also included Hebe Bliss, G.H. Elliott and Olive Crellin.
(photo; J. Garratt, Leeds, 1907)

Gladys Mignon Saqui was born in Australia in 1884, one of the children of John ‘Jack’ Isaac Saqui (1855-1916), a cigar manufacturer and bookmaker, and his wife Esther (Stella) (née Barnett, 1852?-1946), who were both born in London’s East End and married in 1878. Two of Gladys’s sisters, Maie (1880-1907) and Hazel (1887-1975) were also actresses; the former was married in 1903 as his first wife to Arthur Hope Travers (1875-1938), a Grenadier Guardsman, and the latter was married in 1908 to the well-known actor manager, Nelson Keys (1886-1939). Maie and Gladys Saqui made professional appearances in their native Australia and once in England all three sisters were sometime under contract to George Edwardes. Maie first appeared in London in The Geisha (Daly’s Theatre, 25 April 1896 – 28 May 1898) towards the end of its run. Gladys Saqui appeared on tour and also as a dancer in The New Aladdin (Gaiety Theatre, London, 29 September 1907) and The Belle of Britanny (Queen’s Theatre, London, 24 October 1908).

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‘Miss Maie Saqui, the famous Gaiety girl, whose death is announced this week, belonged to a sporting family. Her grandfather, Austen Saqui [Abraham Austin Saqui (1834-1889)], was a well-known bookmaker and owner of racehorses in Australia. Her father, Jack Saqui, followed in his father’s footsteps as a penciller, and began at the early age of 14 years. At the age of 20 he was making books on the Melbourne Cup to the extent of £1,000. About the same time he married. His daughter Maie was trained as a dancer under her aunt, Mrs. [Julia] Green, the well-known teacher of dancing in Melbourne, who was originally a Miss Saqui. Maie was not intended for the stage, but when her father, a wealthy man, lost his money in the land boom, Mrs. Saqui brought her daughter to England, where her brilliant career is known to every one. During more recent years Miss Saqui retired, and left the stage, and although in delicate healthy for some time past, her death came as a great shock to her numerous friends and relatives, among whom is Miss Sadi Green, now married to a son of Mr. Purves, the Melbourne barrister, and residing in England.’
(The Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Saturday, 11 May 1907, p. 4e)

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Adelina Balfe, a Gaiety Girl, photographed by the Dover Street Studios, London, circa 1909

March 4, 2014

Adelina Balfe (1888?-1948), Welsh born actress and Gaiety Girl
(photo: Dover Street Studios, London, circa 1909)

Adelina Balfe, whose real name was Dorothy Winifred Davies, was born in Swansea, Wales, about 1888. Her brief theatrical career began in 1906 but she did not attract attention until she was contracted to appear in small parts at the Gaiety Theatre, London, first in Havana (25 April 1908) and then in Our Miss Gibbs (23 January 1909). It was shortly after the beginning of the run of the latter that Miss Balfe married Lieutenant Gerard Randal Klombies (1887-1934), of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, son of (Carl) Robert Klombies (1842?-1920) and his second wife, Henrietta Sophia (née Peek). The couple had a daughter and were divorced in 1918 after which Miss Balfe was married for a second and third time.

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‘GAIETY GIRL’S MARRIAGE.
‘The marriage is reported of Miss Adelina Balfe, who is playing Sheila in Our Miss Gibbs at the Gaiety Theatre, London, to Lieutenant Gerard Randal Klombies, of the 2nd Dragoon Guards.
‘Miss Balfe appeared at the Gaiety that afternoon and evening as usual.<br. ‘The secret of the wedding was well kept, and even the bride’s closest friends knew nothing about the event till it was over.
‘Some particulars of the happy couple were published in the Evening News. The bridegroom – a lieutenant in the 2nd Dragoon Guards – is said to be a rich man in his own right, besides being the son of a wealthy mill-owner in the North. The bride who was described in the register as ”an actress, daughter of Herbert Davies, deceased, musician,” was born in Kilkenny [sic], and her dark beauty and nervous, generous temperament are typically Irish. She is just eighteen years of age, her husband being twenty-one.
‘Miss Adelina Balfe – to give her the name by which she is known to playgoers – joined the Gaiety Company in Havana, playing the part of Lolita, one of the ”Cigarette Girls.” her first stage experience was, however, with Mr Weedon Grossmith.
‘The young lieutenant first saw his bride about four months ago. It was a case of love at first sight, but some little time elapsed before he could secure an introduction. In the interval he occupied the same box every night until a common friend brought the young people together.
‘At the ceremony the bride, wearing heavy squirrel furs, a long fur coat, and a large hat of light blue shade, was accompanied by her mother. After the ceremony she repaired to the Gaiety Theatre, where she took her part of Sheila in Our Miss Gibbs. She also appeared at the evening performance. She is under a three years’ contract with Mr George Edwardes, and had expressed her intention of seeing it out.’
(The Marlborough Express, Blenheim, New Zealand, Friday, 2 April 1909, p. 2c)

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Gaby Deslys sings!

February 17, 2014

Gaby Deslys (1881-1920), the irresistible French actress, singer and dancer, was ‘discovered’ in Paris by the impresario George Edwardes, who brought her to London for a cameo role, ‘The Charm of Paris,’ in The New Aladdin, produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London on 29 September 1906. She conquered Broadway in 1911 and later that year effortlessly upstaged her co-star (although there is some disagreement on this point), the rising Al Jolson, in Vera Violetta (Winter Garden Theatre, 20 November 1911). Mlle. Deslys appeared in several films and her only known recordings, of which the present example for the HMV label (2-033039) is one of several, were made in Vienna on 17 October 1910 [see below]. Her long-time dancing partner was the American Harry Pilcer (1885-1961) and together they created ‘The Gaby Glide,’ also in Vera Violetta.

A follower, chrisz78, has kindly added the following comment: ‘The present recording (‘Tout en rose’ by Vincent Scotto, the second song is not mentioned anywhere and came as a total surprise to me!) was recorded not in Paris but in VIENNA, on 15 October 1910, as per Gramophone Co.’s original recording register. On the same day, Deslys made four further recordings, including another take of ‘Tout en rose’ on a 10-inch disc, two versions of ‘Philomène’ and one of ‘La Parisienne.’ All were issued, though apparently very briefly, so the discs are very rare.’

For further information, see James Gardiner’s biography, Gaby Deslys, A Fatal Attraction, published in 1986.

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Marie Studholme in the United States, 1895/96

September 6, 2013

a colour lithograph cigarette card issued in the United States in 1895 by the P. Lorillard Company for its ‘Sensation’ Cut Plug tobacco with a portrait of Marie Studholme (1872-1930), English musical comedy actress and singer, at the time of her appearances in America in An Artist’s Model
(printed by Julius Bien & Co, lithographers, New York, 1895)

An Artist’s Model, Broadway Theatre, New York, 27 December 1895
An Artist’s Model, as presented last night by George Edwardes‘ imported company, was received with frequent applause, and many of the musical numbers were redemanded. Still it is difficult to understand why the piece should have made such a hit in England, or why it should have been found necessary to bring over an English company to interpret it for the delectation of American audiences… .
‘Marie Studholme, the Daisy Vane of the cast, is fully as pretty as she has been heralded to be. What is more to the point, she acts, sings, and dances with coquettish archness and charming vivacity.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, New York, Saturday, 28 December 1895, p. 16c)

‘Another transfer from Broadway is that of An Artist’s Model, which goes to the Columbia immediately after the close of its term in this city. Brooklyn gets it with the London company intact, including a group of good vocalists, a set of competent comedians, and, perhaps above all, a prize beauty in Marie P. Studholme [sic], whose loveliness of person is an object of quite reasonable admiration.’
(The Sun, New York, New York, Sunday, 9 February 1896, p. 3b)

Columbia Theatre, Brooklyn, week beginning Monday, 10 February 1896
‘George Edwardes’ company, direct from the Broadway Theatre, appeared on Monday evening in An Artist’s Model. The bright, catchy songs, funny situations, and pretty girls caught the fancy of a large and fashionable audience, and encores were the order of the evening. Maurice Farkoa‘s laughing song was a great hit, and Marie Studholme’s pretty face and cut manners took the chappies completely by storm. Others were pleased were Nellie Stewart, Allison Skipworth, Christine Mayne, and Lawrence D’Orsay.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, New York, Saturday, 15 February 1896, p. 16c)

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‘MARIE STUDHOLME.
‘Said to Be the Most Beautiful Woman in England.
‘The present attraction at the Broadway theater, New York, is An Artist’s Model, and the most potent magnet of that successful production is Miss Marie Studholme, who is almost universally conceded to be the most beautiful woman in all England. She was quite popular in London, but it is safe to assert that she has received more newspaper notices during the two weeks she has been in this country than had ever been accorded to her in the whole course of her theatrical career.
‘Miss Studholme is a Yorkshire lass. She was born in a little hamlet known as Baildon, near Leeds, about twenty-two years ago. She was exceptionally pretty, even as a child, and, being possessed of considerable vocal and histrionic ability, it was decided that she should become in time a grand opera prima donna. To this end a thorough training was considered necessary, and Miss Studholme accordingly made her debut in Dorothy, singing the role of Lady Betty. Her next London engagement was in La Cigale, in which she had only a small part. She suffered from ill health at about this time and found it necessary to return to her native village to recoup.
‘After a very brief retirement Miss Studholme was lured back to the British metropolis by an offer of the character of the bride in Haste to the Wedding, at the Trafalgar theater [27 July 1892, 22 performances]. There here remarkable winsomness of manner was first notices by the newspapers. An engagement in Betsy at the Criterion [22 August 1892] followed, and again the fair young actress found it necessary to go home to win back her health and strength, which have since never failed her.
‘She soon returned to the Shaftesbury theater [13 April 1893], where Morocco Bound was the attraction. Here she enjoyed a positive triumph, having been successful in no less than three parts in the piece – those originally assigned to Violet Cameron and Jennie McNulty, besides her own. The enterprising and octopian George Edwardes, recognizing that the little beauty was also possessed of extraordinary versatility, immediately made Miss Studholme an offer to join his Gaity [i.e. Gaiety Theatre] company. This was accepted, and then the Morocco Bound syndicate made her a more tempting proposition to remain. She would have preferred to stay where she was in the changed circumstances, but the agreement had already been signed, and Miss Gladys Stourton in A Gaity Girl [i.e. A Gaiety Girl] at the Prince of Wales’ theatre [14 October 1893]. Her success I that role was enormous, and when Mr. Edwardes was getting together a special company to send to the United States, Miss Studholme is said to have been his very first selection. His wisom is demonstrated by the columns of priase devoted to the little English artiste by the not infrequently hypercritical New York theatrical critics.’
(The Saint Paul Daily Globe, St. Paul, Minnesota, Sunday, 3 May 1896, p. 9c)

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Julia Sanderson

July 23, 2013

Julia Sanderson (1887-1975), American actress and vocalist at about the time of her appearance in the musical comedy The Hon’ble Phil, Hicks Theatre, London, October to December 1908. G.P. Huntley, Herbert Clayton, Horace Mills, Denise Orme, Eva Kelly and Elsie Spain were the other principals.
(photo: The Dover Street Studios, London, 1908/09)

‘Two English Musical Plays At Rival Theaters This Week.
‘Two of George Edwardes’ London musical comedy successes will be the leading novelties of the week at the theaters, both The Quaker Girl and The Sunshine Girl being seen in Washington for the first time, the former after noteworthy engagements in London, New York, and Boston, and the latter coming to the Capital for its American debut after a continuous run of more than a year in the English metropolis, where it is till on view nightly at the Gaiety.
‘Washington will be particularly interested in the premiere of The Sunshine Girl at the Columbia tomorrow night, for upon this occasion a new Charles Frohman star will be evolved from the will be evolved from the nebulosity of chorus girl, soubrette, and leading lady. The honor is to be bestowed upon the talented and piquant Miss Julia Sanderson, who has been a Washington musical comedy favorite since the days of the ill-fated Dairymaids, whose cast she deserted during an engagement five years ago in the theater where she is now to become start.
‘Miss Sanderson’s career is not marked by many of those hardships which are usually related as warnings to the stage-struck girl. Her father, Albert Sackett, is an actor, and through his influence she secured an engagement with the Forepaugh stock company in her home city, Philadelphia. Here she divided her time between playing maid and pursuing her grammar school studies, for she made her debut in the theatre when she was 15.
‘As a member of the chorus with Paula Edwardes’ company in Winsome Winnie. Miss Sanderson entered the musical comedy field. She had an opportunity to play the title role when Miss Edwardes retired from the cast on account of illness. The understudy was at that time advertised as the youngest prima donna in the world.
‘But the sudden elevation did not result in any permanent advancement for Miss Sanderson. She went back to the ranks in A Chinese Honeymoon and in Fantana, but was given a hit when De Wolf Hopper revived Wang, after which she joined The Tourists.
‘Miss Sanderson has appeared in London in two successes, first with G.P. Huntley in The Honorable Phil and later with Ellaline Terriss in The Dashing Little Duke. ‘While not so recognized in the size of billboard and program type, Miss Sanderson has been a star in popular appreciation for two years, her graceful dancing, harm of manner, and small, but dulcet voice having won generous approbation in both The Arcadians and The Siren.
‘Mr. Frohman has engaged a capable musical comedy cast to support his new satellite. Joseph Cawthorn has for several seasons been a comedy mainstay for Elsie Janis, and Alan Mudie will be recalled as the agile dancer in The Arcadians.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Sunday, 26 January 1913, Magazine Section, p.2a)

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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)