Posts Tagged ‘Prince of Wales’s Theatre (London)’


Topsy Sinden and Lily Elsie on tour in See-See, early 1907

March 6, 2015

Topsy Sinden (1877-1950) and Lily Elsie (1886-1962), as they appeared respectively as So-Hie and See-See, with ladies of the chorus, on tour in the United Kingdom during the first few months of 1907 with George Edwardes’s Company‘ in the ‘New Chinese Comic Opera,’ See-See. So-Hie and See-See were originally played by Gabrielle Ray and Denise Orme when See-See was first produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 20 June 1906.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, late 1906/early1907; postcard no 3283F in the Rotary Photographic Co Ltd’s Rotary Photographic Series, published London, early 1907)

‘Miss Lily Elsie, who played the title rôle in ”The New Aladdin” at the Gaiety, gave a charming performance of ”See See” at the King’s, Hammersmith, last night. Miss Elsie has an engaging presence and a charming voice, and altogether gives promise of a brilliant future. Mr. George Edwardes has staged the popular Chinese comic opera very handsomely, both as regards scenery and company. Mr. Frank Danby and Mr. W.H. Rawlins keep the fun going, and the singing, acting, and dancing of Miss Amy Augarde, Mr. Leonard Mackay, and Miss Topsy Sinden are delightful. The production was enthusiastically received by a full house.’
(The Standard, London, Tuesday, 30 April 1907, p. 4f)


Martin Harvey and cast in a scene from Don Juan’s Last Wager, Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, 1900

January 24, 2015

John Martin Harvey (1863-1944), English actor-manager, as Don Juan Tenorio, and members of the cast in the supper scene in Mrs Cunningham Graham’s romantic play, Don Juan’s Last Wager (based on José Zorrilla’s 1844 play, Don Juan Tenorio), which was first produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 27 February 1900. The piece was not a success and was withdrawn after 30 performances.
(photo: London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1900)

‘Mr. Martin Harvey, acting on the advice of his doctor, will conclude from run of ”Don Juan’s Last Wager” at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre on Saturday next [31 March 1900]. Mr Harvey continues to be the tenant of the theatre until the end of July at least, and he hopes to produce towards the middle of May the ”triple bill” of which we have spoken. Meanwhile, at Easter, Mr. Harvey will revive a comedy not quite fresh to the theatre, in which he himself will not appear.’
(Daily Mail, London, Wednesday, 28 March 1900, p. 8a)


Florence St. John, star of burlesque and comic opera, photographed in 1893

December 2, 2014

Florence St. John (née Margaret Florence Greig, 1855-1912), English actress and vocalist
(photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 13721-14, early 1893; see the National Archives, London, COPY 1/412/470)

This photograph was taken during the run of the musical farce, In Town, following its transfer in December 1892 from the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, to the Gaiety Theatre, London, in which Miss St. John played the part of Kitty Hetherton.


December 2, 2014

Florence St. John (née Margaret Florence Greig, 1855-1912), English actress and vocalist
(photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 13721-14, early 1893; see the National Archives, London, COPY 1/412/470)

This photograph was taken during the run of the musical farce, In Town, following its transfer in December 1892 from the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, to the Gaiety Theatre, London, in which Miss St. John played the part of Kitty Hetherton.


Gertrude Lawrence advertises Ciro Pearls, London, 1925

August 8, 2014

Gertrude Lawrence (1898-1952), English actress and singer, advertising Ciro Pearls, London, 1925
(photo: unknown, probably London, circa 1925; advertisement published in The Magazine-Programme, London, [circa mid September 1925], p. 12)

At the time of the publication of this advertisement, Gertrude Lawrence was playing in the successful Charlot’s Revue, which opened at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 30 March 1925 and closed after 303 performances the following 19 December. Other members of the cast included Leonard Henry, Peter Haddon and Beatrice Lillie. The Misses Lawrence and Lillie, however, left the cast before the end of the run to appear in the New York version of Charlot’s Revue, which opened at the Selwyn Theatre on 10 November 1925. The cast included Jack Buchanan, with whom Gertrude Lawrence sang ‘A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich and You,’ which they recorded for the Columbia label in New York on 17 November 1925.

Jack Buchanan and Gertrude Lawrence singing ‘A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich and You,’ which they recorded for the Columbia label (Col 512-D) in New York on 17 November 1925.


Amy Webster, who appeared in the first English production of The Merry Widow at Daly’s Theatre, London, and was later sent to America

June 21, 2014

Amy Webster (active 1900-1908), English actress/showgirl, at about the time of her appearance as Jou-Jou during the long run of the first English production of The Merry Widow, which was produced at Daly’s Theatre, London, on 8 June 1907 and closed on 31 July 1909. During that time Jou-Jou was at various times also played by Dolly Dombey, Dorrie Keppell and Gladys Carrington.
(photo: Rita Martin, London, probably 1908)

Amy (sometime Aimee) Webster was born in London about 1886, the daughter of Frederick Webster, about whom nothing is at present known. She is thought to have made her first professional appearance as an extra in The Price of Peace, the ‘Drama of Modern Life’ produced at Drury Lane Theatre on 20 September 1900. She remained at Drury Lane until early 1903, a period during which she was seen in two more dramas and also in two pantomimes, Blue Beard and Mother Goose (26 December 1901 and 26 December 1902 receptively). She then progressed to adult roles, as Mary Macclesfield in The Little Cherub (Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, 31 January 1906) and its revised edition entitled The Girl on the Stage (same theatre, 5 May 1906) in which her part was renamed Gertie Macclesfield. Her last appearances were in The Merry Widow, as above.
Amy Webster was married for the first time on 15 March 1906 at Fulham Register Office to Owain Edward Whitehead Greaves (1882-1941); their wedding was kept secret owing to his position in the Royal Horse Guards. In January 1907 he was posted to India and between August that year and March 1908 she is said to have committed adultery with Eric Loder (who in 1912 married Gabrielle Ray) and George Jervis Wood (who in 1909 married Rosa, Countess von Lónyay de Nagy-Lónya und Vásáros-Namény). When Greaves sued his wife for divorce in 1909, she and Wood denied any wrongdoing while Loder failed to appear or file an answer. Rufus Isaacs represented Greaves; Sir Edward Carson represented Wood. (The Times, London, 27 March 1909)

In 1912 Mrs Greaves gave birth to a daughter, Josephine, whose father was George Maria Joseph Alphonsus Grisewood (1891-1916) of the Grenadier Guards. He served with the Expeditionary Force in France from February 1915 and the couple were married in Marylebone while he was home on leave early in 1916. He died at the front near Merville on 27 March 1916 of pneumonia.

According to Grisewood’s grandson, his widow was subsequently obliged to sever her connection with both the Grisewood family and her daughter. In 1919 she was given a one-way ticket to America and duly arrived at the Port of New York aboard the SS Royal George on 23 February that year. Nothing is known of her life after that date.


Lily Elsie as Humming Bird in See-See, Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, 1906

June 18, 2014

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), English star of operetta and musical comedy, as she appeared as Humming Bird in the ‘Chinese’ comic opera, See-See, which was produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 20 June 1906. Gabrielle Ray was also in the cast.
(photo: uncredited, probably Bassano, London, 1906)


‘Living Pictures’ at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London, 1894: Marie Studholme, Constance Collier and Hetty Hamer as the Three Graces

April 19, 2014

Marie Studholme (1872-1930), Constance Collier (1878-1955) and Hetty Hamer (active 1890-1910), English actresses, as ‘The Three Graces’ among the ‘Living Pictures,’ first presented at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London, on Monday evening, 5 February 1894.
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1894; published as a postcard by The Rotary Photographic Co Ltd., Rotary Photographic Series, no. 351 B, London, about 1902)

‘An addition to the Empire programme was made last night, when a series of ”Living Pictures” was presented. The back of the stage was focussed down to a large gilt frame, in which the pictures were set, the figures of the various subjects being embodied by several ladies. The first, ”Courtship,” showed a pretty couple (Misses Sheppard and Deroy), dressed in the Directoire style, leading over a rustic bride, amid the freshness of the Springtime. The next with ”Night,” in which Miss Hetty Hamer and Miss [Constance] Collier, two white-draped figures crowned with electric stars, were reclining amid Doré-like surroundings of jagged, tapering peaks against a mystic blue background. ”Duet” was a piece of marble statuary delicately tinted with changing lights that swept over the motionless figures (Madame Fionde and Miss Blowey). ”A Funny Song” was as glowing in colour as if fresh from the brush of the painter, and the expression of the three figures (Senorita Candida and Messrs [William] Lewington and [C.] Perkins) was admirable. One of the prettiest dealt with the old subject, ”Loves me! Loves me not,” in the familiar way, but in a bright Italian atmosphere, and with the blue sea as a background, the perfect taste of the accessories increasing the personal charm of the performers, Miss Marie Studholme and Miss Barker. Miss Deroy made a fascinating picture as a girl ascending an old staircase (the warm colours of her dress blending in complete harmony with the oaken wainscotting), and bidding a sweet ”Good-night.” Miss Hetty Hamer was another bright figure in ”Pets,” a Greek girl feeding pigeons in a corner of some secret grove. ”The Billet-doux” was placed in the powder and patches days, a young beau indulging in a moment’s flirtation with the maid, who is about to take his missive to her mistress (the Misses Belton and Hill). ”Springtime” was a poetic conception of the ”Sweetness of the year.” So charming was the grace of the young girl (Miss Hinde), dreamily resting among the branches of a pink-blossomed almond tree, that the audience vainly tried to interrupt the progress of the series in order to gaze again at the dainty sight. ”Charity,” in which Senorita Candida and Miss Deroy appear, is a somewhat conventional subject, representing a benevolent patrician offering her fur cloak to a homeless wanderer as shelter against the falling snow. ”The Three Graces” needs no further explanation, when it is said that the Misses Hetty Hamer, Collier, and Marie Studholme formed the trio. The series was concluded by a study in bronze, ”The Defence of the Flag,” portraying a vigorous patriotic group; but several of the favourites had to be repeated before the audience was satisfied. Excellent alike in conception, mouthing, and representation, the ”Living Pictures” at the Empire will prove a strong attraction.”
(The Standard, London, Tuesday, 6 February 1894, p. 3c)

Tableaux Vivants at the EMPIRE. A noticeable addition has been made to the programme at the EMPIRE Theatre, which promises to crown the house for some time. Never behindhand when anything savouring of novelty is I the air, the management have now introduced a series of ”Living Pictures,” produced in the style which has long been familiar to pleasure-seekers in France, Germany, and Russia. Similar representations have, of course, been given in London, but of the EMPIRE tableaux there is only this to be said: they are as well done, as richly and effectively mounted as is possible, with no suggestion of tinsel or tawdriness. The dramatis personæ are the Misses Hetty Hamer, Marie Studholme, Sheppard, Deroy, Collier, Blowey, Madame Fionde, Señorita Candida, and Messrs. Lewington and Perkins. The ”Living Pictures” meet with a good reception nightly, and it will be a pity of they do not remain in the programme for a long time to come.’
(The Graphic, London, Saturday, 10 February 1894, p. 151b//c)

Whereas Mesdames Studhome, Collier and Hamer were then actresses or members of the chorus at the Gaiety and Prince of Wales’s Theatres in London, all the others mentioned in connection with the ‘Living Pictures’ were ballet dancers or pantomimists employed at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square. All were then under contract to the impresario George Edwardes.


Olga Sydney imitating Maidie Scott, London, 1916/17

February 22, 2014

Olga Sydney (1903-1986), ‘The Wonderful Child Mimic’ and later variety artist as she appeared in her imitation of the music hall star Maidie Scott in the ‘children’s revue’ section of The Happy Family, the children’s play first produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 18 December 1916 and revived at the Strand Theatre, London, on 24 December 1917, matinees only.
(postcard photo: Elliott & Fry Ltd, London, 1916/17)

Olga Sydney was the daughter of Simeon Blaiberg (1874?-1943), a north London house furnisher. Her career began about 1916 and lasted until she was married in 1927 to Raphael Woolf (1899-1961), whose father was an india rubber manufacturer.-


November 27, 2013

Grace Huntley (née Fanny Taylor, 1860?-1896), Scottish actress and singer, as she appeared in Dorothy, the successful comedy opera by B.C. Stephenson, with music by Alfred Cellier, which was first produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 25 September 1886. The production was transferred to the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 20 December 1886 and Miss Huntley joined the cast there to play the part of Phyllis Tuppitt in March 1887. Dorothy was subsequently transferred on 17 December 1888 to the Lyric Theatre, London, and its run finally ended on 6 April 1889 after a run of 931 performances and many changes of cast.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1887)

‘Regret will be felt in play-going circles at the news of the death, at Harrogate, of Miss Grace Huntley, one of the best known and most successful of burlesque actresses. She was the sister of Mrs. Richard Edgar, and had another sister and brother connected with the stage.’
(The Leeds Mercury, Leeds, Wednesday, 14 October 1896, p. 5h)

‘HUNTLEY. – On Oct. 10th [1896], at Harrogate, of Bright’s disease, Grace Huntley, actress’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 October 1896, p. 14d)

Pick-Me-Up pays the following kindly tribute to the memory of Miss Grace Huntley and to the good work she did in Bristol:- “The death of Miss Grace Huntley removes from the stage one who in her time was probably the best ‘principal boy’ we have had. Miss Huntley had, of course, been ‘principal boy’ at Drury Lane, but it was in provincial pantomimes – where the ‘principal boy’ is expected to work, not only to be looked at p that she was seen at her best. I have seen, I imagine, pretty well all the ‘principal boys’ in England, but with the exception of Ada Blanche (the Ada Blanche of five years ago) there was never a pantomime ‘boy’ to rival Miss Huntley. Her particular ‘note’ was a peculiar softness of speech and a certain indefinable charm, which was quite irresistible. Her voice never jarred upon you, and to gain her success she never resorted to anything but what was strictly legitimate. She was at the height of her ability, perhaps, seven or eight years ago. At Bristol, about that time, she was a particular favourite, and nothing could have been better than her performances in Mr. [John Henry] Chute’s Prince’s Theatre pantomimes, where she appeared several years running. Those who, like myself, had the pleasure of seeing her on those occasions will not easily forget her memory.’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Saturday, 31 October 1896, p. 8e)

‘The will of Miss Fanny Taylor, popularly known by her professional name of Grace Huntley, who died on Oct. 10th, at 13, Belmont-avenue, Harrogate, has been proved in London by Mr James Kenwick Edward, the sole executor, by whom the testatrix’s personalty is sworn at £2,416 9s. 8d. gross, and £2,385 15s. 8d. net.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 November 1896, p. 12a)