Posts Tagged ‘Strand Theatre (London)’

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Lily Elsie as Princess Soo Soo in A Chinese Honeymoon, April 1903

March 5, 2015

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), English musical comedy star, as she appeared as Princess Soo Soo in the musical comedy A Chinese Honeymoon. a part initially played by Violet Dene on tour when the piece was first produced at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, on 16 October 1899, and by Beatrice Edwards when the production opened in London at the Strand Theatre on 5 October 1901. Miss Edwards was succeeded (circa March 1902) by Kate Cutler and then (October 1902) by Mabel Nelson who in turn was succeeded by Lily Elsie when the latter took up the part of Soo Soo on Monday, 20 April 1903.
(photo: R.W. Thomas, Cheapside, London, 1903; colour halftone postcard no. 114 in C. Modena & Co’s ‘Ducal’ series, published London, 1903)

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Mdlle. Sylvia as Serpolette in Les Cloches de Corneville upon its reopening, Globe Theatre, London, 4 September 1880

November 30, 2014

Mdlle. Sylvia (active late 1870s/early 1880s), Swedish soprano, as she appeared as Serpolette in Les Cloches de Corneville upon its reopening, Globe Theatre, Newcastle Street, London on Saturday, 4 September 1880. The part of Serpolette had been first played in London by he American soprano, Kate Munroe.
(cabinet photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1880)

‘Mdlle. Sylvia, a young vocalist of Swedish extraction, made her first appearance in England on Wednesday last as the heroine of Offenbach’s Madame Favart, which still retains its popularity after nearly 500 continuous repetitions. Mdlle. Sylvia is young, graceful, and prepossessing. Her voice is a soprano of good quality and ample compass, and she sang with taste and expression, although at times so nervous that her intonation became unsatisfactory. She was heartily applauded, and will probably prove a valuable addition to the excellent company at the Strand Theatre.’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 1 August 1880, p. 7d)

Globe Theatre, London, Saturday, 4 September 1880
‘On Saturday, September 4, the Globe Theatre, which has been newly decorated, will reopen for the regular season with Les Cloches de Corneville, the reproduction of which will derive additional interest from the engagement of Mr. [Frank H. ] Celli, who will personate the Marquis; and Mesdames Sylvia and D’Algua, who will respectively sustain the parts of Serpolette and Germaine. Mdlle. Sylvia is already known to the London public as having successfully impersonated Madame Favart at the Strand Theatre, during the absence of Miss [Florence] St. John. Mdlle. D’Algua will make her first appearance on the London stage, and Messrs. [Harry] Paulton, [Charles] Ashford, and Shiel Barry will reappear as the Bailie, Gobo, and the Miser. Les Coches will only be played for a limited number of nights, pending the production of a new comic opera from the pen of Offenbach.’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 29 August 1880, p. 3f)

‘After a short recess, during which the auditorium has undergone a complete renovation, the Globe Theatre reopened on Saturday evening with the familiar but by no means unwelcome Cloches de Corneville as the staple entertainment. M. Planquette’s charming opera has not yet outlived its popularity, and no doubt it will attract the music-loving public while Mr. Alexander Henderson is getting ready the promised Offenbach novelty. The present cast is in many respects an excellent one. Mr. Shiel Barry, of course, retains his part of the miser, Gaspard, and plays it with the same intensity as heretofore; while Mr. Harry Paulton and Mr. Charles Ashford continue to impersonate the Bailie and his factotum, Gobo, in a manner which is well known. With these three exceptions the characters have changed hands. Mdlle. D’Algua is now the Germaine, Mdlle. Sylvia the Serpolette, Mr. [Henry] Bracy the Grenicheux, and Mr. F.H. Celli the Marquis. Unfortunately both Mdlle. D’Algua and Mdlle. Sylvia have but an imperfect acquaintance with the English tongue, and their speeches are therefore not readily comprehensible. Perhaps practice, in each case, may make perfect, but at present a little judicious ”coaching” would make an improvement. Mdlle. D’Algua sings her music efficiently, and with some degree of artistic feeling; while Mdlle. Sylvia acts with plenty of vivacity throughout, and proves herself an accomplished vocalist. Mr. Bracy has a pleasant tenor voice, which he used fairly well, and Mr. F.H. Celli brings his ripe experience in opera to bear upon the part of the Marquis – a character usually assigned to a tenor, if our memory serve us right. The work is placed on the stage with all due regard for picturesqueness of effect, there is a capital chorus, and Mr. Edward Solomon has his orchestra thoroughly well in hand. So wholesome and refreshing is M. Planquette’s work that playgoers may perhaps disregard the oppressive head, which renders indoor amusements all but intolerable, and take the opportunity of renewing their acquaintance with the chiming of the Corneville bells. The opera is preceded by a farce.’
(The Standard, London, Monday, 6 September 1880, p. 3d)

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Mdlle. Sylvia, Swedish soprano, as she appeared as Serpolette in Les Cloches de Corneville, Globe Theatre, London, 1880.

November 30, 2014

Mdlle. Sylvia (active late 1870s/early 1880s), Swedish soprano, as she appeared as Serpolette in Les Cloches de Corneville upon its reopening, Globe Theatre, Newcastle Street, London on Saturday, 4 September 1880. The part of Serpolette had been first played in London by he American soprano, Kate Munroe.
(cabinet photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1880)

‘Mdlle. Sylvia, a young vocalist of Swedish extraction, made her first appearance in England on Wednesday last as the heroine of Offenbach’s Madame Favart, which still retains its popularity after nearly 500 continuous repetitions. Mdlle. Sylvia is young, graceful, and prepossessing. Her voice is a soprano of good quality and ample compass, and she sang with taste and expression, although at times so nervous that her intonation became unsatisfactory. She was heartily applauded, and will probably prove a valuable addition to the excellent company at the Strand Theatre.’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 1 August 1880, p. 7d)

Globe Theatre, London, Saturday, 4 September 1880
‘On Saturday, September 4, the Globe Theatre, which has been newly decorated, will reopen for the regular season with Les Cloches de Corneville, the reproduction of which will derive additional interest from the engagement of Mr. [Frank H. ] Celli, who will personate the Marquis; and Mesdames Sylvia and D’Algua, who will respectively sustain the parts of Serpolette and Germaine. Mdlle. Sylvia is already known to the London public as having successfully impersonated Madame Favart at the Strand Theatre, during the absence of Miss [Florence] St. John. Mdlle. D’Algua will make her first appearance on the London stage, and Messrs. [Harry] Paulton, [Charles] Ashford, and Shiel Barry will reappear as the Bailie, Gobo, and the Miser. Les Coches will only be played for a limited number of nights, pending the production of a new comic opera from the pen of Offenbach.’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 29 August 1880, p. 3f)

‘After a short recess, during which the auditorium has undergone a complete renovation, the Globe Theatre reopened on Saturday evening with the familiar but by no means unwelcome Cloches de Corneville as the staple entertainment. M. Planquette’s charming opera has not yet outlived its popularity, and no doubt it will attract the music-loving public while Mr. Alexander Henderson is getting ready the promised Offenbach novelty. The present cast is in many respects an excellent one. Mr. Shiel Barry, of course, retains his part of the miser, Gaspard, and plays it with the same intensity as heretofore; while Mr. Harry Paulton and Mr. Charles Ashford continue to impersonate the Bailie and his factotum, Gobo, in a manner which is well known. With these three exceptions the characters have changed hands. Mdlle. D’Algua is now the Germaine, Mdlle. Sylvia the Serpolette, Mr. [Henry] Bracy the Grenicheux, and Mr. F.H. Celli the Marquis. Unfortunately both Mdlle. D’Algua and Mdlle. Sylvia have but an imperfect acquaintance with the English tongue, and their speeches are therefore not readily comprehensible. Perhaps practice, in each case, may make perfect, but at present a little judicious “coaching” would make an improvement. Mdlle. D’Algua sings her music efficiently, and with some degree of artistic feeling; while Mdlle. Sylvia acts with plenty of vivacity throughout, and proves herself an accomplished vocalist. Mr. Bracy has a pleasant tenor voice, which he used fairly well, and Mr. F.H. Celli brings his ripe experience in opera to bear upon the part of the Marquis – a character usually assigned to a tenor, if our memory serve us right. The work is placed on the stage with all due regard for picturesqueness of effect, there is a capital chorus, and Mr. Edward Solomon has his orchestra thoroughly well in hand. So wholesome and refreshing is M. Planquette’s work that playgoers may perhaps disregard the oppressive head, which renders indoor amusements all but intolerable, and take the opportunity of renewing their acquaintance with the chiming of the Corneville bells. The opera is preceded by a farce.’
(The Standard, London, Monday, 6 September 1880, p. 3d)

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Katie Barry as Fifi in A Chinese Honeymoon, New York, 1902

October 12, 2014

Katie Barry (1869?-after 1909), English actress and singer, as Fifi in the first American production of A Chinese Honeymoon, produced at the Casino, New York, on 2 June 1902. The part of Fifi was first played in London (Strand Theatre, 5 October 1901) by Louie Freear who was succeeded by Hilda Trevelyan.
(photo: Gilbert & Bacon, 1030 Chestnut Street. Philadelphia, probably 1902)

A CHINESE HONEYMOON.
‘English Musical Comedy is Presented at the Casino.
‘Distinct achievement in A Chinese Honeymoon, the new musical comedy seen at the Casino last evening, is to be credited to Katie Barry, a diminutive newcomer, who, by reason of a quaint personality, a semblance of buoyant good nature and ability in the direction of grotesque activity, scored an unusual success with an audience that was not always as discriminating as it was demonstrative. From the occasion of her first entrance through the successive drolleries in which she figured, as well as in her individual songs, which proved among the most diverting features of the entertainment, Miss Barry’s efforts provided occasion for much spontaneous laughter. Entirely unknown here up to last night, her success is, therefore, a fact to be recorded.
‘Another surprise of the evening was provided by Aimee Angeles, who blossomed forth as an imitator of no mean ability, to the satisfaction of those who had heretofore known her simply as a graceful dance in the Weber and Fields ranks. The enthusiasm evoked by her mimicry, in which she was admirably assisted by William Pruette, was unbounded.
‘Mention of these distinctly favored features of the new musical comedy seem fitting in the very beginning for such success as the piece achieved is largely due to the efforts of the actors, and to those of the scene painters and costumers. If the author of the book and the composer of the music had been as successful as those who had the setting forth of their work, praise, which must now be qualified, might be accorded without stint. But there is little in the book, which is by George Dance, that provides any occasion for humor, and most of Howard Talbot’s music, which it is not reminiscent, is lacking in such tunefulness as is required to make it of the essentially popular sort. One has passed the stage nowadays of asking for great originality in such composition – or, at any rate, one is mightily surprised if it is forthcoming. But that the tunes shall fall pleasingly on the ear and that they shall come readily to the lips of whistlers and singers – that may be fairly demanded. Perhaps after a few nights, too, the tendency toward ear-crashing effects in the rendering of the choruses will have been overcome – that may well be hoped for, for last night noise, rather than melody, marked much of what was sung.
‘In point of lavishness of production A Chinese Honeymoon is entitled to much praise. The two scenes – ”the garden of the hotel at Yiang Yiang” and ”the room in the Emperor’s palace” – are well painted, and the pictures presented, with many richly dressed women on the stage, is one of Oriental splendor. In the combinations of colors one notes the absence of those faults in taste which so often mar. An exceptionally pretty and novel effect was obtained in the second act, where disappearing and reappearing lines of chorus girls in bright colored gowns provide a panorama of changing color.
‘The story of the Chinese Honeymoon is not important. It concerns one Simon Pineapple, who goes to China on a honeymoon with his bride, under the somewhat unusual conditions of being accompanied by her eight bridesmaids. The chief uses of these bridesmaids is apparently to blow screeching whistles, which add to the general clamor, and to wear ”creations” in the now absolutely essential ”octet speciality” [a reference to Leslie Stuart’s song, ‘Tell Me Pretty Maiden‘ from Florodora (1899]. Pineapple meets in China his nephew, Tom Hatherton, who is there for the purpose of falling in love with Soo Soon, the Emperor’s niece, Fifi, a waitress in a hotel, is in love with Tom, but sacrifices herself to make that worthy young man happy. The Emperor has ordered his Lord Chancellor to find him a bride, one of the conditions being that the aspirant for that position shall not known the real rank of her fiance-to-be, but shall be allowed to think that he is a bill-poster. Various complications result through the peculiarities of the Chinese laws. Pineapple finds himself married to his niece-that-was-to-be and Hatherton’s intended bride becomes his aunt-in-law. It may readily be observed, therefore, that atmosphere is not entirely forgotten even to the extent of providing a Chinese puzzle in the disposing of the variously related persons.
‘Thomas Q. Seabrooke, who played ”Pineapple,” won favor for a song, ”Mr. Dooley” and Van Renssalear Wheeler was particularly favored for his number, ”I Love Her.” Edwin Stevens was successful as the emperor, as was Amelia Stone, the ”Soo Soo”.’
(The New York Times, New York, Tuesday, 3 June 1902, p. 9a)

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Katie Barry (whose real name appears to have been Catherine Patricia Rafferty or, possibly, Laverty), was a niece of the actor and playwright, George Conquest (1837-1901), sometime manager of the Grecian Theatre in the City Road, London. She is said to have been born in London about 1869 and her career began as a small child at the behest of her uncle. She subsequently had a very busy career, including a tour of Australia in the late 1888s, before going to the United States in 1902 to star as Fifi in A Chinese Honeymoon. Miss Barry remained in America, where she became very popular, both in musical comedy and in vaudeville. Her career appears to have ended upon her marriage in 1908 as the second wife of Julius Scharmann (1867?-1914), a widower with three children and a member of the well-known brewing firm of H.B. Scharmann & Sons of 355-375 Pulaski Street, Brooklyn, New York. Mr Scharmann committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver on 3 December 1914. It was said that he was grieving over the recent death of his closest friend, Ferdinand Schwanenfingel (various contemporary reports, including The Brooklyn Daily Eagle,, New York City, Thursday, 3 December 1914, p. 1c). It is assumed that Mrs Scharmann (Katie Barry) remained in the United States but her whereabouts following the death of her husband is as yet unknown.

Katie Barry’s recording (Columbia 1797, circa May 1904) of ‘I Want to Be a Lidy’ is included on the CD, Music from The New York Stage, 1890-1920, vol. I, Disc 2, no. 11.

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George Cooke as Barney O’Larrigan in a revival of the farce, An Object of Interest, Royal Olympic Theatre, London, 3 January 1859

April 12, 2014

George Cooke (1807-1863), English actor, as Barney O’Larrigan in a revival of J.H. Stocqueler‘s popular farce, An Object of Interest, at the Royal Olympic Theatre, London, on 3 January 1859. An Object of Interest was first performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 14 July 1845, and Cooke himself had already appeared in it on tour under James Rogers’s management in 1856.
(carte de visite photo: Camille Silvy, London, probably 1859)

George Boughey Cooke was born in Manchester on 7 March 1807. According to the Theatrical Times, he was ‘in every sense of the word, a consummate artist. Free from buffoonery or stage conventionality, his reading and manner is rich, racy, and humorous … [and] his voice is peculiarly pleasing.’ (London, Saturday, 23 September 1848, pp. 376-377). He was married in 1840 to Elizabeth Strutt (1803/04-1877), a music teacher and sister of the well-known tragedian Mr Stuart (Thomas Strutt, 1802/03-1878), who retired in 1855. Cooke died by his own hand on 5 March 1863 at his house, 51 Cambridge Street, Pimlico, London.

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‘SHREWSBURY. – Theatre Royal… . The season closed here on Friday last [19 December 1856] … The entertainments concluded with the farce of – An Object of Interest, in which Miss Burdett, as Fanny Gribbles, introducing mock tragedy, kept the audience in continual roars of laughter. Mr. Cooke, as Barney O’Larrigan, was also very successful. Mr. James Rogers, who was honoured with a crowded and fashionable attendance, addressed his patrons in a brief and eloquent manner, and was warmly received, all parties leaving the theatre well pleased with this gentleman’s respectable and honourable management.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 28 December 1856, p. 13b)

‘SUICIDE OF MR. GEORGE COOKE, THE COMEDIAN. – We regret to have to state that this much respected member of the theatrical profession died by his own hand, on Thursday morning. He had been suffering for some time from a drospical disease, the pain of which probably caused a fit of temporary insanity, and he cut his throat. He had long been an actor of old men at the Olympic theatre, which his genial natural acting made him a great favourite with the public. His impersonation of the old sailor in the drama of the Lighthouse, and many similar sketches of character will long be remembered by playgoers.’ (The Daily News, London, Saturday, 7 March 1863, p. 7d)

‘SUICIDE OF MR. GEORGE COOKE, THE COMEDIAN. – We regret to have to state that this much respected member of the theatrical profession died by his own hand on Thursday morning. He had been suffering for some time form dropsical disease, the pain of which probably caused a fit of temporary insanity, and he cut his throat. He had long been an actor of old men at the Olympic Theatre, where his genial natural acting made him a great favourite with the public.’
(The Standard, London, Saturday, 7 March 1863, p. 6d)

‘Death of Mr. George Cooke.
‘A painful sensation on Thursday morning was created in theatrical circles by the intelligence that Mr. George Cooke, the favourite comedian of the Olympic Theatre, had destroyed himself under the pressure of a fit of insanity, arising, as it is believed, from long-continued illness of a serious nature. As a genial actor Mr. George Cook had for the last fifteen years occupied a high position at the Strand and Olympic Theatres, and his death under the above deplorable circumstances will be deeply regretted both by the public and his professional brethren.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 8 March 1863, p. 11b)

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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.-

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Camille Dubois, with Lydia Thompson’s Troupe in the United States, 1871-1873

September 7, 2013

Camille Dubois (1851-1933), French-born English burlesque actress and singer, as she appeared with Lydia Thompson’s Troupe in the United States, 1871-1873
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, 1871-1873)

Camille Wilhelmina Henriette Reyloff, whose stage name was Camille Dubois, was born in France in 1851. She was one of the children of Edmond (sometimes Edward) Reyloff (1821-1889), who was born in Belgium, a successful pianist, composer and musical conductor, for some years at the Aquarium, Brighton, and his wife, Caroline (1825-1910), who was born in Saxe Coburg, a concert singer.

Camille Dubois is said to have begun her career in 1869 or 1870 and the earliest mention of her is in connection with her engagement in 1871 with Lydia Thompson in the United States. Her career flourished until the mid 1880s. By then she had married on 30 October 1877 the Hon. Wyndham Edward Campbell Stanhope (1851-1883), fourth son of the 7th Earl of Harrington. The marriage ended in divorce in May 1883 and she married again on 8 January 1884 Colonel Walter Adye (1858-1915), by whom she had two children. Camille Dubois died in London on 15 May 1933.

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Camille Dubois on tour in the United States with Lydia Thompson’s company, January 1872
‘MEMPHIS THEATER. – Lydia Thompson’s Troupe drew an immense house last night. The amusing extravaganza, Blue Beard, with ”Sister Anne” on the tower looking for some one to save poor ”Fatima,” was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. The song, ”His Heart was True to Poll,” by Miss Thompson, was finely and dramatically rendered. Her make-up, as the ”Shepherd Boy,” was pastoral in the extreme, and displayed to advantage that artistic taste for which the burlesque queen is justly celebrated. Miss Thompson’s characteristics are well known. She has a captivating face, a grace which cannot be excelled, a sympathetic voice which she uses cleverly, unfailing spirit, and an amount of self-reliance which a popularity seemingly on the increase almost justifies. Miss Camille Dubois produced a favourable impression by good looks, ease of manner, and real talent as a songstress. Miss Kate Egerton and Miss Carlotta Zerbini are equally au fait of their duties. These young ladies, with several of less note, fill the stage in as gratifying a manner as can be imagined. The influence of Miss Thompson’s company over a laughter-seeking assemblage lies, however, in the actors. Mr. Harry Beckett, who was the object of a tumultuous welcome, is as potent to elicit merriment as ever. Last night’s affair placed almost on a level with him, in the exercise of this power, Mr. Willie Edouin, a droll low comedian and a capital acrobat. To-night the charming spectacular drama entitled Lurline will be presented. This is said to be the most attractive play in the repertoire of the troupe.’
(Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Wednesday, 10 January 1872, p. 2d)

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‘Miss Marie de Grey has taken the place of Mdlle. Camille Dubois in Champagne [i.e. Champagne, A Question of Phiz] at the Strand. The last-named lady has recently been married to the Hon. Wyndham Stanhope.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 11 November 1877, p. 6a)

‘One of Lydia Thompson’s burlesque actresses, Camille Dubois, who journeyed all over America, dancing clog dances and singing nursery rhymes, has had the good fortune to win the affection of the Hon. Wyndham Stanhope, who has wedded her.’
(Dodge City Times, Dodge City, Kansas, Saturday, 29 December 1877, p. 2c)