Mabel Barrison: Ten Charmed Years

Mabel Barrison (Eva Farrance, 1882-1912) was born on this day. (Her genuine name being Farrance, she was clearly no relation to the notorious Barrison Sisters, perpetrators of the legendary “pussy dance”.)

Originally from Toronto, Barrison was 18 when she was cast in the chorus of Floradora in 1900. Over the next decade she would appear in ten more Broadway productions, alternating the musical theatre stage with performances in vaudeville. These included the Weber and Fields shows Twirly Whirly (1902-1903), Humming Birds and Onions (1902), The Stickiness of Gelatine (1902-1903), and The Big Little Princess (1903); and the original production of Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland (1903-1905). In 1907 she was in The Land of Nod and the Songbirds with songs by composer Joseph E. Howard. The next year she was in the Howard show The Flower of the Ranch. She was to become Howard’s first wife. Next, Clyde Fitch cast her in his play The Blue Mouse (1908-1909). Her last play was a starring role in the French farce Lulu’s Husbands (1910). A young Sophie Tucker was in this play!

In 1910, Barrison contracted T.B. Despite long periods of rest, she never recovered, dying of the illness two years later.