Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

Plays – Miami



The previous section (Plays) gave a brief summary of the plays in which Miss Ray appeared. This section should provide greater details of each play, the cast and the run of each production.

Miss Ray’s stage début was at the age of ten as “Eveleen” (a role shared with May Wallace) in John Hollingshead’s comic operetta, “Miami”  [1] which was arranged from John Buckstone’s successful melodrama, “The Green Bushes”, (1845). “Miami was produced at the Princess’s Theatre and ran for eleven performances from 16th October 1893 closing on 27th October 1893.



Miami ………………. Violet Cameron

Geraldine ………….. Isabelle Girardot

Tigertail …………….. Clara Jecks

Meg ………………… Mrs B. M. de Solla

Eveleen ……………. May Wallace / Gabrielle Ray

Nelly O’Neil ……….. Jessie Bond

Connor Kennedy …. Courtice Pounds

George …………….. Richard Temple

Murtough ………….. Charles Ashford

Dennis ……………… W. S. Osborne

Jack Gong ………… A. J. Evelyn

Grinnidge …………..  George Barrett

Arranged by John Hollingshead

Lyrics by E. Warham St. Leger

Music by J. Haydn Parry

Directed by John Hollingshead, J. Haydn Parry and Mr Edmonds. [2]

Financial problems were instrumental in the downfall of “Miami” at the Princess’s Theatre; Hollingshead, formally of the Gaiety Theatre had taken the Princess’s and had it refurbished to be a new “cheap theatre”. “Miami”, his first production was adapted from John Buckstone’s successful melodrama “The Green Bushes”. The play tells of Connor Kennedy, who for political reasons is forced to flee his native Galway, leaving behind his wife and child. Eventually he arrives in America, living on the shores of the Mississippi and sharing his life with the beautiful Franco-Indian huntress Miami. When Kennedy’s wife finally joins him in America the jealous Miami kills Kennedy and throws herself in the river. The final act sees Miami return a wealthy woman and restores Kennedy’s daughter to her mother before dying.

The show should have been a success with the team of Warham St Leger and Haydn Parry who collaborated on the successful “Cigarette” and Hollingshead working on the adaptation of the book. The cast were no less impressive, with Violet Cameron engaged to play the title role of Miami and a fine supporting cast of Courtice Pounds, Jessie Bond and Richard Temple. However the opening night was not the success that was hoped for. St Leger and parry had tried to turn a story, more fitted to a grand opera into a light opera; their contribution sounded trivial. Hollingshead had attempted to supply a comic element which failed to work; the overall effect was a grotesque mixture of styles which failed to please the audience. “The Stage” commented “Miami, put off from Sunday to Monday might have advantageously been further postponed ….. some will perhaps declare that it ought to have been postponed sine die……”

Receipts for the show were poor and the initial £2,000 capital for the show was exhausted. Hollingshead paid his staff from his own funds and put the actors and understudies on a “promise” until Saturday night, but the actors would not be persuaded forcing Hollingshead to close the theatre. [3]

This then was the young Gabrielle Ray’s brief introduction to the theatrical world in what appears to have been a poorly devised play beset by financial and staffing problems.


[1] East, J.M. (1967) “Neath the Mask: The story of the East Family”, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London. (p146)

[2] Ganzl, K. (1987) “The British Musical Theatre” Volume 1, 1865 – 1914, The Macmillan Press Ltd; Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire. (p493)

[3] Ganzl, K. 91987) “The British Musical Theatre” Volume 1, 1865 – 1914, The Macmillam Press Ltd; Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire. (p465 – 466)

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Maimi, Plays, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments