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?'

Bessie Ray – The Belle of New York – Halifax Evening Courier – Tuesday 20th March 1900




A Crowded at the Grand last night to welcome a return visit of the musical comedy, “The Belle of New York.” The company (Mr. Ben Greet’s) is different in cast from the artistes who were last here, but on the whole the present one is somewhat superior, and from the frequent applauses the audience was perfectly satisfied with the efforts of each individual member. Principals and chorus all worked hard, and with deserved success. As Ichabod Bronson, Mr. Harry Gribben proved an undoubtedly versatile comedian, and acted with great gusto throughout, although suffering from a severe cold. Mr. D. O’Regan came well to the front as “Doc Skifkins,” and Mr. Peter H. Gardner put in some ludicrously droll eccentric work as Karl, the polite lunatic, while Mr. Mack Olive gave a smart rendering of the nondescript “Blinky Bill,” his whistling solo, its expressive pantomime action, being remarkable clever. Mr. Riley is also an admirable acrobatic dancer. Mr. James R. La Fane was quietly humorous the operatic low comedian Mugg and the fanny antics of the Bros Helm the twin Portuguese Counts pleased the house immensely. Mr. Charles Gervase made an acceptable Harry Bronson; he sung nicely, and his acting in the love scenes with Fifi were particularly good. Miss Daisy Baldry, who has a fine presence, made a brilliant appearance  as the prima donna Cora Angelique, and Miss B. Esse was a fresh and fascinating Kissie Fitzgarter. Miss Lucie Fitzroy acted with conspicuous ability as Violet Grey, the Salvation lassie, and presented a dexterous study in demure simplicity and engaging archness that was altogether delightful. She also slang with taste and refinement. Miss May Hellett played the lovesick Fifi Fricot with a dainty prettiness and teaching tenderness unusual in pieces of this character, and Miss Bessie Ray, a smart little comedian, worked hard and successful as Mamie Clancy, a Pell-street girl, her dancing being notably clever. The picturesquely attired chorus sang splendidly, and the staging is adequate in every degree.


Halifax Evening Courier – Tuesday 20th March1900


Bessie Ray – The Belle of New York – The Era – 1900



March 31, 2020 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Maimi, Social History, The Belle of New York, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auckland Star – 1927

Auckland Star, Volume LVIII, Issue 190, 13 August 1927, Page 22

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Maimi, Mother Goose, Pantomimes, Peggy, Social History, The Belle of New York, The Casino Girl, The Girl from Kay's, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Maimi – Cheltenham Looker – On – 1900


July 19, 2012 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Maimi, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Miami – The Era – 1893.


February 19, 2012 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Maimi, Social History, The Era, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Miami – Pall Mall Gazette – 1893


February 18, 2012 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Maimi, Plays, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bessie Ray – Miami – Programme – 1893


Written in pencil, next to the name of Miss May Wallace who shared the part of “Eveleen” with Miss Ray is “This part was taken by Gabrielle Ray from the second night onwards”

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Maimi, Plays, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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