Posts Tagged ‘The Geisha (‘Japanese’ musical play)’

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Marguerite Naudin

August 29, 2013

Marguerite Naudin (1879?-), child prodigy, vocalist and actress, as she appeared as O Mimosa San in Frederick Mouillot’s principal touring company of The Geisha between 1901 and 1903.
(photo: unknown, probably London, circa 1901)

Marguerite Naudin, daughter of the French tenor, Emile Naudin (1823-1890), was a pupil of Isidore de Lara (1858-1935), the English song writer and vocalist. As a child she made a number of well-received concert appearances before embarking on a career in musical comedy and comic opera between about 1901 and 1907.

‘At Mr. De Lara’s concert on May 16 [1888] – the first given by him in London since his return from an eight months’ sojourn on the Continent – an interested début took place, that of little Marguerite Naudin, a child only nine years old, and daughter of the famous French tenor. This tiny girl, whose voice is peculiarly sweet and ”tender with tears,” sings perfectly in tune, with a justness of phrasing and passionate pathos that are simply marvellous in one so young. Whilst interpreting De Lara’s beautiful setting of Lord Lytton’s lines, ”If sorry have taught me anything,” she touched her audience to the very heart’s core; and yet, what should this pretty child know about sorrow, or have learnt from it? She has certainly been taught to mimic passion with such exactitude that he imitation may readily pass for the genuine article. Her rendering, too, of Tosti’s ”Pepita” was inimitably sympathetic and interesting. The Cavaliere Paolo himself could not have ”spoken” the charming song more effectively.’
(‘Our Musical-Box,’ The Theatre, London, 1 June 1888, p. 312)

‘At Miss Helen Townshend’s concert, besides the bénéficiaire, Isidor de Lara sang delightfully, and his Virgin Choir covered itself with chased glory. Little Marguerite Naudin also ”spoke” two songs most touchingly. I heard this gifted child again at De Lara’s second recital (June 4 [1888]), and was profoundly impressed by her imitative pathos. She is every whit as sympathetic as Pepi Hofmann, though quite in a different way. What voice she has is naturally veiled and tearful in quality, and there are tender little breaks in it that are ineffably touching.’
(‘Our Musical-Box,’ The Theatre, London, 2 July 1888, pp. 28 and 29)

Following her tour in The Geisha, 1901-1903, Marguerite Naudin again toured with Frederick Mouillot’s company as Chandra Nil in The Blue Moon in 1906 and 1907.

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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.

THE ”BELLE OF NEW YORK” IN LONDON.
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)

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Marie Tempest

May 9, 2013

Marie Tempest (1864-1942), English actress and vocalist, as O Mimosa San in The Geisha: A Story of a Teahouse, Daly’s, London, 25 April 1896.
(photo: Alfred Ellis, London, 1896)

500th performance of The Geisha, Daly’s Theatre, London, September 1897
’ By the way, the 500th performance of The Geisha, at Daly’s Theatre, last week – albeit there was no distribution of souvenirs, and Mr. George Edwardes refrained from making one of his characteristic speeches – was memorable if only by reason of the stirring ovation accorded by the overflowing audience to each of the prominent members of the cast now happily returned from well-deserved holidays. Miss Tempest, who resumed her part after a short visit to Aix-les-Bains, received a welcome on her home-coming which visibly affected her. Later on in the play, when Miss Letty Lind tripped across the bridge with her ‘riskha, there was another burst of applause, which prevented her from beginning her dialogue for some moments. For the rest the popular enthusiasm was pretty evenly distributed among Mr. Hayden Coffin, Mr. Huntley Wright, and Mr. Rutland Barrington. At the close a galleryite summed up the situation in a terse sentence which nobody seemed inclined to dispute, “Good old George [Edwardes] always gives us good value!” Amongst the artists who are still filling their original parts in The Geisha at Daly’s is Miss Mary Collette, the original O Kamurasaki San.’
(The Bristol Times and Mirror, Bristol, Tuesday, 14 September 1897, p.3g)

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February 3, 2013

Thelma Raye (née Thelma Victoria Maud Bell-Morton, 1890-1966)
English musical comedy actress,
in costume as O Kiku San
in the revival of The Geisha, Daly’s Theatre, London, 18 June 1906.
The front-of-house frame encloses
photographs of Miss Raye by the Dover Street Studios
as she appeared in The Little Michus.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1906)

Auburn haired Thelma Raye was born on 6 September 1890 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nothing is known at present of her early life and training as an actress and singer in musical comedy, and the first we hear of her is in The Little Michus (Daly’s, London, 29 April 1905), playing Marie Blanche in succession to Mabel Green and Denise Orme, and Ernestine in succession to Nina Sevening, Bertha Callan, Iris Hoey, Mabel Russell and Marie Löhr. Remaining with the same management for the next two years she was next seen in the revival of The Geisha (Daly’s, 18 June 1906) as O Kiku San, before playing in Les Merveilleuses (Daly’s, 27 October 1906) as Illyrine in succession to Denise Orme, and in The Girls of Gottenberg (Gaiety, 15 May 1907) as Elsa in succession to May de Sousa and Enid Leonhardt.

Thelma Raye’s next engagement was to play Helene in the American production of the popular English musical, The Dairymaids (Criterion, New York, 26 August 1907, 86 performances). Returning to England she was re-engaged by George Edwardes for the part of Elsa in a touring company of The Girls of Gottenberg, beginning with a short stay at the Adelphi Theatre, London (10 August 1908, 12 performances). She was next seen in a tour of The Pigeon House, first produced at the New Theatre, Cardiff, on 27 June 1910; during the run her part of Léontine de Merval was later played by Iris Hoey and Dorothy Moulton. Miss Raye was afterwards engaged to play Mariana in Bonita (Queen’s, London, 23 September 1911, 42 performances), Honorka in The Grass Widows (Apollo, London, 7 September 1912, 50 performances), and Fifi du Barry (in which part she was succeeded by Marie Blanche) in The Joy-Ride Lady (New, London, 21 February 1914, 105 performances).

Thelma Raye
Thelma Raye as Fifi du Barry in
The Joy-Ride Lady, New Theatre, London, 21 February 1914.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1914)

On 21 Marcy 1917, now aged 26, Thelma Raye was married to Percy Stewart Dawson (1888-1947), an Australian and member of the Steward Dawson family of jewellers and silversmiths of Sydney & London. The couple had already had a daughter, Dawn, who was born at Bournemouth in England on 1 April 1913. The marriage foundered, however, and in March 1918 Miss Raye returned to London. During 1919 she was on a UK tour as the lead in Cosmo Hamilton’s play, Scandal. It was at about this time that she met the actor Ronald Colman (1891-1958); they were married at on 18 September 1920. Frustrated by his inability to make headway with his career, Colman left England for New York less than a month later followed by his wife in February 1921.

Later recalling that this was the most difficult period in his career, Colman was lucky enough to be chosen to appear in Henri Bataille’s drama, La Tendresse, starring Ruth Chatterton (Empire, New York, 25 September 1922). This led to his being cast as leading man to Lillian Gish in the 1923 Hollywood film, The White Sister, in which Thelma was allocated a tiny part. Such was the success of this venture, at least as far as Colman was concerned, that he was awarded a contract by Samuel Goldwyn and during the next eighteen months he appeared in several other films, two of which respectively starred May McAvoy and Constance Talmadge. In 1924 Colman was seen again with Lillian Gish, in a film version of George Eliot’s novel, Romola, in which Thelma Raye was given an uncredited bit part.

