Posts Tagged ‘Robert Courtneidge’


May Etheridge about 1912, later Duchess of Leinster

November 2, 2013

May Etheridge (1892-1935), English chorus girl
(photo: unknown, possibly Elwin Neame, London, circa 1912)

May Etheridge (née May Juanita Etheridge) was first seen on the stage in the chorus of The New Aladdin, an extravaganza, at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 29 September 1906. She then transferred to the Aldwych Theatre under the management of Seymour Hicks before taking the part of Ko-Giku, a geisha, in The Mousmé, a musical play with music by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot, which was produced by Robert Courtneidge at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on 9 September 1911. Her final official part was in the small role of Ursula in Princess Caprice, a comedy with music by Leo Fall, produced at the same theatre on 11 May 1912. It is believed, however, that she appeared in a small uncredited part in the musical comedy, Betty at Daly’s Theatre, London, during 1915.

By then, however, on 12 June 1913 at Wandsworth Registrar’s Office, near London, May Etheridge married Lord Edward FitzGerald (1892-1976), later 7th Duke of Leinster. They separated in 1922 and divorced in 1930. He was subsequently married three more times (including in 1946 to the former actress, Denise Orme) and committed suicide on 8 March 1976.

‘A Duchess Bound Over.
‘LONDON, April 19 [1930]. – Charged with having attempted to commit suicide, the Duchess of Leinster, formerly May Etheridge, a musical comedy star [sic], who was found unconscious on April 1 [1930] in a gas-filled room at a Brixton boarding house, was bound over to-day to be of good behaviour for two years, in her own recognisances of £50 and two sureties for a like amount.’
(The West Australian, Perth, Tuesday, 22 April 1930, p. 15b)

The Duchess, who eventually changed her name to May Murray, died at her home at Saltdean, near Brighton, Sussex on 11 February 1935; the inquest returned a verdict of death by misadventure following an accidental overdose of narcotics taken to induce sleep.


Phyllis Dare as Peggy in The Dairymaids, 1907-1908

October 8, 2013

Phyllis Dare (1890-1975), English actress, singer and star of musical comedy as she appeared in The Dairymaids, a farcical musical play, with music by Paul Rubens and Frank E. Tours, 1907-1908
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1907/08)

The Dairymaids was first produced by Robert Courtneidge at the Apollo Theatre, London, on 14 April 1906, with Carrie Moore in the leading role of Peggy. The piece ran for 239 performances and closed on 8 December 1906. Courtneidge organized various tours of The Dairymaids, including one for the autumn of 1907 which began at the Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle of Man, on Monday, 19 August, with Phyllis Dare playing Peggy. Miss Dare was obliged to abandon her appearances for two weeks (Belfast and Sheffield) because of laryngitis, when the part of Peggy was taken by Violet Lloyd.

After a break during the Christmas season of 1907/08, during which Phyllis Dare appeared with Carrie Moore, Gwennie Hasto, Esta Stella, Rosie Berganine, John Humphries, Dan Rolyat, Stephen Adeson and Fred Leslie junior in the pantomime Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, she was again seen as Peggy in The Dairymaids. The production opened at the Queen’s Theatre, London, on 5 May 1908 for a run of 83 performances and closed on 18 July 1908.

* * * * *

‘LONDON, May 13 [1908]… . Revival of The Dairymaids this week at the Queen’s, the newest of London theaters, brings up that precocious little actress, Phyllis Dare, who, although she has been an established London favorite for three years, is only 19 years old. She has more ”puppy” adorers than any other woman on the English stage. The junior ”Johnnydom” goes mad over her, assures her of a well-filled house whenever she appears, and buys her postcards in thousands. It was the fair haired Phyllis who was summoned back from boarding school in Belgium when only 17 years of age to assume Edna May’s part in The Belle of Mayfair, when that independent American actress threw up her part because of the importance given to Camille Clifford, the original ”original” Gibson girl. The papers made so much of the fact that the little Phyllis’s studies had been interrupted by the siren call of Thespis that she packed the playhouse for many weeks with a curious public, many of whom had never before heard her name. Now I hear that Miss Dare will shortly essay the role of Juliet at a special matinee to be arranged by Robert Courtneidge, her manager.’
(Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, 23 May 1908, p. 16c)


January 11, 2013

Andrew Higginson as Danilo and Carrie Moore as Sonia
in the Australian production of The Merry Widow,
Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, 6 May 1908
(photo: Talma, Melbourne, 1908)

Carrie Moore as Sonia in The Merry Widow, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Sydney, and her sudden marriage, May 1908
‘Sydney, N.S.W., Nov. 25 [1908].
‘The theatrical sensation of the past month has been caused by the unexpectedly sudden wedding of Carrie Moore – at present appearing in the name part in The Merry Widow at Her Majesty’s Theatre – and the subsequent happenings. Hardly had Mr. and Mrs. Percy Bigwood recovered from the host of congratulations showered on them when news of their marriage leaked out, when a lady in the person of Ivy Salvin comes post haste from Melbourne and, through her Sydney solicitor, issues a Supreme Court writ, claiming £5,000 damages for alleged breach of promise on the part of the gentleman now known in Sydney as “Carrie Moore’s husband.” This action was subsequently settled to the satisfaction of both parties, and Ivy Salvin accepted her first theatrical engagement in The Belle of Mayfair at the Criterion Theatre, which engagement she is now relinquishing to enter the married state. Such is fame!
‘“Carrie Moore’s Husband” is a young Englishman of means, not altogether unknown on the African and Australian turf, where his racing colors have met with judge’s eye on more than one occasion.
‘Carrie Moore is retiring from the cast of The Merry Widow and returning to England, where she is under engagement to appear as principal boy under the management of Bob Courtneidge in the forthcoming pantomime of Cinderella at London’s Adelphi Theatre. Her place as the dashing Widow will be filled by Betty Ohls, an actress well known on your side, where in 1904 she appeared with the Bostonians as Maid Marian in De Koven’s Robin Hood, and subsequent American appearances include those in The Queen of Laughter, at Boston; The Student King, at Chicago, and The Rose of the Alhambra, in New York. She has recently been appearing at the Empire and Tivoli, London, in gesture songs.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 19 December 1908, p.5c)