Mary Beebe as Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore

Mary Beebe (1885-86)

[Born Columbus, Ohio c.1858, died Brookline, Massachusetts 8 Oct 1902]

On April 14, 1879, a remarkable production of H.M.S. Pinafore was launched at the Boston Theatre with Mary Beebe as Josephine. A little known concert singer at the time, she stepped into the vacant part at a rehearsal the week before. That production of Pinafore was the beginning of the "Boston Ideal Opera Company," and Mary Beebe became its first prima donna.

She toured with the Boston Ideals for several years in comic opera, appearing as Mabel in their Pirates of Penzance and in the title role in Patience among other parts. After leaving the Ideals, she continued to perform in Gilbert and Sullivan, taking over the title role in the Carte-sanctioned production of Princess Ida at New York's Fifth Avenue Theatre in February 1884. She appeared as Mabel and Patience again at the Casino in New York in February and March 1885 in casts that included Laura Joyce and J. H. Ryley.

Her only engagement with the D'Oyly Carte organization followed later that year, when she began touring New York and New England as Yum-Yum with D'Oyly Carte's Third American Mikado Company beginning in November. The tour lasted until May 1886.

Page modified May 25, 2003 © 2001-03 David Stone