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?'

Indictment of Mr George Edwardes – The Modern Man – Saturday 9th December 1911




Mr. George Edwardes has been celebrating his twenty-fifth anniversary in theatrical management.

So far as any personal feeling is concerned, I join most cordially in the widespread congratulations that have been showered upon Mr. Edwardes as a private individual, but I think the time has come to consider what he has done as a public man, whether we are to regard him as a benefactor of his race, or something very much the reverse. For twenty-five years Mr. Edwardes has been a big power in theatre-land, and as such he has had a great influence on public taste; it might not be an exaggeration to say on national character. Has his influence been for good or ill?


 I charge Mr. Edwardes, in the first instance, with having extinguished the sacred lamp of burlesque, with having replaced comic opera and Gilbert and Sullivan by musical comedy.

The prisoner may plead that he but followed the changing order of public taste, and gave the public what they wanted. He may also say that in his later years he has shown a tendency to repent, and to give us musical plays which are occasionally threatened with intelligence and some shadowy substance of coherence which might almost be mistaken for a plot – by a person of powerful imagination.

The latter plea may be urged at the proper time, in mitigation of punishment, but I am not going to allow any red herrings to be drawn across the trail.

George Edwardes is charged with being the inventor of musical comedy, and to that indictment there can be but one answer, “Guilty.”

This being so, we have now to consider the extent, results, and effects of his offence.


Lunatic asylums, rest cure and other homes are still crowded with the victims of musical comedy.

In many of these cases the unfortunate patient’s brain gave way under the strain of attempting to follow the plot; but the worst sufferers are the victims of the hero-worship engendered by musical comedy.

Here is atypical case: X.Y. was a respectable, sensible young man until one night he went to the Gaiety pit.

He went again, and again, and again. No; it is not the usual sordid story of embezzlement; he could afford his half a crowns. But Mr. Teddy Payne became an obsession with him. He took to dressing like the famous comedian, to speaking like him, and he accumulated 2,342 picture postcards of Mr. Payne. To-day X.Y. is in an asylum, quite harmless save for the fixed delusion that he is Teddy Payne, and that the fellow on the stage is a base impostor.

Similarly, I have met many poor ladies in asylums (only as a visitor; only as a visitor) who were convinced that they Were Miss Ellaline Terriss, Miss Gertie Millar, or Miss Lily Elsie.


I remember one brawny female, who advanced towards me singing, “Just a little bit of string; Such a simple little thing.” And she certainly would have had me on a bit of string, had I not hurriedly clambered over the wall.

Then think of the incense poured out at the shrines of musical comedy favourites by the youths and maidens of the nation.

I knew one poor chap who often went without his lunch in order to buy picture postcards of Miss Gabrielle Ray, while a Girton girl, who would probably have been bracketed equal with the Senior Wrangler, failed to get even a pass because she took to collecting and worshipping photographs of Mr. Hayden Coffin.

I have mentioned picture postcards. Most of us have suffered from them. Of course, Mr. Edwardes did not invent the picture postcard, but he and musical comedy were responsible for the growth of the plague.

Diving a recent holiday, I received from feminine relatives and acquaintances 33 Picture postcards of Miss Elsie, 29 of Miss Millar, 28 of Miss Jean Aylwin, 25 of Miss Gabrielle Ray.

Thousands of men expecting an important letter, on hearing the postman’s knock have hurried to the door only to be handed jewelled picture postcard of Mr. George Grossmith, junior, or Miss Isabel Jay.

This sort of thing has broken up many a once happy home. The modern married man  – experto crede – has to put up with a lot, but he is apt to kick when he finds that there is no dinner for him because his wife has been busy completing her Huntley Wright gallery.

Millions of hard-working men have to eat a lonely and unsatisfactory Saturday dinner because their women folk have gone to a musical comedy matinee.

Nowadays when a man has a tiff with his wife, she threatens to go on the musical comedy stage, if she is anything under seventy, or remarks that Blank Dash, the famous low comedian, gets £500 a week, and if you were half a man you would be doing the same.

The women of the middle-classes have ceased to take any rational interest in life. They think, so far as their mental apparatus will allow’ them, and dream of nothing but musical comedy.

They are not quite sure whether Mr. Bonar Law is a Conservative or a Liberal, but they can give you full and complete biographies of almost any musical comedy favourite.


The other evening I took a damsel into dinner. She snubbed me severely until I happened to mention something about Mr. Joseph Coyne. “O, do you know him?” she  cried, and when I admitted that I had that honour, she looked at me as if I had suddenly announced myself as – well, the King or Mr. George Edwardes.

Mr. George Edwardes has emptied middle-class homes of girls. They are all on the stage as “show girls,” by no means blushing exhibits for the delectation of elderly roués and feeble-minded youths.

And now the ladies of the aristocracy, in self-defence, and as their best chance of catching a husband, are going into musical comedy.

George, I was very nearly forgetting your worst crime of all. If you ever have nightmare I hope it takes the form of being pricked to death with matinee hatpins. But for you there would have been no matinee hats. Man, I hope for your own sake you have not a sensitive conscience.

The tale of your crimes is almost complete, but not quite. You were the originator of the musical comedy tenor, beside whom he of grand opera is a shrinkingly modest person.


 Who is responsible for the fact that I cannot open a magazine or weekly illustrated without being presented with an undesired view of Miss Footlight’s teeth?

Who invented the hydra-headed author, and put an otherwise blameless University don to writing musical comedy lyrics?

Who has ‘given us the finest and most artistic stage management and stage-mounting in the world?

Who has given us an entertainment that is usually merry and bright and clean, and thus brought some glint of brightness into millions of colourless lives?

You, you, you!



The Modern Man – Saturday 9th December 1911



November 23, 2021 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The American Register – Sunday 3rd August 1913



Nee Gabrielle Ray, the famous musical comedy actress, whom dainty dancing has now ceased to be one of the favourite features in Mr. George Edwardes’s numerous productions. It will be remembered that Mrs. Loder caused something of a sensation on her wedding day, for she so far neglected her duties as a bride as to fail to put an appearance at the church. However, all’s well that ends well, and a week later the postponed marriage took place. During her stage career Mrs. Loder was one of the most bephotographed members of the musical comedy stage.


The American Register – Sunday 3rd August 1913


December 19, 2020 Posted by | Actress, Eric Loder, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Merry Widow Dinner – The Era – Saturday 6th February 1909




The O. P. Club, founded in 1900, by Mr. Carl Hentschel, has been responsible for many interesting functions. The most noticeable that may be mentioned are the Welcome Home Dinner to Sir Henry Irving and Miss Ellen Terry, the Congratulatory Dinner to Sir Charles Wyndham, the Welcome Home Supper to Mr. Charles Hawtrey and Mr. Lionel Brough, and Congratulatory Dinner to Sir John Hare and Sir Charles Santley, and recently the celebrated Savoyard Dinner. Last Sunday’s function, The Merry Widow Dinner, held at the Hotel Cecil, eclipsed all others in point of numbers and interest. It was the first time that any body of playgoers 550 strong had assembled celebrate the success of any particular play. The O.P. Club were honouring not only Mr. George Edwardes, who is, indeed, rarely seen at public dinners, but also they were welcoming the artists who have taken part in this world-famed opera. The President, Mr. Max Pemberton, proposed the toast of “The Hit of the Century,” to which Mr. George Edwardes replied, and Mr. Mostyn T. Piggott proposed The Merry Widow, which Miss Lily Elsie and Mr. Joseph Coyne responded. As a memento of dinner, Mr. Mostyn T. Pigott, on behalf of the O.P. Club, presented to Miss Lily Elsie neat silver jewel casket, tortoiseshell top inlaid with silver, bearing the inscription: “The O.P. Club “Merry Widow” Dinner. Jan. 31, 1909.” A pretty and exceedingly artistic souvenir menu, which had been specially prepared for this dinner, and designed and produced by Mr. Carl Hentschel, was in the hands of every guest.

Amongst those present were Mr. L. A. Atherley-Jones, K.C., M.P., Mr. Frank Boor, Miss Phyllis Broughton, Miss Alexandra Carlisle, Major Campbell Coffin, Mrs. Campbell Coffin, Mr. Algernon Collins, Mrs. Algernon L. Collins, Mr. Joseph Coyne, Mr. Harding Cox, Miss Evelyn D’Alroy, Miss Marie Dainton, Mr. Frank Dcsprez, Miss Desprez, Miss Irene Desmond, Miss Constance Drever, Mr. G. Spencer Edwards, Mr. George Edwardes, Miss Lily Elsie, Miss Clara Evelyn, Mr. Robert Evett, Mr. Thomas Fraser, Mr. Fred Farren, Mr. Albert Garcia, Mr. George Grosssmith, jun., Miss Evie Greene, Mr. Carl Hentschel, Mrs. Carl Hentschel, Miss Hentschel, Miss Elsie Irving, Mr. Herman Jacoby, Miss Nora Kerin, Mr. Maurice Levy, Miss Phyllis Legrand, Col. Henry Mapleson, Miss Greville Moore, Mr. Ernest Mayer, Miss Gertie Millar, Mr. J. F. McArdle, Mr. G. E. Minor, Mr. Edmund Payne, Mrs. Edmund Payne, Mr. Max Pemberton, Mrs. Max Pemberton, Mme. Petite, Miss Jessie Rose, Mr. Harry Randall, Mr. George Rollit, Miss Gabrielle Ray, Mr. T. McDonald Rendie, Mr. Frank Richardson, Miss Vera Thornton, Miss Gertrude Thornton, Sir J. Somers Vine, and Miss Kate Welch.

After the toast of “The King” had been heartily honoured,

The CHAIRMAN, proposing “The Hit the Century,” said, in the course of his remarks: I cannot say that Mr. George Edwardes has satisfied me. He has not told me how make the hit the century. His secret, ghastly or otherwise, remains in his own possession, and so I am left to answer for him, and tell you that the secret of his life is success, and that we are here to celebrate that success with all the goodwill we can command. We are here, indeed, to recognise the fact that has spent more than twenty-five years in a continuous endeavour to amuse the people. I need hardly say that such task provokes criticism, that it makes enemies but best of all that it makes friends. If you amuse the people you are criticised by those who not amuse the people. These about crying the Ephesians of old, “Great are Shaw and the Shavians,” but you will discover them none the less where widows are merry, and you will not be surprised that Superman, who has known them, drowns the memory in a lingering waltz. I repeat they do not amuse the people. Now, it would be impossible celebrate Mr. George Edwardes’ many triumphs and to ignore the particular form of entertainment by which they have been won. I might speak of musical comedy in many phases. I might speak of its educational side as well ordered system for the secondary training of peers, a system embracing considerable knowledge of geography and topography, with some sidelights upon the manners and customs of alien people. I might ask how many schoolboys—public school boys—knew much of Dantzig or Gottenberg, or the French Riviera before Mr. George Edwardes personally conducted them to those interesting localities. One might even venture the question: How far was the economic status of the shop-girl understood before the production of The Girl from Kay’s? These I will avoid, preferring to regard musical comedy as the oldest fashion of all mere emotional display. Is it not after all, just singing and dancing, and is not that all the world? May we not believe that the children of Israel had their musical comedies in the desert, and that Moses took a stage box, while the show was generally presented by Moses? More than this, am I not permitted by the theologians to tell you that, whatever be the fate of mere comedy and drama in the world to come, singing and dancing will be the permanent recreations of the blessed. If this implies that the problem play must be performed in a somewhat heated atmosphere, the fault is not mine. I claim elemental virtues for this form of art or recreation or whatsoever you choose to call it, and I say that there no nonsense about it. When the young art student said to Whistler, “I paint what I see” he retorted, “Ah, but the tragedy will come when you see what you paint.” The man who produces a successful musical comedy must see what his artists paint all the time, and there must be no tragedy about it. For twenty-five years and more has Mr. George Edwardes done this – lavishly, fearlessly with honest purpose, great courage, and splendid achievement. He himself is the true story of musical comedy. It was in the year 1885 that he presented to us his first study of the criminal law, Little Jack Sheppard. With one exception our guest is thus the doyen of London managers. I hold in my hand a list of his children; is it not an instructive document? Seven bouncing girls to begin with, a few boys to keep the house lively-children of many lands and many colours – Greeks, Spaniards, Germans, aristocratic collaterals, and indispensable poor relations. As we read it the names of many delightful players recur to us. Some of these children have left the old home for the splendour of palaces and the realisation of unlimited bank balance – some, perhaps, have found the balances not what they expected – I pass over that; but out of it all the supreme fact emerges that though girls may come and girls may go, all London will re-echo the wish that Mr. George Edwardes – the very father of our gaiety-may for ever. Such is the sentiment I venture to commend to you. We are here – the ladies will permit me for the moment to address the mere males – we are here, most of us, married men, to celebrate the joyousness of widows. To this has our simple human nature been led by the thunderbolt which Mr. George Edwardes has fired among us, the hit which still leaves our ears singing. By him we have learned that when, gentlemen, are dead and gone, are seeking  new melodies from unfamiliar instruments, then our widows will be spending the twenty millions we intend to leave them in vulgar flirtations in a beer garden. This needs much courage to contemplate, but where courage is concerned, Mr. Edwardes is our friend. By him consolation shall come; by him the wind shall tempered to the shorn lamb; with him we will forget for a little while that brief life is here our portion, and that the funds are falling one by one. He, indeed, is our true friend, and caring little about hits and little about misses, I ask you to drink his health with gratitude and with enthusiasm.

GEORGE EDWARDES, who, in rising, was received with tumultuous applause, said, in reply to the toast:- Mr. President. Ladies and Gentlemen, – It is with some diffidence that I rise to return thanks for the toast that my friend Mr. Pemberton has brightly proposed. The delivery of speeches from the stage and elsewhere is not department managerial duty in which I profess to be proficient. It does not matter much on a first night, because some kind friends are cheering and other kind friends are booing, and nobody hears a word. If 1 could confine my speeches to there rare occasions – they could not be too rare – I might acquire a reputation as an orator. But in the presence of audience of orators I will be brief and not more tedious than I can help. It is good of you to allude to the piece with which I am connected as the “Hit of the Century,” I hope it will not be the only hit of the century, for there are ninety-one more years to run, and I cannot afford to run Daly’s Theatre for ninety-one years on the surplus profits of The Merry Widow. Certainly The Merry Widow has had a wider success than any musical piece since The Mikado. I feel somewhat shy in returning thanks for The Merry Widow and those concerned in presenting her to London. I have had long experience in dealing with girls – Gaiety girls who never went to the Gaiety, and all sorts of other girls who did, but this is my first widow. Well, I won the widow by methods of wooing unnecessary to mention here, and having won her I had to introduce her to the British public. To begin with, I had to teach her to speak English, and then I had find her an English-speaking lover and a circle of friends.

It was not easy to settle on the people to play the widow or her lover. Prima donnas for light opera have never been plentiful in England, and those who had already attained fame in that position were mostly engaged. I had to choose some lady, not so much for what the public had seen her do as for what I hoped they would see her do. The lady I need not name. The authors and the composer said, “Who this lady? We have not heard her.” I replied “Come and see her!” They came, and there was no more trouble. But with the part Danilo there was more difficulty. Danilo is, as those of you who have been in Germany will know, a singing part, and it is also an acting part. Now when one author and the composer came over, they said, “Who is your tenor? Who is going sing Damlo?” Then I had to explain that my tenor, though an admirable vocalist, was somewhat out voice – that was nervous. When they insisted on hearing Mr. Joseph Coyne, I used to turn on Mr. Adrian Ross to talk German them. Well, by hook or crook, and by exhausting all the resources of managerial mendacity, I delayed the evil day, but at last Mr. Leon and Mr. Lehar heard my tenor, and they said, or at least Mr. Leon, who speaks English, said, “Why, your tenor does not sing at all – he talks” “Yes,” I answered, “but did you ever hear man talk a song better?” They were indignant – they wanted to start for Vienna at once. I had put Mr. Ross on to tell them the next train in German, and by the time he had finished the train had gone. Eventually, being very nice people, they quieted down. They did want to tell what they thought of my conduct, but it was agreed that Mr. Lehar should express it In Hungarian or Czech. I don’t speak Czech, though I write it well. They stayed to the first night – and I will say more. To show you the difficulties with which managers have to contend, I was once negotiating with lady to go to India as prima donna, and I thought I would approach the question artfully. We were nearly agreed – the difference between us was a paltry £100 a week – I offered her £100, the same salary as I had paid to Miss Farren, and she asked me £200 a week. I began to tell her of the rest for her voice. I spoke of the lovely voyage, the quiet Bay of Biscay, the blue Mediterranean, her arrival at Calcutta, the glories of India, how the lady would win the hearts of all the princes, of Jams and Rams and Dams, Nawabs and Nabobs, Rajahs and Maharajahs. I said, “They’ll send you ropes of pearls to tie up your dresses, elephants with trunks full of emeralds, and diamonds enough for a skirt – and skirts were skirts in those days.” I said, “What is a miserable hundred a week the side of that?” Well, I thought I had impressed the lady. She promised think it over. She did. Next day I got note :-

“Dear Mr. Edwardes,

Give terms and you can keep the presents.”

If I am not boring you I would like to tell yon a little story of the last night of the old Gaiety. Well. I was very anxious to get Sir Henry Irving to come and say a few farewell words for us on the stage at the end of the performance, but I was rather afraid that would not turn up, so on the night before I called at Drury Lane Theatre, where he was then playing Dante, and I went his room see him. I told him that there was intense excitement about the last night, I reminded him that he was an old Gaiety actor, and that the public were very anxious to see him at the Gaiety. “Great excitement to see me, is there?” he said. “The greatest.” I replied. “Inquiries if I’m coming all day the box office, eh?” “The telephones have not ceased ringing,” was answer. “Telegrams and letters all day, too!” “All day!” “Edwardes, what d –d liar you are!” And now, before I sit down, let say how much I value the kindly welcome that we of The Merry Widow have had here to-night. It is a great honour to be entertained by the O.P. Club. There were once O.P. riots at the theatre. I am sure none of the members of the club would do anything of that sort. There is another sense in which O.P. is used on the stage – it means opposite to prompt. That also is not the meaning of this club. In their real for the best interests of the drama, in their friendly welcome to excellence, native or foreign, they are prompt – not the opposite. But whenever I go on the stage to rehearse before production, or booed after it, I shall look across to the O. P. side and remember to-night.  For we managers, even managers of musical plays, have our artistic ambitions, even if we have to think of business considerations. We try to give the best we can get; we do not intentionally bore the critics and the public, as some people seem to think. We do not instruct the librettists to put in an especially stupid line order to annoy the fastidious people in the stalls. Perhaps we didn’t know the line was stupid – or perhaps didn’t put it in at all. We try our best – if we fail, generally know it better than others, but, after all, it is not criminal, if we succeed we, value better than the money rewards of success the kindly recognition and welcome of those who know – our friends and hosts of the O.P. Club.

Mr, MOSTYN T. PIGOTT, in submitting the toast of The Merry Widow said; “You have learnt how the Merry Widow has cast her spell over the major portion of the civilised world; how Germany, Austria, and the United States have formed a Triple Alliance to do her honour; how the Antipodes have bowed beneath her sway; and how even the illimitable veldt has yielded to her blandishments. France alone has so far kept clear of the entanglement, but there can be doubt that before very long that beauty-loving and laughter-loving land will echo the cries of “Vive la Veuve!” But there are certain illuminating facts to which your attention has so far not been directed. From certain unimpeachable authorities I have from time to time gleaned many items of interest and value. For instance, I find that since The Merry Widow was first produced, the various interpreters of the title-role have received between them no less than 19,066 proposals of marriage; that the various impresarios have comfortably banked the cool sum of £19,000,002 as their profits; and that there is a not inconsiderable section of the House of Lords which believes that the best method of reforming that much-abused institution would be to co-opt Mr. Joseph Coyne. With regard to the last-named item, I may say that I think personally that it would be a graceful act to make a peer of the realm of one who, though by the mere accident of birth an American, has been adopted by this country as a Coyne of the realm, and a sound, sterling, and true-ringing Coyne at that. And what of Miss Lily Elsie? Zounds, oddsbodikins, and gadzooks! as Mr. Max Pemberton’s heroes have a habit of remarking, to say that she has brought a whole nation to her feet would to put the matter but mildly. In these days, when, unfortunately, only too many of our leading actors and actresses appear to get bored with a part after a run of 100 nights, it is deliciously refreshing to see Miss Elsie, as I saw her only yesterday afternoon, playing her part with the same charming freshness, the same sincerity, and the same absence of exaggeration as she displayed twenty months ago. It is constantly, being hurled at us as a reproach nowadays that we are as a nation wallowing in abyss of apathy, that we are deaf to the call of duty, and blind to the imminence of danger. But I make bold to say that, were there danger impending, Miss Lily Elsie has only don the uniform the Territorial Army and sound her bugle, and there would not male inhabitant of these islands who would not cheerfully enrol himself under her banner, and who would not march to death or glory with smiling face to the accompaniment of that haunting melody to which we have luncheoned, dined, supped, aye, and even taken our morning tubs for so long. Under the lithe and lissome leadership of our Marsovial Joan of Arc we should literally waltz round our unfortunate and foredoomed foe. But we must not let this evening pass without some words of recognition to others to whom honour is due. There are other ladies present who have charmingly represented The Merry Widow, and there are other ladies and gentlemen present amongst us who, by their sweet singing, their graceful dancing, and their genial and unforced humour, have largely contributed to the unprecedented success of this wonderful piece as members of one of the most thoroughly gifted casts ever seen in London. We are not here to-night say “Farewell” to The Merry Widow. She is in her zenith, and it may be years and years before that sad word must said. So it is not only with hearts full of thanks for the past but also with hearts full of hope for the future that we will drink to the toast of “The Merry Widow.” But before that toast is formally put to you for your enthusiastic reception I have a pleasing duty to perform. I am deputed by the committee of the O.P. Club to ask Miss Lily Elsie to accept this little jewel casket, and to express the hope that she will live for many many years to look upon it with kindly eyes as souvenir of celebration which has been to her, we trust, delightful, and which has been, we know, well won.

