Gustave Kammerlee as Private Willis in Iolanthe

Gustave Kammerlee (1885-86)

Gus Kammerlee's first appearance on a New York stage was in one of the many American pirate productions of H.M.S. Pinafore. It opened at the Madison Square Theatre on June 2, 1879, and ran for four weeks. Later that year he would tour with the Boston Ideal Opera Company, appearing at the Academy of Music, Brooklyn, in December in H.M.S. Pinafore, and later, in January 1880, in Fatinitza.

From December 1882 to April 1883, he played Private Willis in Iolanthe with Collier's Standard Opera Company in the first ever production at the Boston Bijou Theatre. Though not a D'Oyly Carte production, it was sanctioned by Carte. He returned to the Bijou with the Bijou Theatre Comic Opera Company in October 1883 as Bill Bobstay and the Usher in an H.M.S. Pinafore/Trial by Jury double bill, remaining to play Private Willis again in November and December, and other non-G&S works until February 1884. He later appeared at the Boston Theatre in 1885 and 1886.

Kammerlee's only engagement with the D'Oyly Carte organization began in December 1885 when he toured in the title role of the Mikado with Carte's Fourth American Mikado Company under the management of John Stetson. He toured until early the following year but was replaced by Samuel Reed in January or February.

His last appearance on the New York Stage would be as Judge Patterson in Denman Thompson's rural drama The Old Homestead at the Academy of Music in October 1890. It was a role he had appeared in regularly since 1886.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone