Henry Allan Price
Dramatic Reader, Impersonator and Basso
Henry Allan Price, born July 1868 in Brooklyn, New York, was the oldest son of George Allen Price and Adelaide (Wentz) Price of Brooklyn, New York. Henry ("Harry") Allan Price was educated at Yale University and worked professionally in Brooklyn as an artist, but was better known to many in New York state as an entertainer. The following material is taken from a brochure printed around 1920.
(Henry Allan Price was a third cousin to my grandfather Henry Arthur Price.)
"Delightful Hours of Reading and Song"
Henry Allan Price
Dramatic Reader, Impersonator and Basso
Management, ETHEL STREET, 142 West 78th Street, New York City
In announcing his fourteenth season as a dramatic reader, impersonator, and basso, Mr. HENRY ALLAN PRICE presents programs of READING and SONG that are unique in variety and interest.
Mr. Price is not an "elocutionist" in the generally accepted meaning of that much abused word. The strength of his work is its absolute naturalness. He possesses in marked degree the power of merging his own personality in that of the character he is portraying. He has a resonant and flexible voice, and the purity of his diction is exceptional.
His rendering of the works of Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Austin Dobson, Mark Twain, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and other authors, emphasizes his versatility and gives to his programs a refreshing variety.
The poems of those two great delineators of child character – James Whitcomb Riley and the late Eugene Field – as read by Mr. Price, take on a new and deeper meaning.
From Rev. Newell Dwight Hillis, D.D.
"Mr. Henry Allan Price has given three dramatic recitals in Plymouth Church, and arrangements have now been completed for a fourth. Having heard many readers, I know of none who surpasses Mr. Price in his interpretation of the character sketches of James Whitcomb Riley, Eugene Field, Kipling and Dickens. For the time being, Mr. Price ceases to be a reader, and is the character presented. In some way – by facial movement voice, posture and gesture – he creates the illusion that the scene he is describing is now taking place for the first time, in the presence of one beholder. But, what is far more important, Mr. Price has not only learned the rules of reading, but has also forgotten them, and, for that reason, has delighted the people, who see and hear. I have long known Mr. Price as neighbor and friend, and the better I know the man, the more I appreciate the work of the artist."
NEWELL DWIGHT HILLIS,
Pastor of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.
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From Rev. S. Parkes Cadman, D.D.
"Mr. Henry Allan Price is a gentleman of high culture and genuine dramatic and musical ability. I have heard many entertainers whose names are prominent before the public to-day, and I unhesitatingly state that Mr. Price is the equal of any of them and the superior of most.
"He not only possesses physical endowments of a high order, but he has the sympathy and the insight which make a character live before the audience. His qualities are both disciplined and delightfully free, and the result is impressive and helpful. I have the honor of his friendship and I give this testimonial with pleasure."
S. PARKES CADMAN,
Pastor of the Central Congregational Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.
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From Mr. Leland T. Powers
"It has been a long time since I enjoyed anything of the kind so thoroughly and so unreservedly as I did listening to Mr. Henry Allan Price recite from Riley, Field, Dunbar and Mark Twain. I could have sat for another hour and not had enough.
"The man has taste and judgment. Not only has he uncommon ability as a story-teller and reciter, but he knows how to arrange his program so that your appetite for one number is whetted by what goes before it, and immediately a renewed zest is awakened for what is to follow.
"The simplicity and sincerity of his art are delightful."
LELAND T. POWERS
"Mr. Henry Allan Price is one of the very few entertainers who are able to retain the rapt attention and sympathy of their audiences in a monologue lasting nearly two hours. He succeeds not only by a pleasing personality and a rich, sonorous baritone voice, but also by his art in delivery and his skill in making up a program of delightful, interesting numbers that please from the variety of human nature unfolded. Mr. Price identifies himself with any character that he depicts, and his art is the naturalness that conceals art."
Brooklyn, N.Y., Daily Eagle.
"It is in the portrayal of child-thoughts that Mr. Price outshines himself. Poems by James Whitcomb Riley, Eugene Field and Paul Lawrence Dunbar were read with sympathy and insight, and with intonations that were as rare on the stage as they were refreshing to his hearers."
Brooklyn, N.Y., Life
"Mr. Henry Allan Price is a humorist as well as a gifted reader and impersonator. He is also a rattling good singer with a rich baritone voice, and the most nimble and perfect enunciation in both speech and song that the writer has heard in many a long day. There was not a dull moment in the entire program, and the applause that followed each of the song-numbers was meant for Mrs. Price as well as for her talented husband, for her accompaniments at the piano were wonderfully sustaining and sympathetic."
Hancock, N.Y., Dispatch.
"A very large audience greeted Henry Allan Price of New York at the 'Arrowhead Hotel,' Short Beach last evening, and hugely enjoyed a program of 'Interpretive Songs and Readings' by this gifted entertainer, who was accompanied by his wife at the piano. Mr. Price presented a program of unusual variety, and gave the most refreshing selections imaginable. His rendering of Riley's 'Knee-deep in June' was the gem of the evening."
New Haven, Conn., Evening Register.
"It is almost impossible to speak of the best, where all the selections are so worthy of mention, but Mr. Price was particularly pleasing in his group of James Whitcomb Riley's poems, while his rendition of 'His New Brother' 'brought down the house.'"
New Rochelle, N.Y., Evening Standard
"The superlative and varied talent of Mr. Price as an entertainer was impressed upon several club members a few weeks ago, and Mrs. Banker's enthusiastic account of his recitations and songs caused the Wednesday Morning Club to engage him for its annual Men's Evening. Everyone present last Thursday night will surely subscribe to the statement that Mr. Price's programme was delightful in every respect. He sings, as his selection requires, with robust vigor or the gentle tenderness of a woman; he is a master of impersonation, changing with marvelous facility and fidelity his voice, features and manner to suit the character chosen. Nobody could excel his imitations of children's talk, or darkey dialect, or the Irish brogue, or English as she is mangled by the clumsy-tongued German. Mrs. Price's accompaniments to her husband's songs were of an artistic quality comparable to that of the songs themselves. No higher praise could be given."
Cranford, N.J., Chronicle.