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Percy Greenbank


Percy Greenbank

GREENBANK, Percy (b London, 24 January 1878; d Rickmansworth, 9 December 1968). Harry Greenbank's younger brother, Percy, was originally intended for the law, but instead followed his celebrated brother's footsteps into the world of journalism with contributions to such journals as Punch, The Sketch and The Taller, and into the theatre.

After Harry's death, George Edwardes offered the younger Greenbank the opportunity to collaborate with Adrian Ross on the lyrics for the new Gaiety show, The Messenger Boy, and also interpolated two of his lyrics into San Toy, when the score was reorganized to suit take-over Ada Reeve ('Somebody', `All I Want is a Little Bit of Fun'). His The Messenger Boy contribution included one of the show's hits, its title number (and the rhyming of `Rameses' with `clammy seas'), and won him a firm place in the Gaiety `team' along with composers Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton, Ross, and the deviser of the Gaiety show plots and outlines, James Tanner.

For the remaining 14 years of the `Edwardes era' he worked consistently for the producer, at the Gaiety, Daly's and later the Adelphi, contributing sometimes much and sometimes only a few lyrics to most of Edwardes's shows (although the frequent credit `additional lyrics by ...' was often no guide to quantity) and being responsible for many a fairly ephemeral song hit.

After the end of the Edwardes era, he continued for a further decade to supply songwords and occasionally libretti to the musical stage, only rarely venturing into the world of revue (Half Past Eight, Vanity Fair). His last major work for the West End was the adaptation from the German of what was to become the book to the Jean Gilbert-Vernon Duke musical Yvonne. He subsequently did occasional work as a play doctor (El Dorado et al) or an adaptor he modernized San Toy with Percy Barrow for its 1931 revival but basically settled into what proved to be a long retirement. Greenbank died at the age of 90 and, as a result, the Edwardian musical comedies to which he contributed remain in copyright well into the 21st century.

1900 The Messenger Boy (Lionel Monckton, Ivan Caryll/w Adrian Ross/James Tanner, Alfred Murray) Gaiety Theatre 3 February

1901 The Toreador (Monckton, Caryll/w Ross/Tanner, Harry Nicholls) Gaiety Theatre 17 June

1901 The Gay Cadets (Basil Davis/w Harold Simpson/Norman Prescott, J Thomson) Birmingham 24 June

1902 A Country Girl (Monckton/w Ross/Tanner) Daly's Theatre 18 January

1902 Three Little Maids (Paul Rubens/w Rubens/Rubens) Apollo Theatre 20 May

1903 My Lady Molly (Jones/w Charles H Taylor/George H Jessop) Terry's Theatre 14 March

1903 The Orchid (Monckton, CarylVw Ross/Tanner) Gaiety Theatre 28 October

1903 The Earl and the Girl (CarylVSeymour Hicks) Adelphi Theatre 10 December

1904 The Blue Moon (Talbot, Rubens/w Rubens/Harold Ellis) Northampton 29 February, Lyric Theatre, London 28 August 1905

1904 The Cingalee (Monckton/w Ross/Tanner) Daly's Theatre 5 March

1904 Véronique English lyrics w Lillian Eldee (Apollo Theatre)

1904 Lady Madcap (Rubens/w Rubens/N Newnham-Davis, Rubens) Prince of Wales Theatre 17 December

1905 The Little Michus (Les P'titesMichu) English lyrics (Daly's Theatre)

1905 The Spring Chicken (Monckton, Caryll/w Ross/George Grossmith) Gaiety Theatre 30 May

1906 The Girl Behind the Counter (Talbot/w Anderson/ Leedham Bantock, Arthur Anderson) Wyndham's Theatre 21 April

1906 See See (Jones/w Ross/C H E Brookfield) Prince of Wales Theatre 20 June

1906 The New Aladdin (Monckton, Caryll/w others/Tanner, W H Risque) Gaiety Theatre 29 September

1906 Two Naughty Boys (Constance Tippett/Grossmith) Gaiety Theatre 8 January

1907 The Three Kisses (Talbot/w Bantock) Apollo Theatre 21 August

1908 The Belle of Brittany (Talbot/Bantock, P J Barrow) Queen's Theatre 24 October

1909 Our Miss Gibbs (Monckton, Caryll/w Ross/Tanner et al) Gaiety Theatre 23 January

1909 A Persian Princess (Talbot/Barrow, Bantock) Queen's Theatre 27 April

1910 The Quaker Girl (Monckton/w Ross/Tanner) Adelphi Theatre 5 November

1911 The Mousmé (Talbot, Monckton/w Arthur Wimperis/ Robert Courtneidge, Alexander M Thompson) Shaftesbury Theatre 9 September

1912 Princess Caprice (Der liebeAugustin) English lyrics w Scott Craven, C M Beswick (Shaftesbury Theatre)

1912 Autumn Manoeuvres (Tatárjárás) English lyrics (Adelphi Theatre)

1912 The Dancing Mistress (Monckton/w Ross/Tanner) Adelphi Theatre 19 October

1913 The Girl From Utah (Jones, Rubens/w Rubens/Tanner, Rubens) Adelphi Theatre 18 October

1914 The Cinema Star (Die Kino-Königin) additional English lyrics w Harry Graham (Shaftesbury Theatre)

1914 After the Girl (Rubens/w Rubens/Rubens) Gaiety Theatre 7 February

1914 Tonight's the Night (Rubens/w Rubens/Fred Thompson) Shubert Theatre, New York 24 December

1915 Tina (Rubens, Hadyn Wood/w Graham, Rubens) Adelphi Theatre 2 November

1915 The Miller's Daughters (revised Three Little Maids) London Opera House 15 May

1916 Houp-La! (Nat D Ayer/w Hugh E Wright/Wright, Thompson) St Martin's Theatre 23 November

1917 The Boy (Talbot, Monckton/w Ross/Thompson) Adelphi Theatre 14 September

1919 The Girl for the Boy (Howard Carr, Bernard R(At/Austen Hurgon, George Arthurs) Duke of York's Theatre 23 September

1919 The Kiss Call (CarylVw Ross, Clifford Grey/Thompson) Gaiety Theatre 8 October

1921 My Nieces (Talbot) Queen's Theatre 4 October

1922 The Little Duchess (G H Clutsam/w Bertrand Davis/ Courtneidge, Davis) Glasgow 25 December

1924 The Street Singer (Fraser-Simson/Frederick Lonsdale) Lyric Theatre 27 June

1926 Yvonne (Uschi, Zwei um Eine etc) English libretto and lyrics (Daly's Theatre)

1929 Cupid and the Cutlets (Patrick Barrow) 1 act Q Theatre 20 May


Adapted from The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre by Kurt Gänzl.

Page updated 5 October 2004