Robert Evett as Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance

Robert Evett (1892-1903)

[Born Warwickshire 16 Oct 1874, died London 15 Jan 1949]

In his nearly 33 years in the theatre, Robert Evett achieved remarkable success as both a performer and a theatrical producer.His first appearance on the stage was in November 1892 when he joined D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "D" on tour in The Vicar of Bray, taking the tenor lead as the Reverend Henry Sandford.In 1893, Company "D" toured The Vicar of Bray and Haddon Hall, with Evett as Sandford and Oswald respectively.From December 26, 1893, until the following November Company "D" toured Utopia Limited exclusively, Evett playing the smallish part of Lord Dramaleigh.He took up Sandford again when The Vicar of Bray was restored to the repertoire in November 1894, added Bertuccio in Mirette (December 1894-June 1895), Count Vazquez in The Chieftain (February-June 1895), Mr. Box in Cox and Box (February-December 1895), and Hilarion in Princess Ida (September-December 1895).He also moved up to Captain Fitzbattleaxe in Utopia Limited for two stretches (February-June and October-December 1895), and played Pedro Gomez in The Chieftain (June-August 1895) while Charles Kenningham took the Count.

In December 1895, Company "D" shut down for several months, and Evett started the new year touring with Carte's Company "C" as Prince Hilarion in Princess Ida. Company "D" reformed in March 1896 to tour The Grand Duke, and Evett rejoined as Ernest Dummkopf.In October, Utopia Limited was added to the tour with Evett as Fitzbattleaxe. The Company disbanded in November, but Evett immediately transferred back to Company "C," now a repertory company, replacing Richard Clarke (who left for a D'Oyly Carte tour of South Africa) in the principal tenor roles of Alexis in The Sorcerer, Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, the Duke of Dunstable in Patience, Tolloller in Iolanthe, Cyril in Princess Ida, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Marco in The Gondoliers.He toured with this group until July 1898, playing each of these roles as well as Captain Fitzbattleaxe in Utopia Limited and, briefly, Prince Max in His Majesty (March-August 1897).

In July 1898 he was called to the Savoy where he played Marco in the second London revival of The Gondoliers.He was now the principal tenor in the D'Oyly Carte organization.He subsequently appeared at the Savoy as Alexis in the second revival of The Sorcerer (September-December 1898), Tapioca in The Lucky Star (January-May 1899), Ralph Rackstraw in the second revival of H.M.S. Pinafore (June-November 1899), Yussuff in The Rose of Persia (November 1899-June 1900), Frederic in the second revival of The Pirates of Penzance (June-November 1900), the Duke in the first revival of Patience (November 1900-April 1901), Charlie Brown in the curtain-raiser Pretty Polly (December 1900-January 1901 and February-April 1901), Terence O'Brien in The Emerald Isle (April-November 1901), Ib in Ib and Little Christina (November 1901), Tolloller in the first revival of Iolanthe (December 1901-March 1902), Sir Walter Raleigh in Merrie England (April-July 1902, and on tour), and Lt. Brook Green in A Princess of Kensington (January-May 1903, and on tour).

When the tour ended, Evett and many of the Company left the D'Oyly Carte organization, transferring to the Adelphi where he appeared in The Earl and the Girl.He continued to perform in West End musical comedies for another ten years, appearing at Daly's, Drury Lane, Hick's, and the Vaudeville, before returning to the Adelphi in 1912 in a show called Autumn Manoeuvres under the management of George Edwardes, a production Evett later took on tour.

In 1913 he traveled to New York where he played at the Globe and Casino Theatres, but upon the death of George Edwardes, Evett returned to England where he was named to direct Daly's Theatre and George Edwardes Enterprises.

Once settled in his new career as theatrical manager, Evett soon began producing shows for Daly's and other theatres.As managing director at Daly's, he produced The Happy Day, A Southern Maid, and (most notably) The Maid of the Mountains, which ran for over three years. Later, at the Gaiety in 1922, he produced The Last Waltz, a work of which he was co-author.His last production was Frasquita, presented at the Prince's Theatre in 1925.

Evett made a number of recordings for Odeon between 1906 and 1908.In addition to tunes from West End musicals (The Little Michus, The Geisha, The Merry Widow, etc.), he did two songs from The Yeomen of the Guard ("Is Life a Boon?" and "Free From His Fetters Grim") and one each from Merrie England ("The English Rose") and A Princess of Kensington ("A Sprig of Rosemary"). The two songs from Yeomen may be heard on the Pearl CD "The Art of the Savoyard." All four Savoy songs are on the earlier three-LP set of the same title.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone