Posts Tagged ‘Nelson Keys’

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Gladys Saqui, Australian-born dancer in the pantomime Aladdin, Grand Theatre, Leeds, Christmas 1907

March 23, 2014

Gladys Saqui (1884-1919), Australian-born dancer, as she appeared as Nicee in the pantomime Aladdin, produced at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, at Christmas 1907. The principal parts in this production were played by Constance Hyem (Aladdin), Nell Emerald (Brigette), Frank Danby (Widow Trankey) and J.F. McArdle (Abanazar). The cast also included Hebe Bliss, G.H. Elliott and Olive Crellin.
(photo; J. Garratt, Leeds, 1907)

Gladys Mignon Saqui was born in Australia in 1884, one of the children of John ‘Jack’ Isaac Saqui (1855-1916), a cigar manufacturer and bookmaker, and his wife Esther (Stella) (née Barnett, 1852?-1946), who were both born in London’s East End and married in 1878. Two of Gladys’s sisters, Maie (1880-1907) and Hazel (1887-1975) were also actresses; the former was married in 1903 as his first wife to Arthur Hope Travers (1875-1938), a Grenadier Guardsman, and the latter was married in 1908 to the well-known actor manager, Nelson Keys (1886-1939). Maie and Gladys Saqui made professional appearances in their native Australia and once in England all three sisters were sometime under contract to George Edwardes. Maie first appeared in London in The Geisha (Daly’s Theatre, 25 April 1896 – 28 May 1898) towards the end of its run. Gladys Saqui appeared on tour and also as a dancer in The New Aladdin (Gaiety Theatre, London, 29 September 1907) and The Belle of Britanny (Queen’s Theatre, London, 24 October 1908).

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‘Miss Maie Saqui, the famous Gaiety girl, whose death is announced this week, belonged to a sporting family. Her grandfather, Austen Saqui [Abraham Austin Saqui (1834-1889)], was a well-known bookmaker and owner of racehorses in Australia. Her father, Jack Saqui, followed in his father’s footsteps as a penciller, and began at the early age of 14 years. At the age of 20 he was making books on the Melbourne Cup to the extent of £1,000. About the same time he married. His daughter Maie was trained as a dancer under her aunt, Mrs. [Julia] Green, the well-known teacher of dancing in Melbourne, who was originally a Miss Saqui. Maie was not intended for the stage, but when her father, a wealthy man, lost his money in the land boom, Mrs. Saqui brought her daughter to England, where her brilliant career is known to every one. During more recent years Miss Saqui retired, and left the stage, and although in delicate healthy for some time past, her death came as a great shock to her numerous friends and relatives, among whom is Miss Sadi Green, now married to a son of Mr. Purves, the Melbourne barrister, and residing in England.’
(The Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Saturday, 11 May 1907, p. 4e)

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Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam in The Passing Show, Palace Theatre, London, 1914

January 13, 2013

song sheet cover for ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’
words by Harry B. Smith, music by Jerome D. Kern
sung by Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam
in Alfred Butt’s production of the revue
The Passing Show, Palace Theatre, London, 20 April 1914
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1914;
published by Francis, Day & Hunter, London, and
T.B. Harms & Francis, Day & Hunter, New York, 1914)

The first revue entitled The Passing Show was staged at the Casino Theatre, New York, in May 1894. The name was revived on Broadway for a similar production, The Passing Show of 1912 (Winter Garden, 22 July 1912). Thereafter there was a Passing Show every year until 1919, and the last of the series was The Passing Show of 1921 (Winter Garden, 29 December 1920). Meanwhile in London the format was reproduced by Alfred Butt at the Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus, where The Passing Show was produced on 20 April 1914 with Elsie Janis, a young Broadway star making her first appearance in London, Basil Hallam, Clara Beck, Gwendoline Brogden, Winifred Delavanti, Marjorie Cassidy, Jack Christy, Mildred Stokes, Florence Sweetman, Nelson Keys and Arthur Playfair.

Elsie Janis and her partner Basil Hallam were an immediate hit. They recorded their two duets from the show, ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’ (HMV 4-2401; 1.20mb Mp3 file) and ‘I’ve Got Everything I Want But You’ (HMV 04116) in London on 4 June 1914.

The Passing Show proved so popular that Butt repeated his success the following year with The Passing Show of 1915 (Palace, 9 March 1915, with a second edition on 12 July), again starring Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam.

‘Elsie Janis Manager
‘Makes Alfred Butt of the Palace Talk Terms for New Act.
‘London, April 4 [1914]. – Elsie Janis has become a “manager,” according to Alfred Butt, proprietor of the Palace theater, where Miss Janis is to open in the new Revue in a fortnight.
‘“When Miss Janis was in London last summer,” Mr. Butt explained today, “I signed her to appear at the Palace. When she arrived back here a few weeks ago she informed me she had brought two other artists and I must find places for them on the bill.
‘“I saw them to-day for the first time and asked them both to sign contracts. To my amazement they said they couldn’t sign, that they already were under contract to Miss Janis. I asked her what it all meant and she told me she had both these music hall artists tied up tight for twelve months. If I wanted their services I must negotiate with their manager – and I did.”’
(The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 5 April 1914, Section 1, p.1b)<br><br>

Listen to a cover version of ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’ sung by Olive Kline and Harry Macdonough, recorded for Victor, Camden, NJ, 17 February 1914.