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Arthur Lloyd Tours America and Canada

 

A Bill for Arthur Lloyd and Company in 'Our Party' at the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, in September 1893 - Click to Enlarge.Arthur Lloyd is known to have toured the USA and Canada during 1893 and 1894, and then again in 1895/96. The tours would have involved a great deal of advance planning, and long sea journeys across the Atlantic, so he must have really wanted to break into the US and Canadian market.

A passenger manifest for the Anchor Line's SS Furnessia shows that on the 3rd of August 1893 Arthur Lloyd and his children Harry and Annie boarded the ship in Glasgow for the 10 day voyage across the Atlantic to New York. The SS Furnessia had originally been constructed in Barrow in Furness in 1880 and was the largest ship to have been built in England at the time, apart from the Great Eastern. It was one of the most comfortably accommodated steam ships then regularly crossing the Atlantic. The ship arrived safely with Arthur Lloyd and his children in New York on the 13th of August 1893. More details on the SS Furnessia can be found here.

The Philadelphia Inquirer had previously reported on the Lloyd's imminent arrival in their Sunday July the 2nd 1893 edition saying:- 'The well-known English vocal comedian, Arthur Lloyd, will sail from London with his comedy organization on August 2. He will open his first American tour the latter part of August and will present his own very successful musical comedy, "Our Party."' - The Philadelphia Inquirer, July the 2nd 1893.

The Buffalo Evening News had also reported on the sailing and the tour too, in their 22nd of July 1893 edition, saying:- 'Arthur Lloyd and his company of players sail from London in August. Mr. Lloyd will be supported by a first class English organization, including his son and daughter, Harry and Annie Ring-Lloyd [sic]. Most of his time for the first American tour is already booked. "Our Party," his own successful comedy, will be the attraction. Mr. Lloyd comes to America with indorsements from Henry Irving, J. L. Toole, Mr. and Mrs. Kendall, Charles Wyndham and others.' - The Buffalo Evening News, 22nd of July 1893.

The tour was advertised and reported on with great excitement by the local press in every town he planned to visit. Some of these notices are shown below, and a Bill for them performing at the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia in September 1893 can be seen right.

Right - A Bill for Arthur Lloyd and Company in 'Our Party' at the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, in September 1893. In the cast were Arthur Lloyd, Hawley Francis, Emily Beauchamp, Annie King Lloyd, Milroy Cooper, Harry King Lloyd, George Denton, Henry Ellis, Maud Bertram, Marie Fair, L. O'Brian, A. F. Taylor, Mirian Cornell, and Lillian Tulane. - Click to Enlarge. The Bill states:- 'First Appearance in America of England's Greatest Vocal Comedian, Mr. Arthur Lloyd, Who has had the longest and most successful career of all the Vocal Comedians in England, Ireland and Scotland, and whose name is known, and songs, sayings, and doings copied in every English speaking country in the world. Surrounded by his own company, specially selected for their respective characters, presenting the Musical, Pantomimical, Farsical Opera Bouffical Comedy in Three Acts, written by Arthur Lloyd and performed in England, Ireland and Scotland in the principal theatres upwards of one thousand times. Entitled Our Party Or, The Nobleman in Disguise.'

A report in the Canadian Ottawa Journal of the 15th of August 1893 stated:- 'Arthur Lloyd, the world-famous English comic singer, is coming back at the head of his own company. He will visit Ottawa on November 6 and 7. The Company he has organized present a musical comedy written by Mr. Lloyd himself called "Our Party." An outline of the comedy, given by the Edinburgh Courant, describes the music as light and happy, and the end creation full of the liveliest fun.

The London Era says: It is pleasant to note the extremely favorable reception accorded to that well tried servant of the public, and popular comedian Mr. Arthur Lloyd, and it is still pleasanter to observe that his children, Miss Annie King-Lloyd and Mr. Harry King-Lloyd, have inherited much of the histrionic ability of their father and their lamented mother, the late Miss Kattie King. Miss Annie, indeed, should soon win a good position on the stage. She has a winsome presence, her acting is full of expression, her voice is pleasant, her elocution good, and - blest consummation! - she is refined.

Of course a great reception awaited Mr. Arthur Lloyd, but his daughter, Miss Annie King-Lloyd, wins all hearts by her unaffected style and charming appearance. The very graceful dance this young lady, introduces is deservedly applauded. - The Ottawa Journal, 15th of August 1893.

The Tyrone Daily Herald in Pennsylvania of August the 31st 1893 reported on the tour soon visiting their Academy of Music, saying:- 'England's leading comedian, Arthur Lloyd, supported by a company of celebrated European artists will appear at the academy of music Friday evening, Sept 1st in the musical comedy "Our Party"... "Our Party" will be presented here with the same brilliant company of comedians as seen at Pittsburgh where they play week of Sept 4th.' The Tyrone Daily Herald, Pennsylvania, August 31st 1893.

A Poster for Arthur Lloyd, his wife Katty King, and their children Harry, Annie and Dulcie at the Operetta House Clacton On Sea 1899 - Click to Enlarge.The Pittsburgh Press of Sunday the 3rd of September, 1893 reported:- ' "Our Party" opens at the Grand Opera house to-morrow evening and will be presented by a company headed by England's great vocal comedian, Mr. Arthur Lloyd, whose name stands pro-eminent as the composer of more "topical hits" than any other artist in his line. "Our Party" is a very funny comedy which has taken the leading European cities by storm where it has been presented over 1,000 times by this same company.

Left - A Poster for Arthur Lloyd's 'Our Party' at the Operetta House Clacton On Sea in 1899 - Click to Enlarge.

A Poster for Horatio and Arthur Lloyd, and Katty King, at the Royalty Theatre, Glasgow in 1884. Click to Enlarge.Briefly told, the story is substantially this: The fun arises through the ambitious schemes of Mr. Marmaduke Mugg, a cockney dust contractor, who wishes his daughter to marry among the "upper ten." His nephew, Charles Larrican, an actor out of luck and considerably out at the elbows, whom he has never seen before, turns up, and having read in the newspapers of a noble lord who was tramping the country in disguise, Mr. Mugg immediately jumps to the conclusion that the threadbare gentleman is the nobleman, and determines to secure him for his daughter. She, however, has already contracted a marriage with Montague, another actor, and head of the company of which Charles Larrican was a member. Considerable complications and amusing situations arise, but at the denounement the dust contractor realizes his heart's desire, Montague being a nobleman who has taken to the stage from his love of the profession. There are over 20 numbers of musical selections introduced incidental to the comedy, including Mr. Lloyd's original topical songs, medleys, also the "Our Party" quartet.' - The Pittsburgh Press, 3rd of September, 1893.

Right - A Poster for Horatio Lloyd, Arthur Lloyd, and Katty King, in 'Our Party' at the Royalty Theatre, Glasgow in 1884. Click to Enlarge.

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Times of Sunday the 10th of September 1893 said:- 'The Chestnut- Street Theatre to-morrow night will see the first appearance here of England's famous vocalist and comedian, Arthur Lloyd, and his own London company in his musical comedy, "Our Party; or, the Nobleman in Disguise." For a great many years Mr. Arthur Lloyd has been a central figure in first-class entertainments in London. He is the author of over one thousand popular humorous songs, including "For Goodness Sake Don't say I Told You," "Signor Mac Stinger," "Not For Joseph," "One More Polka," and many others well-known here, and has written some new songs expressly for his American tour.

An advertisement carried in the Pennsylvania press, on Friday the 6th of October 1893 for Arthur Lloyd and Company at the Sentinel Opera House in October 1893.The musical comedy "Our Party," is said to be exceedingly bright, refined and entertaining from first to last. The humor of the piece centres in the ambitious schemes of a cockney contractor, who wishes his daughter to marry among the "upper ten." Mr. Lloyd is supported by his own English company, which includes his son and daughter, Henry King Lloyd [sic] and Annie King Lloyd, whose performances are highly praised by the English press; Mme. Emily Beauchamp, an English actress, who has already appeared with success in Philadelphia; Hawley Franks and Milroy Cooper, a young English tenor, who has made successes with D'Oyley Carte's Opera Company. - The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Times, 10th of September 1893.

Right - An advertisement carried in the Pennsylvania press, on Friday the 6th of October 1893 for Arthur Lloyd and Company at the Sentinel Opera House in October 1893.

The Reading Times of Reading, Pennsylvania reported on the Tour in their Saturday October the 7th 1893 edition saying:- 'Academy of Music - To night the farce comedy "Our Party," said to be above the average farce comedy, will entertain. Mr. Arthur Lloyd and his company of English comedians promise an abundance of fun, bright music, catchy songs, medleys, imitations and impersonations, - a bill, in short, bound to please a fastidious audience. The fun arises through the ambitious schemes of Mr. Mugg, a cockney dust contractor, who wishes his daughter to marry among the "upper ten." Lloyd is a comedian of no mean ability. Miss Annie Lloyd is a clever dancing and singing artiste, and the company is reputed good.' - The Pennsylvania Reading Times, October the 7th 1893.

The Scranton Republican reviewed the production in their Tuesday the 10th of October 1893 edition saying:- 'ARTHUR LLOYD IN "OUR PARTY" - An English comedy of Good Quality Well Presented Last Evening - Arthur Lloyd, with a good supporting company in "Our Party" was the attraction at the Academy of Music last evening. Many of the regular patrons, no doubt, were holding off for to-night's appearance of Pugilist Corbett, so that the audience was small. Those present, however, enjoyed a delightful three act comedy, unfolding a pretty chain of laughable absurdities growing out of the efforts of an unemployed actor to impersonate an English lord. The fun evolved is of a spontaneous and wholesome order, while the various specialities of the company were enthusiastically received. Mr. Lloyd is a master of his art. There is something irresistibly comical about his voice and manner which captivates his audience.' - The Scranton Republican, 10th October 1893.

During the tour in October a sad event happened when one of the members of the 'Our Party' company committed suicide. The New York Times reported on the tragedy in their October the 12th 1893 edition saying:- 'Singer George O'Brien a Suicide - ALBANY, N. Y., Oct 11 - George O'Brien, a singer in Arthur Lloyd's "Our Party" company, playing here, committed suicide in his room in the American House to-night. He had been despondent for the past two weeks over the death of his mother. He hanged himself from a bedpost, using a fire escape rope. O'Brien had been in the theatrical business eighteen years, and joined Lloyd's company in New-York seven weeks ago. He was a native of Philadelphia and forty years old.' - The New York Times, October the 12th 1893.

An advertisement for Arthur Lloyd's 'Our Party' at the Grand Opera House, Ottawa, Canada, on November 6th 1893 - From the Ottawa Journal of Monday the the 6th of November 1893.Quite how the Company reacted to the suicide of one of their members is hard to know but they carried on with the tour regardless.

The Ottawa Journal reviewed the production when it returned to the Opera House in November 1893, in their Tuesday the 7th of November 1893 edition saying:- 'Arthur Lloyd was welcomed at his re-appearance in the Opera House last evening by one of the largest gatherings of the season.

Left - An advertisement for Arthur Lloyd's 'Our Party' at the Grand Opera House, Ottawa, Canada, on November 6th 1893 - From the Ottawa Journal of Monday the the 6th of November 1893.

All who attended were thoroughly well entertained. The comedy "Our Party, or the Nobleman in Disguise" was performed with much satisfaction. Not only was Mr. Lloyd entertaining and humorous in himself but his support was uncommonly good. He may be assured of another large house when he appears again to-night.' - The Ottawa Journal, 7th of November 1893.

An advertisement for Arthur Lloyd's 'Two Hours Fun' at the Grand Opera House, Ottawa in April 1894 - From the Ottawa Journal of the 4th of April 1894.Sadly, despite the glowing reports, this 1893/84 tour of the States and Canada proved to be something of a disaster for Arthur. He lost a great deal of money on it because, as it was reported back in England afterwards, it was the World's Fair year in Chicago and everybody in the States and Canada who could afford to go had already left for Chicago and there was hardly anybody left to attend his performances.

Right - An advertisement for Arthur Lloyd's 'Two Hours Fun' at the Grand Opera House, Ottawa in April 1894 - From the Ottawa Journal of the 4th of April 1894.

Arthur Lloyd's song 'Not For Joseph' here credited to Johnny Mack.Worse still, on returning to Britain in the Spring of 1894 he found all the Theatres booked up and he couldn't get a date anywhere. More details on this situation can be found on his Biography page here.

The tour of the US and Canada in 1895 seems to have gone a little better though as he wasn't seen again in the UK until he appeared at the Park Palace Liverpool in a new sketch called 'The Two Jeremiahs' the following March, in 1896.

Left - Arthur Lloyd's song 'Not For Joseph' here credited to Johnny Mack.

Arthur Lloyd's songs were sung across the 'pond' too, sometimes without credit. The Not For Joseph song sheet (shown left) and sung by Johnny Mack, has a credit to Lloyd for the music yet the words, credited to G.C.H. are clearly a reworking of Lloyd's too. Whether this was done with Arthur's consent is unknown.

Advertisement from the Era Annual of 1895 - Mr. Arthur Lloyd The great comedian and vocalist, author and composer of 1,000 songs. After most successful seasons in Theatres in London and Provinces with his great drama "Ballyvogan," and his farcical, musical comedy, "Our Party," and in Variety Theatre with his Comical Musical Trios and Sketches, will return in the Fall of 1895 to the United States and Canada. - Courtesy Jennifer Carnell.

Above - An Advertisement from the Era Annual of 1895 - Mr. Arthur Lloyd The great comedian and vocalist, author and composer of 1,000 songs. After most successful seasons in Theatres in London and Provinces with his great drama "Ballyvogan," and his farcical, musical comedy, "Our Party," and in Variety Theatre with his Comical Musical Trios and Sketches, will return in the Fall of 1895 to the United States and Canada.

If you have any more information or Images for Arthur Lloyd's American and Canadian Tours that you are willing to share please Contact me.

Archive newspaper reports on this page were kindly collated and sent in by Alfred Mason.

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