Edna May Pettie (September 2, 1878 – January 1, 1948), known on stage as Edna May, was an American actress and singer. A popular postcard beauty, May was famous for her leading roles in Edwardian musical comedies.
May was born in Syracuse, New York to Edger and Cora Pettie. Her father was a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier. Her surname at birth was spelled Pettie, but the family later changed the name, by the 1880 census, to Petty. Her siblings were Edelbert, Jennie and Marguerite.At the age of 5, she played Little Willie Allen in a production of Dora. The next year, her performances "charmed a number of audiences lately with her child voice". By the age of 7, she had joined a children's opera company and performed Gilbert and Sullivan productions in Syracuse. She studied music at the New York Conservatoire as a teenager.
Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, in the United States. It is the fifth-most populous city in the state of New York following New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers.
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) and to the works they jointly created. The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.
May made her professional debut in 1895 in Si Stebbings in Syracuse. She then moved to New York to take the small role of Clairette in Oscar Hammerstein's Broadway show, Santa Maria .That year, she married Fred Titus, who held a world record for cycling. They had no children and divorced in 1904.
Oscar Hammerstein I was a German-born businessman, theater impresario, and composer in New York City. His passion for opera led him to open several opera houses, and he rekindled opera's popularity in America. He was the grandfather of American lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II and the father of theater manager William Hammerstein and American producer Arthur Hammerstein.
Santa Maria is an operetta, or 'comic opera', in three acts with music and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein I. It opened at Hammerstein's Olympia Theatre in New York City on September 14, 1896. After closing on December 19, 1896, it went on tour, starting at the Alvin Theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 21, 1896.
In 1897, May played Violet Grey in The Belle of New York with only moderate success. The following year, the production played in London, becoming a hit and running for 697 performances, making May a star. After that, among others, she played Gabrielle Dalmonte in An American Beauty in London (1900), Olga in The Girl from Up There (1901) in New York and then London, Edna Branscombe in Three Little Maids (1902), Lillian Leigh in The School Girl (1903–1904) in London and New York, Say-So-San in The Darling of the Guards (1904) in London,Alesia in La Poupée (1904) in London, and Angela in The Catch of the Season (1905) in New York. The Belle of Mayfair followed in London in 1906. May played the title character in Nelly Neil in London in 1907.
Three Little Maids is an English musical by Paul Rubens with additional songs by Percy Greenbank and Howard Talbot. The story concerns three simple curate's daughters who go to London to earn their livings serving tea in a Bond Street tea shop. They become the romantic rivals of three ladies of fashion but succeed because of their freshness.
The School Girl is an Edwardian musical comedy, in two acts, composed by Leslie Stuart with a book by Henry Hamilton and Paul M. Potter, and lyrics by Charles H. Taylor and others. It concerns a French school girl from a convent, who goes to Paris to help her lovesick friend. Through mistaken identity, she learns secrets that help her at the Paris stock exchange and ends up at a students' ball in the Latin Quarter. All ends happily.
The Catch of the Season is an Edwardian musical comedy by Seymour Hicks and Cosmo Hamilton, with music by Herbert Haines and Evelyn Baker and lyrics by Charles H. Taylor, based on the fairy tale Cinderella. A debutante is engaged to a young aristocrat but loves a page.
May was known for her beauty and received tremendous attention from male admirers. She was involved in a passionate but failed relationship with Prince Raj Narayan Bahadur (of the erstwhile kingdom of Cooch Behar in India) but could not marry him due to his parent's disapproval as she did not belong to one of India's royal families. Finally, in 1907, she agreed to marry millionaire Oscar Lewisohn and retired from the stage. The couple settled in England. They had no children, and Lewisohn died in 1917.
Cooch Behar or Koch Bihar is a city and a municipality in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the headquarters of the Cooch Behar district. It is in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas at. Cooch Behar is the only planned city in North Bengal region with remnants of royal heritage. One of the main tourist destinations in West Bengal, it is the location of the Cooch Behar Palace and Madan Mohan Temple and has been declared a heritage city. It is the maternal home of Maharani Gayatri Devi.
May lived at Winkfield in Berkshire during her retirement, but made brief returns to the stage in 1911 benefit performances of The Belle of New York at the Savoy Theatre in London and 1915's The Masque of Peace and War in London. Also in 1911, she appeared in the film Forgotten; or An Answered Prayer. She starred in a 1916 film called Salvation Joan, donating the proceeds to charity.
Winkfield is a village and civil parish in the Bracknell Forest unitary authority of Berkshire, England.
Berkshire is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.
The Savoy Theatre is a West End theatre in the Strand in the City of Westminster, London, England. The theatre opened on 10 October 1881 and was built by Richard D'Oyly Carte on the site of the old Savoy Palace as a showcase for the popular series of comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, which became known as the Savoy operas as a result.
She died in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the age of 69.
Jerome David Kern was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music. One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A Fine Romance", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "The Song Is You", "All the Things You Are", "The Way You Look Tonight", "Long Ago " and "Who?". He collaborated with many of the leading librettists and lyricists of his era, including George Grossmith Jr., Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin and E. Y. Harburg.
The Sound of Music is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938, the musical tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria decide on a plan to flee Austria with the children. Many songs from the musical have become standards, such as "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", and the title song "The Sound of Music".
Edna Ferber was an American novelist, short story writer and playwright. Her novels included the Pulitzer Prize-winning So Big (1924), Show Boat, Cimarron, Giant and Ice Palace (1958), filmed in 1960.
The King and I is the fifth musical by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on Margaret Landon's novel, Anna and the King of Siam (1944), which is in turn derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical's plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by conflict through much of the piece, as well as by a love to which neither can admit. The musical premiered on March 29, 1951, at Broadway's St. James Theatre. It ran for nearly three years, making it the fourth longest-running Broadway musical in history at the time, and has had many tours and revivals.
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Indian Territory, in 1906, it tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister and frightening farmhand Jud Fry. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.
Dame Gladys Constance Cooper, was an English actress whose career spanned seven decades on stage, in films and on television.
Rodgers and Hammerstein refers to the duo of composer Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II (1895–1960), who together were an influential, innovative and successful American musical theatre writing team. They created a string of popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s, initiating what is considered the "golden age" of musical theatre. Five of their Broadway shows, Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, were outstanding successes, as was the television broadcast of Cinderella (1957). Of the other four that the team produced on Broadway during their lifetimes, Flower Drum Song was well-received, and none was an outright flop. Most of their shows have received frequent revivals around the world, both professional and amateur. Among the many accolades their shows garnered were thirty-four Tony Awards, fifteen Academy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and two Grammy Awards.
Show Boat is a musical in two acts, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on Edna Ferber's best-selling novel of the same name. The musical follows the lives of the performers, stagehands and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat, over 40 years from 1887 to 1927. Its themes include racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love. The musical contributed such classic songs as "Ol' Man River", "Make Believe", and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man".
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella is a musical written for television, but later played on stage, with music by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based upon the fairy tale Cinderella, particularly the French version Cendrillon, ou la Petite Pantoufle de Verre, by Charles Perrault. The story concerns a young woman forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters, who dreams of a better life. With the help of her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella is transformed into a Princess and finds her Prince.
Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. Adapted from Walt Disney Pictures' Academy Award-winning 1991 animated musical film of the same name – which in turn had been based on the classic French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont – Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a cold-blooded prince who has been magically transformed into an unsightly creature as punishment for his selfish ways. To revert into his true human form, the Beast must first learn to love a bright, beautiful young woman whom he has imprisoned in his enchanted castle before it is too late.
Edith Day was an American actress and singer best known for her roles in Edwardian musical comedies and operettas, first on Broadway and then in London's West End.
Juanita Hall was an American musical theatre and film actress. She is remembered for her roles in the original stage and screen versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals South Pacific as Bloody Mary – a role that garnered her the Tony Award – and Flower Drum Song as Madame Liang.
Charles Hallam Elton Brookfield was a British actor, author, playwright and journalist, including for The Saturday Review. His most famous work for the theatre was The Belle of Mayfair (1906).
The Belle of New York is a musical comedy in two acts, with book and lyrics by Hugh Morton and music by Gustave Kerker, about a Salvation Army girl who reforms a spendthrift, makes a great sacrifice and finds true love.
Ruth Vincent was an English opera singer and actress, best remembered for her performances in soprano roles of the Savoy Operas with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in the 1890s and her roles in the West End during the first decade of the 20th century, particularly her role as Sophia in Tom Jones.
Edith Elizabeth ("Evie") Greene was a much-photographed English actress and singer who played in Edwardian musical comedies in London and on Broadway. She is most notable for starring as Dolores, the central character in the international hit musical Florodora. She also sang on the world's first original cast album, recorded for this musical.
Virginia Earle was an American stage actress remembered for her work in light operas, Edwardian musical comedies and vaudeville over the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century.
Caroline Maria Lupton, known professionally as Marie Studholme, was an English actress and singer known for her supporting and sometimes starring roles in Victorian and Edwardian musical comedy. Her attractive features made her one of the most popular postcard beauties of her day.
Alice Lewisohn (1883–1972) was the founder of the Neighborhood Playhouse with her sister Irene Lewisohn. Alice was also an actress.
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