Posts Tagged ‘Harry B. Smith’

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Lillian Russell

April 11, 2013

Lillian Russell (1860/61-1922), American beauty and former star of comic opera in burlesque for the first time in Whirl-i-gig, Weber and Fields’s Broadway Music Hall, New York, 21 September 1899
(photo: Dana Studios, New York and Brooklyn, circa 1895)

‘BURLESQUE IN NEW YORK.
(From Our Own Correspondent.)
‘”Whirligig, a dramatic conundrum in two guesses,” the second “guess” being “The Girl from Martin’s [sic] [i.e. The Girl from Maxim’s]; a bit of a fling at the Parisian comedy craze,” formed the opening programme at Weber and Field’s Broadway Music Hall, on the 21st inst., and drew such a big crowd that the little house was packed to the doors. Every seat in the house had been sold by auction at a high premium, two boxes having fetched $250 each. The jokes and comic scenes of the new offerings were by Edgar Smith, the lyrics by Harry B. Smith, and the music by John Stromberg. In Whirligig the authors have adhered to their regular methods in providing a story which has no particular point or moral, but gives opportunity for the introduction of witty absurdities, droll humour, plenty of music, gay costumes, and pretty girls. Messrs Joe Weber and “Lew” Fields are again seen as a pair of fun -making Germans who lose themselves in a labyrinthian [sic] dialogue of broken English, and have a knack of getting into trouble and involving others in their tribulations. The former is introduced as Herman Dillpickel, inventor of the Flotascope, “a machine for throwing living pictures on the native air,” and the latter as Wilhelm Hochderkaiser, an architect with plans for a jail possessing all the comforts of home. An important feature of the programme was the début in burlesque of Lillian Russell, who, in America, bears the undisputed title of “Queen of Comic Opera,” and whose salary at this music hall is said to be $1,500 per week. Miss Russell, who received an ovation on her entry, figured prominently in the first part as Mdlle. Fifi Coo-Coo, Queen of Bohemia, and The Girl from Martin’s [sic], a burlesque on the Feydeau farce (a burlesque on a farce is surely a novelty) now running at the Criterion here, as the frisky young person who finds herself in the wrong bed. Doubts of Lillian Russell’s popularity in burlesque were dispelled at the outset, for she adapted herself admirably to the new surroundings, and acted the burlesque scenes as though travesty, instead of comic opera, had been for forte for years. She presented a handsome appearance in a richly embroidered cream white gown, a crimson velvet hat with feathers of exaggerated dimensions, scarlet lingerie, and red slippers with diamond buckles. Miss Russell had two good songs, “The Queen of Bohemia” and “The Brunette Soubrette.”
‘The Queen of Bohemia fascinates Mr Sigmund Cohenski, a wealthy Hebrew gentleman. This latter rôle fell to “Dave” Warfield, who gave another of his inimitable character studies. A flirtation scene between these two, a clever travesty of the Marquis of Steyne incident in Becky Sharp, was one of the best things in the show. Peter Dailey appeared as Josh Boniface, the prosperous proprietor of a hotel in the suburbs of Paris, in the first part, the chorus girls being his waitresses and a chambermaids, and as General Petitpois, in the after-piece. According to precedent Mr Dailey sang a new coon song with a catchy melody wedded to it, and, also according to precedent, it was encored half a dozen times.
‘As Captain Kingsbridge, of the U.S. Navy, Charles Ross had a taking sea song, and a travesty of a scene in Miss Hobbs, with Irene Perry in Annie Russell’s rôle, which were sung and acted with charming grace and humour. John T. Kelly was Harold Gilhooly, “with a life story and a trained bear.” As an Italian with a Hibernian dialect he was exceedingly funny, and the comic pantomime of George Ali as Bruno, the bear, was very diverting. In the burlesque of The Girl from Maxim’s Mr Kelly was the idiotic Duke de Swellfront, with varnished hair; Weber and Fields were the ferocious duellists, Sarsaparilla and Tarroller; Dave Warfield, Dr. Fromage; and Lillian Russell, Praline. Some of the things that have been expurgated from the adaptation of the French farce at the Criterion seemed to have crept into the travesty of it, some of the episodes being of a pretty reckless character. The costumes were exceptionally handsome, and the richness of the stage pictures has been rarely excelled. Miss Hilbon, the little daughter of Bessie Bonehill, played a small part acceptably, and the Misses Mabel and Lulu Nichols as Madame Petitpois, “addicted to splits,” and the Duchess De Swellfront, the Duke’s mamma, respectively, increased the fun at every opportunity. Bessie Clayton’s sprightly and novel dance made a big hit. There were the usual enthusiastic demonstrations at the close, the stage being crowded with floral offerings of all shapes and sizes. Newly decorated and improved, the music hall now ranks among the most tastefully appointed amusement houses on Broadway.’
(The Era, London, Saturday 7 October 1899, p.9e)

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April 11, 2013

Lillian Russell (1860/61-1922), American beauty and former star of comic opera in burlesque for the first time in Whirl-i-gig, Weber and Fields’s Broadway Music Hall, New York, 21 September 1899
(photo: Dana Studios, New York and Brooklyn, circa 1895)

‘BURLESQUE IN NEW YORK.
(From Our Own Correspondent.)
’“Whirligig, a dramatic conundrum in two guesses,” the second “guess” being “The Girl from Martin’s [sic] [i.e. The Girl from Maxim’s]; a bit of a fling at the Parisian comedy craze,” formed the opening programme at Weber and Field’s Broadway Music Hall, on the 21st inst., and drew such a big crowd that the little house was packed to the doors. Every seat in the house had been sold by auction at a high premium, two boxes having fetched $250 each. The jokes and comic scenes of the new offerings were by Edgar Smith, the lyrics by Harry B. Smith, and the music by John Stromberg. In Whirligig the authors have adhered to their regular methods in providing a story which has no particular point or moral, but gives opportunity for the introduction of witty absurdities, droll humour, plenty of music, gay costumes, and pretty girls. Messrs Joe Weber and “Lew” Fields are again seen as a pair of fun -making Germans who lose themselves in a labyrinthian [sic] dialogue of broken English, and have a knack of getting into trouble and involving others in their tribulations. The former is introduced as Herman Dillpickel, inventor of the Flotascope, “a machine for throwing living pictures on the native air,” and the latter as Wilhelm Hochderkaiser, an architect with plans for a jail possessing all the comforts of home. An important feature of the programme was the début in burlesque of Lillian Russell, who, in America, bears the undisputed title of “Queen of Comic Opera,” and whose salary at this music hall is said to be $1,500 per week. Miss Russell, who received an ovation on her entry, figured prominently in the first part as Mdlle. Fifi Coo-Coo, Queen of Bohemia, and The Girl from Martin’s [sic], a burlesque on the Feydeau farce (a burlesque on a farce is surely a novelty) now running at the Criterion here, as the frisky young person who finds herself in the wrong bed. Doubts of Lillian Russell’s popularity in burlesque were dispelled at the outset, for she adapted herself admirably to the new surroundings, and acted the burlesque scenes as though travesty, instead of comic opera, had been for forte for years. She presented a handsome appearance in a richly embroidered cream white gown, a crimson velvet hat with feathers of exaggerated dimensions, scarlet lingerie, and red slippers with diamond buckles. Miss Russell had two good songs, “The Queen of Bohemia” and “The Brunette Soubrette.”
‘The Queen of Bohemia fascinates Mr Sigmund Cohenski, a wealthy Hebrew gentleman. This latter rôle fell to “Dave” Warfield, who gave another of his inimitable character studies. A flirtation scene between these two, a clever travesty of the Marquis of Steyne incident in Becky Sharp, was one of the best things in the show. Peter Dailey appeared as Josh Boniface, the prosperous proprietor of a hotel in the suburbs of Paris, in the first part, the chorus girls being his waitresses and a chambermaids, and as General Petitpois, in the after-piece. According to precedent Mr Dailey sang a new coon song with a catchy melody wedded to it, and, also according to precedent, it was encored half a dozen times.
‘As Captain Kingsbridge, of the U.S. Navy, Charles Ross had a taking sea song, and a travesty of a scene in Miss Hobbs, with Irene Perry in Annie Russell’s rôle, which were sung and acted with charming grace and humour. John T. Kelly was Harold Gilhooly, “with a life story and a trained bear.” As an Italian with a Hibernian dialect he was exceedingly funny, and the comic pantomime of George Ali as Bruno, the bear, was very diverting. In the burlesque of The Girl from Maxim’s Mr Kelly was the idiotic Duke de Swellfront, with varnished hair; Weber and Fields were the ferocious duellists, Sarsaparilla and Tarroller; Dave Warfield, Dr. Fromage; and Lillian Russell, Praline. Some of the things that have been expurgated from the adaptation of the French farce at the Criterion seemed to have crept into the travesty of it, some of the episodes being of a pretty reckless character. The costumes were exceptionally handsome, and the richness of the stage pictures has been rarely excelled. Miss Hilbon, the little daughter of Bessie Bonehill, played a small part acceptably, and the Misses Mabel and Lulu Nichols as Madame Petitpois, “addicted to splits,” and the Duchess De Swellfront, the Duke’s mamma, respectively, increased the fun at every opportunity. Bessie Clayton’s sprightly and novel dance made a big hit. There were the usual enthusiastic demonstrations at the close, the stage being crowded with floral offerings of all shapes and sizes. Newly decorated and improved, the music hall now ranks among the most tastefully appointed amusement houses on Broadway.’
(The Era, London, Saturday 7 October 1899, p.9e)

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the seven ‘Daisy Girls’ in The Jewel of Asia

March 16, 2013

a photograph of the seven ‘Daisy Girls’ in The Jewel of Asia, a musical comedy by Frederick Ranken and Harry B. Smith, with music by Ludwig Englander,
left to right: Ida Gabrielle, Maude Wycherley, Ethel Gilmore, Reine Davies, Lillie Brink, Ella Ray and Erminie Earl
(photo: Dadmun, Boston, 1903)

The Jewel of Asia, starring James T. Powers with Blanche Ring, opened at the Criterion Theatre, New York, on 16 February 1903.

‘The distinctive feature of this septette of beauties is that they were all society maidens before they went before the footlights, even though Who’s Who fails to give a leading clew. This is perhaps accounted for by the fact that Miss Gabrielle is French and figures in the Blue Book of the fashionable St. Germain, Miss Wycherley is English, as anyone may confirm who studies Burke’s Peerage, Miss Brink is Irish, of a famous Dublin noble family, Miss Davies being Scotch; her ancestors owned landed estates adjoining Balmoral in the heather country. The rest of the galaxy are American members of the smart sets of Louisville, Baltimore and Philadelphia respectively. Two of them are heiresses in their own right, one has a marquisite in view, a third, the pretties of all, as she may be readily picked out, is engaged to a young man in Harvard, the heir of thirty millions, and another looks like Edna May. Altogether this is about as interesting a collection of daisies as can be found in any field.’
(magazine clipping, United States, 1903)

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Adele Ritchie

February 13, 2013

Adele Ritchie (1874?-1930),
American actress and singer.
(photo: unknown, New York, probably 1907)

Adele Richie in The Wizard of the Nile, on tour during 1897 in the United States and then, unsuccessfully, at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London
‘The quaint idea of representing Cleopatra of history as a young maiden who as yet has known nothing of love, and seemingly cannot comprehend it, is the central motive Harry B. Smith has used in his opera, The Wizard of the Nile, which is being exploited by the Frank Daniels Opera Company. Mr. Daniels’s character is that of a Persian magician, who is rewarded with Cleopatra’s hand in return for causing the Nile to rise, and his fruitless efforts to teach her the meaning of love cause his amusing perplexities. While it has been seen here before there is always a desire to see and hear it again. Frank Daniels is still the Wizard, and Adele Richie and ”Billy” Corliss are also in the cast. The opera will be given again in the Hall next Thursday evening.’
(The Albany Evening Journal, Albany, New York, Saturday, 3 April 1897)

Shaftesbury Theatre, London, 6 September 1897, for 27 performances, with Adele Richie, J.J. Dallas, Amy Augarde, et al
‘Adele Richie’s starring attempt in the Wizard of the Nile has ended disastrously and the theatre, the Shaftesbury, has been closed. The management admits that The Wizard of the Nile was not a paying venture, ascribing its failure to the American quality of the humor which the English were unable to fathom.’
(The Auburn Bulletin, Auburn, New York, Saturday, 9 October 1897, p. 1e)

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

January 13, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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