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CHARLES WORKMAN (1873 - 1923)

Charles Herbert Workman, born in Bootle, Lancashire on 5th May 1873, made his debut in the role of Calynx in "Utopia, (Limited)" on tour, and first appeared at the Savoy creating the role of Ben Hashbaz in "The Grand Duke" in 1896. He remained with the D'Oyly Carte Company for thirteen years, and was the principal comedian of the touring company for much of that time playing the roles of Judge (Trial by Jury), J.W. Wells, Sir Joseph Porter, General Stanley, Bunthorne, Lord Chancellor, King Gama, Ko-Ko, Jack Point, Duke of Plaza Toro and Scaphio. He appeared in that capacity at the Savoy in the 1906 - 7 season and the 1908 - 9 season.

The following season he became an actor-manager, leased the Savoy, and produced three operas, including "Fallen Fairies" by Gilbert and Edward German, in which he also appeared. During this production, he quarrelled with Gilbert over the casting of Nancy Mcintosh.

Gilbert wanted Miss Mcintosh to play the Fairy Queen. Workman (or the syndicate which backed him) wanted Elsie Spain. Gilbert prevailed - at least at the beginning - and Nancy McIntosh appeared in the opera's premiere. At the end of the first week, however, she was replaced by her understudy, Amy Evans. Gilbert was furious. He accused Workman of betraying him, and forbade him to appear on the stage in any of his works again.

After the quarrel with Gilbert, Workman appeared in the West End in "The Chocolate Soldier", "Nightbirds" [Fledermaus], and "The Girl in the Taxi".

He continued his career in Australia in 1914. He had a pleasing and well- trained high baritone voice. He was one of the most musical singers ever to play the comedy roles, as his subsequent career in operetta would suggest.

He was married to Bessel Adams who was a member of the company from 1902 - 1907.

He died, at sea off Hong Kong, on 1st May 1923.



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