Posts Tagged ‘Playhouse Theatre (London)’

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H. Robert Averell, grandson of Jenny Lind, on tour in the United Kingdom during 1908 in The Girls of Gottenberg

February 12, 2014

H. Robert Averell (1885-1913), English actor and singer, as he appeared on tour in the United Kingdom during 1908 in the role of Prince Otto in George Dance’s The Girls of Gottenberg company. The part was first played by George Grossmith junior in the original production of The Girls of Gottenberg at the Gaiety Theatre, London (15 May 1907).
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1908; postcard published by The Rotary Photographic Co Ltd, London, in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 2356 B)

The promising young actor known as H. Robert Averell (and sometimes as Robert Averell) was born Walter Averell Lind Goldschmidt in Kensington, London, on 4 May 1885. He was the son of Walter Otto Goldschmidt (1854-1929) and his first wife, Mary Julia (née Daniell, 1859-?), who were married in 1884 and acrimoniously separated ten years later. Averell was therefore the grandson of Jenny Lind (1820-1887), the celebrated soprano known ‘The Swedish Nightingale,’ his father being her eldest child by her husband, the German-born musician, Otto Moritz David Goldschmidt (1829-1907).

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‘Mr Robert Averell, a promising young English actor, died suddenly recently from the after effects of a chill. Only a few days previous Mr Averell, who made his name on the metropolitan stage as Hubert in The Girl in the Taxi, was playing in Oh, I Say at the London Criterion. A grandson of Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish diva, he was an old Westminster schoolboy and a ward in Chancery, and, consent to his adopting the stage as a career being practically impossible to obtain, he made his way to South Africa, where although under age he managed to join the Cape Mounted Rifles. Then he joined a travelling theatrical company which was often unable to proceed for lack of funds and the privations he then met with unquestionably hastened his end.’
(The New Zealand Observer, Auckland, Saturday, 13 December 1913, p. 14a)

In 1910 Averell was declared bankrupt, ‘his failure being attributed to his having lived in excess of his income.’ (The Times, London, Saturday, 14 May 1910, p. 17d) This reverse did not interfere with his career, however, and he went on to appear in several West End productions including Our Little Cinderella, a play with music (Playhouse Theatre, London, 20 December 1910), with his kinsman Cyril Maude (1862-1951) in the leading role; and The Girl in the Taxi, the musical play produced at the Lyric Theatre, London, on 5 September 1912. Averell’s last appearance was in the Parisian farce, Oh! I Say!, produced at the Criterion Theatre, London, on 28 May 1913. During the run he became ill and died suddenly in October that year, when his part was taken over by Ronald Squire who went on to become a well-known character actor.

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Malcolm Cherry and Gladys Cooper in The Misleading Lady

May 19, 2013

Malcolm Cherry and Gladys Cooper, in Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard’s play, The Misleading Lady, produced in London at the Playhouse Theatre on 6 September 1916 with a run of 231 performances.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1916)

‘An American comedy, The Misleading Lady, one of London’s productions at the Play House [sic], is whimsically declared to be amusing just because it is crude. Yet it is impossible not to like The Misleading Lady. The principal artists are Miss Gladys Cooper, Mr. Malcolm Cherry, and Mr. Weedon Grossmith. The plot primarily consists of a flirtation between the hero and heroine, in the course of which the misleading lady induces her partner to propose marriage, and then turns him down with the explanation that it was only her fun! The admirer is tragically hurt, and angrily declares that, as she has used her primitive weapons, that is to say, her charms, he will use his, namely, his brute force. Whereupon he throws this young society girl over his shoulder and carries her off in his motor car to his rustic shack in the Adirondacks. There are some lively scenes before the modern Petruchio masters this Katherine sufficiently for her to say she is quite willing to become his wife. And yet all this did not make the play. As in America by another comedian [i.e. Frank Sylvester], so in England by Mr. Weedon Grossmith, the winning card was an escaped lunatic, the pet of the keepers, and the delight of the audience, which thinks he is Napoleon! This is an intensely pathetic character, a harmless, lovable travesty of a man, capable on occasion of real dignity. ”Boney,” as the two keepers call him, renders a small service to the hero, who accepts the suggestion that he should present his mad benefactor with a sword. Boney takes it with the silly grin of the imbeceile, but as soon as he feels it in his hands his expression changes to one of deep earnestness, he draws his shabby figure to its full height, and with tremendous impressiveness, he creates the giver ”Marshal of France,” and stalks grandiloquently away, the three men standing at the salute! Half the audience laughed, half nearly wept, and all cheered.’
(The Auckland Star, Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, 30 December 1916, p. 14e. The London cast also included Ronald Colman as Stephen Weatherbee, a character played in the New York production by John Cumberland.)

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Bunty Pulls the Strings

May 15, 2013

Bunty Pulls the Strings
(back cover advertisement, artwork by V. Hicks, 1913, ‘with no apologies to W.K. Haselden’ The Playgoer and Society Illustrated, new series Vol. 8, no. 45, London, 1913)

Bunty Pulls the Strings, Graham Moffat’s successful Scottish comedy, was first produced for a single matinee performance at the Playhouse, London, on 4 July 1911, before embarking on a 620 performance run at the Haymarket Theatre, London, on 18 July 1911. The play returned to the Playhouse for 37 further performances on 16 June 1913.

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Ida René and Marie Blanche in Samples!

April 12, 2013

a scene with Ida René and Marie Blanche from Harry Grattan’s revue, Samples!, Playhouse Theatre, London, 30 November 1915
(photo: Wrather & Buys, London, 1915)

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April 12, 2013

a scene with Ida René and Marie Blanche from Harry Grattan’s revue, Samples!, Playhouse Theatre, London, 30 November 1915
(photo: Wrather & Buys, London, 1915)

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April 12, 2013

a scene with Ida René and Marie Blanche from Harry Grattan’s revue, Samples!, Playhouse Theatre, London, 30 November 1915
(photo: Wrather & Buys, London, 1915)

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Kitty Melrose, English musical comedy actress and singer, London, circa 1909

January 10, 2013

Kitty Melrose (1883-1912),
English musical comedy actress and singer;
(photo: Rita Martin, London, circa 1909)

This real photograph of the actress and singer Kitty Melrose was published in London about 1909 by A. & G. Taylor in its ‘Reality’ Series, no. 1353.

Miss Melrose first came to notice in 1905 when she made an appearance as Rectory Belle in a revival of Seymour Hicks’s musical dream play, Bluebell (Aldwych Theatre, London, 23 December 1905). Remaining with Hicks, she was next seen as one of the twelve Bath Buns in The Beauty of Bath, a musical play produced at the Aldwych on 19 March 1906. Again with Hicks, she then took the part of Miss Liverpool in the less successful musical play, My Darling (Hicks, 2 March 1907) before appearing as Trixie Clayton in Brewster’s Millions (Hicks, 1 May 1907), a comedy with Gerald du Maurier in the leading role. Miss Melrose’s next part was Fanny in Cosmo Hamilton’s farce, ProTem (Playhouse, 29 April 1908) before returning to musical comedy in Charles Frohman’s New York production of The Dollar Princess at the Knickerbocker Theatre (6 August 1909). Kitty Melrose’s last appearance was as Cleo in The Quaker Girl (Adelphi, 5 November 1910), starring Joseph Coyne, and Gertie Millar for whom she was sometime understudy.

‘Golf Ball Hurts Actress.
‘Miss Melrose May Be Disfigured – Her Nose Fractured.
‘Kiss Kitty Melrose, an English actress, playing in The Dollar Princess at the Knickerbocker Theatre, received so severe a fracture of the nose on Friday afternoon from a blow of a golf ball that the doctors who have her in charge fear that she may be permanently disfigured.
‘She was hurried to this city in an automobile from the Links of the Danwoodie Country Club under an anaesthetic for treatment here. She had gone to the course with F. Pope Stamper of the same company. They had gone over the course once when Mr. Stamper prepared to make a long drive. Miss Melrose stood watching, about forty feet to the right. He swung with great force, but sliced the ball. It shot out, rotating at an angle, and, making a curve, struck Miss Melrose squarely on the side of the nose.’
(New York Times, New York, Sunday, 17 October 1909, p.18f)

‘Pathetic Death of Deserted Woman.
‘Actress Dead With Her Head Inside a Gas Oven.
‘London, June 7 [1912]. – the love affairs of the actress, Kitty Melrose, aged 29, who has lately been an understudy for Gertie Millar in The Quaker Girl, at the Adelphi theater and who was found dead in her flat with her head inside a gas oven, occupied the attention of the coroner at Westminster today.
‘Letters read at the inquest, showed that she had been living with Lawson Johnston, a young man about town, who had promised to marry her. Later he wrote her that he found it impossible to carry out his promise owing to the opposition of his people, upon whom he was dependent.
‘He acknowledged it was wrong for him to allow her to think that marriage was possible, but he added, the family had found out that they had been living together and said the marriage was impossible.
‘Kitty’s letters in reply were very pathetic. The last one said among other things:
‘“Eddie. By leaving me alone, you thought you were doing right, but it was all wrong. God forgive you, as I hope he will forgive me.”’
(The Evening Observer, Dunkirk, New York, 7 June 1912, p.7d)

The full story surrounding Kitty Melrose’s suicide, which took place on 3 June 1912, is recounted by James Jupp, The Gaiety stage door; thirty years’ reminiscences of the theatre, Jonathan Cape, London, 1923. She is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.