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 – Betty – The Tatler – Wednesday 1st December 1915


And as the war seems to have brought back to the stage a kind of rejuvenation of simple, irresponsible things, so, too, it has brought back old favourites whom the playgoing world adored years – well, the days of peace do seem like years and years ago. Lily Elsie in Mavoureen shows us that she is just as adorably sweet and dainty as ever;  Gabrielle Ray in Betty proves once more that, in spite of the strenuous style of the successful American review artist, her kind of spoilt-child, wayward, careless, but distinctly personal charm is just as potent as ever.

The Tatler – Wednesday 1st December 1915


May 12, 2019 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – Betty – The Tatler – Wednesday 1st December 1915



Whose return to the stage has been quite one of the events of the year in light theatrical circles, which had missed her quaint singing and dainty dancing

The Tatler – Wednesday 1st December 1915

May 12, 2019 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – Betty – The Graphic – Saturday 12th February 1916


A charming addition was made to “Betty” at Daly’s on Monday by the appearance of two Russian dancers, Les Stepanoff, from the opera houses of Moscow and Petrograd. They appear in the third act, and give a very neat exhibition of true Russian ballet-dancing. Some changes have been effected in the play itself, notably at the beginning, for we are now plunged right into the story without the preliminary buttons business. But it all goes with great verve, because the central story is a good one. Miss Barnes and Mr. Donald Calthrop are an ideal pair of lovers-on-the-defensive (always a fascinating role), Mr. Lowne is still the incomparable Duke, Miss Gabrielle Ray is the best Estelle we have had, having lost none of her old insouciance, and Mr. Lauri de Frece is in his element as the dressmaker Jotte. Altogether a charming piece of pretty sentiment, as against the many old guffaws of musical comedy.


The Graphic – Saturday 12th February 1916


May 12, 2019 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dollar Princess – The Bystander – Wednesday 6th October 1909








THE subject of money is always a very fascinating one to people like myself, who know no more of it than we read about in books or see in plays. Now and again you meet a man who has some money, or, at least, knows someone who once saw some of it; but these are rare occasions nowadays. Perhaps that is why the atmosphere of The Dollar Princess is so refreshing. Not only do the various scenes suggest wealth in really reckless quantities, but I have read a paragraph in a paper to the effect that the production itself cost no less than ten thousand pounds. I had no idea there was all that money left in the country.

IT is generally admitted that one of the most difficult things in the world is to repeat a success, and Mr. George Edwardes must have had to look about him with a very wary eye when the time came to replace The Merry Widow with an attraction that would be equally successful but, after having seen The Dollar Princess, it seems to me that his eye might have been a trifle warier with advantage. For now that what Mr. Kipling calls the “tumult and the shouting” have faded away, and we have had the leisure to reflect upon what can be done with ten thousand pounds, it really seems to me that Mr. Edwardes ought to have got a little more for his money. I quite understand that the bare suggestion of such a thing is rank heresy to the third power, but with that yearning for truth which is the undoing of all great reformers, I am compelled to say that The Dollar Princess impressed me as being a very ordinary musical comedy, distinguished from the average only by the very high quality of the musical part. In coming to this conclusion 1 feel my position keenly – like the prisoner in the dock. All London has been positively whooping over the success of the thing, and here am I, like a Jonah barking in the wilderness, or whatever it is, obstinately refusing to be guided by the judgment of my betters.

THE idea of the comedy is good – distinctly good. There is a young multi millionaire, whose name sounds like “cucumber” until you find on referring to your programme that it is Harry Q. Conder (Mr. Joseph Coyne), and whose staff of servants is recruited entirely from the ranks of the impoverished British aristocracy. There are a duke and an earl, and there is one young man without a title of any kind, but who claims noble descent because he was called William – after the Conqueror, a little gleam of nonsensical humour which is welcome, not so much for its brilliance as for its rarity. Mr. Conder, having engaged his aristocrats at a high salary, always gets his money’s worth by addressing them by their full titles, whether they are grooms or butlers or chambermaids. This idea, generously developed, should have been sufficient to make a success of the story but it is not insisted on after the first scene or two, and we gradually come to regard the servants surrounding the millionaire and his sister as quite ordinary mortals. It would not matter much if there were any other source of fun in the play; but as this idea seems to have been the motif of the piece, it seemed to me a pity not to insist on it a little more.

I THINK the story is weakened by the fact that the love interest is split, just for all the world as if it were one of those horrid infinitives. Mr. Conder shares his palatial mansion with his sister Alice (Miss Lily Elsie), and we have two leading love stories to follow to their happy conclusion. This is a rather daring novelty to spring upon a public which has always been taught to believe that it has a sort of hereditary claim to see the hero and the heroine of a play marrying each other at the finish. It is true that, for the sake of contrast, Conder conducts his love making with light and buoyant humour, as if, after all, it didn’t matter whether the lady married him or not while Alice takes her love affair with dead seriousness, and positively staggers with excitement at the end of the second act on finding that the young man of her choice declines to admit that her dollars are to be compared to his own advantage of gentle birth. In this part Mr. Robert Michaelis makes what is unquestionably the hit of the production. One of the reasons for the success of Mr. Michaelis is that the play is strongest on its musical side, and as this gentleman not only has a very fine voice, but also possesses the ability to employ it to the greatest advantage, he has had good luck added to his own good management. I think his ideas of humour are at times a little extravagant, but much may be forgiven an artist with so many admirable qualities. His final duet with Miss Elsie as the curtain falls is one of the most pleasing features in the entertainment.

MISS EMMY WEHLEN is a newcomer at Daly’s, but she bids fair to rank as one of the prime favourites at that house. She is called Olga in the piece, and it therefore seems quite superfluous to add that she is a Russian Countess. We should doubt the credentials of a Russian Countess who had not got Olga for at least one of her names. Miss Wehlen has a well-trained voice, and she sings with a delicate humour that adds a considerable charm to her efforts. Mr. W. H. Berry has quite a small part, but he works very hard to wrench a little fun out of it, and in this respect I think he is the most successful of any of the humorists in the piece. His performance came as quite a relief at times when we were, to use a very ordinary term, “fed up” with mere prettiness and severely correct music. Perhaps, as the play settles down, Mr. Berry may have more opportunities of showing his quality; and I think the same benefit might be conferred on Mr. Evelyn Beerbohm, who is a good man practically left idle when there is a really crying demand for the sort of work he knows how to do so well. Another of the successes is Miss Gabrielle Ray, who gives, with Mr. Willie Warde, one of the happiest song-and-dance turns of the evening. It seems a trifle cheap to talk about a little Ray of sunshine, but, after all, the facts must speak for themselves, even if they are guilty of punning when they do it.

JOSEPH COYNE seems to lose a little of his glamour in conventional costume. We have associated him for so long with astrachan and top boots that it is a little difficult to accept him as the pink of West-End fashion. His best turn is a song and dance on the tennis courts with a number of pretty ladies, who oblige with the chorus but doubtless he, too, will feel more at home in his part presently. Miss Lily Elsie is, as ever, quite delightful. She sings and acts with a gentle grace that wins all hearts, my own included, and there is no doubt, to judge by the temper of the audience, that she is still the queen of the ——– excuse me. I had very nearly said “Daly males,” and we really can’t allow that sort of thing in a responsible paper, especially as Miss Elsie seems to be quite as popular with the ladies as with us boys.

WHAT is the matter with the piece? Mr. George Edwardes has clearly spared neither pains nor money in his effort to produce a worthy piece of work. The music and the acting are all that could be desired, except that I could find nothing that promised to be “popular” among the melodies. It almost looks as if the aim had been a little too high, with the result that the whole thing has turned out to be too severely correct. After all, the man in the street still counts for something, but unless he has a highly developed taste in music I do not see where he is catered for in this avowedly popular production. It seems a poor return for the great courtesy shown to me at Daly’s Theatre that I should go out of my way to say unpleasant things about the piece, but the best of us can do no more than speak according to the light that is in him.



The Bystander – Wednesday 6th October 1909


December 1, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Bystander, The Dollar Princess, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Lady Dandies – The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – Saturday 30th March 1907

June 3, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, The Lady Dandies, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Merry Widow – The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News – Saturday 1st February 1908

The Merry Widow – The Play Pictorial

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, The Merry Widow, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Lady Dandies – The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News – Saturday 13th April 1907


Kimono (Rotary 1956 A)

Gabrielle Ray (Rotary 4170 B)

November 3, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Kimono, Social History, The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, The Lady Dandies, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Merry Widow – The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – 6th March 1909

September 23, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, The Merry Widow, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Merry Widow – The Daily Telegraph – Monday 9th September 1907


 “The Merry Widow” has more than fulfilled the promise of her first appearance; dainty, winsome and graceful, she has captured the hearts of the play-going public. Crowded houses at Daly’s attest her popularity, which seems only to increase with every performance. But Mr. George Edwardes has a particularly large-handed way with his patrons; even when the measure appears to be full, he is intent upon adding to its contents. In this spirit, although visitors to Daly’s are already abundantly satisfied with the fare offered them, Mr. Edwardes introduced on Saturday night a delightful little novelty, which served materially to enhance the pleasure of the evening. It also secured the presence in the cast of Miss Gabrielle Ray, in the role of the much-talked-about Frou Frou. Two chances she afforded of distinguishing herself, and of both she makes the very best use. In the second act Miss Ray appears with Mr. W. H. Berry in a duet, entitled “Little Simpleton,” which is rounded off in unorthodox fashion by a dance. Miss Ray’s success was as emphatic as it was instantaneous. Anything more easy, more refined, or more fascinating than her movements could not be imagined. In her style there were touches that recalled those distant days when Kate Vaughan, young, lithe, exquisite, took the town by storm, moving the Gaiety “boys” to a frantic exhibition of enthusiasm. Her successor belongs, of course, to a more modern school, a school which, if we may so express ourselves, has just the merest suspicion of the gymnasium about it. How attractive it is, however, everyone knows. In thy third set of “The Merry Widow” Miss Ray has another “song and dance,” hardly so effective perhaps as the first one, but in this too she is seen to marked advantage. The applause showered upon the newcomer on both occasions showed how thoroughly the audience appreciated Mr. Edwardes’s latest happy thought. For the rest, if there is anything more refreshingly comic or inconsequentially droll than Mr. George Graves’s portrait the fatuous Baron Popoff we should be glad to learn of it. Nor does Mr. Graves stand alone, for to the feast of merriment Mr. W. H. Berry, Mr. Lennox Pawle, Mr. Fred Kaye, and Mr. William Spray contribute their full share. In the momentary absence of Miss Lily Elsie the title-part in “The Merry Widow” is now entrusted to Miss Gertrude Lester, the possessor of an exceptionally sympathetic and powerful voice and of acting talents of no mean order. Nor must the valuable assistance given by Mr. Robert Evett as Jolidon and by Mr. Joseph Coyne as Prince Danilo be forgotten.


The Daily Telegraph – Monday 9th September 1907


September 8, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Merry Widow, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – Betty – The Tatler – Wednesday 10th November 1915

Wonderful Gertie and Graceful “Gabs.”

Only the best of the species remain – Gertie Millar at the Palace and now Gabrielle Ray in Betty at Daly’s. Gertie Millar has not cultivated the “flashing” manner of review, but she has perfected the daintier one of musical-comedy, and the contrast between, say, Teddie Gerard and herself is piquant. Gabrielle Ray has returned far more vital and “alive” than when she went away. She puts into her work a flair and a “go” which was never there in her former Gaiety days. And, if anything, she is more bewitching to look at than ever! In the dainty, rather meaningless, dancing of musical-comedy she is still unapproached. Altogether her art has taken a new lease of life, and Betty will certainly profit by her coming. Lauri de Frece, in the part left vacant by the departure of W. H. Berry to the Adelphi, is not yet as funny as his predecessor, but, given time, he will certainly prove his worth. He is one of the few comedians who, what- ever part they play, are always artists, never simply buffoons.

The Tatler – Wednesday 10th November 1915

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment