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?'

Gabrielle Ray – The Dollar Princess – John Bull – Saturday 16th October 1909


By M. Clement Scott.


So far as comic opera is concerned, the home-made material seems to have all been used up and, just as years ago England travelled to France and bought up most of the Ville Lumiere’s opera-bouffes, so Austria is now the hunting ground for these “musical melanges.”

But I have no hesitation in declaring “The Dollar Princess” – the latest importation from Austria – to be vastly superior, both in style and form, to her defunct sister, “The Merry Widow,” and when “The Dollar Princess” was produced in German, it must have been a wonderful and altogether charming entertainment.

Unfortunately, over here we are from a complaint suffering a complaint I should call “non-singitis,” and the vocalists required to make this kind of operetta of the highest class are not in evidence for the moment.

In the days of “Dorothy,” when there was such a combined wealth of talent as Marie Tempest, Hayden Coffin, Ben Davies, etc., London was able to compete favourably with any foreign operetta troupe, but, alas! the “Dorothy” days are no more, and no star singers have been found to step into the empty shoes that either Marie Tempest or the other artistes left behind them.

Lily Elsie, sweet as she is to look upon, and constituting a “draw” as she perhaps may do, is not a Marie Tempest. She has not the magnetism, the brilliantly clever acting abilities, nor the exquisite voice with which Miss Tempest drew us all to her prettly little feet, neither has Mr. Robert Michaelis the popularity enjoyed by Mr. Hayden Coffin.

I cannot help saying, too, that “The Dollar Princess” has been poorly translated, that the book leaves much to be desired, and that George Edwardes has not selected a particularly good cast.

Miss Gabrielle Ray, for instance, should never be allowed to sing, for the excellent reason that she has little or no voice; the same thing applies also to Joseph Coyne. However, the management evidently thinks differently, and although both Gabrielle Ray and Joseph Coyne are excellent dancers, they “two-step” it too little and “wibble warble” too much, and when they take part in some of the most important numbers of Leo Fall’s melodious work, I sit amazed and apprehensive as to the result of their feeble vocal efforts.

Miss Lily Elsie, as “The Dollar Princess,” is just Miss Lily Elsie, as she was in “The Merry Widow.” I cannot speak too highly in praise of Miss Emmy Wehlen – she is an artiste to her finger-tips. Her singing and acting in the first act relieves it from the dulness which threatens it the moment before she makes her entrance.

The music is of that tuneful and haunting kind that will probably be whistled all over the town in less than no time.

As for the general mise-en-scene, the frocks, the colouring and the gorgeous surroundings, George Edwardes has surpassed himself, and everyone knows what that means.

If “The Merry Widow” waltzed along as gaily as she did in Leicester Square for over two years, then surely “The Dollar Princess” will remain at Daly’s Theatre indefinitely, for she is infinitely the more attractive of the two ladies.

John Bull –  Saturday 16th October 1909



November 2, 2021 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Dollar Princess, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment