Opera Scotland

Shop Girl The Shop Girl

Tours by decade

1890s - 2 tours

1895 - George Edwardes' Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1896 - Messrs Morell & Mouillot's Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

Tours by location


Ivan Caryll (born Liège, 12 May 1861; died New York City, 29 November 1921)

Additional songs by Lionel Monckton and Adrian Ross.


Book by H J W Dam.

Lyrics by H J W Dam and Adrian Ross.



First Performance: London (Gaiety Theatre), 24 November 1894.

First Performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Royal Lyceum Theatre), 2 September 1895.



The Shop Girl was the first of a string of successful musical comedies produced by George Edwardes with music by Ivan Caryll. Following on after A Gaiety Girl, composed by Sidney Jones, and actually described as a musical farce, it enjoyed a long London run at the Gaiety, and was equally successful on tour. As became customary with such works, significant changes to the performing text were made, in this case new songs by both Lionel Monckton and Adrian Ross being added. Caryll continued to turn out works for the Gaiety for a further seventeen years before he moved to New York, where he continued with equal success.


Main Characters

Septimus Hooley, Proprietor of Royal Stores

Charles Appleby, a Medical Student

Sir George Appleby, a Solicitor

Lady Appleby, Charlie's Mother and Wife to Sir George

John Brown, a Millionaire

Count St Vaurian, his Secretary

Bessie Brent, the Shop Girl


Plot Summary

Bessie Brent is a foundling and a shop girl, working in the Royal Stores. She loves Charles Appleby, but, although he is only a student, his respectable background makes any formal relationship out of the question. John Brown has returned to the country of his birth, having made a fortune in the American goldmines. As a penniless youth he had sailed to the States in company with a lifelong friend, who had also struck it lucky, but is now dead. Brown's aim is to find the child this friend abandoned long ago, since she stands to inherit the dead man's fortune - the not insignificant sum of £4 million. Inevitably, the child turns out to be Bessie, thus removing the barrier to her marriage to Charlie, since she now has an identity.

In a subplot, the Royal Stores proprietor, Mr Hooley, in a determined search for a wealthy wife, ends up with the wrong person, by mistake.

The Cast

Ada Smith
 an Apprentice at the Royal Stores
Ada Vandesforde
 of the Syndicate Theatre
Agnes Howard
 of the Syndicate Theatre
Bertie Boyd
 one of the Boys
Bessie Brent
 the Shop Girl
 Lady Appleby's Daughter
Charles Appleby
 a Medical Student
Colonel Singleton
Count St Vaurian
 Secretary to Mr Brown
Eva Tudor
 of the Syndicate Theatre
 Lady Appleby's Daughter
 Lady Appleby's Daughter
John Brown
 a Millionaire
Lady Appleby
 Charlie's Mother, and Wife to Sir George
Lady Dodo Singleton
 Charlie's Cousin
Lillie Stuart
 of the Syndicate Theatre
Mabel Beresford
 of the Syndicate Theatre
Maggie Jocelyn
 of the Syndicate Theatre
Maud Plantagenet
 of the Syndicate Theatre
Miss Robinson
 Fitter at Royal Stores
Mr Miggles
 Shopwalker at the Royal Stores
Mr Septimus Hooley
 Proprietor of Royal Stores
Mr Tweets
 Financial Secretary to Lady Appleby
Sir George Appleby
 a Solicitor
Violet Leaveney
 of the Syndicate Theatre

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