Posts Tagged ‘Willie Edouin’

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Alice Atherton, American burlesque actress and entertainer

April 25, 2015

Alice Atherton (1854-1899), American burlesque actress and entertainer, who married Willie Edouin in 1873.
(photo: J. Gurney & Son, New York, early 1870s)

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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
‘THE LYDIA THOMPSON TROUPE.
‘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)

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Camille Dubois, with Lydia Thompson’s Troupe in the United States, 1871-1873

September 7, 2013

Camille Dubois (1851-1933), French-born English burlesque actress and singer, as she appeared with Lydia Thompson’s Troupe in the United States, 1871-1873
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, 1871-1873)

Camille Wilhelmina Henriette Reyloff, whose stage name was Camille Dubois, was born in France in 1851. She was one of the children of Edmond (sometimes Edward) Reyloff (1821-1889), who was born in Belgium, a successful pianist, composer and musical conductor, for some years at the Aquarium, Brighton, and his wife, Caroline (1825-1910), who was born in Saxe Coburg, a concert singer.

Camille Dubois is said to have begun her career in 1869 or 1870 and the earliest mention of her is in connection with her engagement in 1871 with Lydia Thompson in the United States. Her career flourished until the mid 1880s. By then she had married on 30 October 1877 the Hon. Wyndham Edward Campbell Stanhope (1851-1883), fourth son of the 7th Earl of Harrington. The marriage ended in divorce in May 1883 and she married again on 8 January 1884 Colonel Walter Adye (1858-1915), by whom she had two children. Camille Dubois died in London on 15 May 1933.

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Camille Dubois on tour in the United States with Lydia Thompson’s company, January 1872
‘MEMPHIS THEATER. – Lydia Thompson’s Troupe drew an immense house last night. The amusing extravaganza, Blue Beard, with ”Sister Anne” on the tower looking for some one to save poor ”Fatima,” was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. The song, ”His Heart was True to Poll,” by Miss Thompson, was finely and dramatically rendered. Her make-up, as the ”Shepherd Boy,” was pastoral in the extreme, and displayed to advantage that artistic taste for which the burlesque queen is justly celebrated. Miss Thompson’s characteristics are well known. She has a captivating face, a grace which cannot be excelled, a sympathetic voice which she uses cleverly, unfailing spirit, and an amount of self-reliance which a popularity seemingly on the increase almost justifies. Miss Camille Dubois produced a favourable impression by good looks, ease of manner, and real talent as a songstress. Miss Kate Egerton and Miss Carlotta Zerbini are equally au fait of their duties. These young ladies, with several of less note, fill the stage in as gratifying a manner as can be imagined. The influence of Miss Thompson’s company over a laughter-seeking assemblage lies, however, in the actors. Mr. Harry Beckett, who was the object of a tumultuous welcome, is as potent to elicit merriment as ever. Last night’s affair placed almost on a level with him, in the exercise of this power, Mr. Willie Edouin, a droll low comedian and a capital acrobat. To-night the charming spectacular drama entitled Lurline will be presented. This is said to be the most attractive play in the repertoire of the troupe.’
(Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Wednesday, 10 January 1872, p. 2d)

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‘Miss Marie de Grey has taken the place of Mdlle. Camille Dubois in Champagne [i.e. Champagne, A Question of Phiz] at the Strand. The last-named lady has recently been married to the Hon. Wyndham Stanhope.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 11 November 1877, p. 6a)

‘One of Lydia Thompson’s burlesque actresses, Camille Dubois, who journeyed all over America, dancing clog dances and singing nursery rhymes, has had the good fortune to win the affection of the Hon. Wyndham Stanhope, who has wedded her.’
(Dodge City Times, Dodge City, Kansas, Saturday, 29 December 1877, p. 2c)

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Harriett Vernon in The Japs, 1885

July 15, 2013

Harriett Vernon (1852-1923), English music hall singer and actress as Cammpi in The Japs; or, The Doomed Daimio, a burlesque by Harry Paulton and Mostyn Tedde, first produced at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol, 31 August 1885 and the Novelty Theatre, London, 19 September 1885. Other members of the cast included Lionel Brough, Willie Edouin, Fred Kaye, Kate James and Alice Atherton.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1885)

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The Blue Moon

April 29, 2013

colour lithograph cover (after original artwork by Richard Pannett) to the score of The Blue Moon, a musical play by Harold Ellis, revised by A.M. Thompson, with lyrics by Percy Greenbank and Paul A. Rubens and music by Howard Talbot and Paul A. Rubens, published by Chappell & Co Ltd, London, 1905, printed by H.G. Banks Ltd.

The Blue Moon, was first produced at the Opera House, Northampton, on 29 February 1904, before its London premier at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, on 28 August 1905. The principal parts on the opening night in London were played by Courtice Pounds, Fred Allandale, Walter Passmore, Willie Edouin, Eleanor Souray, Florence Smithson (a stylized portrait of whom is on the above score cover), Billie Burke and Carrie Moore.

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Lena Merville

March 8, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Lena Merville (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
English born American actress and singer, in an unidentified role
(photo: Max Platz, Chicago, circa 1890)

Vulcan; or, the Hammer-ous Blacksmith, Opera Comique, London, Saturday, 18 March 1882 ‘Vulcan, the burlesque by Messrs. Edward Rose and Augustus Harris, is a version of the same author’s [sic] Venus, which was brought out at the Royalty Theatre on July 14, 1879… .
‘[Among the cast, which also included Robert Brough, Nellie Claremont, Kate Lovell, George Temple, Annie Robe, Lottie Harcourt and Julia Vokins,] Miss Lena Merville throws much life and spirit into her playing of Cupid, though she is too self-possessed, and plays at the audience in a most objectionable manner – a rapidly-growing fault amongst burlesque actresses, and one which should be discouraged… .’
(The Stage, London, Friday, 24 March 1882, p. 9a/b)

‘French farces on the order of [Georges Feydeau’s] The Girl from Maxim’s do not often visit Richmond. The Turtle and Self and Lady have been here, but that is about all in recent years. A fairly large audience went to the Academy last night to laugh, and they laughed heartily. Perhaps some went to be shocked, but they were probably disappointed. True, there are some things in the piece that are risque, but the play does not make them unduly obtrusive. The Praline, Lena Merville, is supposed to be the center of attraction, but somehow others won more favor. She worked hard, and really played the part well, although her singing was only ordinary. The character work of Joseph Allen, as Gen. Petypont, was excellent. So was that of John H. Armstrong, as Le Due, and Florence Gerald, as Mme. Petypont. W.H. Turner was also successful as Dr. Petypont. The company was a large one, and only a few were really weak.’
(The Times, Richmond, Virginia, Friday, 25 October 1901, p. 3f)

Lena Merville was among the mourners at the funeral of Alice Atherton (Mrs Willie Edouin), which took place at the Little Church Around the Corner, New York, on 7 February 1899.

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January 24, 2013

Jenny Dawson (Mrs Clara Sharlach, d. 1936),
English actress and vocalist
(photo: London Stereoscopic Co, London, mid 1890s)

‘Dawson, Jenny. – Miss Jenny Dawson made her début at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, in a minor part, and shortly afterwards gained her first success as Pousette in the pantomime of Cinderella at the Prince’s Theatre, Manchester. In 1886 she came to London, and appeared as Jeames in Oliver Grumble at the Novelty Theatre [25 March 1886], under the management of Mr. Willie Edouin. An Autumn tour with Mr. G.P. Hawtrey, to play in The Pickpocket, was followed by her charming impersonation of Allan-a-Dale in the successful pantomime of The Babes in the Wood at the Prince of Wales’ Theatre, Liverpool. She remained in the provinces for a year, undertaking juvenile and leading parts, and principal burlesque. In September, 1887, she accepted an offer to join the Drury Lane Company, where she played Mrs. Egerton in Pleasure, and made an adorable Cupid in the pantomime of Puss in Boots. Mr. George Edwardes next engaged Miss Dawson for his provincial tour of Miss Esmeralda, and she then crossed the Atlantic solely to understudy Miss Nelly Farren in America, which brought her but barren honours. Returning to England in June, 1888, she appeared in Faust up to Date at the Gaiety during Mr. Van Bienne’s short autumnal season, to the success of which she very materially conduced. A pantomime engagement took her to Edinburgh for the winter, and in the spring of 1890 she was cast for Millie in The Bungalow at Toole’s [7 October 1889]. When Carmen up to Data was produced [Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool, 22 September 1890, transferred to the Gaiety, London, 4 October 1890], Miss Dawson created the rôle of Escamillo, but not liking the part, resigned it after the first week. Liverpool again claimed her for the winter pantomime, and in the spring of 1891 she was engaged by Mr. Thomas Thorne for Lady Franklin in the revival of Money, alternating the part with Miss Kate Phillips, after which she joined Mr. Charles Hawtrey’s Company at the Comedy, and besides creating the part of Rosabel in Houp La with unqualified success, filled the leading part in Husband and Wife with equal verve during Miss Lottie Venne’s absence.’
(Erskine Reid and Herbert Compton, The Dramatic Peerage, Raithby, Lawrence & Co Ltd, London, 1892, pp.67 and 68)

Jenny Dawson, whose husband was Robert E. Sharlach, was the mother of the actress, singer and mimic, Marie Dainton (1880-1938).

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January 16, 2013

a stereoscopic photograph of Willie Edouin as the phrenologist Anthony Tweedlepunch, impressing Charles E. Stevens as Cyrus W. Gilfain in the original production of Leslie Stuart’s successful musical comedy, Florodora, which opened under the management of Tom B. Davis at the Lyric Theatre, London, on 11 November 1899.
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1899)

Mr Edouin repeated his Tweedlepunch when Florodora was first presented to American audiences at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 10 November 1900.

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Harry Fragson, English variety comedian and entertainer at the piano

January 4, 2013

Harry Fragson (1869-1913)
English variety comedian and entertainer at the piano,
in his monologue, ‘Le Grand Flegme Britannique.’
(photo: unknown, Paris, 1904)

‘Mr. Harry Fragson tells me he was very nervous on making his first appearance at the Tivoli (says a writer in the Daily Express), for some of his songs were novel in character. But the Tivoli, with its audience well round the singer, is just the small drawing-room house suited to an entertainer at the piano, and none of Mr. Fragson’s little effects are lost.
”’It is not quite the same thing over here, going from a theatre to a music-hall, than it is in Paris. Over there an artist passes from the theatre to the vaudeville house without any misgiving. Barral went to Olympia direct from the Comédie Française. Gallois passed without a moment’s hesitation from Olympia to the Théà tre des Varietés. Here, of course, you would feel a little shock if you saw Mr. George Alexander go from Pinero to the Palace, but we view things differently in Paris.”
‘The practice, of course, is growing here. Mr. Willie Edouin contemplates the halls. Mr. Chevalier turns with ease from ”Pantaloon” to ”The Fallen Star.” Indeed, he may be said to belong as much to the variety house as to the legitimate theatre. In August, Mr. George Grossmith, jun., hopes to be able to appear at the Palace.
‘Mr. Fragson is evidently a great favourite with the King. His Majesty, when Prince of Wales, head him sing many times at the Paris Figaro office. The conductors of the big French journal give tea parties at the offices, and to several of these parties King Edward went. King Leopold was a constant visitor. On Mr. Fragson’s arrival in London the King sent him a photograph, which I have just seen. It bears a suitable inscription in the King’s handwriting, and, of course, Mr. Fragson is inordinately proud of the gift. The signature Edward VII. shows the ”seven” put down as an ordinary numeral, with a little stroke across it, making it look like a capital ”F.”’
(The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, London, Saturday, 28 July 1906, p. 59d/e)

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Patti Josephs

December 28, 2012

a carte de visite photograph of Patti Josephs (1849?-1876), English actress (photo: Bassano, London, late 1860s)

‘MR CHARLES DICKENS is now well enough to take an active interest in the preparation of David Copperfield at the Olympic Theatre. The piece in its embryo state is exciting unusual interest. Mr [Sam] Emery has been engaged for the character of Peggotty, and Miss Patti Josephs for that of Emily. Mr Dickens is attending the rehearsals of David Copperfield, and Mr Halliday’s adaptation of the story will be produced with the full sanction and active co-operation of the author.’ (The Edinburgh Evening Courant, Edinburgh, Monday, 27 September 1869, p. 8f). Halliday’s adaptation of David Copperfield, entitled Little Em’ly, was produced at the Olympic, London, on 9 October 1869.

‘Miss Patti Josephs, a sister of Fanny Josephs, recently committed suicide by throwing herself from a window. She had been an inmate of the Philadelphia hospital. She was, some years back, at the Olympic and other London theatres, and in America married a Mr. Fitzpatrick.’ (Reynolds’s Newspaper, London, Sunday, 29 October 1876, p. 8b)

‘Death of Miss Patti Josephs.
‘London playgoers will deeply regret to hear of the death of this young and charming actress, who expired at Philadelphia on the 5th of October [1876], under circumstances of an exceedingly painful kind, which will be found detailed below by an American correspondent. Readily may be recalled a bright series of impersonations embodied during the last dozen years at the St. James’s, Olympic, Adelphi, and other Theatres. More especially will Miss Eliza Stuart Patti Josephs be remembered as the representative of Cupid in
Cupid and Psyche at the Olympic, and afterwards at the same Theatre in Mr Halliday’s drama Little Em’ly, where she played Little Em’ly with a prettiness and pathos which won the warmest sympathy of the audience. After this most successful performance Miss Patti Josephs left these shores to fulfil an engagement in America, where she married Mr John Fitzpatrick, an actor well known in this country and much esteemed by all who enjoyed his friendship in America. Scarcely twenty-seven when she died, the young actress has prematurely closed a career which promised brilliant results.
‘Miss Patti Josephs had been confined to her residence for the past eight months with a complication of diseases, and on the evening of the 4th inst. she fell out of the third-story window of the building where she resided, at Eleventh and Locust-streets, Philadelphia, and, striking her head, sustained such severe injuries that she died shortly after being conveyed to the Pennsylvania Hospital. It is believed that, while temporarily insane from pain, she leaned out of the window, and,losing her balance, met with the sad accident that resulted in her death. She came of an old theatrical family, her father, the late Mr W.H. Josephs, having been a Manager of several Theatres in London and the Provinces, while her grandfather had managed a theatrical circuit in England. She was a sister of Mr Harry Josephs, the well-known comedian, and of the late Mr John H. Selwyn. Her sister Fanny is also an actress. Another one of her brothers is a well-known minister in Boston – the Rev. G.C. Lorimer of the Union Temple Church, in that city. Miss Patti Josephs made her first appearance in America at the Chestnut-street Theatre, Philadelphia, on the 14th of October, 1872, in Bronson Howard’s comedy of
Diamonds, and became a member of the stock company at that Theatre. Miss Josephs next played at Fox’s American Theatre, Philadelphia, with Colville’s burlesque troupe, which included Harry Beckett, Willie Edouin, and Eliza Weathersby, and which opened there May 19th, 1873. In December, 1874, Miss Josephs and her husband became members of the stock company at Fox’s American Theatre, where they have remained ever since. She last appeared at Fox’s in The Hidden Hand, about the 21st of February, 1876. The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon, October 8th, and the body was interred at Mount Moriah Cemetery, a large number of members of the dramatic profession attending the funeral.’ (The Era, London, Sunday, 29 October 1876, p. 13c)