You are here: Archive Home > Curtain Raisers > Pretty Polly
 
   
The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive  
Pretty Polly

Written by
BASIL HOOD

Composed by
FRANÇOIS CELLIER

First produced at the Theatre Royal, Colchester, 26th April 1900, and at the Savoy Theatre 19th May to 28th June 1900 as a companion piece to The Rose of Persia, a total of 26 performances.

No printed libretto or vocal score in British Library, but a copy of the libretto in the Lord Chamberlain's collection, ref. 1900/8.

Cast

CHARLIE BROWN Henry Lytton
POLLY GREY Louie Pounds

Revived from 8th December 1900 to 22nd January 1901 and from 4th February to 20th April 1901 as a companion piece to Patience (102 performances), with cast:

CHARLIE BROWN Robert Evett
POLLY GREY Louie Pounds

Christopher O'Brien discovered the libretto in the Lord Chamberlain's collection and writes:

The Licence was issued on 11th June 1900 and the typescript, which was typed by Mrs Marshall's agency in The Strand, is date stamped 18th April 1900.  The typescript was created just eight days before the premiere in Colchester and the licence was issued some weeks after the Savoy premiere. It is likely, therefore, that this is an accurate copy of the text as actually performed during the initial run.  The libretto also agrees with early reviews that the curtain raiser had no music and was of about ten minutes duration.

This still begs the question about the attribution of music by François Cellier cited in Michael & George's pamphlet, in Rollins & Witts, and in Rose Cellier's 1930 letter to Rupert D'Oyly Carte in which she states that she has the score and band parts of two songs in Pretty Polly. The play does give a stage direction that Polly is heard singing off stage, but if these are the songs that Rose refers to, why have band parts? Could it be that when the piece was revived at the end of the year as a companion to Patience, which is shorter than The Rose of Persia, it was expanded to make a longer evenings programme by the addition of a couple of songs? I have a programme for the Patience / Pretty Polly pairing from December 1900 which gives François Cellier as the composer of the music. It would be interesting to compare this with a programme from the earlier run of performances at both Colchester and the Savoy to see if Cellier is given the same credit.



Page modified 2 September, 2011
Text Copyright © 1990-1996 Michael Walters and George Low All Rights Reserved and © 2008 Christopher O'Brien
Design Copyright © 2007 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved