Posts Tagged ‘Lyric Theatre (New York)’


C. Aubrey Smith and Reginald Sheffield in an incident from the play Evidence, produced at the Lyric Theatre, New York, 7 October 1914

April 6, 2014

C. Aubrey Smith (1863-1948), English actor, and Reginald Sheffield (1901-1957), English-born American actor, in an incident from the play Evidence, which was produced at the Lyric Theatre, New York, on 7 October 1914.
(photo: White, New York, 1914)

‘If the war abroad has not materially affected the general theatrical situation in this country, it certainly has in the cities of Europe, and present indications are that there will be a shifting of practically all the dramatic capitals abroad to New York.
‘The Westward movement has already begun, and a number of productions originally scheduled for London now have New York as their objective. An instance is the new play, Evidence, which was recently produced in this city. C. Aubrey Smith, the actor who heads the company here, bought this play some time ago from the authors, J. and L. du Rocher Macpherson, and negotiated for its presentation at one of the leading theatres of London. Then war suddenly broke out and Mr. Smith was compelled to cancel his arrangements and make others. He at once communicated with New York, where he had planned to present Evidence later, and asked that the American production be given at once. The proposition was taken up by a group of managers here and, after some further adjustment, all shared on the managerial end for the New York production. Therefore Mr. Smith, together with Haidee Wright, Viva Birkett, Reginald Sheffield and a few other players whom he had already engaged for the intended London premiere, came to America for the production.
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 24 October 1914, p. 6e)


Bessie Skeet, Marion Brown, Helen Paites, Billy Blane and Camille Barnette as they appeared in bathing costumes in High Jinks, produced at the Lyric Theatre, New York, on 10 December 1913

February 14, 2014

left to right: Bessie Skeet, Marion Brown, Helen Paites, Billy Blane and Camille Barnette, American chorus girls, as they appeared in bathing costumes in High Jinks, the musical comedy produced at the Lyric Theatre, New York, on 10 December 1913 (after a short out of town trial run) and transferred to the Casino Theatre, New York, on 12 January 1914. High Jinks eventually reached London on 24 August 1916, when it was produced at the Adelphi Theatre.
(photo: White, New York, 1913)

‘Arthur Hammerstein will bring his musical comedy High Jinks to the Lyric Theatre Wednesday night [10 December 1913]. The book of the new musical show is by Leo Ditrichstein and Otto Hauerbach and the music is by Rudolph Friml, who was first introduced to the American public a year ago by Mr. Hammerstein through the production of The Firefly
High Jinks is in three acts, and the action all takes place in Paris during a carnival. Dr. Thorne, an American nerve specialist practicing in the French capital, has a friend by the name of Dick Wayne, an explorer, and Wayne has discovered a drug in the form of a perfume called ”High Jinks.” The effect of this perfume is to make the timid brave, the pessimist an optimist, the serious man jovial, and the prudish person a daredevil. The complications of the piece are brought about by the manner in which Dr. Thorne experiments with this curious drug. Much of the plot is told in songs.
‘The cast of High Jinks includes Elizabeth Murray and Tom Lewis, featured at the head of a lit of principals. Among the other players are Ignacio Martinette, Elaine Hammerstein, the daughter of Arthur Hammerstein, who makes her professional début in this production; Robert Pitkin, Burrell Barbaretto, Snitz Edwards, Blanche Field, Ada Meade, Mana Zucca, Emilie Lea, Augustus Schultz, and Elsie Gregley.’
(The New York Times, New York, New York, 28 December 1913, p. 23)

* * * * *

One of the hit songs of High Jinks was ‘The Bubble,’ a studio recording of which was made on cylinder by Emory B. Randolph and chorus. (For another copy, click here.) ‘The Bubble’ also recorded in 1916 by Marie Blanche, a member of the London cast of High Jinks. For a selection of orchestral highlights from the show, click here.


Monna Delza wearing a hat by Mme. Lenthéric, 245, Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris, 1911

October 25, 2013

Monna Delza (1882-1921), French actress, as Marie-Ange in the musical farce, Aimé des Femmes by Maurice Hennequin and Georges Mitchell, produced at the Théâtre Palais-Royal, Paris, 2 May 1911. The cast also included Adrien Le Gallo, Charles Lamy, Georges Hurteaux, Edmund Roze and Marguerite Lavigne.
(photo: Manuel, Paris, 1911; hat by Mme. Lenthéric, 245, Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris)

Aimé des Femmes was adapted for American audiences by Henry Blossom and produced under the title All for the Ladies at the Lyric Theatre, New York, on 30 December 1912. The part of Marie (Marie-Ange) was played by Louise Meyers.


January 19, 2013

Thelma Fair (fl. early 20th Century), American actress and singer,
was also seen on tour in the United States during 1904 as Euphemia in the musical comedy,
The Office Boy, a part originally played by Louise Gunning when the piece
opened at the Victoria Theatre, New York, on 2 November 1903.
(photo: Sarony, New York, 1905)

Otto Hauerbach and Rudolf Friml’s The Firefly on tour in the United States, the cast headed by Edith Thayer, supported by Maxwell Moree, Paul Vernon, Thelma Fair, Etta Hager, et al
‘Fort Wayne theatregoers and music lovers were treated to a delightful surprised yesterday at the Majestic theatre when the comic opera, The Firefly [first produced in the United States at the Lyric Theatre, New York, 2 December 1912], with Edith Thayer, a dainty little lady, and by the way, the possessor of quite the best voice that has come this way for some time, was the attraction.
The Firefly is a charming and colourful little thing, with a real story that is very pretty and music that is real music. The book is by Otto Hauerbach and the music by Rudolf Friml. The singer in question is Edith Thayer. As to Miss Thayer you may say that you never heard of her, perhaps, but you will hear of her some day, and that a not very distant day, for a woman with such ability as an actress and such a voice in spite of her diminutive figure, is as certain to be heard in grand opera as the sun is certain to rise to-morrow. Edith Thayer – it is an easy name to remember; and it’s worth remembering, too, for she will some day be the ideal Mimi of La Boheme, or a most charming “Madame Butterfly.”
‘In the meantime she is making a bewitching Nina, and a cute little Tony in this pretty operetta, The Firefly It is positively not an exaggeration to say that this is the best musical show that has played in Fort Wayne this season. It contains enough good music to supply three musical comedies of the ordinary kind, and its story has material sufficient for a dozen.
‘Miss Thayer gives one a real surprise at her first coming from the wings and filling the auditorium with its volume and charming your ear with its beauty. You picture in your mind the possessor of such a voice. You are sure that she is an Amazon of Juno-like physique. Imagine your surprise when a petite elf of less than 100 pounds in weight and less than five feet in height steps upon the stage, this wonderful volume of delightful music issuing from her lips! You are captivated from the start, and when your learn that she can act as well as sing, or better still, when you learn that she can sing so effectively and with such colourful power so difficult a thing as the aria in the last act, you cannot refrain from applauding enthusiastically. She was the experience of the audiences that witness the performances yesterday afternoon and last night.
‘Miss Thayer is supported by a remarkably fine company. Hers is not the only voice in the cast, for there are many others, not the least of which is that of Miss Etta Hager, who took the audience by surprise at the opening of the second act with the song, “Sapphire Seas.” The tenor is a good looking young fellow, Burton Lemham by name, who has a voice that is sweet and melodious and who acts the part of hero with becoming grace One of the really fine performances of the cast is that of Paul Vernon as an old German music teacher, who makes Nina his protege. He had a rich, sonorous bass voice as well as being a good actor, and he makes of the character a real lovable old fellow. Charles M. Bowers also has a splendid voice and with Thelma Fair, who, by the way, is a clever actress, sings the hit of the show, a song called “Sympathy,” which will be whistled over the city by tomorrow. Bert Wheeler and Irene Samsel are clever dancers who get a generous hand for their clever rendering of “The Latest Thing from Paris.” Alice Gallard is very good as Mrs. Oglesby Vandare, the inevitable widow in search of No. 2.
‘The comedy hit of the cast is the work of Maxfield Moree as Jenkins, Mrs. Vandare’s private secretary. He is funny to look at, his dancing and antics are genuinely funny, and his is supplied with many funny lines and much funny “business” by the author of the play. Had Miss Thayer been out of the cast and her part in the hands of a less clever actress, he might easily have made his part the star role of the show.
‘The pieces [sic] abound in tuneful music, much of its being strikingly original. A number of the songs are exceedingly pretty, and the finale to the second act reaches the dignity of light opera, and approaches grand opera.
‘The production is well mounted and the company is backed by a chorus of good voices. Arthur Hammerstein offers here an attraction of which he might feel justly proud, and which is calculated to inspire confidence in him as a producer.’
(Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Monday, 13 April 1914, p.8f)


January 9, 2013

chorus girls from the first New York production of
Oscar Strauss’s The Chocolate Soldier,
Lyric Theatre, Manhattan,13 September 1909
(photo: White, New York, 1909)

‘Turned Into a Comic Opera Book Arms and the Man Is More Shavings Than Shavian.
‘As The Chocolate Soldier New Piece Is Especially distinguished by Strauss’s Charming Music.
‘THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER, an opera bouffe, in three acts. Music by Oscar Strauss. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Libretto by Rudolph Bernauer and Leopold Jacobson. English version by Stanislaus Stange. Lyric [New York, 13 September 1909].

Nadina Popoff … Ida Brooks Hunt
Aurelia Popoff … Flavia Arcaro
Mascha … Edith Bradford
Lieutenant Bumerli … J.E. Gardner
Captain Massakroff … Henry Norman
Louka … Lillian Poli
Stephen … George C. Ogle
Colonel Kasimir Popoff … William Pruette
Major Alexius Spirideff … George Tallman
Soldiers of Bulgarian Army, gentry, peasants, wedding guests, villagers, musicians, &c.

‘Count Mr. George Bernard Shaw himself in his most fantastic mood have imagined anything more ironical than Mr. George Bernard Shaw set to comic opera music, danced and soubretted, done into duos, trios, and quintets, march time, walt time, everything, fortunately, but rag time.
‘That is what has happened to Arms and the Man, acted here originally by the late Richard Mansfield, subsequently revived by Arnold Daly and now imported as The Chocolate Solider, with made-in-Vienna label. How much of the present book is due to Rudolph Bernauer and Leopold Jacobson, the foreign librettists, and how much to Stanislaus Stange, who has Englished it, would be difficult to say, but as far as lines and story go it is more shavings than Shavian.
‘That, however, need not matter if Mr. Shaw is satisfied. And as it stands The Chocolate Soldier is a decidedly pleasant evening’s entertainment. Once in a while the real Shaw lines and situations come to the surface, and then one wonders if it wouldn’t have been better to stick more precisely to the text, but Mr. Oscar Strauss’s music is so soothing, where it is meant to be soothing, and so stirring where it is meant to be stirring, that it really need not matter. Mr. Shaw has been taking liberties with other people so long it isn’t surprising that chickens come home to roost.
‘People are renamed in the operatic version apparently to suit the librettist’s sense of humour, with Bluntehli becoming Bumeril, which might have a sort of meaning in German, though you must drop the last two syllables to give it any point in English. Their dispositions and intentions are considerably changed, also, from what they appear to be in Arms and the Man.
‘Instead of the one maiden succumbing to the attractions of the Swiss adventurer, here we have three, (including the mother of the bride-to-be,) and they quarrel for the privilege of soothing him to sleep after his hurried escape from the pursuing Bulgarians, when he takes refuge in Nadina’s bedchamber. So, too, each of the three must hide her photographs in the borrowed coat, to make the complication greater when the returning Popoff arrives on the scene. In other words, the general idea seems to be that it will not do to be too subtle in a comic opera, which perhaps is the right idea.
‘Mr. Shaw cables last night that if the audiences was pleased with the entertainment they should congratulate themselves, and it is not unlikely that his advice was followed by the greatest number of those present. For there is enough broad fooling to the action to make it appealing to people who do not care for Shaw, and enough bright and spirited music to make it worth while to those who do, but who now find they must take a good deal of his play for granted.
’ When somebody or other sings, ”Why don’t you close the shutters? My heart with terror flutters,” you are certain that you will not find those lines or any like them in Arms and the Man, but fortunately you are more likely to be interested in the refrain rather than the words.
‘The music in fact is most agreeable, from the charming aria in the first act, with its lilting, rhythmic waltz movement, to the delightful duo in the last, in which Bumerli insists that Nadia loves him, though he is reading a letter in which she has expressly tried to covey the other impression. There is a fine swinging march to bring on the soldiers and the populace overjoyed that, ”the war is ended, the war is ended,” and a capital trio, one of the kind in which one after the other of the characters repeat insistently ”Something is wrong,” ”something is wrong,” ”something is wrong,” though there does not appear to be the slightest desire on the part of any one to deny it.
‘The music is very well sung, too, and the piece is charmingly staged, though there is hardly a girl in the chorus who isn’t a reminder of the old story of the newly married man who begged his wife to sing. They do sing, too, with good spirit in the ensembles, which is something for which to be thankful.
Ida Brooks Hunt, acting with plenty of vivacity, easily carries off the vocal honors in the rôle of the girl whom the Chocolate Soldier surprises and who he is eventually to marry. She has a rich, well-trained voice, no unpleasant affectations, with sweetness, and good range, and, not the least important essential for this sort of thing, she enunciates so as to be understood. Edith Bradford soubrettes easily though the rôle of Mascha, a substitute for the Louka of the original play, dances nicely, and shares with Flavia Arcaro the secondary honors among the women.
‘Mr. Gardner’s acting of the Swiss adventurer can scarcely be judged from the standards of the rôle that have been establishes, but he seems to satisfy the popular idea of the comic-opera hero, and he was agreeable in several of the duos, while George Tallman, William Pruette, and Henry Norman filled in the other rôles very well.
‘Mr. [Antonio] De Novellis conducted with enthusiasm.’
(The New York Times, New York, Tuesday, 14 September 1909, p. 9c)


Flora and May Hengler, American duettists and dancers

January 5, 2013

Hengler Sisters (Flora and May, fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
American duettists and dancers
(photo: Morrison, Chicago, mid 1890s)

‘Announcement is made that the Hengler sisters lately danced at an entertainment in the house of one of the Vanderbilts at Newport. The unimpeachability of the Vanderbilts is less significant in this instance than the delicate compliment carried to the taste of the entertainment committee of the Hanover club. It will be remembered that the Hengler sisters danced at that club with so much chic and agility that the integrity of the organization was seriously threatened by the women who were not present.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Monday, 24 July 1893, p. 4e)

‘The Hengler sisters, two little girls, who began their professional career about the time that they made a stir by dancing at the dignified Hanover Club of this city, are in Paris. They began a return engagement at the Folies Bergeres in Paris on September 4. During their previous engagement they made such a hit that M. Marchand, the manager, gave them this return engagement, which is for three months. They are the stars of the bill, and the fact that they are Americans is noted on the programmes. They are said to be the first performers to make a success in Paris with what is known as a ”neat” singing and dancing act.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Sunday, 3 October 1897, p. 16c)

‘In connection with this production [The Sleeping Beauty and the Beast, Broadway Theatre, New York, 4 November 1901] the appearance of the Hengler sisters brings back memories to the old-time theatre-goer. They are the daughter of T.M. Hengler, dead these many years, who with his partner, W.H. Delehanty, was a pioneer in what for many years was known as the ”refined clog-dancing speciality.” Both men were Albanians, and had been in minstrel troupes for several years, when, in 1868 they formed the team of Delehanty and Hengler and joined Dingess and Green’s minstrels. Then they introduced the act of coming on dressed in the pink of costume fashion, the stage usually being set as a garden. There is a sample of the kind of song they sang:

White wandering in the park one day
In the pleasant month of May,
What was my surprise
When a pair of roguish eyes
Met me by the fountain in the park

‘At the end of each verse they broke into a clog-step in rhythmical harmony with the music.
‘The little Hengler girls have speaking parts in the extravaganza. One of them has had more serious dramatic ambitions, and has devoted time to the study of Shakespeare and reading. Tony Pastor first saw their talent, and was largely responsible for their first opportunities in London.’
(The New York Times, New York, Sunday, 10 November 1901, Magazine Supplement, p. 3d)

‘Shuberts Sign Hengler Sisters.
‘The Hengler sisters, Flora and May, have signed a contract to appear under the management of Shubert Bros. when they make their new production that Reginald De Koven is writing for the new Lyric Theater. Prominent roles will be assigned the Hengler sisters, and it is said they will be seen in more pretentious parts then they have yet essayed.’
(The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, 30 November 1902, p. 11c)

‘The Hengler Sisters are reported to be arousing the audiences to great enthusiasm at the Alhambra Music Hall, London, with their dainty turn. They are billed to appear at 10.30 P.M., which is headliners’ time in England, and are effectively singing ”The Maiden With the Dreamy Eyes” and ”Down Where the Cocoanut Grows,” Horowitz & Bowers’ latest effort. It is expected that they will arrive in new York shortly, to go into one of the Shubert productions.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, 4 April 1903, p. 134d)

‘Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish gave a dinner Thursday evening at her house, 25 East Seventy-eighth street, New York, for Mr. and Mrs. Albert Zabriskie Gray. Her guests were seated at tables decorated with spring flowers.
‘After the dinner, which was accompanied by the music of Highland bagpipers, there were songs and dances by the Misses May and Flora Hengler. General dancing followed the entertainment, and for this other guests arrived.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday, 4 February 1911, p. 7e)