Posts Tagged ‘Puss in Boots (pantomime)’


Emma Don, male impersonator

September 5, 2013

Emma Don (1873-1951), English music hall singer, dancer and male impersonator, as she appeared with her company in 1910 in the song-scena, On the Thames Embankment.
(photo: unknown, probably UK, 1910; halftone postcard, no publisher’s credit, probably 1910)

Emma Don was born at Sevenoaks, Kent, on 25 November 1873, one of the children of Martin Bushling (1833?-), a tailor, later a hotel waiter, and his wife, Emma (1835?-1928). In 1897 she married Walter Munroe (1866?-1928), a music hall agent and sometime entertainer, by whom she had several children. She died at Clacton-on-Sea on 23 January 1951.

‘Miss Emma Don, billed by Mr. Gibbons as the ”Daintiest of Boys,” is appearing with success with week at the Hippodrome, Willesden, with new songs. Miss Don has had a most varied music-hall career. She first appeared at the age of ten in Drury Lane pantomime as ”Cupid.” At twelve years of age she was in Mr. Sidney Cooper’s pantomime, Zac and the King of the Manikins. At the age of fourteen she played in America, at Sheep’s Head Bay, Coney Island, as principal dancer in one of Pain’s firework spectacular shows. She then joined her two sisters [Lizzie (Elizabeth) and Lulu (Louisa)], the three playing as the Sisters Don; they toured America and the Continent and played at the leading music-halls in the British isles. After her marriage to Mr. Walter F. Munroe (of Munroe’s Comedy Team) she commenced her single turn as a male impersonator, and played [Prince Rudolph] in the Garrick [Theatre, London] pantomime, Puss in Boots [26 December 1899]. Two years ago she played a six months’ engagement in America on the Keith Circuit, and is now playing her third return tour on the Gibbons Circuit. Miss Don is about to produce a new vocal scena, entitled On the Embankment, which is intended to depict the light and shade of London life.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 3 February 1910, p. 14c)


January 24, 2013

Jenny Dawson (Mrs Clara Sharlach, d. 1936),
English actress and vocalist
(photo: London Stereoscopic Co, London, mid 1890s)

‘Dawson, Jenny. – Miss Jenny Dawson made her début at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, in a minor part, and shortly afterwards gained her first success as Pousette in the pantomime of Cinderella at the Prince’s Theatre, Manchester. In 1886 she came to London, and appeared as Jeames in Oliver Grumble at the Novelty Theatre [25 March 1886], under the management of Mr. Willie Edouin. An Autumn tour with Mr. G.P. Hawtrey, to play in The Pickpocket, was followed by her charming impersonation of Allan-a-Dale in the successful pantomime of The Babes in the Wood at the Prince of Wales’ Theatre, Liverpool. She remained in the provinces for a year, undertaking juvenile and leading parts, and principal burlesque. In September, 1887, she accepted an offer to join the Drury Lane Company, where she played Mrs. Egerton in Pleasure, and made an adorable Cupid in the pantomime of Puss in Boots. Mr. George Edwardes next engaged Miss Dawson for his provincial tour of Miss Esmeralda, and she then crossed the Atlantic solely to understudy Miss Nelly Farren in America, which brought her but barren honours. Returning to England in June, 1888, she appeared in Faust up to Date at the Gaiety during Mr. Van Bienne’s short autumnal season, to the success of which she very materially conduced. A pantomime engagement took her to Edinburgh for the winter, and in the spring of 1890 she was cast for Millie in The Bungalow at Toole’s [7 October 1889]. When Carmen up to Data was produced [Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool, 22 September 1890, transferred to the Gaiety, London, 4 October 1890], Miss Dawson created the rôle of Escamillo, but not liking the part, resigned it after the first week. Liverpool again claimed her for the winter pantomime, and in the spring of 1891 she was engaged by Mr. Thomas Thorne for Lady Franklin in the revival of Money, alternating the part with Miss Kate Phillips, after which she joined Mr. Charles Hawtrey’s Company at the Comedy, and besides creating the part of Rosabel in Houp La with unqualified success, filled the leading part in Husband and Wife with equal verve during Miss Lottie Venne’s absence.’
(Erskine Reid and Herbert Compton, The Dramatic Peerage, Raithby, Lawrence & Co Ltd, London, 1892, pp.67 and 68)

Jenny Dawson, whose husband was Robert E. Sharlach, was the mother of the actress, singer and mimic, Marie Dainton (1880-1938).