The Secrets of a Savoyard
Born 3rd January 1865 Died 15th August 1936
Henry A Lytton's autobiography provides an excellent insight into the D'Oyly Carte and life on stage during those years.
After a short introduction with lots of anecdotes about his school life, Henry meets the love of his life Miss Louie Henri. They were married in 1883, whilst Henry was still at school! He was expelled as a result and he went along to the Savoy where they were producing Princess Ida. Louie had obtained a job in the chorus and had persuaded Mr Carte to give Henry an audition. As most theatre managers frowned upon married couples, he pretended to be her brother. Henry A Henri??? He was engaged for the chorus on the Princess Ida tour. This was followed by much "resting" and several other productions - including more touring for the D'Oyly Carte.
His big break came when he was appointed as understudy to George Grossmith as Robin Oakapple in the first production of Ruddigore at the Savoy.
Grossmith was taken ill after just the first few days and Henry went on to be a hit in the part. Gilbert was so impressed that he sent him a gold mounted walking stick.
Henry went on to all the "Grossmith roles" some of them are illustrated below:-
Henry has claimed, in his book, that he has played 30 different parts in G&S although this is not backed up by other evidence?
Trial by Jury - Judge, Counsel. Usher
The Sorcerer - Hercules, Dr.Daly, Sir Marmaduke, John Wellington Wells
HMS Pinafore - Dick Deadeye, Captain Corcoran, Sir Joseph Porter
The Pirates of Penzance - Samuel, Pirate King, Major General Stanley
Patience - Grosvenor, Bunthorne
Iolanthe - Strephon, Lord Mountararat, Lord Chancellor
Princess Ida - Florian, King Gamma
The Mikado - Mikado, Koko
Ruddigore - Robin Oakapple
The Yeomen of the Guard - Lieutenant of the Tower, Shadbolt. Jack Point.
The Gondoliers - Guiseppe, The Duke of Plaza-Toro
Utopia Limited - The King
The Grand Duke - The Duke
Henry was knighted in 1930 for his services to Gilbert and Sullivan