Edward Laurillard (20 April 1870 – 7 May 1936) was a cinema and theatre producer in London and New York City during the first third of the 20th century. He is best remembered for promoting the cinema early in the 20th century and for Edwardian musical comedies produced in partnership with George Grossmith, Jr., including Tonight's the Night (1914), Theodore & Co (1916) and Yes, Uncle! (1917).
Born in Rotterdam in The Netherlands, he was educated at Osnabrück and in Paris. Laurillard moved to London, England as a young man.He was married and divorced twice.
In 1894, Laurillard became manager of Terry's Theatre, producing King Kodak, and his first big success was The Gay Parisienne at the Duke of York's Theatre, which introduced the hit song "Sister Mary Jane's Top Note." Other early productions included My Old Dutch and Oh! Susannah, after which he toured the United States.The Savoy Theatre in London, closed in 1903 after the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company discontinued producing its Savoy operas there, was reopened under the management of Laurillard in February 1904 with The Love Birds, by Raymond Rôze and Percy Greenbank, starring George Grossmith, Jr., who would later become Laurillard's producing partner.
During the First World War he became manager of the New Gallery Cinema in Regent Street and built a group of 25 cinemas. He screened Herbert Beerbohm Tree's film of Henry VIII , one of the first films of a big stage production.With Grossmith, he brought the ethnic comedy hit, Potash and Perlmutter by Montague Glass, to London in 1914 for a long run at the Queen's Theatre. He was then the manager of the Comedy Theatre for the production of Peg O' My Heart by John Hartley Manners. Grossmith and Laurillard opened Tonight's the Night , based on the farce Pink Dominoes, at the Shubert Theatre in New York in 1914, the first Gaiety show to be produced in New York before opening in London.
He then moved to the Gaiety Theatre in London in 1915. At the Prince of Wales Theatre, Grossmith and Laurillard had successes with Mr Manhattan (1916) and Yes, Uncle! (1917). At the Gaiety Theatre, Laurillard's biggest hit was Theodore & Co (1916). At that theatre, he later produced two shows in 1921: Faust on Toast, a burlesque starring Jack Buchanan, and Maurice Maeterlinck's play The Betrothal, featuring Bobbie Andrews and Gladys Cooper, with incidental music by Cecil Armstrong Gibbs and costumes by Charles Ricketts.
Grossmith and Laurillard leased the Shaftesbury Theatre to produce several shows from 1917 to 1921. These included Arlette (1917), Baby Bunting by Fred Thompson and Worton David (1919), The Great Lover, by Leo Ditrichstein, Frederic Hatton, and Fanny Hatton (1920), and Out to Win, by Roland Pertwee and Dion Clayton Calthrop (1921).At the Alhambra Theatre, they produced Oscar Asche and Dornford Yates's conception of Eastward Ho! in 1919.
The partners also purchased the Winter Garden Theatre in 1919, where they produced Kissing Time (1919, with a book by P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton and music by Ivan Caryll) and A Night Out (1920).Grossmith and Laurillard also became managers of the Apollo Theatre in 1920 (they had produced The Only Girl there in 1916 and Tilly of Bloomsbury there in 1919), producing Trilby (1922), which was based on the 1894 George du Maurier novel of the same name, as well as Such a Nice Young Man by H.F. Maltby, among others over the next three years. After this, Grossmith and Laurillard terminated their partnership.
Other shows that Laurillard produced in the 1920s included The Naughty Princess , with a book by John Hastings Turner, lyrics by Adrian Ross, and music by Charles Cuvillier at the Adelphi Theatre (1920), Don 'Q', with words by Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard with and music by Charles Essen (1921), The Smith Family at the Empire Theatre in 1922 and The Butter and Egg Man at the Garrick Theatre in 1927.
The Piccadilly Theatre was built by Bertie Crewe and Edward A. Stone, for Laurillard's production company in 1928, opening with Blue Eyes, a romantic musical with music by Kern and book and lyrics by Bolton and Graham John.
Laurillard also brought to London Ralph Benatzky's My Sister and I ( Meine Schwester und ich aka Meet My Sister) in 1931. In his last years, he moved to New York and also spent some time in Hollywood.
The Gillian Lynne Theatre is a West End theatre located on the corner of Drury Lane and Parker Street in Covent Garden, in the London Borough of Camden. The Winter Garden Theatre formerly occupied the site until 1965. On 1 May 2018, the theatre was officially renamed the Gillian Lynne Theatre in honour of Gillian Lynne. It is the first theatre in the West End of London to be named after a non-royal woman.
Arthur Reed Ropes, better known under the pseudonym Adrian Ross, was a prolific writer of lyrics, contributing songs to more than sixty British musical comedies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was the most important lyricist of the British stage during a career that spanned five decades. At a time when few shows had long runs, nineteen of his West End shows ran for over 400 performances.
The Gaiety Theatre was a West End theatre in London, located on Aldwych at the eastern end of the Strand. The theatre was first established as the Strand Musick Hall in 1864 on the former site of the Lyceum Theatre. In 1868, it became known as the Gaiety Theatre and was, at first, known for music hall and then for musical burlesque, pantomime and operetta performances. From 1868 to the 1890s, it had a major influence on the development of modern musical comedy.
The Shaftesbury Theatre was a theatre in central London, England, between 1888 and 1941. It was built by John Lancaster for his wife, Ellen Wallis, a well-known Shakespearean actress. The theatre was designed by C. J. Phipps and built by Messrs. Patman and Fotheringham at a cost of £20,000 and opened with a production of As You Like It on 20 October 1888.
George Grossmith Jr. was an English actor, theatre producer and manager, director, playwright and songwriter, best remembered for his work in and with Edwardian musical comedies. Grossmith was also an important innovator in bringing "cabaret" and "revues" to the London stage. Born in London, he took his first role on the musical stage at the age of 18 in Haste to the Wedding (1892), a West End collaboration between his famous songwriter and actor father and W. S. Gilbert.
James William Tate was a songwriter, accompanist, and composer and producer of revues and pantomimes in the early years of the 20th century. Tate was born in Wolverhampton, England and died in Stoke-on-Trent, suddenly at the age of 46, as a result of pneumonia caught while traveling the country with his touring revues.
Theodore & Co is an English musical comedy in two acts with a book by H. M. Harwood and George Grossmith Jr. based on the French comedy Théodore et Cie by Paul Armont and Nicolas Nancey, with music by Ivor Novello and Jerome Kern and lyrics by Adrian Ross and Clifford Grey. It was produced by Grossmith and Edward Laurillard and directed by Austen Hurgon, opening at the Gaiety Theatre on 19 September 1916 and running for 503 performances. It starred Grossmith, Fred Leslie and Leslie Henson.
To-Night's the Night is a musical comedy composed by Paul Rubens, with lyrics by Percy Greenbank and Rubens, and a book adapted by Fred Thompson. Two songs were composed by Jerome Kern. The story is based on the farce Les Dominos roses by Alfred Hennequin and Alfred Delacour.
Robert Courtneidge was a British theatrical manager-producer and playwright. He is best remembered as the co-author of the light opera Tom Jones (1907) and the producer of The Arcadians (1909). He was the father of the actress Cicely Courtneidge, who played in many of his early 20th century productions.
Edwardian musical comedy was a form of British musical theatre that extended beyond the reign of King Edward VII in both directions, beginning in the early 1890s, when the Gilbert and Sullivan operas' dominance had ended, until the rise of the American musicals by Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, George Gershwin and Cole Porter following the First World War.
The Cabaret Girl is a musical comedy in three acts with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by George Grossmith, Jr. and P. G. Wodehouse. It was produced by Grossmith and J. A. E. Malone at the Winter Garden Theatre in London's West End in September 1922 and featured Dorothy Dickson, Grossmith, Geoffrey Gwyther, and Norman Griffin in the leading roles.
Frederick A. Thompson, usually credited as Fred Thompson was an English writer, best known as a librettist for about fifty British and American musical comedies in the first half of the 20th century. Among the writers with whom he collaborated were George Grossmith Jr., P. G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton and Ira Gershwin. Composers with whom he worked included Lionel Monckton, Ivor Novello and George Gershwin.
Emily "Emmy" Wehlen (1887–1977) was a German-born Edwardian musical comedy and silent film actress who vanished from the public eye while in her early thirties.
Alfred Leslie Lester was an English actor and comedian. Born into a theatrical family, he learnt his craft touring in melodramas, as a young man, but made his reputation as a comedian in musical comedy, music hall and, later, revue.
Potash and Perlmutter is a three-act play written by Montague Glass and Charles Klein, based on earlier short stories written by Glass. Producer Albert H. Woods staged it on Broadway, where it opened at the George M. Cohan Theatre on August 16, 1913. The play is a comedy featuring the characters Abe Potash and Mawruss Perlmutter, who are business partners in the garment industry.
Leedham Bantock was a British singer, Edwardian musical comedy actor, early film director, dramatist and screenwriter. In 1912 he became the first actor to portray Father Christmas in film.
Austen Hurgon was an actor, singer, theatre director and librettist for several successful Edwardian musical comedies of the 1900s and 1910s.
Winifred "Betty" Barnes was an English actress and singer known for roles in Edwardian musical comedy and operetta, creating the title role in Betty, among others. After 15 years on the stage, she retired upon her marriage in 1924.
Blanche Eleanor Stocker was a British actress and singer, who played minor roles in a string of Edwardian musical comedies and other stage works early in the 20th century. She also played a film role.
George M. Cohan's Theatre was a Broadway theatre that was built in 1911, and demolished in 1938.