PE0215. BETTY IN MAYFAIR (Harold Fraser-Simson & Harry Graham), w.Charles Prentice Cond.Adelphi Theatre Ensemble; Evelyn Laye, Mary Leigh, Jack Hobbs & Arthur Margotson. (England) Palaeophonics 110, recorded 1925, Complete, as Recorded, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 20pp. Brochure replete w.photos from the London production & facsimile of original brochure. BETTY IN MAYFAIR was produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 11 Nov., 1925, transferred to the Shaftesbury Theatre, and closed there on 3 April, 1926, after a run of 193 performances.
“This 1925 three-act musical play was adapted by J. Hastings Turner from his own play, THE LILIES OF THE FIELD, with music by Harold Fraser-Simson and lyrics by Harry Graham. As a musician, Harold Fraser-Simson is remembered for his work in the theatre primarily as a composer of musical comedies. Fraser-Simson's music tended towards the old-fashioned European romantic songs, in contrast to the ragtime, jazz and other American dance music that began to be used in musicals during World War I.
Evelyn Laye was an English theatre and musical film actress, who was active on the London light opera stage. Born as Elsie Evelyn Lay in Bloomsbury, London, and known professionally as Evelyn Laye, and informally as Bo . Her parents were both actors and her father a theatre manager. She made her first stage appearance in 1915 at the Theatre Royal, Brighton as Nang-Ping in MR. WU, and her first London appearance at the East Ham Palace on 24 April 1916, aged 14, in the revue HONI SOIT, in which she subsequently toured.
For the first few years of her career she mainly played in musical comedy and operetta, including GOING UP in 1918. Among her successes during the 1920s were PHI-PHI (1922), MADAME POMPADOUR (1923), THE DOLLAR PRINCESS, BLUE EYES (1928) and LILAC TIME. She made her Broadway début in 1929 in the American première of Noël Coward's BITTER SWEET and appeared in several early Hollywood film musicals. She continued acting in pantomimes such as THE SLEEPING BEAUTY and CINDERELLA. After the Second World War, she had less success, but she returned to the West End in 1954, in the musical WEDDING IN PARIS. She also acted several times opposite her second husband, actor Frank Lawton, including in the 1956 sitcom MY HUSBAND AND I. Other stage successes included SILVER WEDDING (1957; with Lawton), THE AMOROUS PRAWN (1959) and PHIL THE FLUTER (1969).”
“If you are interested in what original audiences of early 20th century English operetta and musical comedy heard, there is a great source for such recordings – the record label Paleophonics. Dominic Combe prepares CDs for them from his huge collection of shellacs and a few cylinders.
I came across these somewhat hard-to-find CDs on the website of the mail-order company NORBECK, PETERS AND FORD, (norpete.com) which is specialized in historical performances from the beginning of recorded sound all the way through to the 1960s.
There are now over fifty Paleophonics CDs, and more are being prepared or scheduled for future release. Each CD comes with a lavishly illustrated program booklet with reviews, information about the shows and fantastic publicity photographs, and artwork from the original London productions, in the form of reproductions of the magazine PLAY PICTORIAL.”
- Thomas Krebs, OPERETTA RESEARCH CENTER - PALEOPHONICS - A JOURNEY TO THE DAWN OF RECORDED SOUND IN MUSICAL COMEDY, 1 July, 2020