MISS LILY ELSIE, who received a most enthusiastic ovation, responded the following words: Mr. Ladies, Mrs. President, and Gentlemen, – Oh! there, I’ve mixed it up. I’m sorry, but I am so nervous. I don’t think I was worse my own first night. I tried to learn a speech; I couldn’t. All yesterday I was thinking. I was thinking where I could hide these few notes; they are not my salary. Mr. Edwardes has that, I hope. First I thought of putting in my hat, but it wasn’t large enough – my hat, I mean. I thought of putting it under these gloves, but they faded. So here are my thanks in writing – own. It’s awful writing; I can hardly read it, however. Oh! I’ve put down something funny I thought of. I think it most appropriate I should address you, because you are merry. I don’t mean too merry – is that good? – and although you are not widows, you are smoking my weeds. Mr. Coyne will say that to-morrow night. That’s half my speech. Would you like any more? Very well. I want to say how much I owe my dear manager, Mr. Edwardes, for I fully realise that it is the part that makes the artist, not the artist who makes the part. I thought you would have said “No, no!” And another thing, it has been a pleasure to act with Mr. Joseph Coyne. Ladies, gentlemen, and others, I want to sit down, as I am so nervous; but before I do, will you allow very gratefully to thank you to thank you from my heart for the way in which you have been indulgent enough to endorse Mr. Edwardes’s choice of the obscure little girl I was, and am still? I thank you; indeed I do.

Mr. JOSEPH COYNE, replying the same toast, said in the coarse of his remarks: I have not only the O. P. Club to thank for your kind invitation to this delightful gathering, but also Mr. Edwardes, who made it possible for me to be a member of The Merry Widow company, because, as everyone knows by this time, the part of Danilo in The Merry Widow is a singing part absolutely, and, as everyone knows now – or at least they knew before the first night was over – I was not singer. When Mr. Edwardes offered me the part of Danilo I knew there was a lot of music to be sung, and told him that I knew and felt could not sing it. But he insisted. He told that what I could not sing or did not sing I could recite, and after much persuasion he finally got me to consent to accept the part on condition that I could recite what I did not sing. Well, rehearsals started, and of course while Mr. Edwardes was directing them everything went all right as far as I was concerned. Finally, the week before the production Mr. Edwards had Mr. Lehar, the composer, and Mr. Leon, the author, over to attend the final rehearsals. Everything went swimmingly until my entrance as Prince to sing the Maxim song, and as soon as I opened my mouth and started to sing Mr Lehar’s smiles turned to frowns, he fidgeted in his chair, and did not strike the keys at all. In fact, he looked from one to another, first at Mr. Edwardes, then at Mr. Leon and Mr. Slavinsky, as much as to say, “What the devil is this? What is this you are springing me? “The song was finished Mr. Lehar immediately left the piano, and got his hat and coat, and called Mr Leon and Mr Slavinsky, and all three of them left the theatre abruptly. Immediately they went to their hotel and packed their belongings, paid their bill, and sent to Mr. Edwaedes that they were going to return Vienna at once. Mr Edwardes went the hotel to find out what the trouble was, and through Slavinsky he learned that Mr. Lehar objected me – he objected to my playing the part of Danilo, and went off in his German, “”Mein Gott, this man Coyne – he cannot sing – he will ruin my opera – Danilo! he can’t sing my music” – and said that would not consent to the production of the piece unless they got man in my place who could sing. Of course, time was getting short, and Mr. Edwardes, through Mr. Slavinsky, said, “Well, my goodness!  we must have this man. There other man available. Besides, this man, Coyne – I know can’t sing, but he can dance and he can act, and must have him – he is a funny man. Tell him he’s a really funny man – a very funny man,” and Mr. Lenar’s reply was. “Well, you tell Mr. Edwardes I haven t written any funny music” So, as I said before, through Mr. Edwares’s loyalty to me and your kindness, here I am.”

Mr. W. H BERRY proposed “The Chairman,” and Mr. Max Pemberton’s reply brought the speech-making to an end.

The musical arrangements during the evening were directed Messrs. Bernard Dickson and Stanley Greig, and the orchestra played many delightful selections from Mr. George Edwardes’s productions. Among the artists who assisted to make the function still more attractive by vocal and other contributions were: Miss Constance Drever, Miss Evie Greene, Mr. Robert Evett, Mr Charles Copland, Mr Morris Harvey, Mr. Walter Churcher, Miss Clara Evelyn, Miss Blanche Gaston-Murray, Mr. George Grossmith, jun., Mr. Albert Garcia, Mr. Spencer Thomas, and the “Daly” Glee.

The arrangements of the dinner were in the hands of Mr. Carl Hentschel, Mr. T. McDonald Rendle, and the hon. secretaries, Messrs. J. Davis and Stanley Greig.


The Era – Saturday 6th February 1909





May 13, 2019 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Era, The Merry Widow, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – London Daily News – Friday 3rd July 1903


So great is the affection which the old Gaiety Theatre has won from the hearts of London playgoers that it may well be surmised that sentiment has had as much to say to the enormous demand for seats on July 4th as the desire for amusement. That Mr. George Edwardes evidently realise this can be seen from the programme which he has prepared. In addition the second act of “The Toreador” and “The Linkman,” which will cater for the one feeling, a farewell speech is to be delivered Sir Henry Irving, and “Auld Lang Syne” is to be sung by Miss Florence St. John, the chorus being taken all old Gaiety favourites past and present, who will assemble together on the stage for the last time. And no doubt Mr. George Edwardes will be neither surprised nor annoyed find the whole audience rise in their places and join in a last goodbye to the stage which has served them so well.

London Daily News – Friday 3rd July 1903

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mr George Edwardes (Tuck 5066)

Mr George Edwardes (Tuck 5066) 1904

January 27, 2016 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Tuck, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Edwardes – 1914

George Edwardes - 1914

George Edwardes – The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – 1915

October 7, 2015 Posted by | Daly's Theatre, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Edwardes – The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – 1915

George Edwardes - The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News - 9th October - 1915

The Death of Mr. George Edwardes.

It is with deep regret we announce the death of this well-known and popular personality, so long among the heads of the theatrical profession and likewise a loyal supporter of the Turf. Born at Grimsby of Irish parents in 1853. Mr. Edwardes leaves a widow, one son, and three daughters.

In the world of sport, and especially in connection with horse racing and steeple chasing, he was immensely popular, and there was always a welcome ring about the many victories of his delicate turquoise and white cheveroned jacket. Although always fond of racing, it was not until 1897 that he came into the winning owners’ list. The first winner was Limestar, which he got from Mr. Arthur Yates. Then, leading up to the days of Santoi, came the more profitable Fairy Field, the chief contributor to his four-figure total in 1898, and it was that son of Scene Shifter and Wedding Eve who, with Poppits Robino, Country Bumpkin, Country Boy, and Eteocles the next three seasons gave a tone to the great things achieved by Santoi, without doubt the best horse ever to carry Mr. Edwardes’ livery. A lucky bargain was the 190gs. the deceased gave for this good-looking son of Queen’s Birthday and Merry Wife, and, with T. Loates in the saddle, he won the first of his four two-year-old races at Lingfield. For that he ran un-backed, but such was not the case a few weeks after at Gatwick. As a three-year-old, Santoi again won four races for Mr. Edwardes, and placed on his sideboard the deceased’s first racing trophy, the Brighton Cup but the sideboard the next season was more handsomely decorated. Allusion here is made to the Ascot Cup victory of 1901, and in addition to that there was the Kempton Park Jubilee and the Hurst Park Whitsuntide Handicap, while it was King’s Courier who stopped the Jockey Club Cup that year from going to Mr. Edwardes, while as a five-year-old William the Third was the bug bear to Santoi in his Ascot and Doncaster Cup races next season. Mr. Edwardes, always a good loser, was, however, very much disappointed at the defeat of Santoi by Epsom Lad in 1902 indeed, so much so that he offered to run Mr. Buchanan a match for £1,000 at the same weight the next week at Newmarket, with the condition that the winner should take the losing horse. Mr. Buchanan, who then raced as Mr. Kincaird, declined. At the stud Santoi has been a great success. In all he ran in one-and-thirty races, and won ten of the value of £11,255, and the best he ever sired perhaps stand at Santeve, Admiral Togo III., Santair, Shogun, China Cock, Kiltoi, Prince San, Dalys, Raytoi, Lady of Asia, Yentoi, and F i z Yama, the latter pair as Cesarewitch winners being, like their sire, rare stayers.

In the other sphere of his activities Mr. Edwardes leaves a gap which will not soon be filled. Like Charles Frohman, George Edwardes has now for ever ceased “to present.” He was like Frohman, too, in that he had a keen eye for what the public wanted; and in catering for his own particular group of the public he was a pioneer and remained supreme. It is stated that he started on musical comedy with the idea of doing away with the large and expensive choruses which presumably flourished in the days of Hollingshead and Gaiety burlesque but, as it turned out, he only began where Hollingshead left off. There was a certain air of complete luxury, regardless of expense, in everything he did. Nobody will claim that there was much originality in any of the long series of “Gaiety Girl” shows which he organised. It was a matter of getting together the cleverest dancers, the most popular comedians, and the prettiest chorus girls to be found and though imitators have run him close, there was always something distinctive about the splendour of his productions. The story of how he failed with Dorothy and H. J. Leslie made a fortune with it is one of the strangest of stage curiosities; and if he had musical ambitions, the loss of money over Veromque must have warned him of the financial danger of indulging them. There was, indeed, an occasion when, for a short time, he rose as high as L’Enfant Prodigue, but the venture was brief, though glorious. The rest of his history is a story of safe, sound, worldly, well-dressed, and lively nonsense, first at the Gaiety, then also at Daly’s, the Adelphi, gradually rising in the musical scale till it reached the Viennese valse tunefulness of The Merry Widow type of piece, which recent events have banished from our stage. He knew how to choose his players, and the successes of his plays were usually associated with the success of one of them, from the Lily Elsie, Gertie Millar, Teddy Payne of our own days, down a long list to the distant and affectionately remembered Fred Leslie and Nellie Farren. The inconsequence of musical comedy has suggested in its turn the still more reckless inconsequence of what is now for some obscure reason called “revue”; and no doubt there will always be managers in abundance to supply such form of entertainment for after-dinner use as will impose the slightest strain upon the intellect; but it will be long before there arises a figure so dominating as that of George Edwardes. Another landmark has gone from the theatre, perhaps swept away by the all-devouring war, for his detention in Germany doubtless told upon his health.

The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – 9th October – 1915

George Edwardes – The Times – 1915

September 3, 2015 Posted by | Actress, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Merry Widow – Theatre Advert – 1909

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Merry Widow, Theatre Adverts, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Edwardes – “The Guv’nor”

George Edwardes - The Guv'nor

June 20, 2015 Posted by | Actress, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dollar Princess – Programme – February 1909


This production of “The Dollar Princess” was performed at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow from Monday 8th February 1909 for six nights.

April 30, 2015 Posted by | Actress, Social History, The Dollar Princess, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment