Posts Tagged ‘The Belle of New York (musical play)’


Song sheet for ‘My Little Baby,’ sung by Dan Daly in The Belle of New York, first sung at the Casino Theatre, New York, 1897

August 17, 2014

song sheet cover for ‘My Little Baby’ as sung by Dan Daly in the role of Ichabod Bronson in the original production of The Belle of New York, which was produced at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 28 September 1897. The halftone photograph is of Mr Daly with Edna May as Violet Gray.
(photo: probably Byron, New York, 1897; song sheet published as the supplement to The New York Journal and Advertiser, New York, Sunday, 13 November 1898)

The first run of The Belle of New York closed at the Casino, New York, on 26 December 1897. The company then toured the United States before leaving for England and its engagement at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, where The Belle of New York, with its original American cast, opened on 12 April 1898. With various changes of cast and substitutions the piece ran successfully for 693 performances, closing on 30 December 1899.


Dorothy Doria in The Belle of New York, circa 1908

September 15, 2013

a postcard photograph of Dorothy Doria (fl. early 20th Century), English musical comedy actress and singer, probably as she appeared in 1908 on a tour of the United Kingdom as Fifi Fricot in The Belle of New York. Other members of the cast were Frank Lawton, Hebe Kneller, Winnie Browne and Florence Hersee.
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1908)

By 1910 Dorothy Doria was with James Watts, Hugh Bayly, Harry Harmer, Leslie Maurice, Cecil Cook, Elsie English and Kathleen Severn in The Grotesques, a group of entertainers managed by Chappell & Co Ltd. They appeared at the Savoy Theatre in the autumn of that year for 60 performances before heading off on tour.


Edna May in The Belle of New York

June 29, 2013

Edna May (1878-1948), American star of musical comedy, as she appeared as Violet Gray in The Belle of New York, which was first produced at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 28 September 1897 and then at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on 12 April 1898.
(cabinet photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1898; the photograph has been inscribed by Miss May to Reginald Edward Golding Bright (1874-1941), the English literary and dramatic agent.

A chat with Miss Edna May, ”THE BELLOF NEW YORK.”
‘PROSPERITY, through a fascinating Salvation [Army] lass, has come to the Shaftesbury Theatre. Crowded houses are nightly and at every matinée welcoming with rapture the gay American Company which has come, I hope, to stay. So delighted was I with my visit to this comfortable playhouse that I obtained an introduction to
Miss Edna May,
‘the sweet-voiced Belle herself, and found her as charming and as delightfully ingenuous as she appears before the footlights, where she takes all our hearts captive.
”’Perfectly lovely,” is Miss Edna May’s concise opinion of her reception. ”We were told before the curtain went up not to be disheartened if we did not get encores. Therefore the reception you gave us made a still more agreeable surprise. Indeed, your enthusiasm outrivalled even that of New York.”
”’So you are inclined to lie us here in London?”
”’Everything is Delightful.
”’I have not seen much as yet, but I mean to do so. I have been to see ‘The Geisha,’ and immensely admired dear little Maggie May’s voice; and last Sunday I lunched at Richmond, and then explored Hampton court. Your parks are splendid. But why do your women wear such long skirts when biking?
”’Do I Bike?
”’What a question! Yes, ever since I was twelve. I wouldn’t be without my Spalding wheel for anything.”
”’Is this your first appearance in a musical fantasia?”
”’Why, yes. I haven’t been on the boards more than eighteen months.”
”’Indeed! From where did you get your charming young voice, which for strength, timbre, register, and perfect harmony pleased me immensely?”
”’Well, I was born in Syracuse, New York State, but my schooling as a girl was acquired in New York, where I receive a general education, my musical instructor being Professor Walters; but I fear I gave most of my attention to fencing, which, although the most delightful exercise, is not particularly beneficial to the voice. But you must know that
”’I Never Studied for the Stage ”’in any way, my parents being of quite a different turn of mind. Nor have I sung before in public, excepting solos in church occasionally, at home, and in New York. However, a friend recommended me to go on the stage when I was barely seventeen – i.e. two years ago [sic] – when
”’I appeared in ‘Santa Maria
”’under Mr. Hammerstein at the Olympic Theatre in New York, and in the chief cities of the United States. Afterwards I played a small part with Mr. Hoyt, his wife being the star, in ‘A Contended Woman’; but seeing no prospect of getting on, I returned home rather discouraged.”
”’And then came your opportunity?”
”’The Character of Violet Gray
”’in ‘The Belle of New York.’ Isn’t it a sweet-sounding name?”
”’Your voice is so fresh and natural, and its register is very great; quite up to upper E I should say.”
”’Yes, that is the extent of my register. The music of ‘The Belle of New York’ scarcely does me credit, as it is written for a medium register. It is when I get on the higher notes that I feel most at home. The fact is
”’I Really Love to Sing.
”’I got the nickname of Adelina Patti at school, partly for that reason, and because my patronymic is very similar. Edna May, my stage name, being really Christian names only.”
”’Before I go I wonder if you would oblige me with a verse of that charming Salvation-lass song, which has haunted me ever since I heard it?”
‘Most obligingly Miss May sat down and sang the sweet, demurely expressed refrain, which has become the talk of London –
”’When I ask then to be good,
As all young men should be,
they only say they would
Be very good – to me.
Follow on, follow on,
Till the light of Faith you see
But they never proceed
To follow that light
But always follow – me.”’
(The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, London, Saturday, 30 April 1898, p. 276)


Edna May’s wedding party

February 6, 2013

Edna May (1878-1948), American musical comedy actress, star of The Belle of New York, is married

Mrs and Mrs Oscar Lewisohn on their wedding day with guests, Ascot, 4 June 1907
left to right, seated: Mrs Pettie (Mrs Lewisohn’s mother) and Gertie Millar
left to right, standing: unknown, Jane May (Mrs Lewisohn’s sister),
unknown, Pauline Chase, unknown, Edna Lewisohn (Edna May) and Oscar Lewisohn
(photo: Bassano, Ascot, near Windsor, Berkshire, 4 June 1907)

‘Exciting Chase by Motorcars to Registry Office at Windsor.
‘Miss Edna May, the Belle of New York, has adopted her last rôle – that of Mrs. Oscar Lewisohn, the Copper Queen.
‘The marriage of the popular actress to the son of an American millionaire took place at the office of the Windsor superintendent registrar. The anxiety of the bride and bridegroom to avoid a public ceremony occasioned some amusing incidents. Few people knew where the ceremony was to take place. A host of motor-cars accordingly lay in ambush outside the bride’s residence, Torwood, at Ascot.
‘The watchers were rewarded, for shortly after ten o’clock a motor-car, in which were the best man and Miss May’s sisters, came out of the grounds and sped swiftly away on the Windsor road. A few seconds late a big red car followed. Miss Edna May was immediately espied nestling among the cushions, and the powerful cars of those in waiting sprang forward in pursuit.
‘Miss May, who was accompanied by her mother and Mr. Lewisohn, was the first to discover the pursuit. Dismayed at first, she subsequently became vastly amused, and in the first stage of the run looked repeatedly out of the observation window with that same bewitching expression which drew shout after shout from delighted audiences when, as the Salvation Army girl, she sang ”Follow On.”
‘Nervous Bridegroom.
‘The bride was wearing a close-fitting dress of crêpe de Chine, heavily embroidered with white lace. Round her neck was a string of magnificent pearls, and her demure little face looked still more demure in the picturesque setting of a Romney picture hat.
‘Mr. Lewisohn’s nervousness was most apparent, especially when he took from his waistcoat pocket the golden ring to place on the finger of his bride. Miss May was calm, although tears glistened in her eyes.
‘Standing face to face with Miss May, Mr. Lewisohn made the usual declaration:
”’I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, Oscar Lewisohn, may not be joined in matrimony to Edna May Titus.”
‘The bride then made a similar vow, and Mr. Lewisohn followed with:
”’I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, Oscar Lewisohn, do take Edna May Titus to be my lawful wedded wife.”
‘Miss May pronounced similar words, and the ring was then placed on her finger. The register – wich was signed by the whole party -gave the following particulars:
”’Oscar Lewisohn, twenty-two years of age, son of Leonard Lewisohn, deceased. Address, Torwood, Ascot, Berks.
”’Edna May Titus, twenty-eight years of age, divorced wife of Frederick Titus, formerly Edna May Pettie, daughter of Edgar Cory Pettie. Address, 1, Cadogan-place, London, S.W.”

Edna May
Edna May
(photo: Lallie Charles Ltd, 67 Curzon Street, London, W, circa 1907)

‘Cheers greeted the bride and bridegroom as they emerged from the office, and on the steps Mrs. Lewisohn stopped to accept a small bouquet from Miss W. Jefferies, a girl of fifteen, well known in Windsor as a clever amateur actress.
‘Later a number of well-known theatrical people arrived at Ascot by special train from London, and participated in the wedding breakfast, which was laid out in a large marquee on the lawn. Meanwhile, congratulations poured in over the telegraph wire.
‘When the health of the bride and bridegroom were drunk, Mrs. Lewisohn said:
”’I am very, very happy. My husband is also, I am sure.”
‘The happy couple subsequently left for the Continent, where they will make a long honeymoon tour in a motor-car.’
(Weekly Dispatch, London, Sunday, 9 June 1907, p. 5e)


February 3, 2013

Helen Lord (d. 1911),
American musical comedy actress,
as she appeared as successor to Edna May as Violet Gray in The Belle of New York
(photo: C.J. Horner, Boston, USA, circa 1899)

This real photograph cigarette card in one of the series issued in England about 1900 with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes shows Helen Lord in one of the costumes for Violet Gray in which she succeeded Edna May, the originator of that part in The Belle of New York.

‘Wonder if Hugh Morton realized when he dashed off the book of The Belle of New York that he was creating therein a character which would bring prominence to everyone who played it? “Violet Gray,” the Salvation Army lassie, certainly takes first place among the light characters creations of the last dozen years. It is not because of its originality nor yet is it due to any remarkably meritorious music that “Violet” scores so heavily. It is the decided and pleasant contrast which the character offers to every other in the play, in all probability, that lends to it its peculiar charm. Edna May’s unparalleled career could only have been made possible by such a part. Helen Lord, her successor and a chorus girl, therefore, has become prominent since she essayed the character. Now the news comes from Australia that Louise Willis Hepner, the pretty but not overtalented blonde who used to play “Jack” in Jack and the Beanstalk, has aroused the greatest enthusiasm in the same character.
The Belle of New Yor, by the way, has made a success in Australia. In Melbourne they did not take so very kindly to it, but that was a guarantee that in Sydney, if it had the least merit, it would certainly meet with a fair share of success. It has “caught on” in the latter city beyond every expectation and the individual “hits” in the cast have been many. Belle Bucklin plays the little French candy girl, made popular by Phyllis Rankin. Oscar Girard wobbles [sic] not unpleasantly in “Dan” Daly’s shoes and other not widely known actors are spoken highly of.’
(The Herald, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 2 July 1899, p.10a)

In Gay Paree at the new York.
‘the management of the New York Theatre announces the last week of The Man in the Moon, Jr. In Gay Paree, with a new book by Edgar Smith, music by Ludwig Englander, and new costumes, will be put on Nov. 6 for two weeks. This move has been made by Mr. Lederer in order to open his new theatre, the Columbia, in Boston, with The Man in the Moon, Jr., which will be transferred there. The cast of In Gay Paree will include Joseph Ott, Ferris Hartman, Gilly Gregory, Billy Gould, William Cameron, Kitty Loftus, Helen Lord, Maude Young, and others. Fougere and a new travesty by George V. Hobart on Barbara Frietchie will be special features.’
(The New York Times, New York, Monday, 30 October 1899, p.7e)

Helen Lord
Helen Lord as Violet Gray in The Belle of New York
(photo: unknown, USA, circa 1900)

‘Helen Lord, who made an excellent impression in Edna May’s part in The Belle of New York, has decided to go into vaudeville, presenting a singing act.’
(The Sunday Herald, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 9 December 1900, p.18e)

‘Miss Helen Lord, who is now with Frank Daniels in Miss Simplicity will be starred in an opera company of her own next year.’
(The North Adams Transcript, North Adams, Massachusetts, Monday, November 1901, p.4d)

‘Helen Lord and Raymond Hubbell, composer of The Runaways, are to be married shortly.’
(The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Saturday, 4 July 1903, p.3b)

‘Composer’s Wife Passes Away.
‘Hornell, N.Y., Jan. 8 [1911] – – Helen Lord Hubbell, wife of Raymond Hubbell, the composer is dead here. Mrs. Hubbell as Helen Lord had a brilliant stage career a few years ago when she succeeded Edna May in The Belle of New York.’
(The Evening Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, Tuesday, 3 January 1911, p.5e)