Owen Hall

b. James Davis, 10 April 1853, Dublin, Eire, d. 9 April 1907, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. During his early life Hall had separate but intersecting careers in the law and politics and was also an occasional…
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Artist Biography

b. James Davis, 10 April 1853, Dublin, Eire, d. 9 April 1907, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. During his early life Hall had separate but intersecting careers in the law and politics and was also an occasional journalist. His chief interest, however, seems to have been gambling and it was as a bet that he wrote the libretto for a musical comedy he entitled A Gaiety Girl. This was produced in London in 1893 by George Edwardes and it met with considerable acclaim. Together, Hall and Edwardes were responsible for three more successes, An Artist’s Model (1895), The Geisha (1896), and A Greek Slave (1898). It was Floradora (1899), however, that made Hall’s reputation and both men very rich. The show opened at London’s Lyric Theatre on 11 November 1899 where it ran for 455 performances. The cast included Evie Green (as Dolores), Charles E. Stevens (Cyrus W. Gilfain), Kate Cutler (Angela Gilfain), Edgar Stevens (Arthur Donegal), and Ada Reeve (Lady Holyrood). The New York production opened on 12 November 1900 at the Criterion Theatre and ran for 505 performances. These productions, together with productions in translation in other countries ensured that still more money poured in. Hall wrote the book for Floradora, the music was by Leslie Stuart and lyrics were by Paul Rubens and Ernest Boyd-Jones. Among the songs are ‘The Silver Star Of Love’, ‘When I Leave Town’, ‘I’ve An Inklin’’ and, perhaps best remembered a song sung in the show by six girls and six boys, ‘Tell Me, Pretty Maiden’. Hall’s later shows, which include The Silver Slipper (1901), The Girl From Kays (1902), and Sergeant Brue (1904), were nowhere nearly as successful as Floradora, and this allied to his incessant gambling meant that when he died, he was virtually penniless.