Posts Tagged ‘Howard Talbot’

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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)

* * * * *

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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May Etheridge about 1912, later Duchess of Leinster

November 2, 2013

May Etheridge (1892-1935), English chorus girl
(photo: unknown, possibly Elwin Neame, London, circa 1912)

May Etheridge (née May Juanita Etheridge) was first seen on the stage in the chorus of The New Aladdin, an extravaganza, at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 29 September 1906. She then transferred to the Aldwych Theatre under the management of Seymour Hicks before taking the part of Ko-Giku, a geisha, in The Mousmé, a musical play with music by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot, which was produced by Robert Courtneidge at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on 9 September 1911. Her final official part was in the small role of Ursula in Princess Caprice, a comedy with music by Leo Fall, produced at the same theatre on 11 May 1912. It is believed, however, that she appeared in a small uncredited part in the musical comedy, Betty at Daly’s Theatre, London, during 1915.

By then, however, on 12 June 1913 at Wandsworth Registrar’s Office, near London, May Etheridge married Lord Edward FitzGerald (1892-1976), later 7th Duke of Leinster. They separated in 1922 and divorced in 1930. He was subsequently married three more times (including in 1946 to the former actress, Denise Orme) and committed suicide on 8 March 1976.

‘A Duchess Bound Over.
‘LONDON, April 19 [1930]. – Charged with having attempted to commit suicide, the Duchess of Leinster, formerly May Etheridge, a musical comedy star [sic], who was found unconscious on April 1 [1930] in a gas-filled room at a Brixton boarding house, was bound over to-day to be of good behaviour for two years, in her own recognisances of £50 and two sureties for a like amount.’
(The West Australian, Perth, Tuesday, 22 April 1930, p. 15b)

The Duchess, who eventually changed her name to May Murray, died at her home at Saltdean, near Brighton, Sussex on 11 February 1935; the inquest returned a verdict of death by misadventure following an accidental overdose of narcotics taken to induce sleep.

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Maudi Darrell and George Graves in The Belle of Britanny

May 29, 2013

Maudi Darrell (1882-1920) as Toinette and George Graves (1876-1949) as the Marquis de St. Gautier in The Belle of Britanny, Queen’s Theatre, London, 24 October 1908
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1908)

This real photograph postcard, no. 7444B in the Rotary Photographic Series published in 19087 by the Rotary Photographic Co Ltd of London, shows Maudi Darrell as Toinette and George Graves as the Marquis de St. Gautier in the comic opera The Belle of Britanny, which was produced at the Queen’s Theatre, London, on 24 October 1908. The piece was written by Leedham Bantock and P.J. Barrow, with lyrics by Percy Greenbank and music by Howard Talbot and Marie Horne. Other members of the cast included Lawrence Rea, Davy Burnaby, E.W. Royce senior, Walter Passmore, Lily Iris (replaced during the run successively by May Hackney and Millie Legarde), Maud Boyd, Blanche Stocker, Minnie Baker, Gladys Saqui and Ruth Vincent. The production ran for 147 performances.

An American production of The Belle of Britanny opened at Daly’s Theatre, New York, on 8 November 1909, in which Toinette was played by Elsa Ryan and de St. Gautier by Frank Daniels.

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The Blue Moon

April 29, 2013

colour lithograph cover (after original artwork by Richard Pannett) to the score of The Blue Moon, a musical play by Harold Ellis, revised by A.M. Thompson, with lyrics by Percy Greenbank and Paul A. Rubens and music by Howard Talbot and Paul A. Rubens, published by Chappell & Co Ltd, London, 1905, printed by H.G. Banks Ltd.

The Blue Moon, was first produced at the Opera House, Northampton, on 29 February 1904, before its London premier at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, on 28 August 1905. The principal parts on the opening night in London were played by Courtice Pounds, Fred Allandale, Walter Passmore, Willie Edouin, Eleanor Souray, Florence Smithson (a stylized portrait of whom is on the above score cover), Billie Burke and Carrie Moore.

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Raymond Hitchcock

March 5, 2013

Raymond Hitchcock (1865-1929), American actor, as he was seen in London for the first time upon appearing in the title role of Mr Manhattan, which was first produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, on 30 March 1916
(photo: unknown, USA, circa 1915)

‘MR. RAYMOND HITCHCOCK
‘The famous American character-comedian, who made his first appearance in England in Mr. Manhattan at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre last week. Mr. Manhattan sounds American but it is an all-English musical comedy, for the book is by Mr. Fred Thompson and Mr. C.H. Bovill, and the music by Mr. Howard Talbot. The piece had a successful trial trip at Blackpool before coming to London.’
(The Tatler, London, 5 April 1916, p. viii)

* * * * *

‘Hitchcock’s Home Burned.
‘The two-story frame dwelling owned by Raymond Hitchcock, about three miles from Great Neck, L.I., was destroyed by fire which started from some unknown cause early last Tuesday morning. The loss is estimated at from $30,000 to $40,000.
‘The fire spread so rapidly that when it was discovered there was little or no chance of saving the building. A fire call was sent to Great Neck and Alert Engine Company responded, but they could do little to extinguish the flames, although able to prevent the flames from spreading to the home of W.A. Chandler, close by.
‘Two women servants where were asleep on the second floor were slightly injured in leaping from their bedrooms.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 11 September 1909, p.11c)

Raymond Hitchcock made a number of gramophone recordings in New York and London between 1910 and 1922, for several of which see the Internet Archive.

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A Chinese Honeymoon, 2nd Anniversary Souvenir, 5 October 1903

January 22, 2013

cover of A Chinese Honeymoon souvenir,
distributed at the Strand Theatre, London, 5 October 1903
(from original artwork by ‘Kin’,
published for the Strand Theatre by The Stage Souvenir Co, London,
printed by David Allen & Sons Ltd, London and Belfast, 1903)

This attractive souvenir of the long-running musical comedy by George Dance, with music by Howard Talbot, which began its career at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, on 16 October 1899, contains photographs of and text by the leading personalities of the piece (including Picton Roxborough) on the occasion of its second anniversary at the Strand Theatre, London, where it had opened on 5 October 1901. A Chinese Honeymoon eventually closed there after 1,075 performances on 23 May 1904.

George Dance

George Dance (1858-1932), English dramatist and theatrical manager
(photo: Lizzie Caswall Smith, London, 1903

A CHINESE HONEYMOON
May honestly claim to be the most successful of all musical comedies. Originally produced by Mr. George Dance’s Company on October 16th, 1899, at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, it at once leaped into pubic favour. Two companies were sent immediately on the road, and it was while paying a visit to the Theatre Royal, Darlington, the following year that Mr. Frank Curzon first saw it. He determined to bring it to London, and he produced it eventually at this theatre on October 5th, 1901. Since that date it has been played here without a break, and this evening it registers its second anniversary.
In addition to the Strand production, A Chinese Honeymoon is being represented to-night by five different companies in the British provinces, under the direction of Mr. George Dance.
Messrs. Shubert ‘presented’ it at the Casino Theatre, New York, on June 2nd, 1901, where it met with an enthusiastic reception, and 500 consecutive performances were given – hereby establishing a record for musical plays in New York. It is now being played by four ‘road’ companies in the United States and Canada, under the management of the Messrs. Shubert.
It was produced by Mr. George Musgrove at the Princess’s Theatre, Melbourne, on June 30th, 1902, with equal success; and ran into 165 performances – a record for the Antipodes. Mr. Musgrove’s Company is now touring it in Australia and New Zealand [and Tasmania].
One February 14th, 1901, Mr. George Walton produced it at the Theatre Royal, Capetown, with its customary success (a success that was continued throughout South Africa) and a second tour is now being organized to open in Capetown in a few months’ time.
A German version was given at the Central Theater, Hamburg, by Mr. C.M. Roehr on February 12th, 1903, whtn the universal verdict was repeated. It is now included in the répertoire of the principal theatres throughout Germany, Austria and Hungary.
Mr. Maurice E. Bandmann is at the present time taking it on a third tour through the English-speaking cities situated round the Mediterranean.
Arrangements are already conducted for its presentation to the Parisian public. And it would seen that with this last invasion it had no other worlds left to conquer; but this is not so, for a series of unauthorized performances were given last year in China itself.
R. Byron Webber, Business Manager. Strand Theatre, Oct. 5th, 1903.