On the Internet
There is some good stuff on the Web. The following are my favourite sites for things related to Edwardian Musicals:

  • I have just discovered the site Stage Beauty, which is by far the most comprehensive Edwardian Theatre site I have encountered - or could imagine! Articles, original photographs, programmes, etc. abound. Fantastic!
  • For MIDI files, you cannot do better than visit Colin Johnson's homepage at www.halhkmusic.com. He has an astonishingly large collection of MIDI files of Edwardian Musical Comedies (including more than 80 complete scores), most in karaoke format that allows you to read (and sing!) the words in time with the music.
  • The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive at math.boisestate.edu/gas is justly regarded as one of the finest websites on the Internet. It also has a developing set of pages on British Musical Theatre, which is at math.boisestate.edu/gas/british. There you will find much valuable biographical information, as well as useful links and a 'Web Opera' of Sidney Jones' 'A Greek Slave'.
  • You can find photographs, posters and programmes of the three Edwardian Musical Comedies (The Arcadians, Quaker Girl & The Geisha) that I have directed at the Gosforth Trinity Musical Site
  • The NODA Northwest site has detailed synposes of many Edwardian Musicals. Why not start with The Arcadians at www.nodanw.com/shows_a/arcadians.htm?
  • Contact details for Ken Reeves books can be found at www.hobbyist.co.uk/postcards/earlybritishmusicals/index.htm
  • I must also mention abebooks.co.uk – a single site which allows you to search the stock lists of hundreds of secondhand bookshops all over the world, and makes light work of finding the obscure books that I have recommended below!

There is comparatively little information easily available about Edwardian Musical Comedies, and few books devoted to the subject. Most of these are no longer in print, sadly, so secondhand bookshops and libraries are your best bet. I can particularly recommend 'The Gaiety Years' and 'Sullivan and his Satellites', both by Alan Hyman, and 'Daly's' by D. Forbes-Winslow as providing an excellent overview of the period. 'Carriages at Eleven' and 'Gaiety: Theatre of Enchantment' by W. MacQueen-Pope are rather rambling, but very entertaining. Kurt Ganzl provides good coverage and pictures in his book 'Musicals', and a mine of valuable summaries, facts and figures in 'Ganzl's Book of the Musical Theatre', written with Andrew Lamb. The only significant musical criticism of the composers of this era I am aware of is in 'Composers of Operetta' by Gervase Hughes; it is, fortunately, good!

Ken Reeves has recently been issuing a series of books, with associated CDs, on the subject of Edwardian Musicals. Currently, he has books on 'Gertie Millar and the Edwardesian Legacy', 'Adrian Ross and The Toreador musical' and 'George Dance and the A Chinese Honeymoon musical'. All are lovingly produced and display an extremely high standard of scholarship - as well as being most entertaining! For more information, write to Ken Reeves, 232 Rainham Road North, Dagenham, Essex RM10 7EA or e-mail 'saved_musicals@yahoo.co.uk'.

The choice of recordings is even more limited. This is a shame, as the music of these shows really springs to life when played by a full orchestra. In my opinion, the best CD that has been issued is 'The Arcadians' from 1969, recently re-released on Classics for Pleasure (B000B668QS) for a very low price indeed. An alternative is a musically good, but dramatically variable, recording of 'The Arcadians' by the Ohio Light Opera Company (Newport Classic B00000JCA3), which has the distinction of being easily available. 'The Geisha' (Hyperion CDA67006) is an excellent disc, and allows you to really appreciate the exquisite orchestration of Sidny Jones. 'The Maid of the Mountains' (Hyperion CDA67190 ) is not quite so enjoyable, probably because it is not such a good score, in my opinion, as the previous two (read my full review on my Reviews page). An intriguing recent addition is 'The Monckton Album' (Diversions 24110) by Theatre Bel-Etage from Estonia. This contains much delightful music, and is well worth a listen.