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?'

This Was The “Gaiety” – Liverpool Echo – Thursday 24th November 1949

 

ECHO BOOKSHELF

 This Was The “Gaiety” Girls And Glamour

 

So the famous Gaiety Theatre, in the Strand, is to be reopened. Shades of stage-door johnnies; supper at Romano’s – now no more – and Rules (behind the Adelphi, where Cochran ran two years with “Bless the Bride” and followed it with the less successful “Tough at the Top,” and which still remains pretty much the same); of champagne drunk from a chorus girl’s slipper – and it did happen; and the glamour girls who smiled, sang or danced their way into jewels, wealth and the peerage. Thus, at what the young reporter would call the psychological moment, comes “Gaiety, Theatre of Enchantment” (W. H. Allen, 20s), by that grand historian of the stage. W. Macqueen Pope, himself a figure in many theatrical enterprises through the years.

John Hollingshead, who founded the Gaiety, may be just a name, but the matinees he started became world-famous, and he made the theatre part of London’s gaiety itself. George Edwardes, who first joined him later took over, fathered the Gaiety Girl, is still remembered as a fabulous figure surrounded by beauties whose curves and smiles decorated millions of picture postcards, and made some men feel far too young. What oldster doesn’t remember Gertie Millar (later a countess), Marie Studholme (my own young dream), Margaret Bannerman, Belle Bilton, Rosie Boote (who became a marchioness), Camille Clifford, Constance Collier, Ada Reeve, Evie Green, Lily Elsie, Ellaline Terriss, Isobel Elsom, Gaby Deslys (said to have “dethroned” a king), Mabel Love, Kate Vaughan, Nellie Farren, Sylvia Storey (another countess), Edna May, Gabrielle Ray, Gladys Cooper, Phyllis and Zena Dare – even schoolboys collected their pictures.

Pope has stories of them all and of the great actors and comedians, the managers, the authors and composers. Stars have their moments now, but their glamour is mostly on celluloid and bobby-soxers and hysterical young women get their clothes torn to get near their favourites (mostly women) when they “appear in flesh.” Compared with these ebullitions the stage-door johnnies were just odd men on a desert island. This is a grand book – 500 pages of stage cavalcade, with 100 pictures (and how queer some of the fashions look).

Liverpool Echo – Thursday 24th November 1949

 

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October 7, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Orchid – Pall Mall Gazette – Thursday 1st December 1904

“THE ORCHID” – REVISED VERSION.

 

The best always good enough for most us, but usually because are slow in seeing how the best may improved. The ordinary playgoer would hardly be so bold as to revise a popular comedy like “The Orchid,” for revision of established success is a ticklish task. Last night, however, saw a “re-production” of Mr. Tanner’s musical play, which meant fresh costumes, fresh dialogue in many places, and the insertion of many smart new numbers. For instance, new songs have been given to Miss Gertie Millar, Miss Connie Ediss, Miss Gabrielle Ray, and Miss Marie Studholme, among the ladies; and there were novelties for Mr. Lionel Mackinder, including rattling Irish ditty called “ Kate O’Malley,” followed by the infectious Irish jig from Miss Olive May and the corps all round the stage. One might almost say all round the house, for there were very few members of the audience who could keep their toes still while the thing was on.

One of the songs, and certainly the most topical, “The Beauty and the Barge”; another, for Miss Gertie Millar, is “Don’t Mind the Dark.” “Little Blanche Marie” is the title of Miss Studholme’s new success, and one that sure to find an echo of some sort in the pantomimes. The most daring innovation is a “cart-wheel” at the end of one of Miss Gabrielle Ray’s dances, and one could hardly desire more contrast than is provided the dance, which converts a group of automobiles into seaside loungers in bathing attire. The new version “The Orchid,” as we have said enough to show, should give it a new lease of life and run it well into next year, till its successor is ready.

 

Pall Mall Gazette – Thursday 1st December 1904

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Gaiety Theatre – The Scottish Referee – Friday 16th October 1903

The New Gaiety Theatre

The latest date mentioned for Mr George Edwardes to open the new Gaiety is Saturday week. The principals in the New Gaiety’s new play, “The Orchid Hunt,” now include Messrs Payne, George Grossmith, jun., Fred Wright, jun., Harry Grattan, Robert Nainby, Will Bishop, and Lionel Mackinder, and Misses Connie Ediss, Hilda Jacobson, Gertie Millar, Lydia West, Gabrielle Ray, and Ethel Sydney.

 

The Scottish Referee – Friday 16th October 1903

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – The Sketch – Wednesday 8th July 1903

September 8, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Orchid – Theatre Programme – 26th October 1904

 

I bought this programme of The Orchid from a seller on ebay, the first cover shows the original with paper from the album which it was kept,

after quite a bit of time and a lot of cotton buds the second is the final and much better result.

August 31, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, Theatre Programme, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Orchid – The Tatler – Wednesday 11th November 1903

A Charming Dancer. –  Miss Gabrielle Ray as Thisbe at the new Gaiety gives promise of qualifying to win a place in the long roll of famous dancers. She has been five years in musical comedy, having made a beginning as Mamie Clancy in The Belle of New York with a company toured by Mr. Ben Greet. Then followed two years in his Casino Girl company as Dolly Twinkle, the part originated it the Shaftesbury by Miss Marie George. Four years previous to her engagement by Mr. Ben Greet Miss Ray had appeared as a child actress in a drama called Proof at the Elephant and Castle, and several pantomime parts in the provinces followed. A year ago she went to the Gaiety to under study Miss Gertie Millar in The Toreador, and from there went to the Apollo, where she has played Miss Letty Lind’s and Miss Ella Snyder’s parts without suffering by comparison. Miss Ray is neither French nor American as is surmised but comes from Lancashire.

The Tatler – Wednesday 11th November 1903

 

December 3, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Casino Girl, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, The Tatler, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Orchid – Theatre Advert – 1904

September 30, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, Theatre Adverts, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – The Illustrated London News – 2nd January 1869

The Gaiety Theatre, Strand.

The successful opening of the new Gaiety Theatre, on Monday week, has been reported in our dramatic chronicle. This theatre, as our London readers know, has been built under the superintendence of Mr. C. J. Phipps, architect, on the site of the Strand Music-Hall and of some adjoining properties, which give it a frontage on the Strand, Exeter-street, Catherine-street, and Wellington-street. The Strand front of the music-hall remains almost as formerly. A few modifications, however, have necessarily been made on the ground story by the formation of the approach to the stalls and boxes of the theatre. The rooms over this entrance and the new building along the Strand and Catherine-street will form a restaurant, entirely distinct from the theatre, but with a corridor of access from every tier of the theatre. The entrance in the Strand leads by a few steps to the level of the stalls, and by a spacious staircase to the balcony or grand tier and the upper boxes. Another entrance, also on this level, is in Exeter-street, on the other side of the stalls, which, though designed specially as a private entrance for the Royal family, is available as an exit-way case of sudden panic, there being a stone staircase from the entrance to the highest floor of the theatre, with communication on every level. There is also a corridor running under the back of the pit, solely for the use of the stalls’ occupants, so as to get from side to side without crossing the audience. The entrances to pit and gallery are in Catherine-street, and the stage entrance is in Wellington-street. The auditorium includes a balcony, the front forming a semicircle of 24ft., opening out by arms of a contrary flexure a width of 43ft. to the proscenium column. Behind this is a tier of private boxes, as at the Adelphi, upper boxes, and a gallery above. The columns supporting the various tiers are carried up to a sufficient height above the gallery, and from the cap spring a series of pointed arches, supporting cornice and coved ceiling. The proscenium pillars are all of stone. The dimensions of the interior are – 54 ft. height from centre of pit to ceiling; 45 ft. depth from curtain to front of upper circle, and 36 ft. from curtain to front of balcony tier; 30 ft. width of proscenium; 41 ft. depth of stage, and 64 ft. width of stage between walls. There is room to seat 2000 persons. The floors of the boxes and corridors are of concrete upon iron joists. The stage has been constructed Mr. G. R. Tasker, clerk of the works. There is depth of some 20 ft. under it for sinking large scenes, and a height above of 50 ft. All the departments of the stage are very complete. There is a convenient green-room, and the dressing-rooms appear to be sufficiently numerous. The coloured decorations have been executed by Mr. George Gordon, who has also painted the act-drop, which a framed view of a palace on the Grand Canal, Venice. A noticeable feature of the decoration is the frieze over the proscenium, painted by Mr. H. S. Marks, 30 ft. long by ft. 6 in. deep. It represents a King and Queen of mediaeval times, with surrounding courtiers, watching mask which is being performed before them. On each side of this frieze, over the proscenium boxes, are lunettes in the arches – the one on the left represents lyric and the other epic poetry -designed by the same artist.

The Illustrated London News – Saturday 2nd January 1869

 

The Theatre of Enchantment

September 9, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Illustrated London News, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Toreador – The Irish Daily Independent and Nation – Monday July 20th 1903

“THE TOREADOR.”

 Mr. George Edwardes’ original London Gaiety Company in “The Toreador,” is the attraction at the Dublin Gaiety Theatre during this week. The entire production has been transferred direct from London, including scenery, dresses, effects, etc. Mr. Edwardes has gone to enormous expense in carrying out this engagement. “The Toreador” finished its successful career on July 4th, and with it the “Old Gaiety.” The London Gaiety was opened by Mr. John Hollingshead on December 21st 1868, with a triple bill, made up of the operetta, “The Two Harlequins,”  Alfred Thompson’s adaptation of “L’Escamoteur,” “On the Cards,” and W. S. Gilbert’s operatic extravaganza, “Robert the Devil.” But three decades and a half have passed, and we already come to the final performance within a theatre whose varied policy and productions have been as much discussed as those of any playhouse in London.

For the last night of the “Old Gaiety” Mr. Edwards received over 20,000 applications for seats in the Pit and Gallery alone. Nearly every actor and actress of note has appeared et the London Gaiety at some time or other. Ada Cavendish, Samuel Phelps, Charles Matthews, John Ryder, George Conquest, Arthur Ceril, Sims Reeves, all appeared at the Gaiety in those early Hollingshead days. A good deal further down the fatal roll come the names of Fred Leslie, Kate Vaughan, E. J. Tounen, W. Elton, David James, Erneanx Cook, Tillie Belmore, Charles Harris, Meyer Lutz. In addition to “The Toreador” will be played “The Linkman,” or Gaiety Memories, which is a review of past Gaiety successes. All the most popular songs are introduced, and the old favourites impersonated by present-day artistes.

The company include Mr. Fred Wright, jun; Mr. Lionel Markinder, Mr. George Grosmith, jun; Mr. Robert Vainby, Mr. Harry Grattan, Mr. Herbert Clayton, Mr. Arthur Hatherton, and Mr. Edmund Payne. Amongst the ladies are Miss Connie Ediss, Miss Violet Lloyd, Miss Florence Allen, Miss Hilda Jacobsen, Miss Adrienne Augarde, Miss Gabrielle Ray. A remarkably handsome souvenir will be given away on Friday night. The production is in the capable hands of Mr. A. E. Dodson. The orchestra has been specially augmented, and will be under the direction of Mr. Jacques Greebe.

The Irish Daily Independent and Nation, Monday, July 20th 1903

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – The Tatler – Wednesday 5th August 1903

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

The fittings of the Gaiety were sold off last Wednesday prior to the (curiously named) “housebreaker” starting the art of demolition. That part of the building which used to house the restaurant has already been destroyed.

 

GAIETY STARS: HOW THEY USED TO TWINKLE

By One of Them, Miss Emily Soldene.

 

[Miss Emily Soldene has many reminiscences of the Gaiety. It is interesting to note that she has in a round about way kept up her connection with the famous house, for her niece, Miss Katie Vesey, has danced there a good deal. Miss Soldene now lives permanently in London, where she practises the gentle art of journalism on behalf of an Australian newspaper. A witty woman, she has written the most amusing autobiography a player has ever given us.]

“A prima donna in the pit,” said the Daily Mail on the Monday following the last night of the good old Gaiety. Quite right; I was the prima donna in the pit and had no end of a time with The Linkman. What memories of charming artists, of adorable and applauding audiences, of all the rush and fuss – the adulation, the devotion, the breathless wonder, the absolute personal exaltation that comes with the certainty of success. This revue brought people and things back so vividly, for I, too, had played my part in this theatre, and the recollection of those times filled my remembering eyes – with tears? Oh no! with a sort of dimness, a – well, you know. What bevies of beauty have beamed from the Gaiety stage. Selina Dolaro – dark, piquant, Spanish, languorous, “delightful Dolly.” I see her now, the princess in Fleur de Lys (the first work of Leo Delibes produced in England), wearing a closely-clinging robe of white silken damask with interwoven golden lilies of France, a train of cloudy diaphanous tulle, down one side of which fell a shower of water lilies.

Clara Vesey in Genevieve de Brabant – blue-eyed, long-lashed Clara Vesey, the rage of the town, the toast of the clubs, the perfectly-figured pet page to H.S.H. the Duke of Brabant, the ineffable grace, disdain, impertinence, and blasé exhaustion of her “Your highness, the dinner waits,” being worth all the money and Miss Annie Sinclair, our first Clairette in Madame Angot – how pretty, delicate, and demure she was.

Then Kate Vaughan, a vision of dainty beauty in some burlesque, I forget the name – Alice in Dick Whittington I fancy – wearing a short white satin dress trimmed with white lilac, a large muff of white lilac, an early Victorian bonnet of white lilac, and her bodice fitting like the paper on the wall.

These were the first days of the famous “corset” bodice, introduced by the ladies of the French company playing at that time L’ Etrangere at the Queen’s Theatre, Long Acre. The new bodice was of inestimable value to the willowy, graceful, and from head-to-heel uneventful beauties. Missing curves were introduced, angles were rounded, and everybody – at least every feminine body wondered “how it was done.” The corset was padded the lady walked in at the back – was laced up tightly, and there you are. Do you remember “Lardy” Wilson the magnificent, the beauteous Egertons, the delightful Love, the petite this, the saucy that, the pages in Chilperic, the maids of honour in Genevieve? Splendid, all picked girls, and making the best of their opportunities. (Of course, I am speaking from an artistic point.) How beautiful and busy they looked in the boudoir of the duchess sewing mysterious tiny garments for an expected addition to the ducal household. What airs and graces, what flouting of poor mere men – girls not so plentiful in those days, scarcely enough to go round, girls rather at a premium.

What eyes! Blue eyes, grey eyes, amethyst eyes, flashing eyes, soft brown eyes, bright hazel eyes, defiant eyes, appealing eyes, but all the lashes black – part of the contract, you know. I have heard people remark they thought the girls sometimes glanced at the johnnies in the stalls. I don’t believe it, do you?

Talking of johnnies in the stalls, we used to have visitors behind the scenes now and then. Patricians, peers, patrons, not to mention personages. Nothing frivolous. Oh no. Potent, grave, and reverend signors; that sort of thing you know. Among them came a most noble marquis – a charming person, and so thoughtful. One had only to shiver at night to receive an Indian shawl next morning. Then the gloves were always made to order. And the handkerchiefs, real Valenciennes, and the jeweller’s young man came down from Bond Street in a cab bringing big cases to “choose from.”

His lordship was a devotee of that poetical and perfect form of married life which decrees that one should not see too much of the other. He was broad-shouldered, broad-minded, and would murmur, “Shall not get in before the second act to-morrow. I dine with my lady; she is a great astronomer you know, and will only receive me one evening in the week.”

Not but what this sort of thing may be carried too far. I have heard of the head of a household being described by his butler (of the Admirable Crichton type) as “the gentleman who dines with us on Sundays.”

Then among our visitors was a society doctor – very handy at times. He always carried a flask of fine brown sherry in his breast pocket. Brown sherry was fashionable in those days – amontillado being my particular.

Funny things happened sometimes. At a Gaiety matinee during the Phelps season – I think the play was Richelieu; anyway it was at the time of the American Revivalists – in a front scene, one of the characters pointing off “o.p.” said, “He comes – he is moody.” “Where’s Sankey?” said a voice from the gallery – which broke the audience all up and spoilt the cardinal’s entrance. Somewhere about this time occurred the apotheosis of Sara – the high-kicker who used to dust the floor with her back hair. She did not dance during my engagements at the Gaiety, the theatre having too fine a sense of propriety to admit the interpolation of such a startling number as “Wiry Sal.” At the dress rehearsal of Madame Angot tempo 1873, a great strike among the gentle men of the chorus – it being decreed that the sartorial exigencies called for white wigs, and wearers of white wigs must of necessity be clean-shaven. Quite a riot in the theatre. The ladies of the chorus were furious “kicked” at such a sacrilegious idea and were prepared to go to any length in defence of these hirsute and admired adornments. One with tears in her eyes cried, “I’d rather throw up my engagement than my William should lose his moustaches.”

Autre temps, autre moeurs; moustaches are at a discount and legs have gone out of fashion. Positively the retrospective and redivivus ladies in tights presented by The Linkman gave me a shiver. How different are the massaged, manicured, frilled- furbelowed, voluminously-flounced chiffon- clad houris of the present to the simple sealskin brigade of the past. In those days of light and leading the less one had on the better, and polished nails were an accident.

Well, here’s to the “Gaiety girl of the present,” and though rather a “’orty” and petted young person long may she reign and have as good times as the “Gaiety girl of the past.”

 EMILY SOLDENE.

The Tatler – Wednesday 5th August 1903

A “tip-up seat.” For me it was a throne,

Whereon I took my place as king, with zest,

For whom the stars would twinkle, and the jest

Was blown.

An easy throne– the nimble ten-and-six

Gave me, how many times, the right to reign

And take the ready gift of Joy from Payne

(Or Hicks).

Seats that have heard such cheers from roof to stall,

Gaunt relics of the merrymaker’s feast,

I wonder what your fate. Perchance some

East- end hall.

Soon will the rain and every wayward wind

Sweep o’er the boards where sunny scenes were set

For poor Kate Vaughan and Sylvia Grey, and Letty Lind.

A JINGLE BY J. M. B.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment