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The long awaited EDNA MAY - SUPERSTAR has now been published ! Buy now thru PayPal !
| Read About Edna May in "Charles Frohman: Manager and Man"
By Isaac F.Marcosson and Daniel Frohman ( published 1916 )
Published by Harper & Brothers - New York & London
The Conquest of the London Stage - page 230 onwards...
The picturesqueness of detail which seemed to mark the beginning of so many of Charles Frohman's personal and professional friendships attended him in England, as the case of his first experience with Edna May shows. One hot night late in the summer season of 1900 Frohman was having supper alone on his little private balcony at the Savoy Hotel overlooking the Thames. It was before the Strand wing of the hostelry had been built. As he sat there, clad only in pajamas and smoking a large black cigar, he heard a terrific din on the street below. There was cheering, shouting, and clapping of hands. Summoning a waiter, he asked: "What's all that noise about?" "Oh, it's only Miss Edna May coming to supper, sir." "Why all this fuss?" continued Frohman. "Well, you see, sir," answered the servant, "they are bringing her back in triumph."
When Frohman made investigation he found that the doctors and nurses at the Middlesex Hospital in London, where Edna May frequently sang for the patients, had engaged the whole gallery of the Shaftesbury Theater where she was singing in "The American Beauty," and attended in a body. After the play they had surrounded her at the stage entrance, unhitched the horse from her little brougham, and hauled her through the streets to the Savoy.
This episode made a tremendous impression on Frohman. He was always drawn to the people who could create a stir. He had heard that Edna May was nearing the end of her contract with George Lederer, so he entered into negotiations with her, and that autumn she passed under his management and remained so until she retired in 1907.
In the case of Edna May there could be no starmaking. The spectacular rise of this charming girl from the chorus to the most-talked-of musical comedy role in the English-speaking world—that of the Salvation Army girl in "The Belle of New York"—had given her a great reputation. Frohman now capitalized that repu- tation in his usual elaborate fashion. He first presented Miss May in ''The Girl from Up There.'* She appeared under his management in various pieces, both in New York and in London. Her company in New York included Montgomery and Stone, Dan Daly, and Virginia Earle. When he presented Miss May at the Duke of York's in "The Giri from Up There" the result was the biggest business that the theater had known up to that time. In succession followed "Kitty Gray," which ran a year in London, "Three Little Maids," and "La Poupee."
All the while there was being written for Miss May a musical piece in which she was to achieve one of her greatest successes, and which was to bring Charles into contact with another one of his future stars. It was "The School Girl," which Frohman first did in May, 1903, in London, and afterward put on with great success at Daly's in New York. In the English production of this play was a petite, red-haired little girl named Billie Burke, who sang a song called "Put Me in My Little Canoe," which became one of the hits of the play. Frohman was immensely attracted by this girl, and afterward took her under his patronage and she became one of his best-known stars.
Edna May, under Frohman's direction, was now perhaps the best known of the musical comedy stars in England and America. He took keen delight in her success. In "The Catch of the Season," which he did at Daly's in New York in August, 1905, she practically bade farewell to the American stage. Henceforth Frohman kept her in England. In "The Belle of Mayfair" she was succeeded by Miss Burke in the leading part, Frohman's production of "Nelly Neil" at the Aldwych Theater in 1907 was one of the most superb musical comedy presentations ever made. For this Frohman imported Joseph Coyne from America to do the leading juvenile role. He became such a great favorite that he has remained in England ever since.
Just as Edna May had bidden farewell to America in ''The Catch of the Season," so she now bade farewell to the English stage in "Nelly Neil." She had become engaged to Oscar Lewisohn, who insisted on an early marriage. About this time Frohman and George Edwardes secured the English rights to "The Merry Widow." They both urged Miss May to postpone her marriage and appear in it. Miss May was now compelled to decide between matrimony and what would have been perhaps her greatest success, and she chose matrimony. Her good-by appearance on the stage, May 1, 1907, was one of the most extraordinary events in the history of the English theater. This lovely, unassuming American girl had so completely endeared herself to the hearts of the London theater-goers that she was made the center of a tumultuous farewell. The day the seat-sale opened there was a queue several blocks long. During the opening performance Charles sat in his box alone. When some friends entered he was in tears. He had a genuine personal affection for Miss May, and her retirement touched him very deeply.
Also from "Charles Frohman: Manager and Man"
Chapter XVII - Humor and Anecdote - page 341
When Edna May married Oscar Lewisohn she gave a reception
on her return from the honeymoon. She sent Charles one of the
conventional engraved cards that read:
''At home Thursday from four to six.''
Frohman immediately sent back the card, on which he had written,
"So am I."
|Charles Frohman Productions in America with Edna May
1901 - The Girl from Up There ...January 8... Herald Square
1904 - The School Girl...September 1... Daly's
1905 - The Catch of the Season ...August 28 ...Daly's
Charles Frohman Productions in England with Edna May
1901 - The Girlfrom Up There ...April 23 ...Duke of York's
1902 - Three Little Maids . .May 10 ...Apollo
1903 - The School Girl ...May 9... Duke of York's
1906 - The Belle of Mayfair...April 11 ...Vaudeville
1907 - Nelly Neil...January 10.. . .Aldwych