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British Musical Theatre   Charles H. Taylor

TAYLOR, Charles H[enry] (b Manchester ?1860; d Derby, 27 June 1907). Lyricist for a busy few years on the London stage.

Taylor began his working life alongside his father in the silk trade, but a friendship with producer Robert Courtneidge led him to supply some topical verses for panto-mimes at Courtneidge's Prince's Theatre in Manchester and, eventually, for other Courtneidge ventures. He finally gave up silk and moved to London to pursue a career as a lyricist and there, after at first concentrating on songs for the popular market, he made his first incursion into the world of West End musical comedy with some additional lyrics for Tom B Davis's production of fellow-Mancunian Leslie Stuart's The Silver Slipper (1901).

Taylor quickly became one of the most sought-after lyricists of the London stage and, in the two years that followed, he contributed to Sidney Jones's comedy opera My Lady Molly and to George Edwardes's production of The Girl from Kays, shared the lyric-writing credit of Seymour Hicks's extremely successful Bluebell in Fairyland, and wrote the entire songwords for Davis's disappointing The Medal and the Maid and for Leslie Stuart's The School Girl. Following the success of Bluebell, he became lyricist-in-chief to the Seymour Hicks/Charles Frohman organization, and between 1904 and 1907 he supplied the lyrics to Herbert Haines's music for the four shows that the team wrote and produced, scoring a major success with The Catch of the Season ('Cigarette', 'The Charms on My Chain') and a fine run with The Beauty of Bath. His most enduring work, however, came in his one London show with Courtneidge, Tom Jones (1907).

To an Edward German musical score of more lasting substance than those written by Haines, Taylor provided the words for such pieces as the celebrated waltz song 'For Tonight', the charming tale of 'The Green Ribbon' and the lusty 'West Country Lad'. Tom Jones proved, however, to be his last show. He was working on his first musical comedy libretto when he died at the age of 47. His last song had been played very shortly before, as a special addition to the score of Torn Jones for the 100th night of its run. It is that song, 'Dream o' Day Jill', which has survived through nigh on a century as his most popular single number.

1901 A Busy Day (Herbert E Baker/w W A Brabner) Theatre Royal, Blackburn 22 April

1901 Bluebell in Fairyland (Walter Slaughter/w Aubrey Hopwood/Seymour Hicks) Vaudeville Theatre 18 December

1902 My Lady Molly (Sidney Jones/w Percy Greenbank, G H Jessop/Jessop) Theatre Royal, Brighton 11 August; Terry's Theatre, London 14 March 1903

1903 The Medal and the Maid (Jones/Owen Hall) Lyric Theatre 25 April

1903 The School Girl (Leslie Stuart/Henry Hamilton, Paul M Potter) Prince of Wales Theatre 9 May

1904 The Catch of the Season (Herbert Haines, Evelyn Baker/Hicks, Cosmo Hamilton) Vaudeville Theatre 9 September

1905 The Talk of the Town (Haines/Hicks) Lyric Theatre 5 January

1906 The Beauty of Bath (Haines/Hicks, Hamilton) Aldwych Theatre 19 March

1907 My Darling (Haines, Baker/Hicks) Hicks Theatre 2 March

1907 Tom Jones (Edward German/Alexander M Thompson, Robert Courtneidge) Apollo Theatre 17 April

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