Posts Tagged ‘Joseph W. Herbert’

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a scene from The Beauty Spot, Herald Square Theatre, New York, 1909

January 16, 2014

a scene from The Beauty Spot, a musical comedy written by Joseph W. Herbert, with music by Reginald De Koven, produced at the Herald Square Theatre, New York City on 10 April 1909.
(photo: unknown, probably New York, 1909; halftone publicity postcard, publisher unknown, 1909)

THE BEAUTY SPOT IS THE ALVIN’S NEXT OFFERING.
‘On March 28 [1910] Pittsburg will have an opportunity to meet Jeff de Angelis in The Beauty Spot, as the management of the Alvin theater announce that attraction for this date. The production will be identically the same as it was during its run of over six months at the Herald Square theater, New York city, while the principle [sic] roles will be interpreted by the same brilliant cast including George James, James MacFarlane, Frank Doane, Viola Gillette, Isabel D’Armond, Jacques Kruger, Alf Deball, Jean Newcomb, Katherine Bowen and Frances Burns.
‘In the role of the flurtatious old Russian general, Jefferson de Angelis is most happily cast, and not in recent years has he had a part that suited him so admirably. George J. MacFarlane as Jacques Baccrel is both manly and capable, while his splendid cultivated voice renders his performance most pleasing. Frank Doane in the character of the negro valet, masquerading as a Prince of Borneo, is screamingly funny. Diminutive Isabel D’Armond as Madine, the general’s daughter, is exceedingly dainty and graceful.’
(The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Sunday, 20 March 1910, Theatrical Section, p. 3d/e)

‘DE ANGELIS. – Jefferson De Angelis, now at the New York in The Pearl Maiden, has been on the stage practically all his life. He had a company of his own as far back as 1884, when he made a world tour. He used to be the character comedian in Colonel McCaull’s opera company at Wallack’s, and there established himself as a crowd-drawing attraction in New York whenever he comes to town. His activities in musical comedy have been very numerous, and covered a long time at the Casino. The Jolly Musketeers was one of his biggest drawing cards, and lasted him for four seasons. Fantana is looked back on now as one of the funniest shows ever in the city. Since then he has starred in The Great White Way and The Beauty Spot. He was a member of the all-star cast of The Mikado at the Casino. While in St. Louis this Fall, Mr. De Angelis contracted a tired feeling of everything pertaining to theatricals, and so expressed himself publicly. He seems, however, to have recovered his old-time enthusiasm.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 24 January 1912, p. 10a)

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Fascinating Flora

July 4, 2013

members of the chorus in Fascinating Flora, a musical comedy by R.H. Burnside and Joseph W. Herbert, with music by Gustav Kerker, Casino Theatre, New York, 20 May 1907
(photo: unknown, New York, 1907)

‘Fascinating Flora is just another musical concoction built along the same lines as scores of predecessors. Nothing but the expected happens; choruses sing, dance, and stand in line, smile, wear colored clothes; principals get into trouble and out of it, burst into song at intervals commensurate with their importance, make jokes about New York, do specialities of more or less cleverness; the curtain falls to divide the evening into two parts; the orchestra plays the air that the promoters hope will be popular. The whole thing is done according to formula as accurately as a prescription is compounded in a drug store. And the audience, strictly ritualistic as a musical comedy audience always is, is pleased.

‘It is the ingredients, the individuals and what they do that makes the success of a musical comedy. Fascinating Flora has the advantage of being made of good material. Its present faults are the faults of youth; the mixture has not aged sufficiently to develop effervescence and flavor.

‘The lady of the title is, of course, an actress, in this case an opera prima donna. She has deserted her husband on account of his incorrigible goodness and is seeking means of divorcing him in order to marry her impresario, Gulliver Gayboy. The desolate husband, Alphonse Alligretti, conducts a musical school in Paris, where the first act takes place. He attends a ball, becomes compromised with his wife’s maid, Fifi, suffers many tortures of conscience, and is received again into the affections of Flora. Incidental to the two acts there develop several complications relating to stock of a mining property owned by an impecunious German, Professor Ludwig Wagner, a series of love affairs between an operatic tenor, Edouard Valliere, and Rose Gayboy; a stock broker, Jack Graham, and Dolly Wagner; and a purely platonic friendship between Winnie Wiggles, who has taken vocal culture in a correspondence school, and Baron Reynard, an ancient patron of music. The first scene of the second act occurs in a broker’s office in New York, and the second scene takes place at Manhattan Beach. Some of the novel features are a duet between Winnie Wiggles and Caruso, the latter represented by a phonograph; a “Subway Express” song, with the chorus impersonating passengers in a Subway car; a ballooning episode that came too late on the opening night to be effective, and a dancing number by a dozen girls dressed as messenger boys. A bathing girl number in the second act promised well but failed to arouse much interest.

‘Adele Ritchie in the leading role of Flora played much in her usual manner. Of her two solos, a march song called “Yankee Land” has a catchy air. In the topical songs, “What Will Happen Then?” sung with Allegretti and Gayboy; “The Subway Express,” in which Allegretti has the other “Ballooning,” sung with the chorus, Miss Ritchie acquitted herself well. Louis Harrison was very agreeable in the role of Allegretti, and his own song, “Romance and Reality,” with music by Sloane, was the most favored vocal number after “The Subway Express.” Fred Bond as Gulliver Gayboy played with his customary ease and understanding. James E. Sullivan as Professor Ludwig Wagner was the conventional German, rather funny than otherwise. Charles Jackson, as Baron Reynard and Edward M. Favor as Edouard Valliere both added to the comedy element. Ella Snyder made an attractive Dolly, but Kathlee Clifford was dull and neutral as Rose. Tremont Benton had no chance to shine in the role of Fifi.
‘The really best work in the piece was done, as usual, by Ada Lewis. Her intelligent appreciation of the value of seriousness in burlesque makes her appearance in a musical play a surety of at least one interesting feature. In Fascinating Flora she has an inconspicuous part, but it becomes the most prominent through her work in it.
‘The staging of the play is elaborate. A clever dark change is made in the second act, from the interior of a broker’s office to the front of a hotel at Manhattan Beach. The color scheme of the first act is discordant. The chorus is dressed in light blue, pink and lavender, and the scenery is painted light green, with lavender trimmings.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 1 June 1907, p.3a)