There is little doubt that Colman’s steeply rising success as a Hollywood star soon put an intolerable strain on his marriage. The couple publicly acknowledged a breakdown in their relationship by early 1926 and although separated they did not formally split for another eight years. As one writer has put it, ‘Raye loomed in the background and would periodically appear – often demanding more money in proportion to her husband’s increasing financial success. A divorce was finally arranged after Raye was offered a hefty financial settlement and the parasitic relationship finally came to an end.’ This view was endorsed in the biography, Ronald Colman: A Very Private Person (William Morrow & Co Inc, 1975) by Juliet Benita Colman (b.1944), Colman’s daughter by his second marriage to the English actress Benita Hume. Miss Colman’s opinion of her father’s first wife was that she had ‘a jealous and vindictive nature.’

Of Thelma Raye very little else is heard. In the summer of 1938 it was rumoured that she was to return to the stage in a play, A Garden of Weeds by Ronald Gerard, which was to tour in the United States before a New York opening, but nothing seems to have come of this or any other theatrical project. Then in early in 1939, describing herself as ‘the Original Mrs. Ronald Colman,’ Thelma Raye was reported to have opened a small sports/novelty shop at Laguna Beach, California. She settled in New South Wales, Australia, about 1943 and died at Port Macquarie on 29 June 1966.

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February 3, 2013

Thelma Raye (née Thelma Victoria Maud Bell-Morton, 1890-1966)
English musical comedy actress,
in costume as O Kiku San
in the revival of The Geisha, Daly’s Theatre, London, 18 June 1906.
The front-of-house frame encloses
photographs of Miss Raye by the Dover Street Studios
as she appeared in The Little Michus.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1906)

Auburn haired Thelma Raye was born on 6 September 1890 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nothing is known at present of her early life and training as an actress and singer in musical comedy, and the first we hear of her is in The Little Michus (Daly’s, London, 29 April 1905), playing Marie Blanche in succession to Mabel Green and Denise Orme, and Ernestine in succession to Nina Sevening, Bertha Callan, Iris Hoey, Mabel Russell and Marie Löhr. Remaining with the same management for the next two years she was next seen in the revival of The Geisha (Daly’s, 18 June 1906) as O Kiku San, before playing in Les Merveilleuses (Daly’s, 27 October 1906) as Illyrine in succession to Denise Orme, and in The Girls of Gottenberg (Gaiety, 15 May 1907) as Elsa in succession to May de Sousa and Enid Leonhardt.

Thelma Raye’s next engagement was to play Helene in the American production of the popular English musical, The Dairymaids (Criterion, New York, 26 August 1907, 86 performances). Returning to England she was re-engaged by George Edwardes for the part of Elsa in a touring company of The Girls of Gottenberg, beginning with a short stay at the Adelphi Theatre, London (10 August 1908, 12 performances). She was next seen in a tour of The Pigeon House, first produced at the New Theatre, Cardiff, on 27 June 1910; during the run her part of Léontine de Merval was later played by Iris Hoey and Dorothy Moulton. Miss Raye was afterwards engaged to play Mariana in Bonita (Queen’s, London, 23 September 1911, 42 performances), Honorka in The Grass Widows (Apollo, London, 7 September 1912, 50 performances), and Fifi du Barry (in which part she was succeeded by Marie Blanche) in The Joy-Ride Lady (New, London, 21 February 1914, 105 performances).

Thelma Raye
Thelma Raye as Fifi du Barry in
The Joy-Ride Lady, New Theatre, London, 21 February 1914.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1914)

On 21 Marcy 1917, now aged 26, Thelma Raye was married to Percy Stewart Dawson (1888-1947), an Australian and member of the Steward Dawson family of jewellers and silversmiths of Sydney & London. The couple had already had a daughter, Dawn, who was born at Bournemouth in England on 1 April 1913. The marriage foundered, however, and in March 1918 Miss Raye returned to London. During 1919 she was on a UK tour as the lead in Cosmo Hamilton’s play, Scandal. It was at about this time that she met the actor Ronald Colman (1891-1958); they were married at on 18 September 1920. Frustrated by his inability to make headway with his career, Colman left England for New York less than a month later followed by his wife in February 1921.

Later recalling that this was the most difficult period in his career, Colman was lucky enough to be chosen to appear in Henri Bataille’s drama, La Tendresse, starring Ruth Chatterton (Empire, New York, 25 September 1922). This led to his being cast as leading man to Lillian Gish in the 1923 Hollywood film, The White Sister, in which Thelma was allocated a tiny part. Such was the success of this venture, at least as far as Colman was concerned, that he was awarded a contract by Samuel Goldwyn and during the next eighteen months he appeared in several other films, two of which respectively starred May McAvoy and Constance Talmadge. In 1924 Colman was seen again with Lillian Gish, in a film version of George Eliot’s novel, Romola, in which Thelma Raye was given an uncredited bit part.

There is little doubt that Colman’s steeply rising success as a Hollywood star soon put an intolerable strain on his marriage. The couple publicly acknowledged a breakdown in their relationship by early 1926 and although separated they did not formally split for another eight years. As one writer has put it, ‘Raye loomed in the background and would periodically appear – often demanding more money in proportion to her husband’s increasing financial success. A divorce was finally arranged after Raye was offered a hefty financial settlement and the parasitic relationship finally came to an end.’ This view was endorsed in the biography, Ronald Colman: A Very Private Person (William Morrow & Co Inc, 1975) by Juliet Benita Colman (b.1944), Colman’s daughter by his second marriage to the English actress Benita Hume. Miss Colman’s opinion of her father’s first wife was that she had ‘a jealous and vindictive nature.’

Of Thelma Raye very little else is heard. In the summer of 1938 it was rumoured that she was to return to the stage in a play, A Garden of Weeds by Ronald Gerard, which was to tour in the United States before a New York opening, but nothing seems to have come of this or any other theatrical project. Then in early in 1939, describing herself as ‘the Original Mrs. Ronald Colman,’ Thelma Raye was reported to have opened a small sports/novelty shop at Laguna Beach, California. She settled in New South Wales, Australia, about 1943 and died at Port Macquarie on 29 June 1966.

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February 3, 2013

Thelma Raye (née Thelma Victoria Maud Bell-Morton, 1890-1966)
English musical comedy actress,
in costume as O Kiku San
in the revival of The Geisha, Daly’s Theatre, London, 18 June 1906.
The front-of-house frame encloses
photographs of Miss Raye by the Dover Street Studios
as she appeared in The Little Michus.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1906)

Auburn haired Thelma Raye was born on 6 September 1890 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nothing is known at present of her early life and training as an actress and singer in musical comedy, and the first we hear of her is in The Little Michus (Daly’s, London, 29 April 1905), playing Marie Blanche in succession to Mabel Green and Denise Orme, and Ernestine in succession to Nina Sevening, Bertha Callan, Iris Hoey, Mabel Russell and Marie Löhr. Remaining with the same management for the next two years she was next seen in the revival of The Geisha (Daly’s, 18 June 1906) as O Kiku San, before playing in Les Merveilleuses (Daly’s, 27 October 1906) as Illyrine in succession to Denise Orme, and in The Girls of Gottenberg (Gaiety, 15 May 1907) as Elsa in succession to May de Sousa and Enid Leonhardt.

Thelma Raye’s next engagement was to play Helene in the American production of the popular English musical, The Dairymaids (Criterion, New York, 26 August 1907, 86 performances). Returning to England she was re-engaged by George Edwardes for the part of Elsa in a touring company of The Girls of Gottenberg, beginning with a short stay at the Adelphi Theatre, London (10 August 1908, 12 performances). She was next seen in a tour of The Pigeon House, first produced at the New Theatre, Cardiff, on 27 June 1910; during the run her part of Léontine de Merval was later played by Iris Hoey and Dorothy Moulton. Miss Raye was afterwards engaged to play Mariana in Bonita (Queen’s, London, 23 September 1911, 42 performances), Honorka in The Grass Widows (Apollo, London, 7 September 1912, 50 performances), and Fifi du Barry (in which part she was succeeded by Marie Blanche) in The Joy-Ride Lady (New, London, 21 February 1914, 105 performances).

