Posts Tagged ‘Wallack’s Theatre (New York)’


Sophie Eyre, Irish born actress, photographed by Sarony, New York, circa 1885

January 18, 2015

Sophie Eyre (1853?-1892), Irish born dramatic Actress
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1885)

‘The death is announced at Naples, Italy, Nov. 5 [1892], of Sophie Eyre, the well known leading lady. She had been sojourning in that city, and succumbed to an attack of heart disease. Six years ago, Sophie Eyre told THE CLIPPER the story of her life. She was born Sophia Lillian Ryan, at Tipperary, Ire., about 1857, and was the daughter of Maj. Ryan. At the age of seventeen she married Maj. Lonsdale, of the Seventh English Hussars, and went with her husband to India, where, at nineteen, she became a widow. Returning to England, she followed an inclination, which, in an amateur way, had manifested itself while she was quite young, and adopted the stage. Her first professional appearance was made at the Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, Eng., in a small part, and she remained at that house six months. Then she went on a provincial tour in ”Diplomacy,” playing Zicka. The following season she made another tour of the English provinces, doing the lead and playing at all the principal theatres of Great Britain outside of London. The Summer of that year she filled in with the stock at the Torquay Theatre. About May, 1882, she went to London and made her debut June 17 at a special matinee at the Adelphi Theatre as Queen Anne in the historical play, ”The Double Rose,” after which Aug. Harris, of the Drury Lane Theatre, engaged her to support Ristori at his house. Then she signed with the management of the Adelphi, and appeared Nov. 18, 1882, in ”Love and Money.” Later she acted in ”Rachel the Reaper,” after which she returned to the Drury Lane. On March 5, 1884, she created the title role in Sydney Hodges’ ”Gabrielle” at the Gaiety Theatre, London. A few weeks later Lester Wallack engaged her for this country, and she made her American debut June 23, 1884, at Utica, N.Y., with the Wallack Co. in the title role of ”Lady Clare.” She traveled through the West, and in California, about January of 1885, she married Chauncey R. Winslow [1860-1909], a resident of Cincinnati, O. Her New York debut was accomplished Oct. 26, 1885, in ”In His Power,” at Wallack’s. The play was a failure, and was immediately withdrawn. Then Miss Eyre went on the road by arrangement with Mr. Wallack, at the head of Charles Frohman’s Co., playing ”La Belle Russe.” Later Miss Eyre had trouble with Mr. Wallack, and withdrew from the theatre. She was in 1888 divorced from Mr. Winslow, and had since married again.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 12 November 1892, p. 573b/c, with engraved portrait)

* * * * *

‘Kyrle Bellew, Mr. Wallack’s latest imported leading man, is also an ex-Australian… . He has put Mr. Wallack in an unpleasant predicament. Miss Sophie Eyre was engaged for leading parts this season and Mr. Bellew absolutely refuses to play with her on the ground that she is too large and would spoil his appearance on the stage. So much for having a petted actor in a company… .’
(Newark Daily Advocate, Newark, Ohio, 11 December 1885, p. 3c)


Willie Edouin as ‘The Heathen Chinee,’ inspired by Bret Harte’s character, Ah Sin

June 10, 2014

Willie Edouin (1846-1908), English comic actor, as ‘The Heathen Chinee’ (based on Ah Sin, a character imagined by Bret Harte for a poem, first published in 1870) in Lydia Thompson‘s production of H.B. Farnie‘s burlesque, Blue Beard; or, the Mormon, the Maiden and The Little Militaire, first produced at Wallack’s Theatre, New York, 16 August 1871. After 30 performances the piece began a tour of the United States. Lydia Thompson’s production of Blue Beard, in which Willie Edouin appeared again as ‘The Heathen Chinee,’ was first seen in London at the Charing Cross Theatre on 19 September 1874. This pose shows Edouin stepping away from the playing cards which have just fallen out of his ‘Chinee’s’ long sleeve, as in Harte’s poem.
(carte de visite photo: Fradelle & Marshall, 230 & 246 regent Street, London, W, probably 1875)

Wallack’s Theatre, New York, Wednesday evening, 16 August 1871
‘MISS LYDIA THOMPSON and her new burlesque company commenced an engagement at Wallack’s Theatre on Wednesday evening, Aug. 16th, the house having been closed the two preceding evenings for rehearsals. Although the troupe had been announced to appear on Monday evening, the delay on the passage of the steamship Queen, which bore them to our shores and only arrived on Friday, the 11th inst., rendered it advisable that the opening should be postponed rather than risk a possibly imperfect performance, as the company had never, hitherto, acted together… . Willie Edouin created much hilarity by his grotesque acting of Corporal Zoug-Zoug. He walked with a gait which defies description, but which convulsed the audience with laughter. In the third scene he was introduced as a Heathen Chineee, which he personated in an excellent manner, singing a Chinese song, and performing a Chinese grotesque dance which met with great favor, being thrice re-demanded. He also, with [Harry] Beckett, presented in a realistic manner the celebrated game of euchre played by Ah Sin, as described by Bret Harte, which was rapturously received. His ping being made of India rubber became the vehicle of likewise creating much mirth… .’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 26 August 1871, p. 166b)

Memphis Theatre, Memphis, Monday, 8 January 1872
‘This temple of the Muses was packed from pit to dome last evening by an enthusiastic and fashionable audience, on the occasion of the initial performance of the famous Lydia Thompson blondes, in the extravaganza called Blue Beard. From the rise until the fall of the curtain the troupe kept the audience in a roar of laughter. By way of change, a charming solo, duet or quartette would be introduced, all of which were sung in an artistic and operatic manner. Miss Thompson has lost none of her old-time playful abandonment. Last night she skipped and pirouetted through the part of ”Selim” with airy grace and bewitching sweetness. Burlesque holds its position on the stage as an amuser of the people, and, while it may not aim to accomplish lofty ends, it is still a form of entertainment that is harmless, and, at the same time, fruitful of much innocent enjoyment. Of burlesque, Miss Thompson is now the recognized exponent, and deserves thanks fo the admirable manner in which she has pleased eye and ear in Blue Beard. Next in importance to Miss Thompson in the success of the troupe if Mr. Harry Becket, whose ”make up” and acting as the polygamous ”Blue Beard” presented the same rare appreciation of the broadly humorous which has always characterized his art labors. Willie Edouin, too, as ”Corporal Zoug Zoug” and the ”Heathen Chinee,” also came in for a large share of applause, and, indeed, the entire company appears to be one that will work harmoniously together and be the source of much entertainment to the theater-going public. Two points in Miss Thompson’s characterization were remarkable. One was her interpritation of the song, ”His Heart was True to his Poll,” which was full of an energetic humor for which we did not give her credit; the other was her personal appearance as the ”Shepherd boy,” wheein she looked as though was had strayed out of one of Virgil’s eclogues, with the bloom of the pastoral age upon her. Blue Beard will be presented again this evening.’
(The Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Tuesday, 9 January 1872, p. 2c-d)

Academy of Music, Charleston, Thursday, 4 April, 1872
‘A Crowded Audience and a Brilliant Initial Performance.
‘The beautiful burlesquers of Miss Lydia Thompson’s new troupe took simultaneous possession of the Academy of Music and the hearts of its crowded audience at their initial performance last evening. The merry travestie upon the doleful legend of Blue Beard was irresistibly comical, and, with its rollicking humor, its excruciating puns, and its accompaniments of charming dresses and lovely forms, it brought down the house. Miss Lydia Thompson was the jauntiest of sous-lieutenants; Miss Eliza Weathersby, the jauntiest of O’Shabacacs, and Miss Nellie Kamp the pearl of pages. We give place aux dames, as it our duty, but the success of the evening was won by Willie Edouin, the Heathen Chinese, whose euchre scene from the tale of Truthful James was applauded to the echo. To-night will be given the legend of the love-lorn Lurline.’
(The Charleston News, Charleston, South Carolina, Friday, 5 April 1872, p. 3c)

Charing Cross Theatre, London, 19 September 1874
‘Mr Willie Edouin, who re;resented a corporal and a ”Heathen Chinee,” is an extremely clever actor, but his performances are, we should say, a good deal too violet for English tastes. His ”Heathen Chinee,” however, is very much superior to his corporal. His dancing as the Chinee is little short of miraculous, and his antics generally are very laughable, though rather verging towards incontinent extravagance.’
(The Examiner, London, Saturday, 26 September 1874, p. 1056b)

‘… It would be impossible to find for Selim another impersonator as graceful and refined as Miss Lydia Thompson, or for Blue Beard a more humorous representative that Mr. Lionel Brough [replacing Harry Beckett]. But the American actors [sic], Mr. John Morris, who, in presence of the audience, transforms himself instantaneously from a young man to an old one, from man to woman, and from an old woman to a younger girl; and Mr. Willie Edouin, who plays the part of the ”Heathen Chinee,” and after a series of most grotesque performances cheats Blue Bear at euchre, could not be replaced at all. How these gentlemen ever got into the piece is a problem which cannot be solved by analysis. But there they are and there they are likely long to remain. Many playgoers, and a far greater number of non-playgoers, had been congratulating themselves on the fact that burlesque was dead; that it had at last given way to opera bouffe, which was, in its turn, to give way to opéra comique, so that in the end all fun of a farcical kind and set to music would disappear from the stage. This was neither possible nor desirable; and Miss Lydia Thompson’s experiment has shown that, with whatever violence burlesque may be driven out, it will return. No one, however, would have wished for its disappearance had the class in general been as free from vulgarity as it the individual specimen of it which Miss Lydia Thompson has now brought forward.’
(The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Monday, 26 October 1874, p. 10)


a scene from The Beauty Spot, Herald Square Theatre, New York, 1909

January 16, 2014

a scene from The Beauty Spot, a musical comedy written by Joseph W. Herbert, with music by Reginald De Koven, produced at the Herald Square Theatre, New York City on 10 April 1909.
(photo: unknown, probably New York, 1909; halftone publicity postcard, publisher unknown, 1909)

‘On March 28 [1910] Pittsburg will have an opportunity to meet Jeff de Angelis in The Beauty Spot, as the management of the Alvin theater announce that attraction for this date. The production will be identically the same as it was during its run of over six months at the Herald Square theater, New York city, while the principle [sic] roles will be interpreted by the same brilliant cast including George James, James MacFarlane, Frank Doane, Viola Gillette, Isabel D’Armond, Jacques Kruger, Alf Deball, Jean Newcomb, Katherine Bowen and Frances Burns.
‘In the role of the flurtatious old Russian general, Jefferson de Angelis is most happily cast, and not in recent years has he had a part that suited him so admirably. George J. MacFarlane as Jacques Baccrel is both manly and capable, while his splendid cultivated voice renders his performance most pleasing. Frank Doane in the character of the negro valet, masquerading as a Prince of Borneo, is screamingly funny. Diminutive Isabel D’Armond as Madine, the general’s daughter, is exceedingly dainty and graceful.’
(The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Sunday, 20 March 1910, Theatrical Section, p. 3d/e)

‘DE ANGELIS. – Jefferson De Angelis, now at the New York in The Pearl Maiden, has been on the stage practically all his life. He had a company of his own as far back as 1884, when he made a world tour. He used to be the character comedian in Colonel McCaull’s opera company at Wallack’s, and there established himself as a crowd-drawing attraction in New York whenever he comes to town. His activities in musical comedy have been very numerous, and covered a long time at the Casino. The Jolly Musketeers was one of his biggest drawing cards, and lasted him for four seasons. Fantana is looked back on now as one of the funniest shows ever in the city. Since then he has starred in The Great White Way and The Beauty Spot. He was a member of the all-star cast of The Mikado at the Casino. While in St. Louis this Fall, Mr. De Angelis contracted a tired feeling of everything pertaining to theatricals, and so expressed himself publicly. He seems, however, to have recovered his old-time enthusiasm.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 24 January 1912, p. 10a)


The Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps

April 14, 2013

Seven of the The Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps as undergraduates in A Knight For a Day, a musical comedy by Robert B. Smith, with music by Raymond Hubbell and Lyrics by Robert B. Smith, produced at Wallack’s Theatre, New York, 16 December 1907
(photo: Hall, New York, 1907)

‘This scene [above] from A Knight For a Day gives an excellent idea of the liveliness of The Eight Berlin Madcaps. One of the Madcaps missed the picture (count ‘em), and yet the pose is so novel that if she were here you don’t know where she’d be. (Tut, tut.) But if she missed a performance – well, then The Madcaps wouldn’t be over seven and the Gerry Society might stop ‘em. Harrowing thought, that. Still, the rest of the show is so blame good you can take a chance on going to Wallack’s Theater anyway.’
(The Standard and Vanity Fair, New York, Friday, 15 May 1908, pp.10 and 11)

‘The eight dancing madcaps, with the latest musical furore, A Knight for a Day, is an imported acrobatic terpsichorean novelty. And a true, emphatic and striking hit they undoubtedly are. The act is not easy to copy and would have many imitations were it not for the time, trouble and expense in producing one fact, by the way, never included in The Knights management. Laughing at expense and earnestly desiring to please is one motto that repays.’
(The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Friday, 24 April 1908, p.14b)

Helen Hoz

Helen Hoz, the eighth of the Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps in A Knight For a Day, Wallack’s Theatre, New York, 16 December 1907
(photo: De Youngs, New York, 1907)

‘From Our New York Dramatic Correspondent.
‘At Wallack’s theater, New York, is A Knight For a Day, a musical comedy written by Robert R. Smith, the younger brother of the nestor of American librettos, Harry B. Smith, and composed by Raymond Hubbell, who wrote the music for Fantana and who removed from the stage when he married that charming prima donna Helen Lord.
‘John Salvin, a small but unctuous comedian, who was one of the strong favorites at the Casino when George W. Lederer in control there and who has since become a bulwark of burlesque in Chicago, heads the company. May Vokes, who has made several successes in eccentric roles hereabout, is likewise in the cast, and Miss Sallie Fisher, who made the song “Dearie” famous, impersonates the gurgling ingenue.
A Knight For a Day has had a strange and varied career. It was produced a year or so ago at the Grand Opera House and then at the New York theater under the title of Ma’mselle Sallie and was so vigorously condemned that it put its manager, John C. Fisher, once wealthy through Florodora, practically out of business, and the company, in plain language, “busted.”
‘The production was then galvanized by B.C. Whitney of Detroit and sent to Chicago, where it ran for a long white at Whitney’s theater and where, in fact, it is sill in evidence in its thirty-seventh week.
‘The play is now greatly improved and is, in fact, a success.’
(Robert Butler, The Evening Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, Saturday, 11 January 1908, p.7c)

* * * * * * * *

‘Chorus Girl Can’t Stand Baldheads.
‘New York, Jan. 16 [1908]. – Miss Merri Corye has gone to Chicago, whence she came. For months and months until last evening Miss Corye was one of the “wholly Chicago” merry-merry ensemble feminines of A Knight for a Day, the musical comedy at Wallack’s.
‘Merri, who is nineteen and pretty, cannot abide baldheads. W.M. Hale, the manager of the play, got this note at the theater last night:
‘“I am going black to Chicago, where there aren’t any baldheaded men except those who come from the East, and where, anyhow, the theatres don’t let ‘em sit in the front rows to make girls google-eyed. I haven’t seen a young man in a front seat since I’ve been here, and if I stay here any longer I know I shall have to wear specs on the stage or go to a nunnery. A chorus girl has as much chance to win a young husband in a Broadway musical show as a fly has of ticking an elephant.”
‘The front rows at Wallack’s last evening didn’t hold as many baldheads as usual, the ushers said. Lobby rumor had it that baldheaded men, unaccompanied by their wives or toupees, were being encouraged to sit in the balcony.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Friday, 17 January 1908, p.13e)


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)