Madeleine Lucette

Madeleine Lucette (1878, 1881)

[Born London 26 Dec 1858, died Hampstead, London 17 Feb 1934]

Madeleine Lucette (real name Madelaine Matilda Bradley) was a highly successful actress and playwright who had two brief engagements with the D’Oyly Carte organization early in her career. From September to December 1878 she toured the British Isles with Carte’s Comedy Opera Company Ltd. The main attractions were The Sorcerer and the first provincial production of H.M.S. Pinafore, starring J. H. Ryley. Miss Lucette, who was also Mrs. Ryley, appeared in the chorus and also took parts in the shorter companion pieces, Two Sharps and a Flat (Mrs. Minor) and Ryley’s own Congenial Souls (Clara). She later appeared as Susan in Stephens and Solomon’s Billee Taylor with Carte’s First American Billee Taylor Company (J. H. Ryley was Felix Flapper) beginning in February 1881, but later in the run was replaced by Rose Chappelle.

She also appeared as Jelly in W. S. Gilbert’s Princess Toto at the Boston Theatre in March-April 1880, with Leonora Braham, and was Constance in a non-D’Oyly Carte production of The Sorcerer at New York’s Casino Theatre in 1883.

In 1893 she began writing short stories and plays. Her plays included Christopher, Jr. (1895, a great success for John Drew and Maude Adams), An American Citizen (1897, starring Nat Goodwin), On and Off (1898), Richard Savage (1900), Mice and Men (1901), An American Invasion (1902), The Grass Widow (1902), Mrs. Grundy (1905), The Great Conspiracy (1907), The Sugar Bowl (1907), and many others. In July 1904 she played Ophelia in W. S. Gilbert’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in a benefit matinee at London’s Garrick Theatre. The author played King Claudius.

Her works were equally popular in Britain and America. The Boston Transcript described her plays and position in the dramatic profession in the following terms: "These were all clean, wholesome comedies, and she scored heavily, for she proved, in contadistinction to many of her contemporaries, that American audiences could be entertained and amused by Anglo-Saxon themes and witty comedy as readily as those of Latin origin with their salacious plots and suggestive dialogue. Indeed, as far as women playwrights are concerned, she now has the field almost to herself."

Page modified February 25, 2005 © 2001-05 David Stone