Posts Tagged ‘Laura Joyce’


Blanche Owen, English music hall and concert singer

March 31, 2015

Blanche Owen (active 1870-1875), English music hall and concert singer
(lithograph flyer, 1872)

‘Mr. Alexander McDonald.
‘A successful and very interesting entertainment was given on Monday evening by Mr. Alexander McDonald, at the Spread Eagle Assembly Rooms, Wandsworth [south west London]. Mr. McDonald is one of the many who have recently adopted the profession of a public reader, and at the same time he is one of the very few who can approach Mr. Charles Dickens or Mr. Bellew either in voice or in the rendering of the works of great authors. His longest as well as his shortest ”reading” is committed to memory, and is delivered without nots or reference, word for word, as it is found in the book; with action suited to the word, and word to the action. His voice is powerful, flexible, and of very pleasing quality. Every word is distinctly heard, the softest utterance or the fullest exhibition of passion and energy being equally seized by the most distant among the audience. We have hear Mr. McDonald declaim the selection from Nicholas Nickleby with remarkable intelligence and force; but on Monday evening his selections were of the humorous type, including the ”Election for Beadle” (by Dickens), ”Pyramus and Thisbe,””Blind-man’s Buff,” and ”A Norrible Tale” (by E.L. Blanchard). The audience was kept in full laughter throughout. The entertainment is very agreeably varied by the introduction of some ballads by Professional singers. Miss Blanche Owen, a very pretty lady with a ringing soprano voice, and a marvellous set of teeth, made an impression upon the audience generally, and upon the writer particularly. This was not the case with a young gentleman who sung Kucken’s ”O’er vale and mountain,” and who was specially described in the programme as a ”tenor.” The gentleman who presided at the piano played very cleverly, and, besides, contributed to the merriment of the evening by a quaint manner of walking on and off the stage.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 6 March 1870, p. 5c)

‘Beaumont Institution, Mile-End [London].
‘The annual entertainment in aid of the funds of the Horn of Plenty Philanthropic Society took place at the above Institution on Tuesday evening last [21 February 1871]. The objects of the Society are in every respect praiseworthy, and by means of these entertainments some thirty or forty pounds are annually raised and expended in bread, coals, &c., among the poor of the district. The proceedings, which were of a miscellaneous character, commenced with a pianoforte selection by Mr. C. Solomon, after which the Pickwick Histrionic Club appeared in [J. Maddison] Morton’s comic drama, produced last spring [21 April 1870] at the Royalty Theatre [London], entitled Little Mother… . The chief feature of the performance was the Kitty Clark, or Little Mother, of Miss Alice Vincent. The acting of this talented young lady was in every respect praiseworthy, and the style in which she ”lectured” the old dentist, spurned his gift, and thrust him from her door, elicited loud laughter and well-deserved applause. Miss Blanche Owen as Fanny, whose amatory relations with Christopher form the basis of the plot, acted with pleasing intelligence; and on the fall of the curtain the whole of the performers were enthusiastically cheered. Miss Blanche Owen afterwards appeared and sang ”The Watch on the Rhine” and ”The Marseillaise.” In the latter she carried the tri-colour and wore a crape scarf. Her singing was much admired, but why two verses of ”The Marseillaise” were given in English and one in French we were unable to learn …’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 26 February 1871, p. 12a)

‘ROYAL SURREY GARDENS [London]. – Mr. F. Strange has engaged Mr. Howard Paul and a talented concert and entertainment party to appear next week in a series of amusing impersonations, all of which will be given in costume. Mr. Howard Paul ranks among the best of those who ”sing a song and tell a story” on the stage, and the artistes who assist him, Miss Laura Joyce, Miss Blanche Owen, and Miss Nelly Ford, come well endorsed as young and talented aspirants to public favour.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 2 June 1872, p. 12a)

‘MUSIC HALL SURREY STREET. [Sheffield, Yorkshire]
‘In Magnificent Costumes.
‘In Six Songs and Impersonations, including a Lecture on Woman’s Rights.
‘In Six Songs and Impersonations, including ”TONY TOPPER, THE NEWS BOY.”
‘The Most Accomplished Little Pianist in the World.
‘In his latest and greatest hit, ”I am so Volatile.”
‘Doors Open at Half-past Seven; commence at Eight. Carriages at Ten.
‘Front Seats (Reserved), 2s.; Second Seats, 1s.; Gallery and Back of Room, 6d.
‘Tickets may be had and places secured at Mr. FREEMANILL’S Music Warehouse, High street.’
(The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, Sheffield, Yorkshire, Monday, 7 October 1872, p. 1a, advertisement)

The Marylebone music hall, London
‘… Miss Blanche Owen, who is here, is new to us. She has a pleasing, winsome manner, and sings with ease and distinctness. The strains which she rendered in our hearing were ”While the sun is shining always make your hay,” ”Good-bye, Charley,” and another.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 2 November 1872, p. 4c)


Laura Joyce Bell

April 22, 2013

a carte de viste photograph of Laura Joyce Bell (1858-1904), American actress and singer in comic opera before her marriage in 1883 to Digby Bell
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1878)

‘Notwithstanding the decree of the New York Court, which granted a decree of divorce to Mrs. Digby Bell and prohibited the husband from marrying again, that gentleman made his appearance at a Chicago hotel on Sunday with a new wife, known to the stage as Miss Laura Joyce, who was herself divorced a short time ago from James V. Taylor, a wealthy New Yorker. Bell and Miss Joyce were married in Pennsylvania.’
(Decatur Daily Republican, Decatur, Illinois, Saturday, 17 March 1883, p. 2d)

‘Haverly’s Theatre, Chester, Pennsylvania, January 1885.
‘Monday evening the McCaull Opera Company will present Gilbert & Sullivan’s esthetic [sic] opera Patience in a brilliant manner, with new scenery, a large and thoroughly drilled chorus, and the following cast: J.H. Ryley will be Bunthorne; Digby Bell, Grosvenor; C.W. Dongan, Colonel Calverley; George Roseman, Major Murgatroyd; George R. Appleby, the Duke; Mary Beebe, Patience; Irene Perry, Lady Angela; Emma Ellsner, Lady Saphir; and that pronounced favorite, Laura Joyce Bell, the massive Lady Jane.
‘In this series of revival Manager McCaull has determined to produce the operas in the very best possible manner, selecting from his various companies those artists who are best adapted for the different roles. The present company could not be surpassed, all being especially fitted from their respective parts.’
(Chester Times, Chester, Pennsylvania, Monday, 12 January 1885, p. 3b)

Grand Opera House, San Antonio, Texas, 31 December 1896
‘Tonight and Tomorrow Matinee and Night.
‘Hoyt’s greatest comedy, A Midnight Bell, which portrays more accurately than any other of its rivals, the charms, sweetness and fragrance of New England life, will be presented in this city shortly with an ideal cast of metropolitan favorites, headed by America’s foremost comedian, Dibgy Bell, and the famous comedienne, Laura Joyce Bell. An entire carload of scenery has been painted by the celebrated artist, Arthur Voegtlin. New music has been specially arranged by Victor Herbert, author of Prince Ananias and The Wizard of the Nile and leader of Gilmore’s famous band.’
(San Antonio Daily Light, San Antonio, Texas, Thursday, 31 December 1896, p. 5a)

Laura Joyce Bell Once Popular Comic Opera Star.
‘Chicago, May 30 [1904]. – Announcement from new York city yesterday of the death of Mrs. Laura Joyce Bell, the comic opera singer, saddened scores of theatrical people who had known her when she was in the height of her popularity and success.
‘Mrs. Bell was the wife of Digby Bell, the vaudeville star.
‘Mrs. Bell had been ill for nearly a year. She suffered from fatty degeneration of the heart.
‘Laura Joyce Maskell was born in England. She received her musical education at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Her first appearance in America was in Niblo’s Garden in New York in 1872. In 1882 she was married to Digby Bell. Mrs. Bell was 46 years old.’
(The Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, Monday, 30 May 1904, p. 3d)

‘Because the Girl Ran Off and Got Married.
‘New York, Oct. 21. – ”I give and bequeath to my daughter, Laura Seymour Bell, for her sole support and separate use, $1.” In these words Laura Joyce Bell, the actress, wife of Digby Bell, by her will, cut off her daughter from participation in her estate except as stated. The will was drawn may 3, 1904. Only a short time before that Miss Bell eloped from the normal college on the eve of her graduation and was married, her name now being Wilson.’
(The Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, Friday, 21 October 1904, p. 1c)

For further photographs of Laura Joyce Bell, see NYPLDigitalGallery and University of Louisville, Digital Collections.