The Messenger Boy

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The Messenger Boy is a musical comedy in two acts by James T. Tanner (1858-1915)[1] and Alfred Murray.

The original text

Telling the story of a rascally financier who tries to discredit a rival in love, the piece had lyrics by Adrian Ross (1859-1933)[2] and Percy Greenbank (1878-1968)[3], and the music by Ivan Caryll (1861-1921)[4] and Lionel Monckton (1861-1924)[5], with additional numbers by Paul Rubens (1875-1917)[6].

It had an initial tryout in Plymouth, then opened at the Gaiety Theatre in London, managed by George Edwardes, on 3 February 1900, where it had 429 performances. The first Broadway performance took place at Daly's Theatre on 16 September 1901.

The text was first published in London by Chappell & Co. in 1900[?]

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1901: Performed by the Wheeler Brothers in the Good Hope Theatre, Cape Town, in June, with a Gaiety Company that included Mabel Nelson, Harold Thorley and Mr Danby .


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.409

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