GERTRUDE LAWRENCE
Gertrude Lawrence was born Alexandra Dagmar Lawrence-Klasen on July 4, 1898
in London, England
English actress and singer. Performing on the musical stage from childhood, Lawrence made her New York debut (1924) in Charlot's Revue, together with Beatrice Lillie. Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence first met at thirteen years of age. Gertie powdered her nose, told Noel some faintly dirty stories - and he fell instantly in love with her. Together they set the West End - and Broadway - on fire! Their opening scene from Private Lives is said to be the second most famous balcony scene in history - after Romeo and Juliet. She appeared with him in Private Lives (1931) and Tonight at 8:30 (1936). Her charm and magnetic personality in Susan and God (1937) and in such musicals as Lady in the Dark (1941) and The King and I (1951) endeared her to the public. In 1950 she played Amanda in a film version of The Glass Menagerie.She was one of Coward's closest friends. Sheridan Morley's book 'Gertrude Lawrence' is published by Weidenfield & Nicolson in the UK and McGraw-Hill in the US in 1981. Other sources of information are her unreliable autobiography 'A Star Danced' and the affectionate biography by her husband Richard Stoddard Aldrich entitled 'Gertrude Lawrence as Mrs. A'.

On Stage

Nymph Errant

A Musical Comedy in Two Acts
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Romney Brent,
based on the novel by James Laver

Tryouts began September 11, 1933 at
The Opera House, Manchester, England

Opened October 6, 1933 at the Adelphi Theatre, London
Closed February 17, 1934; Ran for 154 performances
Produced by Charles B. Cochran
Directed by Romney Brent under the
personal supervision of Charles B. Cochran
Choreography by Agnes de Mille
Costumes and Set Designs by Doris Zinkeisen
Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett
Musical Direction by Myman Greenbaum

Synopsis
Fresh out of boarding school, pretty young Evangeline is looking to lose her innocence. Her quest takes her to the beach at Neauville, the Cafe du Dome in Paris, a palazzo in Venice, and a harem in Turkey -- without an ounce of success. Returning home dejected and defeated, she receives an unexpected and welcome proposition from the family gardener.

Cast
Gertrude Lawrence (Evangeline Edwards), Iris Ashley (Madeleine), Doris Carson (Henrietta Bamberg), Walter Crisham (Ben Winthrop), Austin Trevor (Andre de Croissant), David Burns (Constantine), Elisabeth Welch (Haidee Robinson), Queenie Leonard (Clarissa Parks), Moya Nugent (Miss Pratt), Ralph Roberts (Dr. Sandford, Kassim), Alexander Ivo (Alexei), Morton Selten (Count Hohenadelborn-Mantalini), Edward Underdown (Joe the gardener), Hella Kurty (Bertha), Norah Howard (Joyce Arbuthnot-Palmer), Margaret Emden (Aunt Ermyntrude), Winifred Oughton (Edith Sandford), Wilfred Caithness (Reverend Pither), May Agate (Mme. Arthur), Jean Davaut (Hercule), Jessie Busley (Mrs. Bamberg), Bruce Winston (The Eunuch), Betty Hare, Gerald Nodin, Annabel Gibson, and Kenneth Ware (Tourists)

Musical Numbers
Act One

Overture - Orchestra
"Experiment" - Miss Pratt
"It's Bad for Me" - Evangeline
"Neauville-Sur-Mer" - Tourists
"The Cocotte" - Clarissa
"How Could We Be Wrong?" - Evangeline
"They're Always Entertaining" - Servants
"Georgia Sand" - Henrietta [dropped during the London run and replaced by the following song]
"Cazanova" [aka "Casanova"] - Henrietta
"Nymph Errant" - Evangeline
Act Two

Entr'acte - Orchestra
"Ruins" - Tourists
"The Physician" - Evangeline [cut from The New Yorkers]
"Solomon" - Haidee
"Back to Nature With You" - Evangeline and Ben
"Plumbing" - Ben
"Si Vous Aimez Les Poitrines" [alternate title: "If You Like les Belles Pointrines"] - Madeleine
"Experiment" (reprise) - Evangeline

Cut Songs
"When Love Comes Your Way" [dropped after the Manchester tryout; later considered for Ever Yours (unproduced) and used in Jubilee]
"I Look at You" [dropped after the Manchester tryout; originally written for The New Yorkers (as "You're Too Far Away")]
"Sweet Nudity" [dropped during rehearsals]
"French Colonial Exposition Scene" [unused]
"My Louisa" [unused; written for Wake Up and Dream and also considered for The New Yorkers]

Original Cast Recordings
"Experiment" / "The Physician" - Gertrude Lawrence

78 RPM, 1933 [HMV (UK) B 8029] and [Victor 25224]
"How Could We Be Wrong?" / "It's Bad For Me" - Gertrude Lawrence

78 RPM, 1933 [HMV (UK) B 8030] and [Victor 25225]
"Nymph Errant" - Gertrude Lawrence / "Solomon" - Elisabeth Welch

78 RPM, 1933 [HMV (UK) B 8031] and [Victor 25226]

Nymph Errant - Original Cast Recording

LP (10"), 1954 [RCA Victor LRT-7001]
(includes the five Gertrude Lawrence recordings
and adds her recordings from Lady in the Dark)


ON FILM
Where recordings are available this is indicated as follows: CD = Compact Disc; CT = Cassette Tape; LP = Vinyl LP; V = VHS video (NTSC & PAL); DVD = DVD Disc.

Show Business at War (1943) ... aka March of Time Volume IX, Issue 10, The (1943) A multi-studio effort to show the newsreel audience the progress of the Hollywood war effort.

Mimi (1935) Played Mimi. The story of a struggling playwright (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr) in 1850s Paris and his mate (Gertrude Lawrence) whose love furnishes him with the inspiration he has long sought.

No Funny Business (1933)
Played Yvonne with Muriel Aked as Mrs. Fothergill, Edmund Breon as Edward, Jill Esmond as Anne, Gibb McLaughlin as Florey and Laurence Olivier as Clive Dering.


Lord Camber's Ladies (1932)
Played Lady Camber

The Battle of Paris
... aka The Gay Lady (1929)- Distributed by Paramount Pictures (USA), starred Arthur Treacher, Walter Petrie, Gertrude Lawrence, Joe King, Gladys DuBois, Charles Ruggles. Director Robert Florey. From a story by Gene Markey. Songs by Cole Porter and Howard Dietz

Aren't We All? (1932) Distributed by Paramount Pictures with Harold Huth, Aubrey Mather, Owen Nares, Gertrude Lawrence, Hugh Wakefield, Director Harry Lachman, Photography Rudolph Mate

The Glass Menagerie (1950) Distributed by Warner Bros (USA) with Gertrude Lawrence, Amanda Wingfield, Arthur Kennedy, Tom Wingfield, Jane Wyman, Laura Wingfield, Kirk Douglas, Jim O'Connor, Jane Wyman, Laura Wingfield
Director Irving Rapper, Producer Jerry Wald and Charles K Feldman, Editor
David Weisbart, Music Max Steiner

Stage Door Canteen (1943) V - US & Canada only. Distributed by United Artists (USA) with Ethel Waters, Gertrude Lawrence, Merle Oberon, Selena Royle, Ed Wynn, Director Frank Borzage, Producer Sol Lesser, Production designer Harry Horner, Screenplay
Delmer Daves

Men Are Gods  (1936) V Film produced by Alexander Korda and directed by Walter Reisch. Starring Miriam Hopkins, Gertrude Lawrence, A.E. Matthews, Rex Harrison and Sebastian Shaw.
Rembrandt (1933)
 V Film produced and directed by Alexander Korda. Starring Charles Laughton, Gertrude Lawrence and Elsa Lanchester. "Amazingly full of that light which the great master of painting subdued to his supreme purpose." James Agate
IN THE PRESS

 

Above: Gertrude Lawrence advertising Lipton Tea and on the cover of Life Magazine (thanks to Ben Sears). Left: at Goldenhurst Farm, Noel Coward's home in Kent.

 

 
 

 
The film 'Star!' with Julie Andrews in the role of Gertrude Lawrence was not a successful biopic of this much loved British star but it does have a haunting attraction and contains some wonderful music For a link to where the film is discussed click here!

ON RECORD

The King And I (Original 1951 Cast Recording - now remastered on CD) Decca Broadway
Catalog Number: 0121579822 (AAD)
The timeless tale of an English governess (Gertrude Lawrence) at the court of a shrewd and charming Siamese King (Yul Brynner), The King and I has been a Broadway favorite since 1951. This Original Cast Album includes such glorious Rodgers and Hammerstein songs as “Getting to Know You,” “Hello Young Lovers” and “Shall We Dance.”
Artists:
Yul Brynner (Vocalist)
Gertrude Lawrence (Treble)
Larry Douglas (Vocalist)
Doretta Morrow (Vocalist)
Dorothy Sarnoff (Vocalist)
The King and I Orchestra (Conducted By: Frederick Dvonch)
Composers:
Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers

GERTRUDE LAWRENCE - STAR!
Original mono recordings 1925-1944 Playing time: 1 hr 12 mins
CD AJA 5265
[Bar code: 7 43625 52652 3]

The only CD available of charismatic star Gertrude Lawrence, one of the best-loved figures in theatrical history, and notable partner-on-stage of Noel Coward.

A Cup Of Coffee, A Sandwich, And You (with Jack Buchanan) / Do-Do-Do / Experiment / A Guy Named Joe / Has Anybody Seen Our Ship? (with Noel Coward) / How Could We Be Wrong? / It's Bad For Me / Limehouse Blues / Mad About The Boy / Maybe (with Harold French) / My Ship / Parisian Pierrot / The Physician / Poor Little Rich Girl / Private Lives: Love Scenes, including Someday I'll Find You (with Noel Coward) / Russian Blues / The Saga Of Jenny / Shadow Play: Scene (with Noel Coward) / Someone To Watch Over Me. See CD Reviews for a review of this CD.

Television Appearances
"Your Show of Shows" (1950) 2/25/1950

 Copyright - The Noel Coward Society - May 2001