Portsmouth Music Scene

The Portsmouth Music Scene

Evie Greene


Parnholt, 104 Laburnum Grove in 2013

Edith Elizabeth ("Evie") Greene (14th January, 1878 – 11 September 1917 was a much-photographed English actress and singer who played in Edwardian musical comedies in London and on Broadway. She is most notable for starring as Dolores, the central character in the international hit musical Florodora. She also sang on the world's first original cast album, recorded for this musical.
Life and career

Greene was born at 82 Fratton Road in Portsmouth, England,(approximately where Wetherspoons John Jaques Pub is now.) in 1875 (the 1881 census gives her age as 6). She was the daughter of Richard Bentley Greene, a retired naval officer, and his wife Edith. The 1891 census states that she was a sixteen-year-old "teacher of music".
Early in her career, Greene starred in pantomime in the provinces. She went on to star in hit musicals, most notably Florodora at the Lyric Theatre in London beginning in 1899, as well as the title roles in Kitty Grey in 1900 and 1901 (Apollo Theatre), also starring Mabel Love and Edna May, A Country Girl in 1903 (at Daly's Theatre), as Madame Sans-Gene in The Duchess of Dantzic in 1903 (at the Lyric Theatre) and in 1905 on Broadway, and as Molly Montrose in The Little Cherub in 1906 (Prince of Wales's Theatre), with Lily Elsie, Gabrielle Ray and Zena Dare.
Greene sang the role of the Plaintiff in a 1902 benefit performance of Trial by Jury, alongside Hayden Coffin and the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company stars, with Lionel Monckton playing the mute role of the Associate. She also starred in operettas such as The Duchess of Dantzic at the Lyric Theatre in London from 1904, and 93 performances at Daly's Theatre in New York from 16 January, 1905 to April 15, 1905. The Duchess of Dantzic was a comic opera in three acts, set in Paris, with music by Ivan Caryll and a book and lyrics by Henry Hamilton. It was first produced in London at the Lyric Theatre in 1903 and ran for 236 performances. Subsequently, it enjoyed a successful New York production, and was revived in London and performed regularly by amateur theatre groups, particularly in Britain, until the 1950s.
She was in Les Merveilleuses in 1906 at Daly's Theatre in London, and L'Amour Mouillé at the Lyric Theatre. She also starred in the successful Havana in 1908 at the Gaiety Theatre, London.
Greene appeared in 1915 in a revival of Florodora, earning good notices, and performed through 1916, at least as late as 22 November of that year, at the London Palladium.

She married twice: first in 1896 to Richard Temple, Jr., the son of the D'Oyly Carte principal bass, Richard Temple (divorced - abandonment), and then in 1910 to Captain Ernest Kennaway Arbuthnot. Her nephew was the actor Richard Greene, best known for playing Robin Hood in the 1950s British TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Greene died at the age of 42 in 1917 at her parent's home at Parnholt, 104 Laburnum Grove, North End , Portsmouth, Hampshire. Her husband became Chief Constable of Oxfordshire in 1921, remarried and fathered children.

1881 census, 82 Fratton Road, Portsea, Hampshire.
Source: FHL Film 1341280 PRO Ref RG11 Piece 1145 Folio 43 Page 8

Name Marr Age Sex BirthplacerelationOccupation
Richard GREEN M 42 M Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Head Naval Pensioner
Edith GREEN M 38 F Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Wife
Ernest F. GREEN 8 M Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Son Scholar
Edith E. GREEN 6 F Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Daur Scholar
Hilda GREEN 4 F Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Daur Scholar
Frank W. GREEN 2 M Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Son

1891 census, 859 page 45, 82 Fratton Road,

Name Marr Age Sex BirthplacerelationOccupationborn Christened St Mary's Chirch Fratton
Richard GREENM53 MPortsmouth, Hampshire, England Head Agent to wine merchant 1838?
Edith GREENM48 FWickham, Hampshire, England Wife 1843?
Edith Elizabeth GREEN U16 FPortsmouth, Hampshire, England Daur teacher of music 14/1/1875 11/3/1881
Hilda GREEN U14 F Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Daur nil 11/9/1874 11/3/1881
Frank William GREEN U12 MPortsmouth, Hampshire, England Son 28/12/1878 11/3/1881
Norman Bentley GREEN U8 MPortsmouth, Hampshire, England Son 17/4/1882 4/6/1882

not on the census;- Ernest Frederick Green born 26/1/1873 christened 11/3/1881
not on the census;- Richard Abraham Greene, born June qtr 1869, who married Kathleen Gerrard(actress)
their son Richard Marius Joseph Greene(Robin Hood) born 25 Aug 1918, died 1 Jun 1985

1901 census, RG 981 page 04, 104 Laburnum Grove

Name Marr Age Sex BirthplacerelationOccupation
Richard GREEN M 62 M Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Head Naval pensioner
Edith GREEN M 59 F Wickham, Hampshire, England Wife

Stage Performances

Marjorie 1982 at the Aquarium, Great Yarmouth
Maid Marion (comic Opera in Three Acts), on tour Authors Harry B. Smith, Reginald de Koven Published 1890
Morocco Bound, on tour
a farcical English Edwardian musical comedy in two acts by Arthur Branscombe, with music by F. Osmond Carr and lyrics by Adrian Ross. It opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, on April 13, 1893, under the management of Fred J. Harris, and transferred to the Trafalgar Square Theatre on January 8, 1894, running for a total of 295 performances.
En Route 1896 Parkhurst Theatre, Holloway, London. As principal boy in the pantomime Babes in the Wood and Robin Hood, produced at the Tyne Theatre, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Christmas, 1897.
Paul Jones, on tour

the era (london, england), saturday, may 8, 1897

May 29, 1897, Dublin, above

The New Barmaid, 1897

the era (london, england), saturday, april 24, 1897 the era (london, england), saturday, may 8, 1897 birminghamthe era (london, england), saturday, may 15, 1897

April 24th 1897 at Manchester, above ------------------ May 8, 1897, Dewsbury Yorks, above. -------------------- Saturday May 15 1897, Birmingham, above

saturday, may 22, 1897 tuesday, may 24, 1897

May 22, 1897, above. ----------------- August 24, 1897, above

Billy, Aug 1898

saturday, october 15, 1898

Saturday, October 15, 1898. above

L'amour Moulille, 1899

Lyric Theatre London as Prince Carlo

the morning post (london, england), saturday, april 08, 1899 tuesday, april 18, 1899

--------- April 8th, 1899, the Morning Post London, above -------------------------- Tuesday, April 18, 1899, above -------------

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Cupid and the princess, 1899

tuesday, august 01, 1899 tuesday, august 01, 1899

Tuesday, August 01, 1899, above

saturday,september 2, 1899

September 2, 1899, above


Comic Opera by B.C. Stephenson (music by Alfred Cellier) Gaiety Theatre in

London on the 25th Sep, 1886, 931 performances


Florodora, 1899

First performed The Lyric Theatre London 11th November 1899 Initial run 455 performances
Composer Leslie Stuart (Thomas Augustine Barrett) (1864 - 1928)
Lyrics by the composer and others including Paul Rubens (1875 - 1917)
Starring Ada Reeve (also a Music Hall performer) (1874 - 1966) Evie Greene (1876 - 1917) Willie Edouin (1846 - 1908)

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Saturday, September 2, 1899

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and brought back in 1915 to the Aldwych Thearte with Evie Greene in her original part as Delores.

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Kitty Grey

In 1900 and 1901 (Apollo Theatre), also starring Mabel Love and Edna May.

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Friday, November 9, 1900, above


The Silver Slipper in 1901, the music of Leslie Stuart.

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5 december 1903

5 December 1903


A Country Girl, 1903

In 1903 (at Daly's Theatre). as 'Nan' Original London run: Daly’s, January 1902 First Revival: Daly’s, October 1914 2 nd Revival London run: Daly’s September 29 th 1931 (56 performances) Music: Lionel Monckton & Paul Rubens Lyrics: Adrian Ross Book: James T. Tanner
Opened at Daly's 18th Jan, 1902 729 performance.
A Country Girl was set in Devon, but nevertheless managed to introduce an Indian Princess (Maggie May), who unsuccessfully attempts to woo the local squire. She introduces herself in Under the deodar, while the squire’s servant Barry (comedian Huntley Wright) gives his seafaring reminiscences in Yo ho, little girls, yo ho!. Later in Act 1 the village flirt Nan (Evie Greene) offers the invitation to Try again, Johnnie.

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New York Dramatic Mirror 8th April 1905

The Duchess of Dantzic, 1905

As Madame Sans-Gene in The Duchess of Dantzic [Broadway] Broadway Production, 1905 Catherine Upscher

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The Little Cherub, 1906

As Molly Montrose in 1906 (Prince of Wales's Theatre), with Lily Elsie, Gabrielle Ray.
The Little Cherub or 'The Girl on the Stage' was a musical play in three acts by Owen Hall, opened 13th January 1906. Prince of Wales Theatre, managed by Edwardes. Elsie plays Lady Agnes Congress for the entire run. Lyrics by Adrian Ross music by Ivan Caryll. A run of 114 performances, closing 28th April 1906. Directed by J.A.E. Malone, musical direction from Frank E. Tours. Choreography by Wille Warde and Sydney Ellison, scenic design by W. Telbin and Joseph Harker. Costumes by Percy Anderson. This production was revised and reproduced at the same theatre under the title The Girl on Stage 5 for 29 performances in May and June 1906.
Miss Gabrielle Ray as Lady Dorothy Congress, Lily Elsie as Lady Agnes Congress, Miss Grace Pinder as Lady Rosa Congress, Mr Lennox Pawle as Algernon Southdown, and Mr Fred Kaye as Earl of Sanctobury. Also Mr George Carrol as Ethelbert, Miss Evie Greene and Miss Elsie Clare as Letty

3-2-1906 nydm the london stage

3rd February 1906 from the
New York Drama Mirror "The London Stage'


Les Merveilleuses 1906 or The Lady Dandies,

Performed at Daly's Theatre, London. A musical play by Basil Hood (from the French by Victorien Sardou). Music by Hugo Felix. Opened 27th October, 1906 - ran for 196 Performances. Starring: Evie Greene, as Ladoiska or Lododiska and Denise Orme.
The student of theatrical astronomy may discover a whole constellation of stars at Daly’s just now, and the beautiful music of Dr. Hugo Felix is admirably rendered. Miss Evie Greene, who has a new song since the first night, is in great form; I have never seen her look better, nor act better, nor sing better than she looks and acts and sings as the “merveilleuse” Ladoiska in The Lady Dandies. Certainly the new infusion of fun does not diminish the attractiveness of The Lady Dandies, and there is a long life, if I am not mistaken, and a merry one, in store for the piece.’
(‘Carados’, The Referee, London, Sunday, 3 February 1907, p.3b)

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27 July 1907

havana-00 Havana 1908

Performed at the Gaiety Theatre, London. A musical play by George Grossmith and Graham Hill. Music by Lesley Stuart. Opened 25th April, 1908 - ran for 221 Performances. Starring: Evie Greene, Olive May, Mabel Russell, Jean Aylwin. Miss Evie Greene has many taking ballads set in Mr. Leslie Stuart's best style, and she is really dramatic when she strikes Mr. Mackay with her glove. Why she does this is not very clear, but it is a pretty notion for the inevitable reconciliation that she should find him changing the name of his yacht to Consuelo, which is the name of her stage character.


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A night at the Kings Theatre, Southsea in 1909 inside and out, note the name Evie Greene on the front of house playboard

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20 January 1909 at Portsmouth Hippodrome

observer, new zealand 30 july 1910

Observer, New Zealand 30 July 1910

the playgoer and society illustrated, 1912

The Playgoer and Society Illustrated, 1912

dominion nz, 6 april 1912, page 9

Dominion New Zealand, 6 April 1912

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2 November 1912

September 22-27 1913: Evie Greene, William Burr and Daphne Hope, Harry Webber, Romanoff, Brothers Dean, Solo, Harry Herbert, Elsie Ellis appeared at the Bristol Hippodrome.
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26 May 1914

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Evie Greene appeared in 1915 in a revival of Florodora, earning good notices and performed through 1916, at least as late as 22 November of that year at the London Palladium.

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Later Broadcasts when Evie was mentioned and remembered

19th Janauary 1934 21.35, 'Florodora'
LESLIE STUART 'S Florodora had a run of 455 performances when it was produced in 1899 at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, and it has been twice revived, in 1915 and in 1931. A great deal of the music still retains its freshness and charm-indeed, the tuneful ' Tell me, pretty maiden ' is something of a classic--and, though Stuart wrote other musical comedies, Florodora remains the best thing he ever did. The original cast was a distinguished one ; it included EVIE GREENE as Dolores, Ada Reeve as Lady Holyrood, Kate Cutler as Angela, Willie Edouin as Tweedlepunch, and Nina Sevening in a small part-great names and delightful memories to a now middle-aged generation. The book was by Owen Hall , Paul Rubens had a hand in the lyrics, and the conductor was a young man of great promise by the name of Landon Ronald. The music of the late Leslie Stuart is chiefly remarkable for its engaging melodiousness. Few musical comedy composers could write tunes as haunting and as musically good as could Stuart at his best. He came to London after fourteen years as organist in Salford and Manchester, and quickly made hits with such songs as ' The Bandolero ', which he wrote for Signor Foli , ' Louisiana Lou ', which Ellaline Terriss popularised in The Shop Girl, ' The Soldiers of the Queen ', as good a tune now as it was nearly forty years ago, when it set the whole country singing, and the songs he wrote for Eugene Stratton—' Little Dolly Daydream ' and ' The Lily of Laguna '. But it is for Florodora that Leslie Stuart will be best remembered. This musical comedy will be broadcast again by all Regional transmitters on Wednesday evening. A short article on Florodora, by M. Willson Disher , appears on page 224.

National Programme Daventry 9 May 1939 19.45 EDITH DAY as ' MADAME SANS-GENE
in ' The Duchess of Dantzic ' A romantic light opera written by Henry Hamilton , and adapted for broadcasting by Henrik Ege Music by Ivan Caryll Cast in order of appearance Laundresses, soldiers, ladies of the Court, Ambassadors, etc. The BBC Theatre Chorus (trained by Charles Groves ), The BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader Tate Gilder ), conducted by Harold Lowe Act 1 (1792)—La Sans-Gene 's laundry in the Rue Royale, Paris Act 2 (1807)—The Gardens of the Palace of Fontainebleau Act 3-The Tuileries-Apartmcnts of the Maréchale Lefebvre Production by Gordon McConnel , with the musical collaboration of Gwen Williams This tuneful operetta was first produced by the great George Edwardes at the Lyric Theatre, London, in October 1903, the chief part being played by EVIE GREENE. The story is based on the well-known Madame Sans-Gene , in the title-role of which play Rejane took Paris by storm before the war. The story tells how Catherine Upscher , proprietress of a Paris laundry, metes out generous treatment to a penniless young customer by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte. Her generosity is rewarded many years later when he has become Emperor. The Duchess of Dantzic contains some of Ivan Caryll 's most delightful tunes, chief among them being the well-known songs ' Noblesse Oblige', ' Le Petit Caporal','The Milliner Monarch ', ' My Sabots ', and 'The Mirror Song '. 'The Duchess of Dantzic' will be broadcast again on Thursday (Regional, 8.45)

Light Programme 19 May 1953 21.00 BEAUX AND BELLES
Sir Compton Mackenzie recalls songs, shows, dances and personalities of Edwardian days His guest: Phyllis Monkman The Singers: Gladys Ripley , Billie Baker Jan van der Gucht Frederick Sharp , Dudley Rolph George Betton BBC Chorus (Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate ) BBC Concert Orchestra (Leader, John Sharpe ) Conductor, Gilbert Vinter Produced by Harold Neden Tonight's Beaux and Belles begins with memories of The Duchess of Dantzig and The Lady Dandies, in which the adorable EVIE GREENE was the star. Sir Compton Mackenzie 's guest, Phyllis Monkman , will recall her earliest days on the stage with stories of Lady Madcap and of The Belle of Mayfair, in which Camille Clifford caused such a sensation with her song Why do they Call me a Gibson Girl? A cult for pseudo-orientalism was now manifesting itself not only in stage dancing but in drawing-room ballads, too, and Archibald Joyce, now England's own waltz king, gave us a famous waltz, The Vision of Salome. Lastly, Sir Compton Mackenzie will recall how Viennese operetta, first in the person of The Merry Widow, came to town and came to stay. Harold Neden


Evie Greene's Ghost Story.

Miss 'Evie Greene, the musical comedy favourite who has just died age 42, used to tell a story about a ghost which she firmly believed she had seen.
The London correspondent of the 'Sheffield Daily Telegraph' says the vision was at Sunderland, when she was playing principal boy in a pantomime. Miss Greene was lodging in a fisherman's cottage, and one night, when she and same girls from the pantomime were going to her rooms for supper, were overtook when on the stairs the transparent figure of a little sailor lad, his arms raised, his eyes closed, and his body dripping with water. The figure hurried up to the attic of the cottage, and Miss Greene and her companions ran trembling into the nearest room.
Afterwards they went all over the house, but could discover no trace of the visitor. Next night Miss Greene found her land lady grief-strieken. She had just received a telegram from the owners of a ship in which her boy bad sailed, saying that the vessel had been lost with all hands.
22/12/1917 Adelaide Chronicle

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Obituary 13th September 1917


The stone reads, "and of Edith Elizabeth Arbuthnot,(Evie Greene)
loved wife of Commander E K Arbuthnot DSO RN, died September 11th 1917."
The curb was removed by the authorities, and the stone may have had a cross on top, but has been vandalised.
Also interred is her father Richard Bentley Green and mother Edith Green


Dominion Newspaper New Zealand,
20th November 1909


First published in "Mainly About People" London, UK - 12th January, 1907.

When I was quite a little girl I got an engagement in a touring company that the north of England. The first town we played at was a place near Berwick on Tweed, the stage was one of the most dangerous and rickety constructions I ever stood on. It consisted of some dozen planks placed upon about half that number of beer barrels. I remember as I was singing a song half the stage in front of me suddenly collapsed and I beat a hasty retreat backwards amid the cheers of the audience. Our manager, however, was quite equal to the occasion; he had the stage hastily reconstructed in front of the audience several of whom kindly assisted him in the work, and then amidst renewed cheering I came on again and finished my song. The stage was not considered of a sufficiently durable character to permit of the chorus consisting of eight ladies and gentlemen to come on with me, so the chorus was sung by them from the back, and a very lively chorus it was two, for after the second verse it was taken up by the whole audience numbering some 200 souls. We had all sorts of funny experiences during that tour, and played usually under difficulties of one kind or another! On one occasion we arrived at a theatre and found another company in possession. Our manager, who was an Irishman, suggested that with the aid of a few blackthorn sticks we could quickly dispossess the occupying company, but milder council prevailed, and it was agreed that we should have the theatre on alternate nights.

As I said, I was very young at the time, and I rather enjoyed the tour, and from which in a rough and tumble way I derived a good deal of useful professional experience.

Some years later I was touring in Scotland, and had a very curious experience one evening at a theatre in Dumfries; in the middle of the performance the lights on the stage all went out; a stage carpenter told us that something was wrong with the gas meter, and that it was a rather common occurrence, a statement the truth of which was evidenced by the fact that the audience seemed in no way surprised at such a happening. Candles and lamps were called into requisition, and in the sickly light from these feeble illuminants we finished the act. In another town on the same tour I remember I had a new song to sing one night which I had never seen until a few hours before the performance. I tried it hastily on a piano in my rooms, and then departed to the theatre with but an imperfect knowledge of either the words or music of the song. When the orchestra struck up the first bars of the song I made up my mind suddenly to sing the words of an old Irish ballad I had learned when quite a little thing, which I thought would go well to the music, and they did splendidly, and the song got a big reception.

As I came off the stage I met the manager with a very puzzled countenance. "That wasn't the song I gave you, Miss Greene," he said. "It wasn't, I know," I replied, "but a jolly sight better one." And he had to admit that it was.

Of course such incidents as I have related would be quite impossible in a West End theatre, or, indeed, in a well managed provincial theatre nowadays; modern theatrical management has brought the routine working of a theatre to a very high state of perfection, and a hitch of any sort in a performance is extremely rare. But if everything works quite smoothly so far as outward appearances go, many an actress, nevertheless, often goes through her work under considerable difficulty, which the management has nothing to say to.

It often happens, for example, that an actress may be suffering from some heavy domestic sorrow, and yet she must banish it from her mind as well as she can, and play her part as bravely as she may. I have played under such circumstances myself, and the strain of going through my work night after night was something terrible. I have known an actress who, as she called forth rours of laughter from the audience by the delivery of the merriest quips and jests, was all the time heartbroken with anxiety; her little girl, her only child, was lying very ill at home and to the mother the moments she spent in the theatre away from her little one were fraught with the bitterest sorrow. Scores of such instances could be cited of men and women who have acted under such circumstances, and who, to their credit be it said, never flinched or faltered in fulfilling their duty to the public.

Stage fright is an ailment which attacks most members of my profession at some time or another, and to act while suffering from such a malady is to act under one of the greatest difficulties imaginable. Only actors and actresses can understand what stage fright really is. It is impossible to convey in words the miserable feeling that comes over the unhappy sufferer attacked by that most dire malady. It is, as a matter of fact, only a very acute form of nervousness, and comes alike to the most experienced players as well as to beginners in my profession, and there is no cure for it.

I have known an actress so attacked with fright that she could not get up from the chair in her dressing room and could not utter a word. She was carried onto the stage by her dresser and almost pushed on, and then, as is usual even in the worst cases of stage fright, once on the stage all symptoms of the malady vanished and the actress went through her part without faltering. I have often felt horribly nervous going on to the stage, especially on a first night performance; but somehow I always feel when I catch sight of the crowded house that there is a very good feeling between myself and my audience and that they are going to give me a friendly reception, and then my nervousness vanishes and I feel I am playing to old friends. I remember when I returned from my tour in America last year, when we were playing "The Duchess of Danzig", I felt very nervous about appearing in the new piece at the Prince of Wales's. Directly I got on to the stage that first night I got a tremendous reception, and when the cheers died away I stood for a moment unable to say a word. I felt very much inclined to say "God bless you all," but after checking with difficulty a rather choking sensation, I was able to go on with my part alright; and, perhaps, even more affecting was my welcome back to Daly's after my recent illness. My audience were overjoyed to see me looking so well and my voice back in its old form. It is good to be at home again at Daly's where I was for over two years in "The Country Girl".

Before an actress has made her name and established her reputation, she has often, of course, to play parts which she dislikes and which may in fact be quite unsuited to her. Doing so is acting under a very serious difficulty, as I can state from experience. In my early days I played a number of parts in different pieces that I thoroughly disliked. I remember once saying to a manager with whose company I was touring; "couldn't you give me something different? I don't feel a bit like playing the part of an old woman." "My dear Miss Greene," said the manager, "take my advice and learn to play every sort of woman if you are to remain on the stage." And the manager was right. An actress should be able to play any and every sort of part she may be offered. Learning to do so seems often useless and frequently tiresome, but it is the only really efficient method of preparation for a career on the stage. I have never regretted the many difficulties I have played under, which I am convinced was the best education and I could have had for the stage, because it was of a thoroughly practical character.


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For details of her brother Frank Greene's life and career, click here

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