20 Facts About George Edwardes


George Joseph Edwardes was an English theatre manager and producer of Irish ancestry who brought a new era in musical theatre to the British stage and beyond.

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In 1885, George Edwardes became a manager at the Gaiety Theatre with John Hollingshead, who soon retired.

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George Edwardes was the eldest of four sons and three daughters of James Edwards, comptroller of customs, and his wife, Eleanor Widdup.

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George Edwardes attended St James's College, in Clee, after which he was sent to London to take the examination for the Royal Military Academy.

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George Edwardes eventually became Carte's manager at the Opera Comique and then was Carte's first managing director of the Savoy Theatre in 1881, helping to produce several of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas until 1885.

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In 1885, George Edwardes was hired to succeed John Hollingshead as manager at the Gaiety Theatre, producing the burlesques in which the Gaiety specialised.

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George Edwardes became manager of the struggling Empire Theatre, London, and transformed it into a music hall before it became associated with several successful ballets under the composer-director Leopold Wenzel.

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George Edwardes used the best writers and composers to create entertainments appealing to his Victorian and Edwardian audiences.

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At the Gaiety Theatre, George Edwardes hired Ivan Caryll as the resident composer and music director, and created a series of shows featuring fashionable characters and costumes, tuneful music, romantic and topical lyrics and pretty dancing.

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George Edwardes embedded these elements in an often tenuous but nonetheless continuous original narrative.

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Major attraction of George Edwardes' shows was his glamorous, dancing corps of "Gaiety Girls".

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In 1895, George Edwardes took over the management of the theatre, where Sidney Jones was hired as the resident composer and music director.

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George Edwardes produced The Girl in the Train at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1909.

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George Edwardes used the Apollo Theatre for several musicals, including Three Little Maids and The Girl from Kays.

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George Edwardes managed the Empire Theatre of Varieties, among other theatres.

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George Edwardes was a founder member of the Society of West End Theatre Managers, along with Frank Curzon, Helen Carte, Arthur Bourchier and sixteen others.

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George Edwardes raced horses, and one of this thoroughbreds, Santoi, won many prizes.

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George Edwardes was imprisoned in Germany for several months, which exacerbated his health problems.

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George Edwardes died at his home in Regent's Park, London, just before his 60th birthday.

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George Edwardes was buried at St Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, and was survived by his wife, Julia Gwynne.

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