Posts Tagged ‘Palace Theatre (London)’


Maud Allan, Canadian-born dancer and choreographer, London, 1908

September 13, 2015

Maud Allan (1873-1956), Canadian-born dancer and choreographer
(postcard photo: W. & D. Downey, London, circa 1908)

This postcard, postmarked twice during September 1909, is addressed to a Mrs Barton in Newton Abbot, Devonshire, England. The message reads: ‘You can get her life written by herself I hear, so I’m going got get it out of a library. This I should imagine is specially like her. Love May.’

Maud Allan’s My Life and Dancing, was published by Everett & Co, London, in 1908. A special souvenir edition was printed to commemorate Miss Allan’s 250th performance at the Palace Theatre, London, 14 October 1908.


Alexandra Dagmar and Edmond DeCelle, duettists, United States and United Kingdom, 1890s

December 24, 2014

Dagmar and DeCelle (active 1890s), Anglo-American duettists: Alexandra Dagmar (1868-1940), English music hall vocalist and pantomime principal boy, and Edmond DeCelle (1854?-1920), American tenor
(cabinet photo: Robinson & Roe, 54 West 14th Street, New York, and 77 & 79 Clark Street, Chicago, circa 1890)

‘(By Our Special Commissioner.)
‘Few of the critics, lay and professional, who waxed so enthusiastic over Miss Dagmar’s performance in the pantomime [Cinderella, produced on 24 December 1894] at [the Metropole Theatre] Camberwell had any idea that the lady then made her first appearance in the capacity of a principal boy. But such was the case. Previously Miss Dagmar had appeared on our variety stage, and, as she is an important from America, the impression prevailed that she is a product of the United States. But that is not the case. Miss Dagmar is a London girl, of Danish parents, which may account for her Junoesque proportions and wondrously fair hair. Her association with the stage began some ten years ago, when a friend of the family, remarking her beautiful voice, suggested a professional career. Miss Dagmar was delighted by the very thought. Her father, however, was reluctant, and it was some time ere he could be prevailed upon to let his daughter avail herself of an introduction to Miss Sarah Thorne. But at length all obstacles were overcome, and Miss Alexandra Dagmar became a very humble member of the theatrical profession, playing a fairy, ”of something of that kind,” she vaguely recalls, in a travelling pantomime, on the old subject of ”Peter Wilkins.” She has a vivid recollection of papa escorting her to Maidstone and committing her to the sober and respectable care of a temperance hotel.
‘But good luck was in store for her – good luck that grew, as it sometimes will, out of another’s misfortune. The second girl fell ill – Miss Dagmar was, after no more than a week’s experience, promoted to the part thus vacated, and continued to play it during the fifteen weeks ensuing. Her great effort was a ballad entitled ”Waiting.” Miss Dagmar recalls that one of her companions during a delightful engagement was none other than Miss Janet Achurch, who played the Fairy Queen. After an experience on the stage as free from temptation and knowledge of the great world as a sojourn in a seminary might be, Miss Dagmar returned to the bosom of her family, and her further devotion to the stage was regarded with much disfavour. But the circumstances of her friends underwent a sudden change, and Miss Dagmar was, in fact, quite grateful for the necessity to make the most of her talent. The most lucrative engagement that offered was to visit America, and there join the Boston Redpath Lyceum Bureau.
‘This is a curious and interesting organisation. It forms concert parties and other entertaining bodies, and sends them the round of high-class social institutions – literary society, young men’s Christian associations, and the like. The performances were given in evening dress, and were as proper as proper could be. The company that Miss Dagmar first joined had especially a German character, and she became a notable singer of Volkslieder. For several years Miss Dagmar travelled with the Redpath Lyceum companies; and here one Mr De Celle appears on the scene. Mr De Celle comes from Chicago, and has all his life been devoted to music – as a singer and as a manager for eminent performers. In his time has has, for instance, engineered Remenyi and Ovide Musin, the violinists. Mr De Celle was the manager of the Lyceum company to which Miss Dagmar belonged, and took a special interest in the development of her voice. Some four years ago [sic] they were married.
‘When Miss Dagmar left the Redpath Lyceum she soon found herself in great request with the managers of high-class variety entertainments. At Koster and Bial’s, for instance, she is a great favourite. Alone, or as eventually she appeared, in association with Mr De Celle, Miss Dagmar has appeared at Koster and Bial’s for two years in the aggregate, and she rejoices in a general invitation from Mr Albert Bial to make the famous variety theatre her home. At first Miss Dagmar used to sing on the variety stage in evening dress. Then she had the happy thought of giving in costume excerpts from popular operas, her husband also taking part. The managers of the American theatres, so Miss Dagmar tells you, look upon the variety performer with friendly toleration. ”Sing your exceprt,” they say, ”and welcome. So far from your injuring us, you give us a valuable advertisement.” So Mr De Celle and his wife acquired a vast repertory of operatic fragments. An except from La Cigale was a notable favourite with American audiences. But when the duettists reached England a stern copyright law assailed their repertory on every side, and decimated it. They are left with nothing much to sing besides their always popular jödel. And the worst of it is, pay what money they will for original compositions, they get nothing to suit them.
‘One has run ahead a little. From time to time, ere yet they left America, Miss Dagmar and Mr de Celle appeared with ”combinations,” and notably with Mr William A. Brady‘s companies. They appeared in the variety scene when he produced After Dark, and when eventually he set out with Gentleman Jack, they ”supported” Mr Jim Corbett during a tour of the phenomenal success. Miss Dagmar, in making up her mind to visit England some nine months ago, had two objects in view. She wanted to ”go in for” a severe course of study; and she wanted to distinguish herself as a burlesque boy. Alas! burlesque boys were not in strong demand, and Miss Dagmar determined on a pilgrimage to Italy. But Mr. Brady, then about to exploit Corbett over here, begged his old friends to join him; and so they did, although there were not able to take part in the first week’s performances of Gentleman Jack at Drury-lane [21 April-5 May 1894]. This, by the way, was a memorable period of Miss Dagmar’s life. She wore tights for the first time! One’s demand for a full and particular account of the sensations that a young lady experiences in such circumstances is doomed to disappointment, for Miss Dagmar says, ”Well, you may call it the first time; for I had just had them on previously. That that began my career as a stage boy.”
‘London music hall managers were quick to appreciate the worth of the new turn. Since Miss Dagmar and Mr De Celle arrived in London they have never been out of an engagement, their notable successes having been achieved at the Palace Theatre, the Alhambra, and the Royal. Their services have been secured for well nigh six months to come, and during the spring and early summer they will visit a series of the great continental music halls. Meanwhile, neither of the objects that Miss Dagmar had in view when she determined to come to London has been lost sight of. She meant to study, and she is studying very diligently, with Mr [Albert] Visetti, at the Guildhall School of Music. As to the principal boy? Well, here is the progress of the principal boy. The tantalising delays attendant upon the completion of his theatre at Camberwell left Mr [John Brennan] Mulholland in grave doubt as to whether he should be able to do a pantomime this year or not. When at length he could make arrangements there was probably the shortest space of time at his disposal that ever a manager dared to contemplate for the preparation of a Christmas annual. But he had many potent influences at command, and with wondrous tact and energy he manipulated them to the point of success. Who should be principal boy? That was, indeed, a momentous question. Would Miss Dagmar like the engagement, said her agent? Was not Miss Dagmar, indeed, dying to show London what she could do in this capacity[?] She set to work, and for the first time in her life found herself an important figure in the development of a story on the stage. Miss Dagmar is perfectly delighted with her success. And, indeed, her ambition has received a particular incentive that is not yet the time to disclose. But the variety stage may, at any rate, take a hint to make the most of her while it can. Camberwell is not so very far from the Strand – nor too far for the excursions of observant managers, with eyes wide open when new ”talent” is airing itself, and words of honey on their lips when the discussion of future arrangements begins. Of one thing Miss Dagmar is quite certain. She never had a happier thought than when she determined, after so long an interval, to resume her theatrical career in circumstances curiously similar to those wherein she left it. The years ago she played in a pantomime with conspicuous success, and by the way of a pantomime she has stepped into a position of gratifying distinction on the London stage.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 12 January 1895, p. 11e)


Nellie Waring, English variety theatre vocalist

December 13, 2014

Nellie Waring (active 1907-1920), English popular vocalist and variety theatre and vaudeville entertainer. Her professional partnership with the American J.W. Wilson (John W. Musante, 1863/69?-1928), comedy duo, appears to have begun about 1912.
(photo: James Bacon & Sons, Leeds, circa 1910)

Shea’s Theatre, Buffalo, New York, August 1909
‘The bill at Shea’s Theater this week is full of entertaining qualities and every feature was liberally applauded at both performances yesterday. Nellie Waring, the clever and sprightly comedienne from England, has a pleasing voice and she sings her own topical songs inimitably. Her costumes are quite charming and her dancing is dainty and skillful [sic].’
(The Buffalo, Courier, Buffalo, New York, Tuesday, 24 August 1909, p. 7f)

‘Nellie Waring, the dainty English comedienne, who heads the bill at Shea’s theater this week, has made an instantaneous hit, and she has been called the second Alice Lloyd for the tunefulness of her songs and delightful personality.’
(The Niagara Falls Gazette, Niagara Falls, New York, Tuesday, 24 August 1909, p. 4b)

‘Nellie Waring is the latest of the English singers to invade our shores and she has met with a favorable reception.’
(Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, Sunday, 24 October 1909, part III, p. 8c)

J.W. Wilson and Nellie Waring appeared with nearly 150 other music hall and variety favourites in the ‘Variety’s Garden Party’ tableau at the first royal music hall performance at the Palace Theatre, London, on 1 July 1912, attended by King George V and Queen Mary.

‘NEW ACTS NEXT WEEK [October 1912] …
‘Nellie Waring. Singing Comedienne. 17 Mins.; One [stage set]. Bronx.
”’England’s Sparking and Dainty Comedienne” is Nellie Waring’s billing this week at the Bronx. Miss Waring is just a pretty girl. She sings four English made songs. For each there is a change of gown, and, in order the clinch the conventionality of the turn, a male ”plant” is seated in a box. The spotlight is aimed at him while she sings to him. In addition tot eh young woman’s limited abilities as a performer, her songs are not good. Jolo.’
(Variety, New York, Friday, 18 October 1912, p. 20c)

* * * * *

‘Pauper Despite High Pay
‘LONDON, January 3 [1928]
‘The death is announced of Mr. Jack W. Wilson, variety artist, who once visited Australia.
‘Wilson, who was known as Mustante [sic], partnered Miss Nellie Waring in Britain, America, Australia, and South Africa. He was a contemporary of Cinquevalli, the famous juggler, and Chirgwin, ”the white-eyed Kaffir.”
‘He lost three fortunes on the Stock Exhange and the turf. Before he was 30 he gambles away £10,000 of his theatrical earnings in real estate in Seattle.
‘In 1898 he took £30,000 from Australia, but he lost £20,000 in a wheat gamble in New York.
‘An effort to make a recovery on the turn in 1907 resulted in a loss of £7,000, and further fortunes followed in the same way.
‘Wilson earned £100 a week in England and £200 in America, but died penniless of pneumonia at the Fulham Hospital [London]. Miss Waring sat at his bedside for 14 hours.
‘Wilson was born in California. He was the son of a ”forty-niner” (miner who went to California in the early days of the gold rush). He ran away with a travelling circus, then entered vaudeville, and later played in straight plays.’
(The News, Adelaide, South Australia, Wednesday, 4 January 1928, p. 7d)


Lily Elsie about the time of her return to the stage in the title role of Pamela, Palace Theatre, London, 1917

November 19, 2014

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), English star of musical comedy, upon her return to the stage in the title role of Pamela, comedy with music by Arthur Wimperis and Frederic Norton, Palace Theatre, London, 10 December 1917
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1916/1917)

‘I hear them talking. For once they all agreed. Not time or love or circumstance could change her – she must succeed. She was Lily Elsie. I did not marvel. She is such a sweet woman. Men and women love her equally. Could anyone wish for greater blessing? What is her fascination? Perhaps it is charm. That elusive quality. Few women and fewer men possess it. She alone of all our stage women possesses it to the full. She is herself – Lily Elsie. Queen of Hearts – back on the stage once more. If Alfred Butt never did anything else he has earned in that achievement the gratitude of playgoers everywhere.’
(The Pelican, London, Friday, 1 February 1918, p. 3)

Note the similarity between this photograph and Sir James Jebusa Shannon’s portrait of Miss Elsie, which has been dated to circa 1916.


homeless men photographed by flashlight at night under the awning of the Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus, London, about 1903

May 24, 2014

homeless men photographed at night under the awning of the Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus, London, during an engagement of John Hewelt (Charles de Saint-Genois), puppet master and creator of ‘startlingly lifelike’ marionettes.
(photo: unknown, London, circa 1903)

The original caption to this photograph read, ‘FLASHLIGHTS ON SALVATION ARMY WORK. A Queue Outside the Palace Theatre. These men are lounging outside the Palace Theatre in order to bask in the grateful warmth which surges up through the gratings from the engine rooms below – taken at 1.30 a.m.’
(The Bystander, London, Wednesday, 23 March 1904, p. 180).

John Hewelt made the first of several return visits to the Palace Theatre of Varieties, London, in March 1897.
‘The programme at the Palace Theatre has been further diversified and improved by a number of new ”turns” … The principal change in the programme last night was, however, the production of Mr. John Hewelt’s automatic theatre. This is on the lines of the old marionette shows – with a great difference. It shows us for the first time in England as French café chantant in full swing. There is an orchestra, whose conductor gravely swings his baton, and the musicians go through the motion of playing. The audience in the boxes glance through their opera glasses at the people in the stalls, and evidently engage in conversation when the performers are on the mimic stage, though occasionally they applaud. The performers have a galvanised liveliness about them which is most amusing.’
(The Standard, London, Friday, 12 March 1897, p. 3d)


Henry A. Lytton and the Cosy Corner Girls from The Earl and the Girl, London, 1904/05

May 20, 2014

Henry A. Lytton (1865-1936), English actor and singer, with the ‘Cozy Corner Girls’ (left to right, Gertrude Thornton, Clare Rickards and Hilda Hammerton) in the musical comedy, The Earl and the Girl which was first produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 10 December 1903 before being transferred to the Lyric Theatre, London, on 12 September 1904.
(photo: unknown, probably Bassano or Ellis & Walery, London, 1904; postcard published by the Rapid Photo Co, London, 1904)

‘My Cosy Corner Girl,’ composed by John W. Bratton, with lyrics by Charles Noel Douglas, was imported from the United States for inclusion in The Earl and the Girl, when it was sung by Henry A. Lytton and Agnes Fraser. They also sang it at the Charles Morton Testimonial Matinee at the Palace Theatre, London, on 8 November 1904.

The Earl and the Girl, the most successful of all the musical comedies in which I appeared and the one which gave me my biggest real comedy part, ran for one year at the Adelphi, and then for a further year at the Lyric. When it was withdrawn I secured the permission of the management to use “My Cosy Corner,” the most tuneful of all its musical numbers, as a scena on the music-halls, and with my corps of Cosy Corner Girls it was a decided success.’
(Henry A. Lytton, The Secrets of a Savoyard, London, 1921, p. 86; Lytton’s ‘My Cosy Corner’ scena ran at the Palace Theatre, London, from April to June 1905)

‘My Cosey Corner Girl’ sung by Harry Macdonough, recorded by Edison, USA, 1903, cylinder 8522
(courtesy of Tim Gracyk via YouTube)


Régine Flory, French singer and dancer, a Parisian and London favourite

April 18, 2014

Régine Flory (née Marie Antoinette Artaz, 1894-1926), French singer and dancer, as she appeared in a revue at the Cigale, Paris, during 1919.
(photo: Felix, Paris, 1919)

‘Mlle. Régine Flory is another young artist of great promise. Hitherto she had always seemed an excellent revue star, but in a recent revue at the Cigale she revealed an astonishing tenderness and dramatic intensity. Next she will be see in The Bird of Paradise. I should dearly love to see her as – Juliette.’
(Tor de Arozarena, ‘The Paris Stage,’ ‘The Stage’ Year Book 1920, London, 1920, p. 61)

Mlle. Flory as she appeared in the revue, Vanity Fair, which was produced at the Palace Theatre, London, under the management of Alfred Butt on 6 November 1916. This recording of her singing ‘The Tanko,’ a ditty so disapproved of by Siegfried Sassoon, written by Arthur Wimperis, with music by Max Darewski, was recorded for the HMV label (2-3222) in the studios of The Gramophone Co Ltd at Hayes, Middlesex, near London, on 16 January 1917.

* * * * *

Regine Flory’s untimely death, which occurred at Drury Lane Theatre on 17 June 1926, during a performance of Rose Marie, was reported across the globe. For the full, distressing details, see The Times, London, Wednesday, 23 June 1926, p. 5.

‘While the performance of Rose Marie was being played to a packed house at Drury Lane, Mlle. Regine Flory, a French revue actress and dancer, shot and killed herself in the manager’s office at the theatre. It is said the tragedy occurred in the presence of Sir Alfred Butt and another man, a friend of the actress, while Mlle. Flory was having an interview with Sir Alfred over some business connected with theatrical employment. The dead woman was only 32 years of age and had appeared in various West-End shows at the Palace, Gaiety, etc. her last engagement in London was in 1917 and, it appeared, she was very desirous of again starring in a musical show. Two years ago she attempted to drown herself in the seine, and had been in ill health for some time.’
(The Vaudeville New and New York Star, New York, Friday, 9 July 1926, p. 6b)