Howard Talbot

b. Richard Lansdale Munkittrick, 9 March 1865, New York City, New York, USA, d. 12 September 1928, Reigate, Surrey, England. From the age of four Talbot was raised in London and after studying medicine…
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Artist Biography

b. Richard Lansdale Munkittrick, 9 March 1865, New York City, New York, USA, d. 12 September 1928, Reigate, Surrey, England. From the age of four Talbot was raised in London and after studying medicine he changed track and attended The Royal College of Music. Although unsuccessful at first, selling only a few songs, in 1894 his comic opera, Wapping Old Stairs, was put on in London but only for a very limited run. Next came Monte Carlo (1896), which was performed in both the UK and the USA. He made his living as a conductor and also continued to sell occasional songs that were interpolated into shows written by others. Then came his show, A Chinese Honeymoon (1899), which ran for more than 1, 000 consecutive performances, the first show to achieve this. Among his songs for this show are ‘Martha Spanks The Grand Pianner’ and ‘The À La Girl’. From this point onwards, as A Chinese Honeymoon won international acclaim, Talbot was financially secure although he continued to work as a conductor. His own work in succeeding years included The Blue Moon (1904), The White Chrysanthemum and Miss Wingrove (both 1905), The Girl Behind The Counter (1906), The Three Kisses (1907) and The Belle Of Brittany (1908), successes among these markedly outweighing flops.

Then came his collaboration with Lionel Monckton on The Arcadians (1909), another long running hit with more than 800 performances. Subsequent shows had less success, among them The Mousmé (1911), The Pearl Girl (1913), My Lady Frayle and Mr. Manhattan (both 1916). Talbot was asked to provide additional material to the London production of High Jinks (1916), which starred the popular comic actor Bill Berry. Arising from this, Talbot and Monckton then composed the score for Berry’s next show, The Boy (1917), another hit that just topped 800 performances. The Boy was based upon Arthur Wing Pinero’s The Magistrate and a Pinero work provided the basis for Talbot and Monckton’s next show, Who’s Hooper? (1919), which again starred Berry. For his next London show, My Nieces (1921), Talbot worked alone. It was a flop and Talbot went into a kind of retirement. Although he wrote no more for the London stage, he did write for amateur theatrical companies; some later shows on which he worked alone or in collaboration were His Ladyship (1928) and The Daughter Of The Gods (1929).