Posts Tagged ‘Union Square Theatre (New York)’


Leona Lewis, ‘The Little Gem,’ New York, circa 1895

January 16, 2015

Leona Lewis (active 1884-1898), American soprano and vaudeville serio-comic singer, billed as ‘The Little Gem’
(photo: Schloss, New York, circa 1896; cigarette card issued with Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarettes, England, circa 1900)

London Theatre, New York, week beginning Monday, 18 April 1892
‘Manager John A. Flynn contemplated the two packed houses on Monday, April 18, drawn by his attraction, the London Gaiety Girls, with an expansive smile. The company is composed of very good burlesque and variety talent, giving a performance well calculated to please all. The opening sketch ”The Artist and the Model,” introduced Lida Gardner, May Smilox, Louise Llewellyn, Jessie May, Billy Arnold, Dan McAvoy and John Thompson. Then followed this olio: Mabel Hart, serio comic; Griff Williams, in a banjo act; Joe La Flower, in a good pyramid act; Lida Gardner, character changes; La Salle and Vedder, agile skirt and Spanish dancers; Leona Lewis, the pleasing little soubrette, with songs; McAvoy and May, in a funny sketch; the Mendoza sisters, in their trapeze act, and Walter P. Keen (late of Marion and Keen) in character songs. The burlesque, ”The Stolen Princess,” by the entire company, with fine scenery and costumes, concluded the jollification. Mr. Flynn has three weeks booked ahead, and will undoubtedly quit a winner. Next week, the Rentz-Stanley Co.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 23 April 1892, p. 102b)

‘MRS. GRIFF WILLIAMS (Leona Lewis) presented her husband with a girl baby Oct. 30 [1893]. Mr. Williams joined the Billy Plimmer show Nov. 6 for a two weeks’ engagement.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 11 November 1893, p. 576d)

‘Variety and Minstrelsy …
‘LEONA LEWIS will shortly appear at both of Mr. proctor’s houses in her repertory of new songs… .’
‘GRIFF WILLIAMS informs us that he was granted a divorce from Leona Lewis on March 25 [1896], at Boston, Mass.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 11 April 1896, p. 85e)

‘Was born in New York City in 1875, and began her stage career when nine years old, singing in German opera at the Oriental Theatre, this city. During the five following years she sang in a church choir, as leading soprano, and filled a number of engagements at concerts, singing operatic selections and high class sentimental ballads, her favorite songs at that time having been ”Farewell, Marguerite” and ”The Song that Reached My Heart.” Her first appearance upon the vaudeville stage occurred at the old National Theatre, about six years ago. She met with a very encouraging reception. She afterwards secured engagements whereby she appeared at the Windsor, the Union Square and the Fourteenth Street Theatres, in this city. At the age of sixteen she joined Flynn’s London Gaiety Girls, and played the principal soubrette roles with that organization for two years and a half. After that time she played dates for a while, one of her engagements, at the Lyceum Theatre, Boston, Mass., where she became a great favorite, continuing for eight weeks. In 1894 she joined ”The Colonel and I,” and remained with that company six months, playing the principal feminine roles. Following this engagement she was obliged to retired from the stage on account of illness, and did not sing for almost a year. With recovered health she began playing dates, and since that time she has filled highly successful engagements at Proctor’s houses, the Central Opera House, the various roof gardens, the London, Miner’s, and, in fact, many of the best vaudeville houses in and around this city. She is at present a member of the ”Zero” Co. She has had flattering offers to appear in farce comedy next season, but has decided to remain in the vaudeville field. Miss Lewis has been endowed by nature with an excellent voice and with other gifts that have been valuable aids to her success. She is petite and pretty, winsome in voice and manner, and, to crown all, is dainty and magnetic.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 24 October 1896, p. 533e, with engraved portrait)

‘LEONA LEWIS has proved a valuable addition to Joe Oppenheimer’s forces in ”Zero.” Her speciality is favorably commented on, and she has had several good offers from well known managers for next season. Miss Lewis has written the music to her new song, ”The Dainty Little Maiden,” which she is singing.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 28 November 1896, p. 616d)

‘Vaudeville and Minstrel.
‘LEONA LEWIS is advancing rapidly to the front in her singing specialty. She filled a successful return date at Hammerstein’s Olympia week of March 8 [1897]; is a feature at the Howard Athenæum, Boston, this week, and a ”head liner” at Gibbs’ Music Hall, Buffalo, this week. Her repertory of songs includes ”Little Willie Knows His Little Book,” ”Isn’t it Nice to be in Love,” ”Take Back Your Gold” and ”Mamie Reilly,” all of which she renders with admirable effect. A novel telegram sent by Manager Hill, of the Grand Opera House, Boston, to Monroe H. Rosenfeld, incidental to Miss Lewis’ engagement, reads as follows: ”She captured the ladies, also the men; a pronounced ‘hit’ was ‘The Little Gem.””
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 27 March 1897, p. 55c)

‘KOSTER & BIAL’S [New York]. – The roof garden at this resort was crowded Aug. 22 [1898] … Leona Lewis, a magnetic little comedienne, made her appearance and found herself among hosts of friends. She met with her usual big success.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 27 August 1898, p. 424c)


Bijou Heron

February 9, 2013

carte de visite photograph of
Bijou Heron (1862-1937),
American actress, daughter of Matilda Heron
(photo: Mora, New York, circa 1877)

Death of Matilda Heron, 7 March 1877
‘Matilda Heron, the celebrated actress, for a long time a resident of Philadelphia, where her family resided, died on the 7th instant, at her residence, in East Twenty-fifth street, New York, of weakness resulting from a surgical operation, performed for an insidious malady almost three weeks since, and general ill-heath superinduced by irregular habits. She was conscious up to a short time before her death, and conversed with a few of her friends. Miss Heron was born in Lubbyvale, Londonderry, Ireland, and came to the United States when very young. She became the pupil of Mr. Peter Richings, and made her first appearance on the stage February 17, 1851, at the Walnut Street Theatre, in Philadelphia, as Bianca, in Fazio; or, The Italian Wife. In 1858 she left for California, in company with George W. Lewis, her agent, who died on the passage, leaving her to arrive in San Francisco a total stranger. She, however, soon found friends, and on December 26th made her debut at the American Theatre, San Francisco, as Blanca, supported by Mr. Lewis Baker as Fazio. In 1854 she left California, and arriving in New York, commenced a starring tour though the country, which proved highly successful. In 1857 she was married to Robert Stoepel, leader of the orchestra at Wallack’s Theatre. She made her debut in London at the Lyceum Theatre in 1861 as Rosalie Lee in New Year’s Eve. She returned to this country, and afterwards separated from her husband. Her greatest stage role was Camille, a part which she almost created, and in which she achieved her greatest stage triumph. Up to a recent period Miss Heron was engaged in training pupils for the stage, in which she was quite successful. She leaves one daughter, ”Bijou” Heron, now playing at the Union Square Theatre, New York. Her age was about forty-eight.’
(Titusville Herald, Titusville, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, 14 March 1877, p. 1b)


Jessie Vokes dead, 1884

January 9, 2013

Jessie Vokes (1851-1884), Victoria Vokes (1853-1894)
and Rosina Vokes (1854-1894), English actresses and dancers
(photo: Mora, New York, circa 1880)

‘Miss Jessie Vokes, the actress, a member of the well-known Vokes family, died yesterday in London. She was educated to the stage from a tender age, and when only 4 years old appeared at the Surrey Theatre, where she played in children’s characters. In the early part of her career she played Mamillius in The Winter’s Tale; Prince Arthur in King John, and the Prince of Wales in Richard III. She attracted special notice first as one of the children in [Charles Reade and Tom Taylor’s comedy] Masks and Faces, dancing, with her sister, a jig, when old Benjamin Webster played Triplet at the London Standard Theatre. With her brothers and sisters, Fred and Fawdon and Victoria and Rosina, she began began her career as ”The Vokes Children,” which was afterward changed to ”The Vokes Family,” at the Operetta House in Edinburgh. Their success was pronounced and continuous. Their debut was made in London at the Lyceum Theatre on Dec. 26, 1868, in the pantomime of Humpty Dumpty, and they traveled through a great part of the civilized world. Jessie Vokes, the eldest of the sisters, was educated in the ”business” of the stage by Mr. Cheswick, and in dancing, in which she excelled, by Mr. Flexmore. The piece that most successfully carried an audience by storm was The Belles of the Kitchen, in which the ”family” made its debut in this country at the Union-Square Theatre on April 15, 1872. Jessie’s clever recitations and dancing were appreciated, but she was not so prominent in the cast as Victoria and Fred, who were especially happy in their rendering of the tower scene from Il Trovatore, or as Miss Rosina, who was regarded by the young men as the flower of the family.’
(The New York Times, New York, Friday, 8 August 1884, p. 5b)