Posts Tagged ‘The Orchid (musical comedy)’

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Gabrielle Ray

July 7, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

‘… To-day, in musical comedy it is the day of Mr Sydney Ellison [1870-1930, who in 1900 married Kate Cutler]. To hear a new number – a pretty tune, some smart lyrics, a pretty woman to sing and dance – and to see it on the night, and to mark the vast difference between the one and the other, is to see where the genius of the producer comes in. The newest sample of his work will be seen at the Gaiety on Wednesday, when ”The Orchid” will be brought up to date with new songs and dances.
‘Mr Ellison -small, alert, active, quiet, vivacious, restrained, and, above all, with a marvellous grasp of every tiny detail, from the set of a scene to the shoelace of a chorus girl – is a wonderful type of a modern institution… .
‘To appreciate his skill, one must know that he sings, dances, designs costumes, paints pictures, acts, and nothing is too smell or too trivial for him to lavish his care upon. He will invent a step for a dance, plan a mechanical change of scenery, or design a colour scheme with equal facility, and some of his finest effects come to him on the spur of the moment.
‘He taught a Parisian company the cake-walk when he went over to produce ”Florodora,” and he produced ”Veronique” for Mr George Edwardes [at the Apollo, 18 May 1904], and he worked out the decorative embellishments of ”The Orchid” when the new Gaiety stage was literally in the hands of the builders, carrying the thing through to a triumphant and gorgeous success on a ”first night” [26 October 1903] that will long be remembered by all those who were privileged to be present… .
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, slim and graceful, tucks up her long silk walking skirt, takes off her big black hat, pats the wayward mass of shimmering hair, and sings her new song, the ”Promenade des Anglais,” that is going into the Carnival scene. Her voice is barely audible beyond the tall bracket with the lights, under which Mr Ellison stands and directs; but every action, every look even, is as it will be on the night. The verse ended, the chorus is given with a swing and a go quite irresistible even at twelve o’clock on a damp drizzly morning. Then Miss Ray dances.
‘Suddenly a brilliant idea strikes Mr. Ellison. She must do a complete turnover as a startling exit. Miss Ray, quick to respond to originality, sees it in an instant. With two of the chorus ladies as a sort of fulcrum, Miss Ray turns over, laughing the while, a swish of the skirts, and she alights on the dainty tips of her dainty toes. ”Excellent!” says Mr. Ellison. ”Oh! it’s really quite easy,” laughs Miss Gabrielle Ray. But those who know will tell you that the acrobatic feat, so neatly and withal so gracefully accomplished, involves thought and agility to bring it about.’
(Wakeling Dry, ‘Making Musical Comedy,’ from the Daily Express, London, reprinted in the The Wanganui Chronicle, Wanganui, New Zealand, 25 January 1905, p. 5g)

‘Concerning Gabrielle Ray, it may be of interest to note that here is a prime West End favorite who has won a foremost place in her particular section with no special gifts beyond those of comeliness and that indefinable quality of attractiveness which her countless admirers express in the phrase of ”awfully sweet.”
‘Wins By Sheer Magnetism.
‘Even among the easily-pleased patrons of musical comedy the girls who are singled out for distinction have to make good either as singers, dancers or comedians but the case of Gabrielle Ray is an exception. Accomplishing nothing with special ability, she still has contrived by sheer magnetism of the prime favorites of the hallowed precincts of Daly’s and the immediate neighborhood. Ask an ardent admirer just why he goes to see her and he answers, ”Oh, she’s quite charming,” and you have to let it go at that… . As a picture postcard subject she is an easy winner from all rivals.’
(The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Sunday, 19 March 1911, p. 21c/d)

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Gabrielle Ray, English musical comedy dancer and actress

July 7, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

‘… To-day, in musical comedy it is the day of Mr Sydney Ellison [1870-1930, who in 1900 married Kate Cutler]. To hear a new number – a pretty tune, some smart lyrics, a pretty woman to sing and dance – and to see it on the night, and to mark the vast difference between the one and the other, is to see where the genius of the producer comes in. The newest sample of his work will be seen at the Gaiety on Wednesday, when ”The Orchid” will be brought up to date with new songs and dances.
‘Mr Ellison -small, alert, active, quiet, vivacious, restrained, and, above all, with a marvellous grasp of every tiny detail, from the set of a scene to the shoelace of a chorus girl – is a wonderful type of a modern institution… .
‘To appreciate his skill, one must know that he sings, dances, designs costumes, paints pictures, acts, and nothing is too smell or too trivial for him to lavish his care upon. He will invent a step for a dance, plan a mechanical change of scenery, or design a colour scheme with equal facility, and some of his finest effects come to him on the spur of the moment.
‘He taught a Parisian company the cake-walk when he went over to produce ”Florodora,” and he produced ”Veronique” for Mr George Edwardes [at the Apollo, 18 May 1904], and he worked out the decorative embellishments of ”The Orchid” when the new Gaiety stage was literally in the hands of the builders, carrying the thing through to a triumphant and gorgeous success on a ”first night” [26 October 1903] that will long be remembered by all those who were privileged to be present… .
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, slim and graceful, tucks up her long silk walking skirt, takes off her big black hat, pats the wayward mass of shimmering hair, and sings her new song, the ”Promenade des Anglais,” that is going into the Carnival scene. Her voice is barely audible beyond the tall bracket with the lights, under which Mr Ellison stands and directs; but every action, every look even, is as it will be on the night. The verse ended, the chorus is given with a swing and a go quite irresistible even at twelve o’clock on a damp drizzly morning. Then Miss Ray dances.
‘Suddenly a brilliant idea strikes Mr. Ellison. She must do a complete turnover as a startling exit. Miss Ray, quick to respond to originality, sees it in an instant. With two of the chorus ladies as a sort of fulcrum, Miss Ray turns over, laughing the while, a swish of the skirts, and she alights on the dainty tips of her dainty toes. ”Excellent!” says Mr. Ellison. ”Oh! it’s really quite easy,” laughs Miss Gabrielle Ray. But those who know will tell you that the acrobatic feat, so neatly and withal so gracefully accomplished, involves thought and agility to bring it about.’
(Wakeling Dry, ‘Making Musical Comedy,’ from the Daily Express, London, reprinted in the The Wanganui Chronicle, Wanganui, New Zealand, 25 January 1905, p. 5g)

‘Concerning Gabrielle Ray, it may be of interest to note that here is a prime West End favorite who has won a foremost place in her particular section with no special gifts beyond those of comeliness and that indefinable quality of attractiveness which her countless admirers express in the phrase of ”awfully sweet.”
‘Wins By Sheer Magnetism.
‘Even among the easily-pleased patrons of musical comedy the girls who are singled out for distinction have to make good either as singers, dancers or comedians but the case of Gabrielle Ray is an exception. Accomplishing nothing with special ability, she still has contrived by sheer magnetism of the prime favorites of the hallowed precincts of Daly’s and the immediate neighborhood. Ask an ardent admirer just why he goes to see her and he answers, ”Oh, she’s quite charming,” and you have to let it go at that… . As a picture postcard subject she is an easy winner from all rivals.’
(The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Sunday, 19 March 1911, p. 21c/d)

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July 7, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

