b. Howard Warren Marsh, 1890, Bluffton, Indiana, USA, d. 7 August 1969, Long Branch, New Jersey, USA. A powerful stage presence and a strong singing voice made Marsh ideal for leading roles in musical comedies of the early 20s, when the American musical theatre had not yet fully broken its ties with the European tradition of operetta. Among early appearances he made in New York were in The Grass Widow (1917), Sigmund Romberg’s Maytime (1918) and Greenwich Village Follies (1920). He then resumed his association with Romberg, appearing in Blossom Time (1921) and The Student Prince In Heidelberg (1924). Playing the lead in the latter he sang three of the show’s lasting favourites, ‘Deep In My Heart’, ‘Golden Days’ and ‘Serenade’ (sometimes referred to by its first line: ‘Overhead the moon is beaming’). He was then briefly in Cherry Blossoms (1927) before taking another leading role in what was to be a smash hit. As Gaylord Ravenal in Jerome Kern’s Show Boat (1927), he introduced ‘Make Believe’, ‘You Are Love’ and ‘Why Do I Love You’, the latter a duet with leading lady Norma Terris. He was with Terris again in The Well Of Romance (1930), but this show proved to be a failure.
Between May 1931 and January 1932, Marsh sang in a season of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s comic operettas, including The Mikado, The Gondoliers, Patience, The Pirates Of Penzance, Iolanthe, Trial By Jury and H.M.S. Pinafore. He followed this with an appearance in a brief revival of Harry B. Smith and Reginald DeKoven’s Robin Hood and at the end of the year was in The Dubarry at the George M. Cohan Theatre. In July-September 1935 Marsh was in another Gilbert and Sullivan season, this time performing The Mikado, The Pirates Of Penzance, The Yeomen Of The Guard, The Gondoliers, Trial By Jury and H.M.S. Pinafore. Shortly afterwards, Marsh retired from showbusiness, apparently to work in the more secure world of corporate finance.