Posts Tagged ‘The Mousmé (musical play)’


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.


Sheila Hayes, London, 1915

September 12, 2013

Sheila Hayes (fl. early 20th Century), English actress
(photo: Rita Martin, London, 1915)

‘MISS SHEILA HAYES Another of the latest talented recruits to the film. Miss Sheila Hayes will be remembered as the beautiful Plum Blossom in that quaint and amusing Chinese play, The Yellow Jacket, which was produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre about two years ago. Miss Hayes has now gone abroad to study cinema acting.’
(The Sketch, London, Saturday, 15 December 1915, p. 333)

Although Sheila Hayes appeared in several London productions between 1911 and 1917, including the small part of Ko-Matsu in The Mousmé (Shaftesbury Theatre, 9 September 1911), it is for her playing Moy Fah Loy in The Yellow Jacket (Duke of York’s Theatre, 27 March 1913) that she is chiefly remembered. In spite of The Sketch‘s report (quoted above), no trace of her going abroad in 1915/1916 can be found. She did, however, go to America about 1919 where she appeared at the Garrick Theatre, New York, between August 1920 and April 1922 in the comedy, Enter Madame. Miss Hayes returned briefly to England before returning to America where in November 1922 she was in the cast of Charles Dillingham’s melodrama, Bull Dog Drummond at the National Theatre, Washington, with H.B. Warner in the lead. She remained in the United States until 1936, when she returned to England.