Thelma Raye
Thelma Raye as Fifi du Barry in
The Joy-Ride Lady, New Theatre, London, 21 February 1914.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1914)

On 21 Marcy 1917, now aged 26, Thelma Raye was married to Percy Stewart Dawson (1888-1947), an Australian and member of the Steward Dawson family of jewellers and silversmiths of Sydney & London. The couple had already had a daughter, Dawn, who was born at Bournemouth in England on 1 April 1913. The marriage foundered, however, and in March 1918 Miss Raye returned to London. During 1919 she was on a UK tour as the lead in Cosmo Hamilton’s play, Scandal. It was at about this time that she met the actor Ronald Colman (1891-1958); they were married at on 18 September 1920. Frustrated by his inability to make headway with his career, Colman left England for New York less than a month later followed by his wife in February 1921.

Later recalling that this was the most difficult period in his career, Colman was lucky enough to be chosen to appear in Henri Bataille’s drama, La Tendresse, starring Ruth Chatterton (Empire, New York, 25 September 1922). This led to his being cast as leading man to Lillian Gish in the 1923 Hollywood film, The White Sister, in which Thelma was allocated a tiny part. Such was the success of this venture, at least as far as Colman was concerned, that he was awarded a contract by Samuel Goldwyn and during the next eighteen months he appeared in several other films, two of which respectively starred May McAvoy and Constance Talmadge. In 1924 Colman was seen again with Lillian Gish, in a film version of George Eliot’s novel, Romola, in which Thelma Raye was given an uncredited bit part.

There is little doubt that Colman’s steeply rising success as a Hollywood star soon put an intolerable strain on his marriage. The couple publicly acknowledged a breakdown in their relationship by early 1926 and although separated they did not formally split for another eight years. As one writer has put it, ‘Raye loomed in the background and would periodically appear – often demanding more money in proportion to her husband’s increasing financial success. A divorce was finally arranged after Raye was offered a hefty financial settlement and the parasitic relationship finally came to an end.’ This view was endorsed in the biography, Ronald Colman: A Very Private Person (William Morrow & Co Inc, 1975) by Juliet Benita Colman (b.1944), Colman’s daughter by his second marriage to the English actress Benita Hume. Miss Colman’s opinion of her father’s first wife was that she had ‘a jealous and vindictive nature.’

Of Thelma Raye very little else is heard. In the summer of 1938 it was rumoured that she was to return to the stage in a play, A Garden of Weeds by Ronald Gerard, which was to tour in the United States before a New York opening, but nothing seems to have come of this or any other theatrical project. Then in early in 1939, describing herself as ‘the Original Mrs. Ronald Colman,’ Thelma Raye was reported to have opened a small sports/novelty shop at Laguna Beach, California. She settled in New South Wales, Australia, about 1943 and died at Port Macquarie on 29 June 1966.

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February 2, 2013

Marie Studholme (1875-1930)
English musical comedy actress
and postcard beauty, in The Geisha
(photo: Langfier, Glasgow, late 1890s)

This real photograph postcard, a ‘Midget Post Card’ in the Rotary Photographic Co Ltd’s Rotary Photographic Series (no. 6865i), published about 1902 or 1903, shows Marie Studholme as she appeared in The Geisha, first produced at Daly’s Theatre, London, on 25 April 1896. This highly successful musical play by Owen Hall, with lyrics by Harry Greenbank and music by Sidney Jones, ran in London for 760 performances. Although Miss Studholme is said to have understudied Letty Lind as Molly Seamore in this production (The Green Room Book, 1909), the fact that this photograph was taken by Langfier in Glasgow suggests that she was in the cast of one of several touring versions of The Geisha that criss-crossed the United Kingdom during the late 1890s.

Marie Studholme was again seen as Molly Seamore in the revival of The Geisha at Daly’s, London, on 18 June 1906. The cast also included May de Sousa.