Marion Hood as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance

Marion Hood (1880-81)

[Born Liverpool 1 Apr 1854, died Thanet 14 Aug 1912]

Marion Hood, whose real name was Sarah Ann Isaac, was performing on the music hall stage as a child of eleven under the name Marion Isaac. By 1876 she was a singing star in Hull, and she soon headed for London and a course of study at the Royal Academy of Music, with the view of appearing on the grand opera stage or the concert platform.

In March 1880 she accompanied Harriett Coveney to a rehearsal of The Pirates of Penzance at the Opera Comique. She was introduced to W. S. Gilbert, who shortly arranged an audition. She sang the "Shadow Song" from Meyerbeer's Dinorah, and was immediately offered the part of Mabel. It was in this character that she made her London Stage debut. She would play Mabel until January 1881, when she left the stage and married her second husband. It would be her only engagement with a D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

She returned to the stage in August 1881 as Constance in the first production of Claude Duval at the Olympic Theatre. After subsequent engagements at the Alhambra and Avenue Theatres she made a provincial tour in grand opera, appearing as Marguerite in Faust, both in the countryside and at the Crystal Palace. She then returned to comic opera:this time at the Gaiety, where she appeared in Billee Taylor (1885) and Little Jack Sheppard (1885-86), before creating the title role in Stephenson and Cellier's Dorothy (September 1886). Dorothy soon transferred to the Prince of Wales's, where it enjoyed enormous success, but illness forced Miss Hood out of the cast after about 350 nights.

After her recovery, Marion Hood returned to the Gaiety where she would star in such shows as Monte Cristo Jr. (1887), Miss Esmeralda (1887-88), Frankenstein (1887-88) and Ruy Blas and the Blase Roue (1889). She twice toured America with Gaiety Companies (1888-89 and 1889-90). In 1891 she returned to the Opera Comique in a burlesque of Joan of Arc, and appeared in the same show in September when it was revived at the Gaiety. Her last appearance on the London stage may have been as a member of the crowd in court in Trial by Jury at the Nellie Farren benefit, Drury Lane, March 1898.

Page modified October 12, 2001 © 2001 David Stone