Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mae West: Harold Atteridge

MAE WEST was cast in "Vera Violetta," a musical that opened in November — — on 20 November 1911 — — at the Winter Garden Theatre when she first worked with Mr. Atteridge.
• • Most of the music was prepared by composer Edmund Eysler who was born in Vienna [on 12 March 1874]. The lyricist for "Vera" — — a show set in Paris, France — — was Harold Atteridge.
• • Mae West was assigned the second number in Act I. Backed by the chorus, Mae [as Mademoiselle Angelique] was to sing "Angelique of the Opera Comique," a song whose lyrics were written by Melville Gideon to music composed by Louis A. Hirsch.
• • And a decade later Mae would work with Harold Atteridge again on "The Mimic World" [1921]. This time, the audience got to see Mae in all 26 performances in the role of Cleopatra, a Shimmy Dancer, and La Belle (renamed Madelon).
• • Born in the month of July — — on 9 July 1886 — — in Lake Forest, Illinois, Harold Atteridge began his long career when he was at the University of Chicago and often wrote for a number of college shows. After graduation, he joined a commercial music publishing outfit as a lyricist. A producer recognized his talent and encouraged him to move to The Big Apple, which he did by September 1910. After a discussion with Jesse Louis Lasky, Atteridge was hired for a show at Manhattan's York Follies Bergere. That unprofitable dinner theatre soon closed, however, it led to the lucky chance to audition for J. J. Shubert and then be engaged for more than twenty upcoming productions.
• • A show such as Vera Violetta, which offered enormous prestige and a high salary, was not without its perils. Harold Atteridge explained: "Writing a Winter Garden revue involves many details, and this work is unlike that of the librettist who writes a straight musical comedy. It must be remembered that there are more principals for whom parts and song numbers must be arranged, and that, due to the nature of travesties indulged in, constant revisions are necessary up until the very week before the premiere. Seven or eight weeks ahead I have a private conference with J.J. Shubert, who engages the cast and chorus, plans the scenery and lighting effects, and superintends the production and together we map out a skeleton idea of the forthcoming revue. Then we scout about for a promising composer, and I begin writing a series of lyrics to be used. In the average Winter Garden offering about thirty-five numbers are written, and ten songs from this list are eliminated before the premiere. ..." No wonder this Broadway mainstay took to drink to calm his nerves.
• • By 1930, he was working in Tinseltown, hired to write film continuities. And later on he scripted radio continuities for two performers who had worked with Mae West — — Ed Wynn and Al Jolson. But his alcoholism and the deadline pressure took its toll. Harold Richard Atteridge died on 15 January 1938 of cirrhosis of the liver in Lynbrook, New York. He was only 51 years old and was survived by his wife.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Op-Ed journalist Patt Morrison writes: The self-styled Psychic to the Stars who has hosted lucrative infomercials, TV shows and hotlines says he consulted with the likes of Lucille Ball and John Wayne on this side of life, heard from Elvis and James Dean on the other side, and knows Marilyn Monroe from both sides — — she gave him the table and chairs where we sat and talked in his Studio City home. He learned his craft from his grandmother, his mother and his mother's friend, psychic devotee Mae West. .. .
• • Source: Op-Ed piece: "Patt Morrison Asks: Spirit guide Kenny Kingston" written by Patt Morrison for L.A. Times; posted on 9 July 2011
• • 17 July 2004 17 July 2011 • •
• • In mid-July the Mae West Blog will celebrate its seventh anniversary. Thank you to all those Mae-mavens who come up and see Mae every day.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 1986th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • "Mimic World of 1921" • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment