Posts Tagged ‘White (photographers New York)’


January 20, 2013

music sheet cover for Ford T. Dabney’s rag intermezzo, ‘Porto Rico’,
published by Shapiro, New York, 1910,
and featured by Aida Overton Walker (1880-1914),
American actress, singer and dancer,
with S.H. Dudley’s Smart Set Company
(photo: Apeda or White, New York, circa 1910)

Aida Overton Walker and Company at the American Music Hall, New York, July 1909.
Aida Overton Walker, the colored woman singer and dancer, made her first New York reappearance in a new act at the American Music Hall last week. She is now doing what she called a “Dance Afrique – the Kara Kara.” Miss Walker danced with exuberance and light-footedness, with a sort of savage Orientalism that was both interesting and entertaining. Special music was played with the dance, and eight girls added to the effect in no small way. The costuming was appropriate, and the semi darknened stage with woodland scene helped out. The close in one was appreciated, and the dancers were called out for many bows. “That Teasing Rag” was the only popular song number used.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 24 July 1909, p.20)

National Theatre, Chicago, January 1910
‘Cole and Johnson in the Red Moon will begin a week’s engagement at the National next week. All of the principals hve unusually good voices and the large chorus is not only exceedingly attractive but well trained and comprised of trained voices. Aida Overton Walker, the famous colored comedienne, is an added feature with two new songs and a weird symbolic dance set to out of the ordinary music by Johnson. The Red Moon is a whirlwind of melody, everything moves with snap and vim and the song numbers rapidly introduced with unique costuming and novel effects. The scenic setting of the three acts is elaborate and the show from first to last is brilliant.’
(Suburbanite Economist, Chicago, Friday, 14 January 1910, p.8b)

The Smart Set company in His Honor the Barber with S.H. Dudley and Aida Overton Walker at The Bastable Theatre, Syracuse, New York, November 1910
‘Musical Comedy of Color.
‘Negro talent in stage entertainment is fully made use of in the piece called His Honor the Barber, which is being offered at the Bastable. The minstrel stage has long exhibited with Negro style of comedy, though very few men of African descent have been minstrels. S.H. Dudley, who is the chief comedian of His Honor the Barber, shows that burnt cork comedy can be cone quite as well when the burnt cork grows on as when it is put on. He and the other principals, Aida Overton Walker in singing and dancing interludes, Andrew Tribble in the part of a very deeply colored lady with the razzer, and various representatives of high life among the colored folk of Washington, D.C., are able to carry out a play which has more plot and coherence than some of its sort, and to put into it a rollicking, rough and ready humor that thoroughly delighted last night’s audience.
‘For example, the conversation of Raspberry Snow with Babe Johnson his affinity [sic], both before and after he has secured possession of her razor and revolver, is one of the high points of comedy in the piece. Better work of its sort is seldom seen in music [sic] comedy of any color. And while in costuming and the fine art of stage management His Honor the Barber show defects, it is easily seen that the natural buoyancy and feeling for rhythm of Booker Washington’s race and their effectiveness in certain possible schemes of costuming might easily be adapted to make a musical dancing pie with plenty of chorus work in it remarkably successful.
‘The singing of the Smart Set Company is also above the average of musical comedy choruses.
‘But the main point of the play is the fun of it. Mr. Dudley deserves compliments for his success in this direction.’
(The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, Tuesday, 15 November 1910, p.4d)

The Smart Set company in His Honor the Barber with S.H. Dudley and Aida Overton Walker at The Powers Theatre, Decatur, Matinee and night, Saturday, 25 February 1911
‘Remarkable Dancer
‘When Aida Overton Walker is mentioned as one of the Smart Set company of colored people who are to be seen here Saturday afternoon and night in a musical show, the greatest kind of a card is drawn. Aida Overton Walker is a famous dancer, and she deserves all the attention she has attracted to herself in the last few years. She is artistic and she has the instinct for doing the fine thing gracefully. Also she can sing.
‘S.H. Dudley, a droll negro comedian, really heads the company and the piece they are to present is called His Honor the Barber. It is a new musical comedy in three acts. There are plenty of bright and clever musical numbers, and a chorus of twenty five, together with some of the best colored funmakers in the business.’
(The Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, Sunday, 19 February 1911, p.20a)

Oakland Orpheum, May, 1912
‘Featuring Aida Overton Walker, one-time star with the famous Williams and Walker combination, a ten-person act is one of the many good things the Oakland Orpheum has to offer all week. There are ten in the company, eight dusky maidens, a natty fellow with a panama and a voice, and Aida Overton Walker. Miss Walker has her own idea of the component parts of comedy and claims sunshine is the chiefest of them. She is, therefore, a personage of smiles throughout the act and spreads a certain raidiance over chorus and settings.
‘Four singing numbers are on the Walker bill: Porto Rico, Miss Walker and girls; Lovey Dear, Miss Walker, Creighton Thompson and girls; Bless Your Ever Loving Heart, Creighton Thompson and girls; That’s Why They Call Me Shine, Miss Walker and company.
‘It is in that last that the comedienne gives her impersonation of the late. Her act is a well-filled measure of musical things.’
(Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, Monday, 20 May 1912, p.16c)

For several photographs of Aida Overton Walker by Apeda and White of New York, about 1910/1911, see The New York Library for the Performing Arts.


January 9, 2013

chorus girls from the first New York production of
Oscar Strauss’s The Chocolate Soldier,
Lyric Theatre, Manhattan,13 September 1909
(photo: White, New York, 1909)

‘Turned Into a Comic Opera Book Arms and the Man Is More Shavings Than Shavian.
‘As The Chocolate Soldier New Piece Is Especially distinguished by Strauss’s Charming Music.
‘THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER, an opera bouffe, in three acts. Music by Oscar Strauss. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Libretto by Rudolph Bernauer and Leopold Jacobson. English version by Stanislaus Stange. Lyric [New York, 13 September 1909].

Nadina Popoff … Ida Brooks Hunt
Aurelia Popoff … Flavia Arcaro
Mascha … Edith Bradford
Lieutenant Bumerli … J.E. Gardner
Captain Massakroff … Henry Norman
Louka … Lillian Poli
Stephen … George C. Ogle
Colonel Kasimir Popoff … William Pruette
Major Alexius Spirideff … George Tallman
Soldiers of Bulgarian Army, gentry, peasants, wedding guests, villagers, musicians, &c.

‘Count Mr. George Bernard Shaw himself in his most fantastic mood have imagined anything more ironical than Mr. George Bernard Shaw set to comic opera music, danced and soubretted, done into duos, trios, and quintets, march time, walt time, everything, fortunately, but rag time.
‘That is what has happened to Arms and the Man, acted here originally by the late Richard Mansfield, subsequently revived by Arnold Daly and now imported as The Chocolate Solider, with made-in-Vienna label. How much of the present book is due to Rudolph Bernauer and Leopold Jacobson, the foreign librettists, and how much to Stanislaus Stange, who has Englished it, would be difficult to say, but as far as lines and story go it is more shavings than Shavian.
‘That, however, need not matter if Mr. Shaw is satisfied. And as it stands The Chocolate Soldier is a decidedly pleasant evening’s entertainment. Once in a while the real Shaw lines and situations come to the surface, and then one wonders if it wouldn’t have been better to stick more precisely to the text, but Mr. Oscar Strauss’s music is so soothing, where it is meant to be soothing, and so stirring where it is meant to be stirring, that it really need not matter. Mr. Shaw has been taking liberties with other people so long it isn’t surprising that chickens come home to roost.
‘People are renamed in the operatic version apparently to suit the librettist’s sense of humour, with Bluntehli becoming Bumeril, which might have a sort of meaning in German, though you must drop the last two syllables to give it any point in English. Their dispositions and intentions are considerably changed, also, from what they appear to be in Arms and the Man.
‘Instead of the one maiden succumbing to the attractions of the Swiss adventurer, here we have three, (including the mother of the bride-to-be,) and they quarrel for the privilege of soothing him to sleep after his hurried escape from the pursuing Bulgarians, when he takes refuge in Nadina’s bedchamber. So, too, each of the three must hide her photographs in the borrowed coat, to make the complication greater when the returning Popoff arrives on the scene. In other words, the general idea seems to be that it will not do to be too subtle in a comic opera, which perhaps is the right idea.
‘Mr. Shaw cables last night that if the audiences was pleased with the entertainment they should congratulate themselves, and it is not unlikely that his advice was followed by the greatest number of those present. For there is enough broad fooling to the action to make it appealing to people who do not care for Shaw, and enough bright and spirited music to make it worth while to those who do, but who now find they must take a good deal of his play for granted.
’ When somebody or other sings, ”Why don’t you close the shutters? My heart with terror flutters,” you are certain that you will not find those lines or any like them in Arms and the Man, but fortunately you are more likely to be interested in the refrain rather than the words.
‘The music in fact is most agreeable, from the charming aria in the first act, with its lilting, rhythmic waltz movement, to the delightful duo in the last, in which Bumerli insists that Nadia loves him, though he is reading a letter in which she has expressly tried to covey the other impression. There is a fine swinging march to bring on the soldiers and the populace overjoyed that, ”the war is ended, the war is ended,” and a capital trio, one of the kind in which one after the other of the characters repeat insistently ”Something is wrong,” ”something is wrong,” ”something is wrong,” though there does not appear to be the slightest desire on the part of any one to deny it.
‘The music is very well sung, too, and the piece is charmingly staged, though there is hardly a girl in the chorus who isn’t a reminder of the old story of the newly married man who begged his wife to sing. They do sing, too, with good spirit in the ensembles, which is something for which to be thankful.
Ida Brooks Hunt, acting with plenty of vivacity, easily carries off the vocal honors in the rôle of the girl whom the Chocolate Soldier surprises and who he is eventually to marry. She has a rich, well-trained voice, no unpleasant affectations, with sweetness, and good range, and, not the least important essential for this sort of thing, she enunciates so as to be understood. Edith Bradford soubrettes easily though the rôle of Mascha, a substitute for the Louka of the original play, dances nicely, and shares with Flavia Arcaro the secondary honors among the women.
‘Mr. Gardner’s acting of the Swiss adventurer can scarcely be judged from the standards of the rôle that have been establishes, but he seems to satisfy the popular idea of the comic-opera hero, and he was agreeable in several of the duos, while George Tallman, William Pruette, and Henry Norman filled in the other rôles very well.
‘Mr. [Antonio] De Novellis conducted with enthusiasm.’
(The New York Times, New York, Tuesday, 14 September 1909, p. 9c)


Maurice Mouvet and Florence Walton

December 26, 2012

Maurice (Mouvet) and Florence Walton (fl.1912-1916), American dancers and early exponents of the Tango (photo: White, New York, 1912/13)


‘LONDON, June 13 [1914]. – The King and Queen saw the tango as danced in New York for the first time last night as a dinner given by the Grand Duke Michael preceding a ball for the Countess Nada Torby at the Grand Duke’s residence, Kenwood, Hamstead [sic]. The dancers, Maurice and Florence Walton, are the first Americans to appear by royal command to dance. Maurice was once a Bowery denizen, and Florence was formerly a chorus girl.

‘They danced after dinner in the drawing-room before the ball started. Only thirty persons were present, including Countess Torby, the Duchess of Marlborough, the Countess Nada and Zia Torby, the Grand Duke Paul, the Countess of Granard, the Duke and Duchess of Teck, Premier Asquith and Ambassador Page. They danced for forty-five minutes continuously. They had omitted the tango for fear of the royal displeasure, but the Queen asked Countess Torby: ”Can they dance the tango for us? I’ve never seen it.”

‘So the tango was danced. Florence Walton wore an unslit dress at the request of a court official.’ (Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, 12 June 1914, p. 15a)