’… To-day, in musical comedy it is the day of Mr Sydney Ellison [1870-1930, who in 1900 married Kate Cutler]. To hear a new number – a pretty tune, some smart lyrics, a pretty woman to sing and dance – and to see it on the night, and to mark the vast difference between the one and the other, is to see where the genius of the producer comes in. The newest sample of his work will be seen at the Gaiety on Wednesday, when “The Orchid” will be brought up to date with new songs and dances.
‘Mr Ellison -small, alert, active, quiet, vivacious, restrained, and, above all, with a marvellous grasp of every tiny detail, from the set of a scene to the shoelace of a chorus girl – is a wonderful type of a modern institution… .
‘To appreciate his skill, one must know that he sings, dances, designs costumes, paints pictures, acts, and nothing is too smell or too trivial for him to lavish his care upon. He will invent a step for a dance, plan a mechanical change of scenery, or design a colour scheme with equal facility, and some of his finest effects come to him on the spur of the moment.
‘He taught a Parisian company the cake-walk when he went over to produce “Florodora,” and he produced “Veronique” for Mr George Edwardes [at the Apollo, 18 May 1904], and he worked out the decorative embellishments of “The Orchid” when the new Gaiety stage was literally in the hands of the builders, carrying the thing through to a triumphant and gorgeous success on a “first night” [26 October 1903] that will long be remembered by all those who were privileged to be present… .
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, slim and graceful, tucks up her long silk walking skirt, takes off her big black hat, pats the wayward mass of shimmering hair, and sings her new song, the “Promenade des Anglais,” that is going into the Carnival scene. Her voice is barely audible beyond the tall bracket with the lights, under which Mr Ellison stands and directs; but every action, every look even, is as it will be on the night. The verse ended, the chorus is given with a swing and a go quite irresistible even at twelve o’clock on a damp drizzly morning. Then Miss Ray dances.
‘Suddenly a brilliant idea strikes Mr. Ellison. She must do a complete turnover as a startling exit. Miss Ray, quick to respond to originality, sees it in an instant. With two of the chorus ladies as a sort of fulcrum, Miss Ray turns over, laughing the while, a swish of the skirts, and she alights on the dainty tips of her dainty toes. “Excellent!” says Mr. Ellison. “Oh! it’s really quite easy,” laughs Miss Gabrielle Ray. But those who know will tell you that the acrobatic feat, so neatly and withal so gracefully accomplished, involves thought and agility to bring it about.’
(Wakeling Dry, ‘Making Musical Comedy,’ from the Daily Express, London, reprinted in the The Wanganui Chronicle, Wanganui, New Zealand, 25 January 1905, p. 5g)

‘Concerning Gabrielle Ray, it may be of interest to note that here is a prime West End favorite who has won a foremost place in her particular section with no special gifts beyond those of comeliness and that indefinable quality of attractiveness which her countless admirers express in the phrase of “awfully sweet.”
‘Wins By Sheer Magnetism.
‘Even among the easily-pleased patrons of musical comedy the girls who are singled out for distinction have to make good either as singers, dancers or comedians but the case of Gabrielle Ray is an exception. Accomplishing nothing with special ability, she still has contrived by sheer magnetism of the prime favorites of the hallowed precincts of Daly’s and the immediate neighborhood. Ask an ardent admirer just why he goes to see her and he answers, “Oh, she’s quite charming,” and you have to let it go at that… . As a picture postcard subject she is an easy winner from all rivals.’
(The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Sunday, 19 March 1911, p. 21c/d)

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Gabrielle Ray to be married, 1912

June 18, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

‘POPULAR DANCER.
‘MISS GABRIELLE RAY TO MARRY.
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, whose dainty dancing and fascinating manner have made her one of the most popular of musical comedy actresses, has become engaged to Mr Eric Loder, a young member of [one] of the most distinguished families in England (says ”Lloyd’s News” of January 14 [1912]).
‘He is wealthy, aged 23, younger son of the late Mr Alfred Loder, grandson of the late Sir Robert Loder, first baronet, and younger brother of Mr Basil Loder, who four years ago resigned his commission of the Scots Guards, and married Miss Barbara Deane, one of the most charming singers in Mr Seymour Hicks’s ”Gay Gordons” company.
‘No date has yet been fixed for the marriage. Both are now spending a holiday in Paris, and Mr Loder has been to see several plays with Miss Ray.
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, who was described in the ”Temps” the other day as the prettiest actress on the English stage, and the most beautiful woman in England, is 26. She first appeared on the boards as a child of 10 at the old Princess’s Theatre. Subsequently she played other child parts, including Cupid in ”Little Red Riding Hood” at Richmond. Her chance came [in a touring production of ] ”The Belle of New York,” which [first] took London by storm in [1898] at the Shaftesbury Theatre when that house had come to be regarded as an unlucky one.
‘She played Mamie Clancy, and doubtless much of her insouciant but captivating ways which are now characteristic of her developed as she played in ”The Belle” on tour during two years. She was Miss Gertie Millar’s understudy in ”The Toreador” during its long run at the Gaiety, and after going to ”The Girl from Kay’s,” returned to the Gaiety in ”The Orchid.” ‘After that she was a leading feature of most of Mr Geo. Edwardes’s subsequent successes, notably, in the scene from Maxim’s in [the first London production of] ”The Merry Widow.” In the last Gaiety production, ”Peggy,” she was one of the trio of beauties. [The others were Phyllis Dare and Olive May]
‘She is now the picture postcard favorite and has already surpassed the vogue formerly enjoyed by Marie Studholme and Edna May. One photograph company has taken her in no less than a thousand poses, and over 10,000 copies have been sold of her dressed as Millais’s ”Bubbles,” a picture to which her child’s face was singularly adapted.’
(West Gippsland Gazette, Warragul, Victoria, Australia, Tuesday, 30 April 1912, p. 3d)

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Gabrielle Ray, ‘whose dainty dancing and fascinating manner have made her one of the most popular of musical comedy actresses,’ 1912

June 18, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

‘POPULAR DANCER.
‘MISS GABRIELLE RAY TO MARRY.
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, whose dainty dancing and fascinating manner have made her one of the most popular of musical comedy actresses, has become engaged to Mr Eric Loder, a young member of [one] of the most distinguished families in England (says ”Lloyd’s News” of January 14 [1912]).
‘He is wealthy, aged 23, younger son of the late Mr Alfred Loder, grandson of the late Sir Robert Loder, first baronet, and younger brother of Mr Basil Loder, who four years ago resigned his commission of the Scots Guards, and married Miss Barbara Deane, one of the most charming singers in Mr Seymour Hicks’s ”Gay Gordons” company.
‘No date has yet been fixed for the marriage. Both are now spending a holiday in Paris, and Mr Loder has been to see several plays with Miss Ray.
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, who was described in the ”Temps” the other day as the prettiest actress on the English stage, and the most beautiful woman in England, is 26. She first appeared on the boards as a child of 10 at the old Princess’s Theatre. Subsequently she played other child parts, including Cupid in ”Little Red Riding Hood” at Richmond. Her chance came [in a touring production of ] ”The Belle of New York,” which [first] took London by storm in [1898] at the Shaftesbury Theatre when that house had come to be regarded as an unlucky one.
‘She played Mamie Clancy, and doubtless much of her insouciant but captivating ways which are now characteristic of her developed as she played in ”The Belle” on tour during two years. She was Miss Gertie Millar‘s understudy in ”The Toreador” during its long run at the Gaiety, and after going to ”The Girl from Kay’s,” returned to the Gaiety in ”The Orchid.” ‘After that she was a leading feature of most of Mr Geo. Edwardes‘s subsequent successes, notably, in the scene from Maxim’s in [the first London production of] ”The Merry Widow.” In the last Gaiety production, ”Peggy,” she was one of the trio of beauties. [The others were Phyllis Dare and Olive May]
‘She is now the picture postcard favorite and has already surpassed the vogue formerly enjoyed by Marie Studholme and Edna May. One photograph company has taken her in no less than a thousand poses, and over 10,000 copies have been sold of her dressed as Millais’s ”Bubbles,” a picture to which her child’s face was singularly adapted.’
(West Gippsland Gazette, Warragul, Victoria, Australia, Tuesday, 30 April 1912, p. 3d)

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June 18, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (née Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1909)

‘POPULAR DANCER.
‘MISS GABRIELLE RAY TO MARRY.
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, whose dainty dancing and fascinating manner have made her one of the most popular of musical comedy actresses, has become engaged to Mr Eric Loder, a young member of [one] of the most distinguished families in England (says “Lloyd’s News” of January 14 [1912]).
‘He is wealthy, aged 23, younger son of the late Mr Alfred Loder, grandson of the late Sir Robert Loder, first baronet, and younger brother of Mr Basil Loder, who four years ago resigned his commission of the Scots Guards, and married Miss Barbara Deane, one of the most charming singers in Mr Seymour Hicks’s “Gay Gordons” company.
‘No date has yet been fixed for the marriage. Both are now spending a holiday in Paris, and Mr Loder has been to see several plays with Miss Ray.
‘Miss Gabrielle Ray, who was described in the “Temps” the other day as the prettiest actress on the English stage, and the most beautiful woman in England, is 26. She first appeared on the boards as a child of 10 at the old Princess’s Theatre. Subsequently she played other child parts, including Cupid in “Little Red Riding Hood” at Richmond. Her chance came [in a touring production of ] “The Belle of New York,” which [first] took London by storm in [1898] at the Shaftesbury Theatre when that house had come to be regarded as an unlucky one.
‘She played Mamie Clancy, and doubtless much of her insouciant but captivating ways which are now characteristic of her developed as she played in “The Belle” on tour during two years. She was Miss Gertie Millar’s understudy in “The Toreador” during its long run at the Gaiety, and after going to “The Girl from Kay’s,” returned to the Gaiety in “The Orchid.” ‘After that she was a leading feature of most of Mr Geo. Edwardes’s subsequent successes, notably, in the scene from Maxim’s in [the first London production of] “The Merry Widow.” In the last Gaiety production, “Peggy,” she was one of the trio of beauties. [The others were Phyllis Dare and Olive May]
‘She is now the picture postcard favorite and has already surpassed the vogue formerly enjoyed by Marie Studholme and Edna May. One photograph company has taken her in no less than a thousand poses, and over 10,000 copies have been sold of her dressed as Millais’s “Bubbles,” a picture to which her child’s face was singularly adapted.’
(West Gippsland Gazette, Warragul, Victoria, Australia, Tuesday, 30 April 1912, p. 3d)

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Bessie Butt

April 16, 2013

Bessie Butt (fl. early 20th century), English dancer, actress and singer, as principal boy in Aladdin, pantomime, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Christmas 1909
(photo: Langfier, Glasgow, 1909)

‘Born in London within the sound of Bow Bells [the traditional description of a Cockney], Miss Bessie Butt commenced her stage career at a very early age by playing the child part in [Minnie Palmer’s popular vehicle] My Sweetheart. While still in her early ‘teens she toured through many European countries in company with her brothers – the Reed Family – and made quite a big reputation as a transformation dancer, being billed as “Baby Butt.” An unfortunate illness kept her from the stage for a long period, and her next appearance was under the management of Mr. John Tiller, who looked upon her as one of the most promising of his young recruits.
‘Having ambitions, Miss Butt decided on doing a single turn on the halls, and at once sprang into popularity wherever she appeared. The late Walter Summers saw her, and recommended her so highly to Mr Robert Arthur that she was engaged by him as second girl for the Kennington theatre pantomime of Red Riding Hood, and there she made her first great success in [singing] “Ma blushing Rosie.” The late Clement Scott [dramatist and theatre critic, 1841-1904] was so taken with this number that he went several times to hear it. Miss butt’s next appearance was [on tour] under the management of Mr. George Edwardes as Susan in The Toreador [originated by Violet Lloyd, Gaiety, London, 17 June 1901], and this was followed by Sophie in A Country Girl [originated by Ethel Irving, Daly’s, London, 18 January 1902] and Thisbe in The Orchid [originated by Gabrielle Ray, Gaiety, London, 26 October 1903]. After this she was for twelve months at the London Coliseum, where she created several parts, notably the Black Pearl in Mr. Leslie Stuart’s song specially written for Mr. Eugene Stratton, and produced at the Coliseum in 1905. She also appeared as a wonderfully life-like doll in Mr. Will Bishop’s [ballet] My Gollywog. This was in 1906.
‘A pantomime engagement as Cinderella at Cheltenham was followed by a return to the halls under the managements of Mr. Oswald Stoll, the late Mr. G.A. Payne, and others; and then Miss Butt was seen and secured by Mr. Lester Collingwood to play the title roole in his pantomime of Cinderella at the Alexandra, Birmingham, in 1907. The success was phenomenal, as the run of the pantomime was a record for the country. On that occasion also Miss Butt won the “Owl” cake and diamond ring in a local beauty competition. This year Miss Butt has discarded skirts and gone in for principal boy, and as Dandini at the Royal County Theatre, Kingston, she is undoubtedly the hit of a most successful [Cinderella] pantomime [; other members of the cast were Dorothy Grassdorf, Hilda Vining and Laurie Wylie]. During her short career she has introduced many popular songs, of which probably the most successful have been “Scarecrow,” “Amelia Snow,” “Cherries are blooming,” “Peggy, the pride of the Mill,” and “Sunshine Soo,” her latest effusion, which is likely to eclipse in popularity all the others.
Gifted with youth, beauty, a sweetly clear and distinct voice, a genius for dancing, and unlimited vivacity, there is no knowing to what heights this clever lady may aspire.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 30 January 1909, p.13c)

Bessie Butt

Bessie Butt
(photo: White, Bradford, circa 1908)