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HURGON, Austen A [HORGAN, Richard Cornelius] (b Netherlands, 1867; d Folkestone, 24 June 1941). Director and librettist for several successful West End musicals of the 1900s and 1910s.

Hurgon began his career as an actor and appeared in a supporting rôle in the musical Miss Wingrove (1905, Alberto), which he produced and directed in conjunction with Frank Curzon. Curzon then employed him to direct The White Chrysanthemum (1905) and The Girl Behind the Counter (1906), and he subsequently became stage director for the producer at the Prince of Wales Theatre. When Paul Rubens fell ill during the preparation of Miss Hook of Holland, Curzon brought Hurgon in to complete the writing of the piece, and the success that the show, which Hurgon also directed, achieved, led to his collaborating with Rubens on its successor, My Mimosa Maid. However, both The Three Kisses (1907) and My Mimosa Maid (1908) which he directed for Curzon were failures, and the alliance ended. Hurgon directed The Hon'ble Phil (1908) for Miss Hook star G P Huntley, and then made another attempt at producing when he took on the management of the failing musical Two Merry Monarchs (1909), which he had also directed. His management lasted four performances.

Hurgon subsequently went to the London Hippodrome, where he directed the famous revue Hullo, Ragtime! and its sequels for Albert de Courville, and wrote both revue books and the libretti for the one-act operettas which were included in those revues for a period. He also penned a travesty of his own revue hit in the Chiswick Empire revue What Ho! Ragtime. At the same time, he found himself in demand as a director in New York, and in 1910 he mounted two musicals with British connections, Ivan Caryll's Marriage à la Carte and Leslie Stuart's The Slim Princess, on Broadway.

In 1915 he began an association with producers Grossmith and Laurillard, directing Tonight's the Night for Broadway and London, and following up with Theodore & Co and with Yes, Uncle!, both, like the first, considerable successes. He also continued to write, in collaboration with George Arthurs, and their musicals Suzette, the English version of Arlette, Yes, Uncle! (taken from Armont and Nancey's Le Truc du Brésilien), and The Girl for the Boy, adapted from Paul Gavault's La Petite Chocolatière as a vehicle for Gina Palerme, all had good to fine runs.

He tried production/direction again with Ivor Novello's comic opera The Golden Moth (1921), and with his own musical His Girl (1922), but although they suceeded better than his first attempts, neither was a Miss Hook or a Hullo, Ragtime! and, thereafter, he retired from the musical theatre scene.

1907 Miss Hook of Holland (Paul Rubens/w Rubens) Prince of Wales Theatre 31 January

1908 My Mimosa Maid (Rubens/w Rubens) Prince of Wales Theatre 21 April

1911 The Eternal Waltz (Leo Fall) 1 act London Hippodrome 22 December

1913 Arms and the Girl (Richard Fall) 1 act London Hippodrome 29 April

1913 The Blue House (Emmerich Kalman) 1 act London Hippodrome 28 October

1916 Girl Wanted (w Herbert C Sargent) 1 act

1917 Suzette (Max Darewski, George Arthurs) Globe Theatre 29 March

1917 Arlette (Jane Vieu, Novello, Guy Lefeuvre/w Arthurs) English version (Shaftesbury Theatre)

1917 Yes, Uncle! (Nat D Ayer/Clifford Grey/w Arthurs) Prince of Wales Theatre 29 December

1919 The Girl for the Boy (Howard Carr, Bernard Rolt/Percy Greenbank/w Arthurs) Duke of York's Theatre 23 September

1922 His Girl (M Darewski, Ernest Longstaffe/C E Burton/w F W Thomas) Gaiety Theatre 1 April

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