Gaby Deslys
Theatre, Opera & Musical

Gaby Deslys: The Fabulous Destiny of the First Music Hall Star

As a singer, dancer, and actress with a dazzling personality and unique talent, Marie-Elise Gabrielle Claire pursued a career as a stage artist over a bourgeois marriage to achieve freedom and financial independence. From her early days at Parisian venues like Parisiana, Alhambra, Cigale, Folies Bergère, and Moulin Rouge, she swiftly ascended the ladder of fame, captivating audiences in Paris, London, Vienna, and New York. The influence of originality and magnetism can be seen in the careers of subsequent artists like Mae West, Mistinguett, Josephine Baker, Line Renaud, and Lady Gaga.

Born in 1881, in Marseille, she debuted in Paris around 1900 and later expanded her success to London and New York, forming a romantic and professional partnership with American dancer Harry Pilcer. They triumphed in New York with the revue Stop! Look! Listen! in 1910, introducing jazz to France in 1917 with the iconic 'descent of the stairs' at the Casino de Paris.

During World War I in 1918, Gaby and Harry sought refuge in Marseille's famous Villa Gaby. Gaby also ventured into films like Her Triumph and Le Dieu du hasard. Sadly, she succumbed to pneumonia on 11 February 1920, at the age of 39, resting at the Saint-Pierre Cemetery in Marseille. Despite her wish to donate part of her vast fortune and the villa to the city for a children's hospital, this dream remained unfulfilled.

Artistic Directors: Jean-Christophe Born, Mireille Doering

Performers: Louise Larret (Louise Chérie)*, Mark Nadler,  Jean-Christophe Born

Stage Designer: Maurizio Montobbio

Musical Arranger: Mark Nadler

*Change of Performer Notice

Cléo Sénia, the original performer of the role Gaby Deslys, is not able to participate in the production due to personal reasons. Her role will be replaced by Louise Larret, other main creatives remain unchanged.

If refund for this reason is preferred, please keep the original intact ticket(s) (with stub) and contact the French May Arts Festival at 3841 7933 / 3841 7932 or by email ([email protected]) during office hours on or before 31 May 2024 (Fri). Late requests will not be accepted.


Adapted from original compositions by Gaby Deslys

Louise Larret


Louise Larret aka Louise Chérie was born into a family of artists, therefore it was only natural that she entered the Conservatory of Paris of Musical Comedy and Lyric Singing after graduating from high school. In 2018, she played Jennifer in the musical L'arche and went on tour with the troupe of Une Étoile au Soleil. At the start of the 2020, she joined the Classe Libre of the Cours Florent Musical at the Mogador Theater, in partnership with Stage Entertainment. She recently performed at Disneyland as part of the Disney Junior Dream Factory; playing Belle, in Beauty in the beast; Eleven in the Stranger Things Experience

Mark Nadler

Musical Arranger and Performer

Born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa, Mark Nadler developed a passion for Broadway musicals at an early age. He was influenced by performers like Danny Kaye, Mahalia Jackson, Jimmy Durante, the Marx Brothers, and Bugs Bunny. At just ten years old, he started his professional performing career at the Long Straw Saloon in Cedar Falls, Iowa. As the gay son of Jewish immigrants, he often felt like an outsider in the American Midwest. Nadler continued his artistic journey by studying at the Interlochen Arts Academy in 1981 before moving to Manhattan at the age of 17. Known for his collaboration with singer KT Sullivan, Nadler has contributed to numerous tours, Broadway and off-Broadway productions, and television programmes. Notable works include American Rhapsody (1999), an off-Broadway revue based on the music of George Gershwin, and Red Light, an 'opera in honky-tonk' co-written with Dawn Hampton, which earned a MAC Award. His production Tchaikovsky (and Other Russians) received the 2003 Bistro Award. Russian on the Side, inspired by the Ira Gershwin/Kurt Weill song, played at prestigious venues like the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Marines Memorial Theater in San Francisco.  Nadler's versatile talents have made a lasting impact on the world of cabaret and performance arts.

Jean-Christophe Born

Artistic Director and Performer

 Jean-Christophe Born, born in Poitiers and raised in Gabon, began his musical journey at the age of sixteen after a transformative year in the United States. Settling in Marseille, he enrolled in the Conservatoire while concurrently studying Art History. Influenced by luminaries like François Le Roux and Montserrat Caballé, he won top prizes in competitions soon after graduating in 2007. Selected by tenor José Cura for a master class, Born has continuously honed his vocal technique under mentors like Gérard Tussau. His meticulous approach to role preparation is evident under the guidance of director Elisabeth Cooper. With a repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary, he has participated in international tours and co-productions, notably portraying Monostatos in Peter Brook's The Magic Fluteacross various countries. Beyond opera, Born has excelled in concerts and oratorios, touring Norway with Dvorak's Stabat Mater and performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Thessaloniki. Notable operatic roles include Tamino at the Opéra de Nice in 2013. Joining the Opéra Studio in Strasbourg-Colmar, he enriched his repertoire with diverse productions. His journey includes roles in Les Caprices de Marianne and portraying Léandre in Gounod's Le Médecin malgré lui at the Opéra de Saint-Étienne. In 2017, he toured France as Marius in Les Misérables in Concert, showcasing his versatility and dedication to the world of opera and musical theatre.

Theatre, Sheung Wan Civic Centre
13–14.06.2024 (Thu–Fri) 8 pm
$350 / $280