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?'

The Merry Widow – The Sketch – Wednesday 16th December 1908




At a performance of “The Merry Widow” at Cambridge, much attention was attracted to a box in which sat a lady and three undergraduates. It has since been discovered that the lady in question was an undergraduate, who is here shown in the dress and “make-up” in which he attended the theatre. By means of this ruse, the undergraduates were in a position to break the rule which decrees that no undergraduate may be seen in a box unless he is accompanied by a lady relative.


The Sketch – Wednesday 16th December 1908



March 7, 2023 Posted by | The Merry Widow, The Sketch | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Sporting Times – Saturday 4th April 1914




I looked in at the All Fools’ Day Revel at Covent Garden on Wednesday night, but, truth to tell, though it was very full, the proceedings were not particularly hilarious. In fact, the majority the participants wore a worried look, suggestive of unpaid rent, and obtrusive tax collectors. Well known people were scarce, but I caught a glimpse of Marie Lohr dancing energetically; Gabrielle Ray, otherwise Mrs. Eric Loder, in very natty sailor boy’s costume; Lily Elsie, who hardly left her box; while the men, Sir “Romeo” Stuart was here, there, and everywhere, and a young Guardsman of my acquaintance was very resplendent in the uniform his grandfather wore at Waterloo.

The Sporting Times – Saturday 4th April 1914

May 18, 2022 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

The Pelican – December 1915



Wonderful Story Book of “The Times” Red Cross Fund.

“Famous novelists serving in Majesty’s Forces.” These, and these alone, are the contributors to “The Times Red Cross Story Book. “ There is a story, and a good one, in that fact alone. We shall hope to hear it in full after the war.

Meanwhile, in this volume (published at ls. 6d. by Messrs. Hodder and Stoughton for The Times Red Cross Fund) there is ample evidence that their new experiences have not impaired but distinctly added to their skill in their craft. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, A. E. W. Mason. W. B. Maxwell, Compton Mackenzie, Barry Pain, lan Hay, among a brilliant array, give us of their best. One cannot hope, in the ordinary way, to get so splendid a collection of short stories within the boards of one book. And if any inducement were needed to buy, here it is – all the profits go to the British Red Cross Society.

Simply on its past reputation “Winter’s Pie” would be sure of a gleeful welcome by the public. But the “Pie” of 1915, which s now on sale, is even more tasty and nourishing than its predecessors – and it would be hard to give it warmer praise. Twenty leading writers and fifty of our best known artiste contribute the ingredients, all carefully selected and guaranteed first class. Puzzle – find a better shillingsworth. Play-goers cannot do without the Christmas number of “The Pelican” (6d.). They will find it full to the brim of amusing stories by their favourite entertainers, of whom an imposing array, headed by Sir George Alexander and Miss Irene Vanbrugh, appears on the contents list.

The neatest contribution is the one from Miss Gabrielle Ray, who wrote, “Dear Mr. Pelican. – I said I would tell you a story. As usual, I have left things till the last minute, and now you say I shall be too late if I don’t send it at once. Well, I just can’t. And so you see I have told you a story after all, haven’t I?”


The Weekly Dispatch, London – Sunday 5th December 1915


“The Pelican.”

The Christmas number of “The Pelican” follows its usual custom of opening its pages to stories by and portraits of large number of the best known actors and actresses on the London stage The nature of its contents is something of a curiosity, and the “yarns” of its contributors make interesting reading. Although a delinquent, Miss Gabrielle Ray neatly and briefly saves the situation thus: “Dear Mr. Pelican, I said I would tell you story. As usual, I have left things till the last minute, and now you say I shall be too late if I don’t send it at once. Well, I just can’t. And so you see I have told you a story after all, haven’t I”


The Middlesex Chronicle – Saturday 4th December 1915


The Christmas Number is, as usual, replete with lengthy series of storiettes, ny leading members of the theatrical profession, all being more or less in a humorous vein. The contributors include Sir George Alexander, Miss Irene Vanburgh,. Miss Gertie Millar, Lily Elsie, Mr. Seymour Hicks, Miss Gabrielle Ray, Miss Phyllis Dare, Mr. George Graves, and Mr. Haydn Coffin, and many instances portraits accompany the letterpresses matter. This number of the “Pelican” is quite a novelty, and is obtainable at the bookstalls at 6d.


The Grantham Journal – Saturday 4th December 1915


October 19, 2021 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Cannock Chase Courier – Saturday 13th March 1909

Miss Gabrielle Ray tells of a certain stage carpenter who one day approached his manager for an increase in wages. “Why,” said the manager. “I don’t quite see my way to giving you a rise. You have nothing much to do. Half the time you are merely standing in the wings listening to the play.” “Yes, sir.” replied the carpenter with a wry face as be turned to more away, “that’s just it.”


The Cannock Chase Courier – Saturday 13th March 1909

June 28, 2020 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outside The Gaiety Stage Door (Tuck 1772)

Outside the Gaiety Stage Door (Tuck 1772)

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Deltiology, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment