Posts Tagged ‘Harry Beckett’

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Willie Edouin as ‘The Heathen Chinee,’ inspired by Bret Harte’s character, Ah Sin

June 10, 2014

Willie Edouin (1846-1908), English comic actor, as ‘The Heathen Chinee’ (based on Ah Sin, a character imagined by Bret Harte for a poem, first published in 1870) in Lydia Thompson‘s production of H.B. Farnie‘s burlesque, Blue Beard; or, the Mormon, the Maiden and The Little Militaire, first produced at Wallack’s Theatre, New York, 16 August 1871. After 30 performances the piece began a tour of the United States. Lydia Thompson’s production of Blue Beard, in which Willie Edouin appeared again as ‘The Heathen Chinee,’ was first seen in London at the Charing Cross Theatre on 19 September 1874. This pose shows Edouin stepping away from the playing cards which have just fallen out of his ‘Chinee’s’ long sleeve, as in Harte’s poem.
(carte de visite photo: Fradelle & Marshall, 230 & 246 regent Street, London, W, probably 1875)

Wallack’s Theatre, New York, Wednesday evening, 16 August 1871
‘MISS LYDIA THOMPSON and her new burlesque company commenced an engagement at Wallack’s Theatre on Wednesday evening, Aug. 16th, the house having been closed the two preceding evenings for rehearsals. Although the troupe had been announced to appear on Monday evening, the delay on the passage of the steamship Queen, which bore them to our shores and only arrived on Friday, the 11th inst., rendered it advisable that the opening should be postponed rather than risk a possibly imperfect performance, as the company had never, hitherto, acted together… . Willie Edouin created much hilarity by his grotesque acting of Corporal Zoug-Zoug. He walked with a gait which defies description, but which convulsed the audience with laughter. In the third scene he was introduced as a Heathen Chineee, which he personated in an excellent manner, singing a Chinese song, and performing a Chinese grotesque dance which met with great favor, being thrice re-demanded. He also, with [Harry] Beckett, presented in a realistic manner the celebrated game of euchre played by Ah Sin, as described by Bret Harte, which was rapturously received. His ping being made of India rubber became the vehicle of likewise creating much mirth… .’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 26 August 1871, p. 166b)

Memphis Theatre, Memphis, Monday, 8 January 1872
‘This temple of the Muses was packed from pit to dome last evening by an enthusiastic and fashionable audience, on the occasion of the initial performance of the famous Lydia Thompson blondes, in the extravaganza called Blue Beard. From the rise until the fall of the curtain the troupe kept the audience in a roar of laughter. By way of change, a charming solo, duet or quartette would be introduced, all of which were sung in an artistic and operatic manner. Miss Thompson has lost none of her old-time playful abandonment. Last night she skipped and pirouetted through the part of ”Selim” with airy grace and bewitching sweetness. Burlesque holds its position on the stage as an amuser of the people, and, while it may not aim to accomplish lofty ends, it is still a form of entertainment that is harmless, and, at the same time, fruitful of much innocent enjoyment. Of burlesque, Miss Thompson is now the recognized exponent, and deserves thanks fo the admirable manner in which she has pleased eye and ear in Blue Beard. Next in importance to Miss Thompson in the success of the troupe if Mr. Harry Becket, whose ”make up” and acting as the polygamous ”Blue Beard” presented the same rare appreciation of the broadly humorous which has always characterized his art labors. Willie Edouin, too, as ”Corporal Zoug Zoug” and the ”Heathen Chinee,” also came in for a large share of applause, and, indeed, the entire company appears to be one that will work harmoniously together and be the source of much entertainment to the theater-going public. Two points in Miss Thompson’s characterization were remarkable. One was her interpritation of the song, ”His Heart was True to his Poll,” which was full of an energetic humor for which we did not give her credit; the other was her personal appearance as the ”Shepherd boy,” wheein she looked as though was had strayed out of one of Virgil’s eclogues, with the bloom of the pastoral age upon her. Blue Beard will be presented again this evening.’
(The Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Tuesday, 9 January 1872, p. 2c-d)

Academy of Music, Charleston, Thursday, 4 April, 1872
‘THE LYDIA THOMPSON TROUPE.
‘A Crowded Audience and a Brilliant Initial Performance.
‘The beautiful burlesquers of Miss Lydia Thompson’s new troupe took simultaneous possession of the Academy of Music and the hearts of its crowded audience at their initial performance last evening. The merry travestie upon the doleful legend of Blue Beard was irresistibly comical, and, with its rollicking humor, its excruciating puns, and its accompaniments of charming dresses and lovely forms, it brought down the house. Miss Lydia Thompson was the jauntiest of sous-lieutenants; Miss Eliza Weathersby, the jauntiest of O’Shabacacs, and Miss Nellie Kamp the pearl of pages. We give place aux dames, as it our duty, but the success of the evening was won by Willie Edouin, the Heathen Chinese, whose euchre scene from the tale of Truthful James was applauded to the echo. To-night will be given the legend of the love-lorn Lurline.’
(The Charleston News, Charleston, South Carolina, Friday, 5 April 1872, p. 3c)

Charing Cross Theatre, London, 19 September 1874
‘Mr Willie Edouin, who re;resented a corporal and a ”Heathen Chinee,” is an extremely clever actor, but his performances are, we should say, a good deal too violet for English tastes. His ”Heathen Chinee,” however, is very much superior to his corporal. His dancing as the Chinee is little short of miraculous, and his antics generally are very laughable, though rather verging towards incontinent extravagance.’
(The Examiner, London, Saturday, 26 September 1874, p. 1056b)

‘… It would be impossible to find for Selim another impersonator as graceful and refined as Miss Lydia Thompson, or for Blue Beard a more humorous representative that Mr. Lionel Brough [replacing Harry Beckett]. But the American actors [sic], Mr. John Morris, who, in presence of the audience, transforms himself instantaneously from a young man to an old one, from man to woman, and from an old woman to a younger girl; and Mr. Willie Edouin, who plays the part of the ”Heathen Chinee,” and after a series of most grotesque performances cheats Blue Bear at euchre, could not be replaced at all. How these gentlemen ever got into the piece is a problem which cannot be solved by analysis. But there they are and there they are likely long to remain. Many playgoers, and a far greater number of non-playgoers, had been congratulating themselves on the fact that burlesque was dead; that it had at last given way to opera bouffe, which was, in its turn, to give way to opéra comique, so that in the end all fun of a farcical kind and set to music would disappear from the stage. This was neither possible nor desirable; and Miss Lydia Thompson’s experiment has shown that, with whatever violence burlesque may be driven out, it will return. No one, however, would have wished for its disappearance had the class in general been as free from vulgarity as it the individual specimen of it which Miss Lydia Thompson has now brought forward.’
(The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Monday, 26 October 1874, p. 10)

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Lina Edwin, American burlesque actress and singer

May 11, 2014

Lina Edwin (otherwise, Lena Edwin, Mrs Bland Holt, 1846?-1883), American burlesque actress and singer.
(cabinet photo: Howell, 867 and 869 Broadway, New York, circa 1870)

‘A SOUTHERN LADY TAKES TO THE STAGE. – Miss Lina Edwin, who has just opened her theatre in New York, has a romantic history, according to the Brooklyn Union. ”She is a Southerner, well born, and highly educated. She lived on her paternal estates near Richmond, Virginia, and was brought up in the mollesse of the old southern aristocracy. During the war the paternal estates wee melted in the crucible of the Confederacy, and Miss Edwin turned pluckily to self-support. First she tried literature, and became well known in the internal newspaper world as a song writer. Then she set about writing music for her sons, and the orchestral world began to know her. She wrote waltzes and fantasias, and in all acquitted herself well. Next she took to the stage, and in two years or so from a brilliant beginning, reached the degree of manageress in her own right. An opportune legacy has set her right pecuniarily, but it did not arrive until she had got well into the expense list of her ledger on behalf of the public amusement, and now she will appear in her new capacity as manager.”’
(The Daily Phoenix, Columbia, South Carolina, Tuesday, 22 September 1870, p. 2b)

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Notable among Lina Edwin’s first appearances were with W.H. Lingard and his actress wife, Alice Dunning, in the former’s production of H.J. Byron’s Orpheus and Eurydice (New York, 1 February 1869); and with Lydia Thompson and her troupe (including Harry Beckett, Pauline Markham, Alice Atherton and Eliza Weathersby) in the burlesque, Pippin; or, The King of the Golden Mines (Niblo’s Garden, New York, 4 April 1870). She subsequently gave her name to a theatre at 720 Broadway, New York, which became well-known for burlesques and other popular entertainment but in December 1872 was burnt to the ground. Meanwhile, in December 1871, Miss Edwin was in Ireland where she appeared as Doe Maynard in the comedy, Rank at the Queen’s Royal Theatre, Dublin. She became a great favourite there, remaining until October 1872. After returning to the United States, Lina Edwin then left for Australia at the close of 1876 in a company headed by Annie Pixley and Bland Holt. She continued her career in Australia until her death in 1883.

Melbourne, NSW, Australia, Thursday, 31 May 1883
‘Mrs Bland Holt, better known by her stage name of Lena [sic] Edwin, died to-day. About two months ago the deceased lady was seized with an apoplectic fit on the stage of the Theatre Royal [Melbourne], which resulted in paralysis, from which she was recovering, but to-day she was seized with a second attack of apoplexy, and rapidly sank. Mr. Holt is at present in Sydney.’
(The Sydney Morning Herald, NSW, Australia, Friday, 1 June 1883, p. 7f)

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Camille Dubois, with Lydia Thompson’s Troupe in the United States, 1871-1873

September 7, 2013

Camille Dubois (1851-1933), French-born English burlesque actress and singer, as she appeared with Lydia Thompson’s Troupe in the United States, 1871-1873
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, 1871-1873)

Camille Wilhelmina Henriette Reyloff, whose stage name was Camille Dubois, was born in France in 1851. She was one of the children of Edmond (sometimes Edward) Reyloff (1821-1889), who was born in Belgium, a successful pianist, composer and musical conductor, for some years at the Aquarium, Brighton, and his wife, Caroline (1825-1910), who was born in Saxe Coburg, a concert singer.

Camille Dubois is said to have begun her career in 1869 or 1870 and the earliest mention of her is in connection with her engagement in 1871 with Lydia Thompson in the United States. Her career flourished until the mid 1880s. By then she had married on 30 October 1877 the Hon. Wyndham Edward Campbell Stanhope (1851-1883), fourth son of the 7th Earl of Harrington. The marriage ended in divorce in May 1883 and she married again on 8 January 1884 Colonel Walter Adye (1858-1915), by whom she had two children. Camille Dubois died in London on 15 May 1933.

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Camille Dubois on tour in the United States with Lydia Thompson’s company, January 1872
‘MEMPHIS THEATER. – Lydia Thompson’s Troupe drew an immense house last night. The amusing extravaganza, Blue Beard, with ”Sister Anne” on the tower looking for some one to save poor ”Fatima,” was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. The song, ”His Heart was True to Poll,” by Miss Thompson, was finely and dramatically rendered. Her make-up, as the ”Shepherd Boy,” was pastoral in the extreme, and displayed to advantage that artistic taste for which the burlesque queen is justly celebrated. Miss Thompson’s characteristics are well known. She has a captivating face, a grace which cannot be excelled, a sympathetic voice which she uses cleverly, unfailing spirit, and an amount of self-reliance which a popularity seemingly on the increase almost justifies. Miss Camille Dubois produced a favourable impression by good looks, ease of manner, and real talent as a songstress. Miss Kate Egerton and Miss Carlotta Zerbini are equally au fait of their duties. These young ladies, with several of less note, fill the stage in as gratifying a manner as can be imagined. The influence of Miss Thompson’s company over a laughter-seeking assemblage lies, however, in the actors. Mr. Harry Beckett, who was the object of a tumultuous welcome, is as potent to elicit merriment as ever. Last night’s affair placed almost on a level with him, in the exercise of this power, Mr. Willie Edouin, a droll low comedian and a capital acrobat. To-night the charming spectacular drama entitled Lurline will be presented. This is said to be the most attractive play in the repertoire of the troupe.’
(Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Wednesday, 10 January 1872, p. 2d)

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‘Miss Marie de Grey has taken the place of Mdlle. Camille Dubois in Champagne [i.e. Champagne, A Question of Phiz] at the Strand. The last-named lady has recently been married to the Hon. Wyndham Stanhope.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 11 November 1877, p. 6a)

‘One of Lydia Thompson’s burlesque actresses, Camille Dubois, who journeyed all over America, dancing clog dances and singing nursery rhymes, has had the good fortune to win the affection of the Hon. Wyndham Stanhope, who has wedded her.’
(Dodge City Times, Dodge City, Kansas, Saturday, 29 December 1877, p. 2c)

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Patti Josephs

December 28, 2012

a carte de visite photograph of Patti Josephs (1849?-1876), English actress (photo: Bassano, London, late 1860s)

‘MR CHARLES DICKENS is now well enough to take an active interest in the preparation of David Copperfield at the Olympic Theatre. The piece in its embryo state is exciting unusual interest. Mr [Sam] Emery has been engaged for the character of Peggotty, and Miss Patti Josephs for that of Emily. Mr Dickens is attending the rehearsals of David Copperfield, and Mr Halliday’s adaptation of the story will be produced with the full sanction and active co-operation of the author.’ (The Edinburgh Evening Courant, Edinburgh, Monday, 27 September 1869, p. 8f). Halliday’s adaptation of David Copperfield, entitled Little Em’ly, was produced at the Olympic, London, on 9 October 1869.

‘Miss Patti Josephs, a sister of Fanny Josephs, recently committed suicide by throwing herself from a window. She had been an inmate of the Philadelphia hospital. She was, some years back, at the Olympic and other London theatres, and in America married a Mr. Fitzpatrick.’ (Reynolds’s Newspaper, London, Sunday, 29 October 1876, p. 8b)

‘Death of Miss Patti Josephs.
‘London playgoers will deeply regret to hear of the death of this young and charming actress, who expired at Philadelphia on the 5th of October [1876], under circumstances of an exceedingly painful kind, which will be found detailed below by an American correspondent. Readily may be recalled a bright series of impersonations embodied during the last dozen years at the St. James’s, Olympic, Adelphi, and other Theatres. More especially will Miss Eliza Stuart Patti Josephs be remembered as the representative of Cupid in
Cupid and Psyche at the Olympic, and afterwards at the same Theatre in Mr Halliday’s drama Little Em’ly, where she played Little Em’ly with a prettiness and pathos which won the warmest sympathy of the audience. After this most successful performance Miss Patti Josephs left these shores to fulfil an engagement in America, where she married Mr John Fitzpatrick, an actor well known in this country and much esteemed by all who enjoyed his friendship in America. Scarcely twenty-seven when she died, the young actress has prematurely closed a career which promised brilliant results.
‘Miss Patti Josephs had been confined to her residence for the past eight months with a complication of diseases, and on the evening of the 4th inst. she fell out of the third-story window of the building where she resided, at Eleventh and Locust-streets, Philadelphia, and, striking her head, sustained such severe injuries that she died shortly after being conveyed to the Pennsylvania Hospital. It is believed that, while temporarily insane from pain, she leaned out of the window, and,losing her balance, met with the sad accident that resulted in her death. She came of an old theatrical family, her father, the late Mr W.H. Josephs, having been a Manager of several Theatres in London and the Provinces, while her grandfather had managed a theatrical circuit in England. She was a sister of Mr Harry Josephs, the well-known comedian, and of the late Mr John H. Selwyn. Her sister Fanny is also an actress. Another one of her brothers is a well-known minister in Boston – the Rev. G.C. Lorimer of the Union Temple Church, in that city. Miss Patti Josephs made her first appearance in America at the Chestnut-street Theatre, Philadelphia, on the 14th of October, 1872, in Bronson Howard’s comedy of
Diamonds, and became a member of the stock company at that Theatre. Miss Josephs next played at Fox’s American Theatre, Philadelphia, with Colville’s burlesque troupe, which included Harry Beckett, Willie Edouin, and Eliza Weathersby, and which opened there May 19th, 1873. In December, 1874, Miss Josephs and her husband became members of the stock company at Fox’s American Theatre, where they have remained ever since. She last appeared at Fox’s in The Hidden Hand, about the 21st of February, 1876. The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon, October 8th, and the body was interred at Mount Moriah Cemetery, a large number of members of the dramatic profession attending the funeral.’ (The Era, London, Sunday, 29 October 1876, p. 13c)