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 – The Orchid – The Graphic – Saturday 31st October 1903

As early as five o’clock in the morning one man took up his stand outside the gallery. At six was joined by others, and, as the morning wore on, the little crowd grew, till by half-past nine it numbered some twenty or thirty. Many messenger boys were engaged to keep the places of those first-nighters who could not spare the time themselves. In the afternoon there was a heavy shower, which did not add to the comfort of the patient crowd. Our photograph was supplied by Bolak

THE OPENING OF THE GAIETY THEATRE: THE CROWD OUTSIDE THE GALLERY DOORS AT 9.80 A.M.

 

SKETCHES THE PRODUCTION OF “THE ORCHID,” AT WHICH THE KING AND QUEEN WERE PRESENT

THE OPENING OF THE NEW GAIETY THEATRE

DRAWN BY A. S. BOYD

“The Orchid”

  BY W. MOY THOMAS

THE task of getting to the GAIETY Theatre through the rattling showers and flooded streets of Monday evening was a little difficult, but in all else the stately and luxurious new playhouse which Mr. George Edwardes has caused to be erected hard by the site of its now vanished predecessor and namesake, may be said to have commenced its career under the happiest auspices. The management, as the reader is aware, stand by the traditions of the house, within whose walls the old-fashioned formless “burlesque” passed, by a regular process of evolution, into the combination of farce and dancing, music and story, which is now known by the not very distinctive description of “musical play.”

Mr. Edwardes has once more invoked the aid of half a dozen practised hands; it is, in fact, the permanent staff – Mr. J. T. Tanner furnishing the book, with the exception of the lyrics, which are supplied by Mr. Adrian Ross and Mr. Percy Greenback, while Mr. Ivan Caryll and Mr. Lionel Monckton have composed the music, and Mr. Paul Rubens has contributed “additional numbers.” Mr. Tanner has on this occasion gone further afield than usual in search of his leading motive. Mr. Tanner has handled the idea of orchid-worship in his own way, subdued it to his humorous purposes, and interwoven it with a double, or rather triple, love story, which is found capable of giving rise to many diverting situations. I do not, of course, propose to follow in any detail the windings of The Orchid, the first act of which passes in this country in the grounds of the Countess of Barwick’s Horticultural College, while the second act carries us away, together with the chief part of the personages of the piece, to the Place Massena and the Grand Opera House at Nice in carnival time – scenes that were received with enthusiastic applause. Both time and space, indeed, would fail to tell, even in outline, why Mr. Aubrey Chesterton, our Minister of Commerce, is bound under the terms of a wager to procure a certain precious orchid and deliver it in Paris by an appointed date or how, with this object in view, he is fain to enlist the services of his scapegrace nephew, the Honorable Guy Scrymgeour; not to speak of Zaccary, a professional orchid hunter, whose, happy hunting-ground is in the fields of far Peru; or how the precious plant – which, by the way, seems to be capable of surviving much ill-usage – falls, on and off, into the hands of Meakin, the quaint little gardener of the Horticultural College. Still less easy would it be to explain how the whirl of events arising from this datum is associated with a clandestine marriage at the local Registrar’s between Scrymgeour and Miss Zaccary, a pupil-teacher at the College, simultaneously with the union, before the same functionary, of Scrymgeour’s impecunious young medical friend Fausset with the sprightly and bewitching Lady Violet Annstruther. Yet another engaged couple appears in the forefront of these erratic proceedings, for little Meakin, in a captivating disguise, has wooed the vulgar, wealthy, good-natured Caroline Twining, and is only waiting for the expected pecuniary fruits of the “orchid hunt” to claim his bride. Such are a few indications of the story, for which the composers have written clever songs and tuneful music.

The piece is supported by the whole strength of the GAIETY company. Miss Gertie Millar has not hitherto been seen to so much advantage as in the part of Lady Violet. Her song, “Please Inquire of Little Mary,” was among the most notable successes of the evening. Mr. Edmund Payne’s Meakin had the merit of improving as the piece developed. His tramp duet with Mr. George Grossmith junior, who played Scrymgeour with much comic force, is among the happiest of the humorous episodes but Mr. Payne’s peculiar vein of drollery found, perhaps, its best expression in the mock duel with the Count de Cassignat, which forcibly recalled the exploits of Mr. Acres in King’s Mead Fields. That great favourite of Gaiety audiences, Miss Connie Ediss, who plays Caroline Twining, is specially fortunate in her songs – notably in her mock sentimental duet, “Life is an Omelette,” with Mr. Payne. Miss Ethel Sydney’s refined singing and dancing in the part of Josephine Zaccary also contribute much to the success of the piece.

The Graphic – Saturday 31st October 1903

September 10, 2020 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

The Grand Finale in “The Orchid” at the New Gaiety Theatre.

 

Our photographer is to be congratulated on the splendid flashlight effect he has secured in the final scene of The Orchid at the Gaiety Theatre. We are here shown the interior of the opera house at Nice, where all the principal actors and actresses engaged in The Orchid come in front of the stage. In the centre will be noticed Miss Gertie Millar and Miss Connie Ediss; next her is Mr. Edmund Payne, then we see to the left Miss Ethel Sydney and Mr. George Grossmith, jun. Flashlight effects of this kind are not yet all one hopes to see them, but this picture is very interesting. It is a pity that one is not able to get an equally good impression of an audience, particularly the audience of a first-night performance

 

The Tatler – Wednesday 11th November 1903

 

The Orchid (Rotary 3191 F) shows other members of the cast named

 

 

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – Peggy – The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – March 11th 1911

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Peggy, Social History, The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Restaurant – London Evening Standard – Monday 18th October 1869

THE GAIETY RESTAURANT.

 

The Gaiety Theatre is already honourably distinguished among all other play-houses in London for its elegance, and for the pains taken by the lessee to secure the comfort and protect the pockets of the persons who visit it. On and after to-day the house will present a fresh attraction in consequence of the opening of the restaurant that has been added to the theatre. The ample space at the command of the architect has been turned to excellent account, and a series of handsome rooms, running from the Strand into Catherine-street, have been erected. There are very spacious cellars, a large cafe, extensive dining, smoking and billiard rooms, and some smaller apartments, where cosy parties of four or five will doubtless often have dinner before, or supper after, the theatrical performances. The restaurant opens into the theatre, and though it may be too much to suppose that the agreeable French custom of adjourning to coffee during the entr’actes will be generally observed, we expect that not a few sensible and thirsty persons will, in future, prefer to stroll for a quarter of an hour from the theatre to the restaurant for a quiet cigar, instead of remaining in their seats to listen to the hammers of the scene-shifters or the preliminary melodies of the orchestra. Comparisons are often drawn between the enormous crowds that visit the French theatres nightly, and the scanty audiences attracted to the English theatres, though they are smaller in size, fewer in number, and cheaper in price than the Parisian houses. Perhaps English managers would be more prosperous if they could contrive to make a visit to their theatres a little less of a penance. The stoutest playgoer cannot but feel sometimes appalled at the prospect of sitting, from seven o’clock till half-past eleven or twelve, in an uncomfortable chair, in a heated atmosphere, cramped as to his arms and legs, with no sort of refreshment but South African sherry and leathery buns, and no opportunity of relaxation except a walk in the streets. In an age when the humanity of the legislature prohibits even the overcrowding of bullocks and pigs on their way to the slaughter-house, surely some voice might be raised against the callous indifference of so many theatrical managers to the comfort and enjoyment of their patrons. It is because we hail with pleasure any change for the better in these respects that we are glad to give publicity and encouragement to the opening to the Gaiety restaurant.

 

London Evening Standard – Monday 18th October 1869

 

May 18, 2020 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tatler – Wednesday 11th November 1903

 

Dramatic and Musical Gossip of the Week.

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 9, 2019 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Belle of New York, The Casino Girl, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, The Tatler, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Toreador – The Linkman – Programme – 3rd July 1903

 

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Toreador, Theatre Programme, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Orchid – The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – Saturday 7th November 1903

November 27, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, The Orchid, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Orchid – The Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser – Saturday 31st December 1904

“THE ORCHID”

 

This successful musical play, with which the new Gaiety was opened, is now in its second year, and the second edition which Mr Edwardes has now got in full swing can hardly fail to secure for it a pleasant prolongation of popularity. Among the new numbers mention should be made of an exceedingly pretty song, “On a Summer Afternoon,” given with refreshing piquancy by Miss Gertie Millar; of a charming fishing ballad, “Blanche Marie,” to which every justice is done by Miss Marie Studhohme, and of a capital song “La Promenade Anglaise,” of which not the least attractive feature is the dance which follows and which is executed with the most gracious nonchalance by Miss Gabrielle Ray. A “motor” scene, which eventually resolves itself into a “bathing” medley is a most popular new number, while cheers nightly greet a characteristically Irish ballad, “Kate O’Malley,” allotted to Mr Lionel Mackinder, and winding up with a brisk jig, wherein Miss Olive May greatly distinguishes herself. Special praise must also be accorded to the extremely dainty song, “Sweep,” which now takes the place of the “Pierrot” number in the last scene. In this Miss Gertie Millar wins for herself the unqualified favour of everyone by her amazingly graceful and fascinating method. Mr Edmund Payne, Mr Charles Brown, Mr Harry Grattan, Mr Robert Nainby, Mr James Sullivan, Miss G. Rowlands and Miss Connie Ediss, it is almost needless to add, continue to work with untiring energy for the of the piece, and deservedly meet with enthusiastic receptions nightly.

 

The Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser – Saturday 31st December 1904

 

October 24, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Orchid, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

 

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