The most finished performance that Lincoln has seen for a long time or will see for a long time to come was that of Richard Mansfield at the Lansing theatre last Monday night. The whole play is like a chapter from Henry Esmond , in some way it was entirely Thackerayesque . It was saturated with the spirit of the time and people that Thackeray us[?]ed to deal with. Mr. Mansfield is perfectly self-contained and self-sufficient. He depends very little upon the applause or appreciation of his audience, and on this one occasion it was very fortunate for him that it was so. He has intellectual standards that are unshaken by the chance emotions of the hour. He seldom so much as glances across the footlights, he is unconscious that the gallery exists. More than any other actor he acts for the play and for himself. His acting is conscientious because he is unconscious of anything but his part. It is easy to believe that Mr. Mansfield was a painter for ten years of his life. He has the artistic love of modulated color and sound. He carries the sense of tone and tone color even into his acting. His Beau Brummell is perfectly even in pitch. Of course the quality of intensity changes in different situations, but the quantity does not vary. The pain of exquisite perfection of the first act and the subdued boredness on his face in the dance were as genuinely painful as the havoc of suffering and starvation that stamped his countenance in the last two acts. In the first part of the play his prosperity was toned down by his utter correctness, in the last part his poverty was elevated by the man's innate refinement. The whole creation of Beau Brummell is like a picture in which everything must echo and savor of the predominating color. It is easy to see that Mr. Mansfield is an intelligent and educated man. Any actor with an emotional nature can play roles in which the emotions are simple and decided. He had only to work himself up and let himself loose. Thomas Keene , by limping and leering and hissing, manages to make the public believe he can play "Richard III." because the popular conception of Richard is only that he should be as wicked and disagreeable as possible. Robert Downing deludes people into thinking he can play "Virginius" because he is fat and oratorical. Hate, love, nobleness in the theory and the abstract are easy things to enact. But the emotions in the role of Beau Brummell are delicate, complex, negative, almost contradictory. It requires as much intelligence and insight as Hamlet. Most very good actors would be vulgar fops in the part, it requires a scholar and a gentleman to portray it, it takes culture of mind and delicacy of instinct to comprehend it. There is but one living novelist who could handle the character in a novel, George Meredith ; but one living actor who can act it, Richard Mansfield. The two men suggest each other in many ways, though perhaps it is only because they are two of the very few serenely great in this troubled, feverish century.
Mr. Mansfield runs to the analytical and psychological. He has taste and talent for it. The roles which he has dramatized and especially created for himself are Beau Brummell, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Arthur Dimmesdale in "A Scarlet Letter." It is to this acute faculty of analysis that he owes his power. He has the power to touch chords that are not often struck, he calls up feelings that do not often awake in the gaslight of the theatre. Yes, Richard Mansfield is a great artist. As one saw him burn those letters at the grate or heard him ask Walter to ring for his carriage one felt that he was worthy to act on that night, that night of nights, the immortal 23rd of April, the night on which 330 years ago when God a second time turned his face in love toward man. If the title role had been a Shakespearean one it could not have been more serene, self reliant and self sufficient, more fit to be played on that great birth-night of genius when for us a child was born and to us a king was given.
The twenty-third of April has come and gone again, just as it has done for three hundred and thirty years since it was made hallowed to the world. I wonder how many people know or care that it has come again. Perhaps some fəw Shakespearian scholars who are scholars rejoiced that morning, and a great many professional people and perhaps the stars that mete out human fate, and the angels, if there are any. But the people of the world, who call themselves society, and the people of the schools, who call themselves culture, knew little and cared less. We have a Thanksgiving day in memory of blessings we never get, a Fourth of July in memory of a document that is largely a dead letter, a George Washington's day, a Saint Patrick's day, a Decoration day, aSt. Valentin's day in memory of nonsense and an Arbor day in memory of nothing whatever, but the day of William Shakespeare's birth passes without honor or recognition, except among the faithful hearts of a despised profession. Even the light opera and comedy people know and reverence that day which pastors and professors do not recognize. Julia Marlowe , with that womanly sweetness and delicacy charateristic of her, spent the day and night in solitude, in contemplation and adoration of Mary Arden , who, as a Chicago critic beautifully puts it, is almost as much to be envied among women as that other Mary of holy memory.
There was one year when that day was fittingly observed, and that was when Mary Anderson , that good queen of art, left her crowded London houses and went down to Stratford, and on the night of the 23d played "Rosalind" to dedicate the great theatre that the people of Stratford built in the memory of Shakespeare. It was more fitting perhaps that an American woman play there that night than an English woman because Shakespeare belongs to two nations now. Then one always fancies if he had been born just a few centuries later he would been an American. That night must have been one to remember, when even the stolid English country folk were moved to their depths, and the crowds that went down from London sat breathless, and the actress, who herself was so like Shakespeare's great woman, between the acts was on her knees in her dressing room with her crucifix in her hands. Mary Anderson said afterward that in all her professional career she never enjoyed and suffered and hoped and feared as she did that night.
Perhaps some day the Anglo-Saxon races will realize what Shakespeare did for them, how he dignified their language, exalted their literature and letters above that of all people, and gave them their place among the nations of the earth. If I were asked for the answer of the riddle of things I would as lief say "Shakespeare" as anything. For him alone it was worth while that a planet should be called out of Chaos and a race formed out of nothingness. He justified all history before him, sanctified all history after him.
Hallen and Hart will separate next year.
Henry Irving says the trouble with Hamlet was his liver.
During the first week in Chicago Hoyt's "Milk White Flag" played to over $10,000.
Under the management of Charles A. Davis Robert Ingersoll will lecture two weeks, beginning April 23.
Paul Kester has written a new play for Alexander Salvini , called "The Last of the Moors," which Mr. Salvini will produce next season. Eleanor Moretti , the leading woman of Salvini's company, is ill.
Annie Russell , who retired from A. M. Palmer's company five years ago on account of illness, and whose ill health has since kept her in retirement, has been engaged by Manager Charles Frohman for the Empire stock for next season.
Last week, because of her excessive fright in the recently introduced cavalry charge scene of "The Girl I Left Behind Me," as that play is being produced at the Academy of Music, New York, Miss Sydney Armstrong resigned from Charles Frohman's stock company. She was to have closed her engagement with that manager at the end of the present season.
Laura Bur and her mother have left for Europe. Miss Burt will take part in the great London production of "In Old Kentucky," at which H. R. H. of Wales himself will be present. Doubtless the prince — but remarks are useless.
Charles Frohman has sold all his rights in Oscar Wilde's society play, "Lady Windermere's Fan," to his brother Gustave , and wishes it understood that representations of this play in future will be in no way under his supervision.
James J. Corbett made his debut on the English stage April 21 at the Drury Lane theatre, London, and was welcomed by a large audience. Mr. Corbett's entrance upon the stage was loudly cheered, and throughout the play he won considerable applause.
Joseph Jefferson will play his usual repertoire next season for twenty weeks. His company will engage afterward in playing the well known melodrama, "Shadows of a Great City," which his son, Thomas Jefferson , will manage. Mr. Jefferson is playing to the capacity of the Star theatre in New York.
Alba Heywood is sick at Louisville, Ky., with muscular rheumatism. He was obliged to cancel Bedford, Ind., April 7, where a large house awaited him, and the first three nights at Harris' theatre, Louisville, Ky. His company are awaiting his recovery, which is looked for in a few days, when they will resume their tour.
Tragedian Keene says: "I find that the south, with true conservatism, stands by the legitimate best of any section in the country. They read and understand Shakespeare there. In the north and new west there is too much bustle, hurry and scurry after wealth to cultivate general scholarship, and people go to the theatre merely to be amused.
It is said that Mounet-Sully never smiles. He hates comedy and has a passion for Greek literature and things Greek. His wife, of course, loves the theatre des varieties dearly and frankly confesses that the acting of her great husband bores her to death. We all know that no man is a hero to his valet, but there should be a new proverb made stating how few geniuses are heroes to their wives.
Manager Gorman of Gorman's theatre, Manchester, N. H., states that he has booked some of the strongest attractions for next season, also that his house will be elegantly fitted up and that he will be able to play any combination next season. Gerge H. Timmons opened a return engagement there April 23, for three nights, with "The Fairies' Well" company, making their third engagement there this season.
On April 30 the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of Ramses temple, Toronto, Can., will give a shrine theatre party at the Grand opera house in honor or W. S. Hart , a noble of Kismet temple, Brooklyn, N.Y., and leading man of the Mlle. Rhea company . "The New Magdalene" will be presented and Mlle. Rhea will also make it a souvenir night, giving to each one in attendance an autograph photo of herself. The company will remain in Toronto for a week's engagement.
Lucie W. Lewis , a Boston society woman who adopted the stage a few years ago with considerable success, has purchased from Charles F. Coghlan the society comedy, "Lady Barter." Miss Lewis has also bought from the same author a four-act comedy entitled "Disengaged." The latter play was to have been produced a few weeks ago in Pittsburgh at the opening of Mr. Coghlan's proposed tour, but owing to his indisposition it was never presented, as his tour was brought suddenly to a close.
Sutton Vane's new melodrama, "The Cotton King," has been a great success in London. Fanny Davenport has bought the American rights of representation and intends to send her husband, Melbourne McDowell , starring in it next year. The hero of the drama is a rich will owner in love with an heiress and has a villianous rival. The villian accuses the cotton king of seducing a girl in his mills to blight his chance with the heiress. The mill hands are about to take vengeance of the cotton king when the girl herself says the real cause of her distress is the heavy villian.
Little Eva Mudge , the talented character actress, has been engaged to appear at a reception to be given in a few days by President and Mrs. Cleveland in honor of the anniversary of the birth of their daughter, Ruth . The talent exhibited by this clever young actress, who is not yet thirteen years of age, reached the ears of President Cleveland, who requested that she be specially engaged to entertain the youthful guests and others to be present on the occasion. The affair will be given in the White house . Mr. and Mrs. Mudge will accompany their daughter to Washington.
From the Clipper. The Lincoln Park theatre, Lincoln, Neb., where Presley B. French is to put in a stock company for ten weeks this summer, is located in Lincoln park, a favorite suburban resort. In the advance notices, speaking of the season's opening and its different attractions at the park, the Lincoln papers have spoken well of the theatre, the company and the play to be presented. Kate Watson and Ed Anderson have recently signed for soubrettes and comedy. The Ammons-Clerisse Trio , now with the "The Two Johns," have also signed. The season opens June 10. Mr. French is negotiating with agents to secure the right to play some of the leading pieces.
Charles A. Gardner and entire company of twenty people left Cleveland, O., April 23, for Omaha, Neb., en route to the Pacific coast, opening May 21 at Stockwell's theatre, San Francisco, Cal. Mr. Gardner will produce his new play, "The Prize Winner," for the first time in California, also his successful comedy drama, "Fatherland." All new special scenery will be carried for both plays, as well as a large singing company, including the Tyrolese sextet and numerous specialty features. This coast tour for the summer is a twenty weeks, additional engagement, making a season of sixty weeks before opening the regular season at the Grand, New Orleans, La., September 16. Punch Wheeler will pilot the company.
At the close of Joseph Jefferson's engagement in St. Louis, the audience became so enthusiastic that the venerable actor had to make a curtain speech. He said: "I am deeply grateful for this renewed indication of your favor and of your appreciation of our mutual friend Rip . You don't know how much I cherish the applause of St. Louis. A gentleman of your city called on me the other day, and I see no reason why I should hesitate to say that the man, Professor Waldauer of the conservatory of music, and he said to me 'do you know, old friend, that it is just fifty years ago tonight you made your appearance before a St. Louis public?' And it proved to be a fact. Think what that means! Why, I have entertained your mothers and grandmothers, possibly your greatgrandmothers, and yet I am preserved in some miraculous way to entertain you tonight. I thank you again for your appreciation and compliments."
Richard Mansfield: Richard Mansfield (1857-1907) was the son of soprano Erminia Rudersdorff, and grandson of violinist Joseph Rudersdorff. His start on the stage came in light opera, including character roles in Gilbert and Sullivan's Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance. Mansfield came to America in 1882 and joined Palmer's Union Square Theatre company, making his success as an aging roué in A Parisian Romance (1883). His title roles as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1887 further increased his reputation, which was never simply that of a leading man or romantic hero; he played Richard III and Cyrano de Bergerac and Beau Brummell along with more conventional roles. His early success enabled him to form his own company, and as a manager he was noted for lavish and meticulous staging—sometimes financially successful and sometimes disastrous. He was one of the first to produce George Bernard Shaw's plays in America, playing the anti-hero Bluntschli in Arms and the Man in 1894 and Dick Dudgeon in The Devil's Disciple in 1897. Mansfield was a serious student of acting, and was one of the most important actors of his time, though a minority of critics felt he was unsuited for some of the parts he played. He married his leading woman, Beatrice Cameron (1868-1940), in 1892.
Lansing Theatre: The Lansing Theater, on the southwest corner of 13th and P Streets, was built in 1891, displacing the Funke Opera House as the largest and finest theater in Lincoln. The owners were J.F. Lansing (b. 1842), a Lincoln real estate man, and his brother-in-law Henry Oliver (b. 1857); Edward A. Church was the manager. According to the program of the opening week (November 23-28, 1891) the auditorium consisted of the orchestra and parquet seating on the main level, with dress circle at the rear and sides; three tiers of five boxes each and six loges were at the sides. Above were the balcony and the gallery. With standing room, about 2500 people could be present.
The building also housed offices, including that of Cather's friend and fellow reviewer, Dr. Julius H. Tyndale. It was renamed the Oliver Theater in 1898.
Henry Esmond: Henry Esmond (1852), by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), rivaled Vanity Fair (1848) as Thackeray's great novel. Henry Esmond, the narrator, recalls his youth in the early eighteenth century, in the days of Queen Anne, the Duke of Marlborough, and the Jacobite rebellion. Esmond's illegitimate birth shadows his life, especially in his love for Beatrix; in the end, Esmond marries Rachel, Lady Castlewood, and they emigrate to Virginia. (In 1857-59, Thackeray published The Virginians, a sequel to Henry Esmond, following the lives of Esmond's grandsons in colonial Virginia.)
Thackerayesque: Critics and readers praised Thackeray's rendition of the style and manners of the eighteenth century in Henry Esmond (1852) and The Virginians (1857-59), as well as that of the Regency in Vanity Fair (1848).
Beau Brummell: George Bryan Brummell (1778-1840) was of middle-class origins, but a brief time at Oxford and in the army gave him the contacts to make his entrée into aristocratic society of the Regency. His wit and particularly his exquisite taste in dress, which gave him the nickname "Beau," made him an arbiter of fashion. (He insisted on perfect cleanliness, bringing the idea of a daily bath into society, perfect tailoring, and long trousers instead of knee breeches.) The Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent and then George IV) had been Brummell's patron at the outset of his career, but the two eventually fell out; this, along with Brummell's huge debts, compelled him to flee to France in 1816 to avoid imprisonment. He spent the remainder of his life in poverty, dying at last in an insane asylum.
Mr. Keene: Thomas Wallace Keene (1840-1898), a New York-born actor whose real name was Thomas R. Eagleton, made several cross-country tours of America with his own company between 1880 and his death in 1898. He generally appeared in Shakespearean companies, and was known as a tragedian.
"Richard III.": Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Richard III (c. 1593), one of his history plays, deals with the evil, hunchbacked Richard, Duke of Gloucester. In the course of the play Richard kills those who stand between him and the throne, including his two young nephews (the princes in the Tower), the rightful heirs to the throne. He also kills his wife, Lady Anne, in order to marry his niece, his brother Edward IV's daughter. This is prevented when Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, rallies the English to his side and defeats Richard in the battle of Bosworth (when Richard cries, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"). With Richard dead, along with the other claimants whom he killed, Henry is crowned king as Henry VII, establishing the Tudor dynasty. Richard III was a favorite play in the nineteenth century, especially among tragedians.
"Virginius": The 1820 play Virginius, set in classical Rome, by James Sheridan Knowles (1784-1862), is based on Livy and tells the story of a soldier whose duty it becomes to kill his daughter, Virginia.
George Meredith: English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909) was the son of a tailor, but small family legacies enabled him to acquire some formal education in England and in Germany by the time he was sixteen. He had an early unhappy marriage (which eventually gave him material for some of his best poetry in Modern Love in 1863) and a long struggle for financial independence and artistic recognition. His first novel to achieve recognition was The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859), followed by Evan Harrington, or, He Would Be a Gentleman (1860); The Egoist (1879) and Diana of the Crossways (1885) established his popularity and reputation as a writer of brilliant romantic and psychological comedies and creator of complex, spirited women. His last three novels were published in 1891, 1894 and 1895; by then he was widely acknowledged as the greatest living British novelist.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) published The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886, when it became one of his most famous works. It is a psychological horror story of a respectable physician who takes a potion that releases the dark side of his nature in the form of an evil dwarf. At first he is able to resume his Jekyll side, but as he takes on Hyde's character more and more, he loses this ability. The truth comes out in the investigation following Hyde's murder of Sir Danvers Carew, and Hyde kills himself.T. R. Sullivan dramatized the story for Richard Mansfield, introducing dual love interests. A film version with Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman was made in 1941.
Arthur Dimmesdale: In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850), Arthur Dimmesdale, the minister in a Puritan community, secretly fathers a child by Hester Prynne. He conceals his guilt until Hester's husband discovers his secret and applies psychological pressures; Dimmesdale finally confesses, but dies soon after.
A Scarlet Letter: In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850), set in Puritan New England, Hester Prynne has a child, Pearl. She refuses to divulge the father, and is forced to wear a scarlet letter A, signifying her adultery. Her husband, Roger Chillingsworth, who had been thought dead, returns, and dedicates himself to finding and secretly torturing the guilty father, the minister, Arthur Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale finally confesses publicly and dies.
immortal 23rd of April: Shakespeare is traditionally said to have been born on the twenty-third of April, 1564; the only record is that of his baptism on April 26. However, it is known that he died on April 23, 1616.
turned his face in love toward man: This phrase does not occur in the King James Bible, but it is used in theological discussions; it may be derived from John 3.16--"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son."
When for us a child was born and to us a king was given: The King James version of Isaiah 9.6 reads, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
Thanksgiving day: The pilgrims in Massachusetts had a day of thanksgiving in 1621 to celebrate a good harvest that would enable them to survive their second winter in the American colony. Thanksgiving days were sporadic and local thereafter, until a forty year campaign by Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's magazine, at last persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to declare a national day of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November in 1863. Subsequent presidents proclaimed Thanksgiving each year at about the same time; the day did not become an official legal holiday until 1941.
George Washington's day: George Washington was born on February 22, 1732; when he was commander-in-chief of the American Revolutionary army in 1782, the Comte de Rochambeau gave a ball in honor of Washington's birthday, probably the first public celebration of it. After Washington's death, the day was celebrated informally throughout the country; it did not become an official national holiday until 1879. His birthday is now celebrated on the third Monday of February, and is more usually known as Presidents' Day, honoring Abraham Lincoln, who was born February 12, 1809.
Saint Patrick's day: St. Patrick, second bishop of Ireland, died on March 17 in 461. When he was made a saint, this day became his feast day. He had spent thirty years converting the Irish to Christianity, and after his death he became the patron saint of Ireland. He became a symbol of Irish nationalism after Ireland was conquered by England, and his day became increasingly secularized. The first St. Patrick's day celebration in what became the U. S. was in 1737. Later, societies of Irish immigrants began holding parades to celebrate their heritage. However, St. Patrick's day has never been an official holiday.
decoration day,: Decoration Day appeared informally after the Civil War as a day to commemorate the dead of that war, and to decorate their graves with flowers. In 1868, General Logan, head of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, called upon Americans to honor the dead on May 30. New York officially recognized the day in 1873; all the northern states had recognized it as an official holiday by 1890 (the South honored its dead on other days until after World War I, and many southern states still have a separate day to honor the Confederate dead). The holiday, now known as Memorial Day, is now celebrated on the last Monday of May.
St. Valentine's day: St. Valentine's Day, February 14th, originally commemorated one of several early martyred saints named Valentine or Valentinus. The association of the day with love and lovers may have come from Roman customs associated with the fertility festival of Lupercalia, and the medieval belief that birds began mating on February 14. The custom of exchanging small tokens of affection on that day became established in Great Britain by the eighteenth century; in America, Esther Howland began to produce Valentine's greeting cards commercially in the 1840s. By the late nineteenth century cheap comic valentines were especially popular.
Arbor day: Arbor Day was first celebrated unofficially as a day to plant trees on April 10, 1872, and officially in the state of Nebraska in 1874, where it became a legal holiday, celebrated on April 22, in 1885. The idea originated with J. Sterling Morton, a Nebraska pioneer who planted trees himself and used his position in state government to encourage others to plant trees, sorely needed on the relatively treeless plains. The idea for the holiday spread to other states, and is now usually celebrated nationally on the last Friday of April, although some states have other dates, depending on their best tree-planting times.
Julia Marlowe: Marlowe (born Sarah Frost in England in 1866) made her stage debut in 1878 and first appeared in New York in 1887. Her beauty and refinement made her immensely popular with audiences, and she toured frequently with her own company, with both her first husband, Robert Taber (married 1894, divorced 1900), and her second, the almost equally well-known actor, E. H. Sothern (married 1911). She was considered a romantic rather than an emotional actress, especially famous in Shakespearean roles. She retired in 1924 and died in 1950.
Mary Arden: Mary Arden (c. 1540-1608) was Shakespeare's mother; she came of an ancient and well-to-do landowning family in Warwickshire, inheriting a prosperous farm. She is believed to have married John Shakespeare about 1557; the first of their eight children was born in 1558.The half-timbered house thought to have belonged to her since the eighteenth century has been shown to be that of a neighbor; however, the actual Arden family property is nearby and has also been preserved as part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Mary Anderson: Actress Mary Anderson (1859-1940) was born in California before her parents moved back to Kentucky, where her father died while serving in the Confederate army. She was educated in convent schools in Louisville, and at the age of thirteen decided to become an actress; her stepfather encouraged her ambition, and she made her debut in Louisville in 1875 at the age of sixteen, as Juliet. She played in stock companies managed by John McCullogh and John T. Ford, then formed her own company in 1876, making her New York debut in 1877. In 1883 she made her debut in London, where her beauty and dedication to her art made her one of the first American actresses to be acclaimed in Europe; she played Rosalind at the newly opened Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford. Her Hermione, in A Winter's Tale, ran for a phenomenal one hundred consecutive performances. In November 1888 she returned to America with A Winter's Tale, but she fell ill the following March, and retired from the stage. Returning to England, Anderson married Antonio F. de Navarro in June, 1890, by whom she had two sons; they lived in retirement at a country house in Warwickshire.
Cather refers to Anderson's success in A Winter's Tale in My Ántonia (177), and to her fame in The Song of the Lark; in "Two Friends" Trueman and Dillon talked for years of having seen Anderson in St. Louis, and Dillon calls her "our Mary" because she was a Catholic girl (181).
"Rosalind": Rosalind, in Shakespeare's As You Like It, is the daughter of the rightful duke; like her father she is banished from the court by her uncle. She escapes to the Forest of Arden, disguised as a young man, and so meets Orlando, the man she loves. She tells him to practice wooing Rosalind by pretending to woo him/her. In the end, all the lovers are paired off and the dispossessed are returned to their rightful places.
Great theatre: The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon was built by subscription on the banks of the Avon River, and opened on April 23, 1879, with a performance of Much Ado About Nothing. The complex incorporated an 800-seat theater, a picture gallery, library, and a central tower. The theater part burned in 1926, and a larger auditorium was built in 1932, again by subscription. The shell of the 1879 theater was incorporated in the 1986 Swan Theatre.
Hallen and Hart: The music and comedy team of Frederick Hallen and Joseph Hart (1864-1921) created popular musical farces in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The team apparently broke up about 1895, with each man pursuing separate vaudeville careers in partnership with his wife.
Mr. Edwin Milton Royle: Edwin Milton Royle (1862-1942) was a member of the class of 1883 at Princeton, and briefly studied law before going into theater. He was a versatile playwright who wrote more than thirty emotional and romantic dramas, comedies, and musical comedies, as well as novels, poems, and song lyrics. He is best known for his play The Squaw Man (1906) which was revived many times, novelized, and made into a movie three times. He was also an actor who starred in some of his own plays, including, for a time, Friends.
Royle married actress Selena Fetter, who appeared in some of his plays; their daughter was actress Selena Fetter Royle.
Image available at the University of Washington Libraries Digital Libraries
Friends: Friends; A Comedy Drama in Four Acts by Edwin Milton Royle (1862-1942) opened in New York in May 1892. In the play, John Paden, Jr., and his friend, Adrian Karje, both love Marguerite Otto, a singer of noble birth, though she doesn't know it. Believing that Marguerite prefers Adrian, John sacrifices his own love to help his friend win her. The original Broadway cast starred Selena Fetter as Marguerite Otto; Royle himself took over the role of John Paden, jr. when the scheduled actor became ill. Other players included Lucius Henderson as Adrian Karje, Edmund D. Lyons as Marguerite's drunken father, Hans Otto, and Theodore Hamilton as John Paden's philistine father, John Paden, sr.
Irving: Henry Irving (1838-1905), the great British actor-manager, was born John Henry Brodribb, and after a long apprenticeship made his debut under the Irving name as the Duke of Orleans in Richelieu. His London debut followed in 1866, and he began a long association with the Lyceum Theatre in 1871, making it known for the quality of the acting (Ellen Terry was his leading lady) and for the rich production values of the staging. Irving was especially famous in Shakespearean roles, and in 1895 he was the first actor to be knighted.
Della Fox: Della May Fox (1870-1913) was born in St. Louis, and played in children's theatrical productions, and as a child performer in a James O'Neill play. She starred as the child heroine in a touring production of Editha's Burglar, based on a Frances Hodgson Burnett story, then her soprano voice enabled her to join the Bennett and Moulton Opera Company. Her voice and small size made her the choice for the role of Blanche, opposite the tall, bass-voiced DeWolf Hopper, in Castles in the Air (1890), and she became one of the biggest stars on Broadway, with Wang (1891), Panjandrum (1893), The Little Trooper (1894), and The Wedding Day (1897) with Lillian Russell. She was famous for 'boy' roles and later as "the girl with the curl"-a spit-curl in the middle of her forehead. A serious illness about this time (rumors of alcohol and drug abuse also circulated) took her from the stage for a time before she returned in vaudeville in 1900; that year she married Jacob Levy, a diamond broker, and retired for a time. She returned to the stage in 1912 and gave her last performance in April 1913, two months before her death in June 1913.
Goodwin's: J. Cheever Goodwin (1850-1912) was one of the first Americans to earn his living as a lyricist and librettist. He and his friend, Edward E. Rice, wagered that they could produce a non-vulgar burlesque, or opera bouffe; the result was Evangeline (1874) the most successful musical of the last part of the nineteenth century. He was a prolific writer, sometimes adapting plots from the French; the most popular of his later musicals were Wang (1891) and Panjandrum (1893), both starring DeWolf Hopper and Della Fox. He worked with composers such as Woolson Morse, Ludwig Erlander, and John Philip Sousa.
Clarette: Probably this became Fleur de Lis (1895), a comic opera based on the work of Henri Chivot (1830-1897) and Alfred Duru (1829-1889); the English version had music by William Furst (1852-1917) and words by J. Cheever Goodwin (1850-1912). Fleur de Lis was produced by the Della Fox Opera Company at Palmer's Theatre in New York.
Robert Mantell: Robert Bruce Mantell (1854-1928) was born in Scotland and educated in Belfast, Ireland, where he apparently got his first training for the stage. He came to the U.S. about 1878, and joined Modjeska's company for a time, before starting his own company. He was a popular exponent of Shakespearean roles, as well as the standard romantic dramas, but never achieved much critical success in New York or London. He was popular elsewhere, however (his portrait appeared on cigar bands), and he toured with considerable success well into the twentieth century; he appeared also in some silent films before his death.
Mantell was married five times, the last three to his leading ladies, one of whom (Charlotte Behrens) is said to have died in suspicious circumstances in 1898. By his last wife, Genevieve Hamper, he had a son, Robert B. Mantell, Jr. (1912-1933), who was apparently married briefly to 1930s film star Marian Marsh.
Wilson Barrett: English actor, manager, and playwright Wilson Barrett (1846-1904) began playing in the provinces in 1864. By 1880 he was manager of the Court Theatre in London, introducing Modjeska to London audiences. In 1881 he became manager of the Princess Theatre, the one most associated with him, producing and starring in emotional dramas and melodramas (including The Silver King, which ran for 300 nights). He also played Shakespeare, appearing as Hamlet and Othello, among other roles. His first visit to America was in 1886. His popularity was waning in the 1890s when he wrote and starred in The Sign of the Cross (1895), a religious drama that had a great success and was later (1932) made into a movie by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Charles Laughton as Nero.
Image available at New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's early romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, was written c. 1594-95. Romeo and Juliet come from families feuding with each other, the Montagues and Capulets, but fall immediately in love. They are forced to meet in secret—the balcony scene being the most famous in all of Shakespeare—and try to marry in secret. The friar gives Juliet a potion that simulates death, and Romeo, in despair, kills himself. When Juliet awakes to find Romeo dead, she kills herself.
May Jordan: Odell's Annals of the New York Stage notes that May Jordan, a singer and dancer, appeared in vaudeville at New York houses like Herrmann's and Proctor's, as well as in a revival of The Skating Rink at the Bijou Theatre in May 1894.
The Skating Rink: Robert G. Morris took advantage of the development of roller skates and the craze for roller-skating in the mid-1880s to write his play, The Skating Rink (1885). It became one of Nat Goodwin's vehicles, though the New York Times considered it unworthy of his talents (1 March 1887).
Cora Tanner: Cora Tanner appeared on the New York stage between 1880 and 1902; she first appeared on the New York stage as a member of McKee Rankin's company in The Danites. She had made a hit in Alone in London, and her big production c. 1891-1892 was with her own company in Will She Divorce Him? She no longer appeared in New York after 1902. Cora Tanner made her professional debut at the age of fourteen in the McVicker stock company in Chicago; she first appeared on the New York stage in 1880 as a member of McKee Rankin's company in The Danites. In 1884 she played Princess Ida in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta of that name, in John Stetson's company. She was a member of one of Col. William E. Sinn's companies when she married him in 1885; early in 1893 Sinn sought to have the marriage annulled on the grounds that she was already married, but the court ruled their marriage was valid. By the late 1880s she was a star, with plays such as Alone in London and Fascination identified with her. Later in the 1890s she toured in The Sporting Duchess. Her last performances in New York were in a drama, The Last Appeal, in April 1902.Images: Marketworks NYPL Digital Gallery
Charles F. Coghlan: Actor Charles Coghlan (1842-1899) was born in Paris, of Irish parents. He went on stage in his youth, acting in company with the young Ellen Terry in Bristol in the 1860s; later, he introduced her to the work of Henry Irving. Clara Morris saw him acting in London and recommended him to Augustin Daly as a new leading man for his New York company; Daly brought him to America in 1876, where he had solid, if not outstanding success. Coghlan also wrote plays, well-known in his time, such as Lady Barter, in which his sister, actress Rose Coghlan had great success. He became involved in scandal: according to one account, he got drunk in Paris in October 1893 and married a sculptress, Kuehue Beveridge. He was arrested for bigamy, since he had a wife and daughter (actress Gertrude Coghlan, c. 1873-1952), but his first wife testified that she was never married to him. Nevertheless, Beveridge sued for divorce, and he lost much of his money and reputation. He died while on tour, in Galveston, Texas. Ellen Terry, in her autobiography My Story, says of him: "Charles Coghlan seems to have been consistently unlucky. Yet he was a good actor and a brilliant man. I always enjoyed his companionship; found him a pleasant, natural fellow, absorbed in his work, and not at all the 'dangerous' man that some people represented him" (152). The conjunction of Galveston, Coghlan's place of death and burial, the great Galveston hurricane of 1900, and the fact that the Coghlans had a summer home on Prince Edward Island, gave rise to a persistent legend that Coghlan's coffin had been washed out to sea in the flood, and had floated north to the shores of Prince Edward Island in 1908. Image available at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Rose Coghlan: Rose Coghlan (1853-1932) was born in England and began acting when she was still a child. Actor-manager E. H. Sothern brought her to America in 1871; she returned to England for four years, creating the role of Lady Mandan in All For Her, playing it for 400 nights at the St. James Theatre. Returning to New York in 1877, she became the leading woman in Lester Wallack's famous stock company, gaining fame as a player of emotional parts and adventuresses in such roles as Camille, Vere Herbert in Moths, Pauline in Lady of Lyons, and Nellie Denver in The Silver King. Her range extended into comedy also—she was considered one of the best Lady Teazles of her time, and a successful Rosalind. Critic Frederic E. McKay called her "Rose Coghlan, the wide-eyed, velvet-voiced, caressing, fascinating, divinely smiling." Coghlan formed her own company in 1888, when Wallack retired; she married actor John T. Sullivan, who was her leading man, in 1890; they divorced in 1893. She returned to England in 1892, then came back to America in 1894, playing in Wilde's A Woman of No Importance; other popular roles were in Our Joan, Princess Olga, Lady Barter, Diplomacy, and Forget-Me-Not. Jocelyn and Madonna were written for her by her brother, actor Charles Coghlan. Rose Coghlan became an American citizen in 1902. She appeared in three silent films before her retirement.
Image available at the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections.
Martha Morton: Martha Morton (1865-1925), one of the first successful American woman playwrights, was born and educated in New York city. Her success came early: Cora Tanner played in the twenty-one-year-old Morton's The Refugee's Daughter (1886). Others in a string of successful, if not lasting, plays were The Merchant (1888), Geoffrey Middleton (1890), Brother John (1892), His Wife's Father (1893), A Fool of Fortune (1895), A Bachelor's Romance (1895), Uncle Dick (1896), Her Lord and Master (1899), and a few others in the early twentieth century. In the early 1890s her plays were produced by William H. Crane and his company. Morton married Hermann Conheim of New York in 1897.
"Brother John": Brother John (1892), by Martha Morton (1865-1925), opened in New York in March 1893. William H.Crane created the role of the down-to-earth Yankee hat manufacturer who rescues his brother and sisters from the entanglements created by their desire to live the fashionable life. Cather described the plot in detail in her April 1, 1894 column.
William H. Crane: William H. Crane (1845-1928) was one of the best known comic actors of his day. He partnered with Stuart Robson from 1877-1889, then took off on an independent career. Popular as he was in the 1890s, his greatest success was yet to come, in the title role in David Harum (1900), a role he recreated in the silent film (1915). He appeared in other silent films, notably as Buster Keaton's father in Keaton's first starring role, The Saphead (1920).
Humorist George Ade, classing Crane with such actors as Joseph Jefferson, said, "William H. Crane is another veteran of the stage who holds the regard of the public. It knows him as the kind of man we should like to invite up to our house to meet the 'folks'" (Century, December 1910). Critic Lewis C. Strang, who also compared Crane with Jefferson, said "He is a character comedian, whose one character is himself. His is a whole-souled, frank, and genial personality . . . that suggest shrewdness and generosity, keen good sense, and tender-hearted chivalry. . . . His command of pathos is not so sure" (Famous American Actors of the Day in America  149, 151). Crane wrote a volume of reminiscences, Footprints and Echoes (1927).
Image in the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
"A Milk White Flag.": Charles H. Hoyt's play A Milk White Flag: And Its Battle Scarred Followers on the Fields of Mars and in the Courts of Venus did not open in New York until October 8, 1894. Hoyt satirized state militias for their love of fancy uniforms, and questionable courage (since a white flag is a flag of surrender).Edison made several early kinetoscope films of parts of Hoyt's popular play in the months after its New York opening.
"Gloriana": Gloriana; a light comedy in three acts premiered in London in 1891, adapted by James Mortimer from a French original. The New York opening was February 15, 1892, and starred Henrietta Crossman. In the play, the hero changes place with his valet, Spinks, to enter the service of a dashing widow, Gloriana Lovering whom he admires, and to avoid an engagement to the daughter of a vulgar tanner, who turns out to be Gloriana's landlord. Her Cockney maid, Kitty, had once been deserted by Spinks, and Gloriana herself is engaged to a Russian count.
The New York Times reviewer said "the salacious French original is clearly seen through the flimsy work of the adaptor. The dialog is not tedious, but it is not witty" (February 16, 1892).
Gloriana company: The original Gloriana company, when it opened in New York in 1892, included Henrietta Crossman in the title role, with Charles B. Welles, Joseph Allen, E. J. Hurley (as Evitoff), Joseph Humphreys (as Spinks), and May Robson (as Kitty). Cather reviewed a touring company of Gloriana on 10 January 1894.
Warde: Frederick Barkham Warde (1841-1935) was born in England; he made his stage debut in 1867. Playwright Dion Boucicault encouraged him to go to America, where he joined Edwin Booth's company in 1874. From 1893 to 1903 he toured with actor Louis James, both in Shakespearean roles and in such standards as The Lady of Lyons, Mary Stuart, and The Count of Monte Cristo; in 1899 he gave a start to the young Douglas Fairbanks, sr. The tours were not always successful; in 1904 he filed for bankruptcy. However, he went on a lecture tour, then toured with his own company in 1905-06, and again, unsuccessfully, in 1910. In 1912 he starred in one of the first American feature length films, and the first complete film version of a Shakespeare play, Richard III. He played in ten other films between 1916 and 1925. Warde's memoirs, Fifty Years of Make Believe, were published in 1923.
The Lion's Mouth: Henry Guy Carleton's early play, The Lion's Mouth (1890), a verse drama set in sixteenth century Venice, opened in New York September on 11, 1893, though the New York Times reviewer noted that "it has often been heard in other cities." In the play, a villainous priest inveigles a young wife into a situation that places her husband "in the lion's mouth" exposing him to condemnation before the Inquisition.
Carleton: Henry Guy Carleton (1856-1910) was one of the relatively few American writers of original plays, rather than adaptations of foreign ones. His Victor Durand had appeared in 1884, and he had some solid successes in the 1890s, including A Gilded Fool (1892), written for Nat Goodwin and made into a silent film in 1915, and Butterflies (1894); That Imprudent Young Couple (1895), however, ran for only two weeks. He was the son of General James Henry Carleton, commander of the Department of New Mexico during the Civil War, who forced the Navajos on the disastrous "Long Walk" to Bosque Redondo. Henry Guy Carleton married actress Effie Shannon in 1890; they were divorced in 1892; in 1894 he married actress Olive May, whose family lived in Beatrice, Nebraska, in the 1890s.
Cather devoted much of a 4 August 1895 column to discussing Carleton and his integrity as a playwright.
Mr. Charles Frohman: Charles Frohman (1860-1915) became the most important theatrical manager of his time; he was one of the founders of the Theatrical Syndicate which for a time controlled U.S. theaters. His first big success was with Bronson Howard's Shenandaoh in 1889. He developed the star system when he engaged John Drew in 1892 for his Empire Stock Company, and later managed many other of the top stars; he encouraged many playwrights such as Clyde Fitch and David Belasco. Frohman died in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915.
Sowing the Wind: The popular four act play, Sowing the Wind (1893) by Sydney Grundy was produced first in London in October 1893 and was still running when the New York production, starring Viola Allen and Henry Miller, opened January 2, 1894. The play, set in the 1830s, concerns Mr. Brabazon (Miller), who opposes his adopted son's desire to marry Rosamund (Allen), a singer. Brabazon had been forcibly separated from the woman he loved in his youth; at the denouement he finds that Rosamund is his daughter by his lost love, and permits the two to marry. The New York Times reviewer compared Sowing the Wind favorably to Wilde's A Woman of No Importance, running on Broadway at the same time. Grundy's play was made into a movie in 1921.The title is based on Hosea 8.7: "He that sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind."
Charles Klein: Playwright Charles Klein (1867-1915) was born in London and came to the U.S. at the age of sixteen, becoming an actor in order to learn the playwriting craft. His chance came in 1890, when he was given a play to revise; he wrote prolifically thereafter, although in the 1890s his work was mostly in collaboration or as adaptations; he also wrote librettos for Sousa's El Capitan (1895) and De Koven's The Red Feather (1903). After the turn of the century he tended more towards problem plays; his most successful play, running for nearly six hundred performances, was The Lion and the Mouse (1905), based on Ida Tarbell's account of the life and methods of John D. Rockefeller.Klein had booked passage on the Titanic in 1912, but business delayed him so that he missed sailing; however, he was on board the Lusitania when it was torpedoed in 1915, and lost his life.
Harrison Grey Fiske: Harrison Grey Fiske (1861-1942) became editor of The Dramatic Mirror at the age of 18. He married actress Minnie Maddern in 1891, and supported her career by managing and producing as well as writing plays for her and building a theater for her company, a venture that was not a success.
Robert Ingersoll: Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) was sometimes known as "the great agnostic." He was born in western New York, the son of a Congregational minister; he was admitted to the bar in Illinois, where he quickly became well-known as a lawyer and orator. He served as the colonel of a regiment of volunteer cavalry in the Civil War, until taken prisoner by the Confederates. His criticism of religion was based on rationalism; his speeches and writings on religion were controversial, but his eloquence was acknowledged even by his opponents, and he was in great demand as a speaker on patriotic and political subjects as well, receiving, in the 1880s and 1890s, as much as $3,500 for a single lecture.
"Most Americans are familiar with his speech nominating Mr. Blaine for the Presidency, in which he invested that brilliant statesman with the title 'Plumed Knight,' a sobriquet that remained with him to the end of his career. His great speech at the 'Grant Banquet,' his thrilling epic 'A Vision of War,' or 'The Past Rises Before me Like a Dream,' delivered at a soldiers' reunion in Indianapolis; his wonderful 'Decoration Day Oration,' in New York, his tribute to his brother Ebon, his matchless memorial to his friend and associate, Roscoe Conkling, and the laureate crown he laid on the tomb of his friend and leader, the martyred Lincoln, together with many other eulogies of the noble dead that sprang from his generous and passionately patriotic heart, are to-day the treasured possessions of his countrymen. His lips dropped polished pearls that will adorn and enrich the language of his day and of all time" (I. Newton Baker, Robert G. Ingersoll—An Intimate View, ch. 4).
George B. McLellen: George B. McClellan, junior, (1865-1940) was the son of the Civil War general George B. McClellan. He graduated from Princeton in 1886, and became a reporter in New York City. There he affiliated himself with Tammany Hall, and from 1889 served in various city offices, including the board of aldermen. He was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1895, serving until 1903 when he was elected mayor of New York, serving until 1909. He broke with Tammany over matters of patronage, effectively ending his political career. From 1912 until his retirement McClellan taught at Princeton, where he was an authority on Venetian history.His autobiography, The Gentleman and the Tiger, edited by H. Syrett, was published in 1956.
Pauline Hall: Singer, dancer, and actress Pauline Hall (1860-1919) was born Pauline Schmidgall in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she made her stage debut in 1876 as a ballet dancer. She played in Mary Anderson's company for a time before joining Edward Rice's company. She created the role of Erminie in the 800-performance run at the Casino Theatre in New York in 1885; later (c. 1892) she organized her own company. She married and divorced both Edward White and George B. McClellan, jr.
Cather refers to a picture of Pauline Hall in tights in book II, ch. 11 in The Song of the Lark, and the Moonstone Orchestra plays selections from Erminie (book I, ch. 8) at a town concert.
Mr. James Aldrich Libby: Singer James Aldrich Libby (c. 1872-1925) made the song, "After the Ball," a hit, selling over five million copies of the sheet music, when he sang it in Hoyt's comedy, A Trip to Chinatown in 1893.
Jane Harding: Possibly the famous French actress Jane Hading, born Jeanne Alfredine Tréfouret (1859-1933); she was born in Marseilles and obtained her first acting experiences in Algiers and Cairo. On her return to France she sang in operetta, but her first big success was in a dramatic role, in Ohnet's Le maître de forges (1883). Her red-gold hair was famous. She married the manager of the Gymnase theater in 1884 and divorced him in 1887. She toured America with Coquelin in 1888 and became established as one of the leading French actresses.
Mounet-Sully's company: The cast lists for performances by Mounet-Sully's company in New York indicate that Mlle Segond-Weber was the leading lady in the spring of 1894. Other members of the company listed were M. Rohué, M. Charpentier, Mme Guyas, and Mme Derlia.
Carrie Turner: Carrie Turner made a successful New York debut in A Celebrated Case in 1882, co-starring with James O'Neill and Lewis Morrison.? She went on to play opposite other stars, such as Henry Miller, Steele Mackaye, and Maurice Barrymore. When she played the heroine of Nero (1890), the New York Times reviewer called her "one of the best of the young American leading actresses" (9 November 1890). She created the role of Niobe, in the play of that name, in 1891; the comic role was unusual in her repertoire. Her most famous role was as a "bad" woman in The Crust of Society (1892); the opening night was, the Times said, "a triumph for her" (27 December 1892). Her next play in New York was a more conventional role as the heroine of The Coming Woman; the Times merely noted that "Miss Turner is justly liked in New York" (13 November 1894). However, the play did not last long and Tanner revived The Crust of Society later that month. The New York Times dramatic index does not list any more plays in New York in which she appeared.
Charles Drew: Charles Drew's first Broadway appearance seems to have been as the Brownie King Stanislaus in Palmer Cox's Brownies (1894). He also appeared in Chris and the Wonderful Lamp (1899-1900) and The Tattooed Man (1907).
Snitz Edwards: Actor Snitz Edwards (1862-1937) was born in Hungary and began his career acting in light comedy, and then as a dialect comedian in vaudeville. He was small (weighing a little over a hundred pounds) and had a memorable, ugly face. He appeared in over sixty movies from 1915 to 1931, working with stars such as Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, sr., and Mary Pickford.
Brownie Dude: The cast list in the New York Times review of Palmer Cox's Brownies (13 November 1894) does not identify any of the characters as the Brownie Dude, but the name of one of the characters, J. Chapple Goodforme, played by Eugene Sanger, does suggest the stylish dressing of an 1890s "dude.
Klaw: Theatrical manager and producer Marcus Alonzo Klaw (1858-1936) was born in Kentucky; he became a lawyer in Louisville, where a case he handled for producer Gustave Frohman drew him into the theatrical business. He went into partnership in a booking agency with A. L. Erlanger in New York. By buying and building theaters, especially in the South and in New York, they became major members in 1896 of the so-called Theatrical Syndicate (or Trust), which centralized booking and eventually controlled much of the theater business in the U.S. Klaw produced many Broadway shows, individually and in partnership with Erlanger, until his retirement in 1927. He moved to England, where he died.
Erlanger: Theatrical manager and producer Abraham Lincoln Erlanger (1859-1930) was born in Buffalo, NY. He began his theatrical booking agency in New York in 1886, becoming partners with Marc Klaw in 1888. They built a chain of theaters in the South, later joining forces with other agents and managers to form the Theatrical Trust (or Syndicate) in 1896, a near monopoly of theatrical bookings and contracts. Klaw and Erlanger produced many successful shows on Broadway, together, and, after their 1925 breakup, individually.
production: Possibly one of Klaw and Erlanger's subsidiary companies: posters survive advertising "J. B. Jefferson, Klaw, and Erlanger's Country Circus," for example. C. B. Jefferson was a theatrical manager.
Palmer Cox: Canadian-born Cox (1840-1924) grew up with Scottish folktales told by his mother, including those of mischievous but good-natured household sprites. He became an illustrator for the children's magazine, St. Nicholas, where his round-faced, round-bodied, and skinny-legged pictures first appeared. The first Brownie book, The Brownies: Their Story appeared in 1887, and is said to have sold over a million copies; it was followed by sixteen other Brownie books. The Brownies also appeared on all kinds of merchandise—toys, textiles, paper goods, dishes—and the name was supposedly borrowed by Eastman Kodak for his Brownie camera.
Brownies: Either Palmer Cox's Brownies: A Spectacular Play in Three Acts (1894) or The Brownies in Fairyland, a Musical Cantata (1894). A production of Palmer Cox's Brownies in Boston in the week of March 23, 1896, was advertised as being "a truly wonderful production and is sure of an enthusiastic reception. The novel extravaganza presents a fairy realm with a wedding of the Brownie prince. There are marvelous scenic effects. An illuminated mandolin serenade to the moon, an oriental dance of slave girls, an exhibition of demon acrobats, in short, a rare and dazzling evening's entertainment."
Paul Kester: Paul Kester (1870-1933) was born in Ohio. He was a writer of fiction and of many popular plays, such as Sweet Nell of Old Drury (1903), and Food for Scandal, which was made into a movie in 1920. He was perhaps even more popular as an adaptor of novels for the stage, especially Charles Major's When Knighthood Was in Flower and Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall, and Twain's Tom Sawyer. His first Broadway play, Zamar, a verse drama set in 17th century Portugal, opened December 11, 1893, and starred Alexander Salvini.Kester bought and restored the estate of Woodland in 1902; it had been part of George Washington's Mount Vernon, willed to Washington's nephew Lawrence Lewis, husband of Martha Washington's granddaughter, Nelly Custis. The New York Public Library holds a collection of some 20,000 letters written to him over the course of his career.
Alexander Salvini: Alessandro (usually anglicized to Alexander in the U.S.) Salvini (1860-1896) was the son of the great actor Tommaso Salvini. He was born in Italy but came to America with his father's troupe. His New York debut was in 1882; he earned a reputation as a romantic actor in such roles as D'Artagnan in The Three Guardsmen. He married Maud Dixon, also a member of the troupe. He formed his own company and began to earn a reputation as a tragedian, especially as Hamlet.
Clara Morris, in her My Life as a Star (1906), discusses the young Salvini's preparations for his New York debut.
The Last of the Moors: WorldCat does not list a play of this name by Paul Kester. However, a typescript of a play, La Diva; or, The Prima Donna, co-authored by Kester and Alexander Salvini, with revisions by M.D. Salvini, shows that the two did work closely together.
Eleanor Moretti, the leading woman of Salvini's company: Eleanor Moretti toured with William S. Harkness and W. A. Whitecar in the early 1880s, and appeared on Broadway in such plays as Her Atonement (1883) and Blackmail (1886); she remained with the Harkness company for most of the 1880s. Paul Kester's Zamar (1893) was her first Broadway appearance with Salvini; she also co-starred with him in Ruy Blas and played Ophelia to his Hamlet in 1895. In 1896 she played the slave mother in Frank Wilson's production of Pudd'nhead Wilson. Her Broadway career lasted until 1910.
Annie Russell: Actress Annie Russell (1864-1936) was born in England, but her family moved to Canada when she was five. She made her stage debut as a child in Montreal in 1872, and her New York debut in 1879. Two years later, in 1881, she made a huge hit as the star of Esmeralda, which inspired the young Maude Adams to become an actress. In 1882 she married director Eugene Presbrey. Russell became a member of A. M. Palmer's company in 1885, but was forced to retire in 1889 because of ill health; she returned to the stage in 1894. Among her later roles was the creation of Major Barbara in Shaw's play in 1905, as well as many Shakespearean parts. She retired from the stage about 1918; going to live in Florida, she became head of the drama program at Rollins College in Winter Park, where a theater is named after her.Lewis Strang wrote that in England Russell was called "the Duse of the English-speaking stage" (Famous Actresses). Odell wrote, "All who saw Miss Russell know how sweet she was either in comedy or pathetic plays, and will recall gratefully her charm, her grace, her exquisite voice, her genuine dramatic power" (Annals of the New York Stage). New York Public Library Digital Gallery.University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections.
A.M. Palmer's company: Albert Marshall Palmer (c. 1838-1905) was the son of a Presbyterian minister. He was a librarian with the New York Mercantile Library when he was asked to take over the management of the Union Square Theatre in 1872. Although he had no theater training, the stock company Palmer built up was extremely successful. His biggest hit was The Two Orphans, which ran for 180 performances and became one of the standard plays of the late nineteenth century. In 1884 Palmer took over the Madison Square Theatre (rebuilt by Steele Mackaye), producing William Gillette's The Private Secretary, which ran for over 200 nights. When manager Lester Wallack retired in 1888, Palmer took over his theater, naming it for himself; Charles Hoyt took over the Madison Square Theater in 1891. Palmer produced one of the first American production of Ibsen's A Doll's House (December 1889) and Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan (February 1893), but this was not as successful as Palmer's other ventures had been, and he retired in 1896.A. M. Palmer's company was one of the most successful stock companies in New York and on tour in the 1870s and 1880s. The company was housed in the Union Square Theatre, then the Madison Square Theatre, and Palmer's Theatre after 1888.
Empire stock: Empire Stock Company, managed by Charles Frohman, was one of the most successful of the New York theater's stock companies. Frohman developed many stars in his company, including John Drew and Maude Adams.
Academy of Music, New York: The Academy of Music, at 14th Street between 3rd Avenue and Irving Place in New York, was built in 1854; it had an estimated seating capacity of 1300. A fire there in 1866 forced a French ballet troupe to join in with an American melodrama at Niblo's Garden, resulting in the spectacular The Black Crook. Once one of New York's best theaters, the Academy eventually housed vaudeville and movies before being torn down in 1926.
Miss Sydney Armstrong: After playing supporting roles on Broadway in 1890 and 1891, actress Sydney Armstrong was one of the early stars of Frohman's Empire Stock company. The New York Times noted of her playing of the role of Kate Kennion in The Girl I Left Behind Me (1893) that "Miss Armstrong fills with her customary skill an unusually gracious and varied role for the heroine of melodrama."
Laura Burt: Actress Laura Burt (1872-1952) was born in England. One of her greatest successes was as the star of In Old Kentucky; a scene from the play was filmed in 1900. She played in a musical, The King's Carnival, in 1901, along with Marie Dressler. Later in her career she played older women in silent movies such as Love and the Woman and The Social Pirate, both in 1919.
In Old Kentucky: This popular play by Charles T. Dazey (1855-1938) premiered in New York October 23, 1893. Set in the bluegrass and mountain areas of Kentucky, the plot featured feuding families and climaxed in a horse race. The play was made into a novel by Edward Marshall, and several films using this title were made—one in 1909 by D.W. Griffith, others in 1919 and 1927, and another in 1935 with Will Rogers and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.
H. R. H. of Wales: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is the title of the eldest son of the King or Queen of England. In the 1890s the Prince of Wales was Prince Albert Edward (1841-1910), son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; he ascended to the throne in 1901 as Edward VIII. He was a popular, pleasure-loving man whose mother kept him out of any real role in government for most of his life. He was married to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, but had a number of mistresses noted for their beauty, including Lily Langtry.Cather had to remove a reference to Edward and Langtry in The Song of the Lark (1915) before the book could be published in England.
Oscar Wilde: Writer and wit Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was born in Ireland, and educated at Oxford University, where he first began to make his name not only as a writer but as a representative of and spokesman for the aesthetic movement in England. His style—in dress, life, and writing—was satirized by the humor magazine Punch and by Gilbert and Sullivan in Patience. In 1882 he made a lecture tour of the United States. Wilde married Constance Lloyd in 1884, and had two sons; he was then working as a journalist in London. He published essays, including "A Defence of Lying;" a collection of allegorical fairy tales, The Happy Prince, in 1888; a novel, The Picture of Dorian Grey in 1891; and then the first of his witty, satirical society comedies, Lady Windermere's Fan in 1892. It was followed by A Woman of No Importance in 1893, and An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895.
Wilde had met Lord Alfred Douglas, son of the Marquess of Queensbury, in 1891. Queensbury objected to their relationship, calling Wilde a sodomite. Wilde sued for criminal libel, but the jury upheld Queensbury and Wilde was arrested. After two trials, he was condemned to two years hard labor in jail in May 1895. Out of this experience came his most famous poem, the "Ballad of Reading Gaol" (1898). On his release in May 1897, Wilde went to France to live.
Lady Windermere's Fan: In the first of Oscar Wilde's witty comedies, produced in 1893, the young Lady Windermere objects to her husband's relationship to Mrs. Erlynne, not realizing that Mrs. Erlynne is her divorced (and therefore socially disgraced) mother. Lady Windermere runs away to an admirer, Lord Darlington: Mrs. Erlynne follows her to persuade her not to take such a disastrous step. Lord Windermere comes to Darlington's unexpectedly and recognizes his wife's fan, but Mrs. Erlynne saves her daughter and disgraces herself again by claiming the fan as her own.
Gustave Frohman: Producer Gustave Frohman (c. 1854-1930), brother of producers Charles and Daniel Frohman, was probably born, like them, in Ohio. According to his obituary in Time, he worked as an office boy for newspaper editor Horace Greeley. He and his brothers entered show business in the 1870s, as managers and advance men. Their first success was as managers and then owners of Callender's minstrel troupe. By the 1880s they were producing plays in New York and buying theaters. They developed the system of traveling road companies for their New York shows, bought theaters, and developed stars. The brothers formed a motion picture production company in 1915, shortly before Charles' death; Gustave and Daniel ran it until 1920.
James J. Corbett: American boxer James J. Corbett (1866-1933) was born in San Francisco, where he began to make his name as a boxer, first as an amateur middleweight. He became heavyweight champion in 1892, when he knocked out champion John L. Sullivan in the twenty-first round, in the first championship fight under Marquess of Queensbury rules, with three-minute rounds and padded leather gloves. He made his first defense of his world heavyweight boxing title on January 25, 1894, against Charles Mitchell, the English champion. Corbett, using his speed and knowledge of his opponent, helped to make boxing a 'scientific' contest, instead of a brute force fight. However, he lost his championship in 1897 to Bob Fitzsimmons. Several of his fights were filmed, including an exhibition match for Thomas Edison's kinetograph in 1894.
Corbett was known as "Gentleman Jim" because of his good looks, education, and manners; he used his fame to go on stage, playing the lead in Shaw's Cashel Byron's Profession, and later into films. He divorced his first wife, Olive Lake, in 1895 and married actress Vera Stanwood (born Jessie Taylor) that same year. His autobiography, The Roar of the Crowd, was published in 1924; Hollywood made a movie of his life, Gentleman Jim, starring Errol Flynn, in 1942.
Drury Lane theatre, London: The first Drury Lane theater on the site in Catherine Street in London opened in 1663. The present building, the fourth on the site, was designed by Benjamin Wyatt, and opened in 1812. The theater seats over 2,000, and began to be associated with lavishly produced musicals in the 1880s.
Joseph Jefferson: Actor Joseph Jefferson III (1829-1905) was part of the third generation of a theatrical family, and was performing on stage by the time he was four. His first success was as Asa Trenchard in Laura Keene's production of Our American Cousin in 1858. He developed his own version of Washington Irving's story, "Rip Van Winkle," basing it on older stage versions, in 1859, but it did become a hit until it was revised by Dion Boucicault for the London production in 1865, where it ran for 170 performances. Jefferson became identified with Rip, playing the part for the rest of his life; that role, along with those of Bob Acre in Sheridan's The Rivals and Caleb Plummer in The Cricket on the Hearth, made him America's foremost comic actor. Jefferson was as popular with the other members of his profession as with the public, becoming the second president of the Players Club following the death of founder Edwin Booth. He retired from the stage in 1904. Jefferson's autobiography was serialized 1889-90 and published as The Autobiography of Joseph Jefferson in 1891. He played Rip Van Winkle in eight short films, scenes from the play, in 1896, and in a longer version in 1903. He was the father of actors William and Thomas Jefferson and grandfather of writers Herbert and Eleanor Farjeon.
Shadows of a Great City: The popular melodrama, The Shadows of a Great City by Livingston Robert Shewell, first became popular in the early 1880s; by the 1890s, the actor Joseph Jefferson was being credited as co-author, so it seems likely he made some revisions. In the play two convicts escape from Blackwell's Island and swim for shore; moving stage sets helped to create the illusion of their progress. A poster for the play shows the two men kidnapping a sleeping child. A film was made from the play in 1915.
Thomas Jefferson: Actor Thomas Jefferson (1856-1932) was born in New York, the son of actor Joseph Jefferson. He acted in and later managed his father's company, and later became a member of D. E. Griffith's stock film-making company. Jefferson appeared in over seventy films between 1913 and 1932.
Alba Heywood: Alba Heywood was one of three actor brothers from Michigan. By 1900 the brothers had become involved in oil exploration in Louisiana and Texas, making their fortune in the Spindletop oil fields. They became investors in the San Benito Water and Land Company, developing irrigation projects around the new town of San Benito, Texas; Alba Heywood became president of the company in 1907 and was president of the town's bank until 1912.
muscular rheumatism: The condition called muscular rheumatism is now known as fibromyalgia; it is characterized by fatigue and chronic pain in soft tissues, muscles, and joints, but without the inflammation of those tissues that characterizes similar conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The cause is unknown, though it is more common in women than in men.
Tragedian Keene: Thomas Wallace Keene (1840-1898), a New York-born actor whose real name was Thomas R. Eagleton, made several cross-country tours of America with his own company between 1880 and his death in 1898. He generally appeared in Shakespearean companies, and was known as a tragedian.
Mounet-Sully: Tragedian Jean Mounet-Sully (1841-1916) was considered the greatest tragic actor of the nineteenth century French stage. He made his debut in 1868, but had his first real success in 1872. He soon became one of the stars of the Comédie Fran?aise, renowned for his work in tragedy and romantic drama, playing such roles as Oedipus, Achille, Hamlet, Ruy Blas, and Hernani. He became a chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1889, and a street in Paris is named for him.
Image available at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
theatre des varieties: The Théatre des Varietés in Paris had become famous for its spectacular productions of operettas (notably those of Offenbach) and comedy. Sarah Bernhardt leased the theater briefly about 1890, but in 1892, F. Samuel took over as its director.
Gerge H. Timmons: Odell's Annals of the New York Stage notes both a George A. (XV, 355) and a George H. (XV, 821) Timmons, but they may be the same person. George A. Timmons was performing Irish songs in vaudeville in New York in 1893, while the following year George H. Timmons performed in a revival of the Irish drama, The Fairies Well (1889).
"The Fairies' Well": The New York Times review described this "romantic Irish drama" by Con T. Murphy, with Dion Boucicault, as conventional in every way (10 September 1889). It originally starred former minstrel Carroll Johnson, but George H. Timmons revived it at the Lyceum Theatre in Brooklyn in September 1894 and took it on tour.
the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine: The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine was founded by Dr. Walter M. Fleming and actor William Florence in 1872. It was conceived of as a fraternal order that would emphasize fellowship rather than ritual for members of the Masons who had reached the 32nd degree (the initials of the Order are an anagram for A MASON). Members are designated Nobles and are entitled to wear a red fez with a black tassel. Each local organization, known as a temple, takes a name from ancient Arabic or Egyptian history: the first temple, in New York, was named Mecca Temple.
Ramses temple, Toronto, Can.: The first Canadian temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, the Rameses Temple (no.33) hosted, in 1888, the first Imperial Council of the Shrine meeting held outside the U.S.
Grand opera house: The Grand Opera House in Toronto, near Adelaide and Yonge streets, opened in 1874, and was managed by actress Charlotte Nickinson Morrison until 1878. It was one of the largest in Canada, seating 1750 people; it was torn down in 1927.
W. S. Hart: Actor William S. Hart (1864-1946) was born in New York state, and is said to have lived for a time in Dakota territory as a youth. He returned to New York, and began acting about 1888, and played in companies with Modjeska and other noted performers. He became famous in the role of Messala in the 1899 stage production of Ben Hur, and then as the hero of The Virginian in 1907. He is most famous as the first western film star, beginning with His Hour of Manhood (1914); he appeared in more than seventy films before retiring in 1925.
a noble of Kismet temple, Brooklyn, N.Y.: Kismet Temple, in the Desert of Long Island, Oasis of Brooklyn, was one of the early organizations of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. It became noted later for its band, led by noted bandmaster and cornetist Ernest Williams.
Mlle. Rhea company: French actress Hortense-Berbe Loret (1843-1899) was born in Belgium. She began her dramatic career at the age of twenty, playing chiefly in Europe and Russia. She made her London debut in 1881 and then came to New York in November 1881. She never scored a great success in that city, but she was popular in the rest of the U.S. for many years; in 1893-94 she toured with a new play, The Queen of Sheba, with W. S. Hart as Hiram.
The New Magdalene: The 1873 novel, The New Magdalen, by Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was dramatized by A. Newton Field as "A Drama in a Prologue and Three Acts." It was a staple of acting companies in the 1880s.The play was filmed in 1910 with Pearl White, best known as the star of the "Perils of Pauline" series.
"Lady Barter": Rose Coghlan starred as the fascinating adventuress in Lady Barter (1891), a play by her brother Charles Coghlan, who played the role of the "clear-headed man of the world," a type at which he excelled, according to the New York Times reviewer (13 March 1892).
"Disengaged": The only performance of a play of this name listed in the New York Times theater review index (1870 to 1919) was a benefit production March 11, 1909. The author of the play, described as having been written fifteen years before (i.e., 1894) but never produced, was novelist Henry James. It is possible that Coghlan's play of the same name was never published or produced, or that Coghlan had bought the rights to the play from James, and subsequently sold them to Lucie Lewis.
Fanny Davenport: Fanny Davenport (1850-98) was born into an American theatrical family; she took her first speaking part at the age of six. She performed with Augustin Daly's company from 1869 to 1876, when she formed her own company to tour with her hit Pique. She bought the American rights to a number of Sardou's plays and had great success with many roles first performed by Sarah Bernhardt. Illness forced her retirement in March 1898 and she died in September of that year.
Melbourne McDowell: Actor William Melbourne Macdowell (1856-1941) was born in New Jersey. He first appeared on the New York stage in 1878 in Evadne with Mary Anderson. Later he became Fanny Davenport's leading man, and they were married in 1889. After her death he married Wilhelmina Marie Strauss in 1900. He began playing character parts in silent films in 1917, making over sixty films by 1928, and one last film in 1932.
Little Eva Mudge: Actress Eva Mudge became known as a quick-change artist on the vaudeville circuits; she also played in a silent film, The Famous Mrs. Fair, in 1923 and in a 1948 film. She was the mother of actress Ruth Nelson (1905-1992), one of the founding members of the 1930s' Group Theater.
President and Mrs. Cleveland: When twenty-one-year-old Frances Folsom (1864-1947) married forty-nine-year-old President Grover Cleveland on June 2, 1886, she became the youngest First Lady, and the only one to be married in the White House itself. Her father had died when she was a child, and Cleveland had become the executor of his estate—but not, apparently, her legal guardian, as was sometimes said. She was a popular first lady, who believed in higher education and careers for women, and who worked to help lower-class women and children; however, she opposed giving women the right to vote. The Clevelands had five children, the second of whom, Esther (1893-1980), is the only child of a sitting president to be born in the White House. After Cleveland's death in 1908, Francis Cleveland married a professor of history, Thomas J. Preston, Jr., in 1913.
anniversary of the birth: Ruth Cleveland was born on 30 October 1891; her sister Esther was born on 9 September 1893. It may be that the party was a half-birthday—Ruth would have been two and a half years old on April 30, 1894.
Ruth: Ruth Cleveland (1891-1904), the eldest daughter of Francis and Grover Cleveland, became a popular figure in the public imagination in the early 1890s—the toddler whose daddy was one of the most important men in the world. She died of diphtheria when she was twelve.The claim that the Babe Ruth candy bar, introduced in 1920, was named after "Baby Ruth" Cleveland is most likely false.
Charles A. Gardner: Charles A. Gardner was a popular German dialect comedian, singer, and dancer. He also co-wrote some of his vehicles, notably Fatherland (1888), in which he played his most famous role, Karl, and sequels such as Karl, the Volunteer (1891) and Karl, the Peddler (c. 1896).
New York Clipper: The New York Clipper—later shortened to The Clipper— was begun by Frank Queen in 1853; it was a weekly trade paper specializing in entertainment, especially the circus and the theater, the performing arts, and sports (it dropped sports coverage in 1894, however). The paper was absorbed by Variety in 1924.
The Lincoln Park theatre, Lincoln, Neb.: Lincoln Park, at 1st and Van Dorn Streets was developed as a recreation area in 1888; its two hundred acres featured shade trees and areas for picnicking, a mill pond for boating, a dance hall, and an open-air pavilion for concerts. The park was used for Chautauquas from 1897 to 1903, and is now part of Wilderness Park. It is possible that the theater in the park was a tent theater rather than a permanent structure, especially as the theater season was summer: tents were considerably cooler than the relatively unventilated conventional theaters.
Lincoln park: Lincoln Park, at 1st and Van Dorn Streets was developed as a recreation area in 1888; its two hundred acres featured shade trees and areas for picnicking, a mill pond for boating, a dance hall, and an open-air pavilion for concerts. The park was used for Chautauquas from 1897 to 1903, and is now part of Wilderness Park
Kate Watson: Kate Watson was apparently a professional actress, not a local woman, as her hame does not appear in the Lincoln city directories for 1892 through 1895. A Kate Watson appeared on the vaudeville stage c. 1910.
"The Two Johns,": An 1885 playbill advertises the "Fourth Annual tour of J.C. Stewart's 'Two Johns' Comedy Co. in the greatest success of the age, the two Johns," suggesting that the play dates from c. 1880 or 1881. A notice in an Arkansas paper of the fifth annual tour says it is the first time the company had toured west of the Mississippi (Arkansas City Traveler, October 6, 1886). Stewart's company was still producing the play on the vaudeville circuit (where it was described as a "musical farce") in 1905.
Charles A. Gardner: Charles A. Gardner was a popular German dialect comedian, singer, and dancer. He also co-wrote some of his vehicles, notably Fatherland (1888), in which he played his most famous role, Karl, and sequels such as Karl, the Volunteer (1891) and Karl, the Peddler (c. 1896).
Stockwell's theatre, San Francisco, Cal.: A playbill for a performance of actor James O'Neill in The Count of Monte Cristo at Stockwell's Theatre in February 1894 shows that O'Neill was the lessee of the theatre, which was managed by William F. O'Connor.
"The Prize Winner": Apparently a Charles A. Gardner vehicle, but the play does not seem to have played in new York, as it is not indexed in the New York Times theater reviews or Odell's Annals of the New York Stage.
Tyrolese sextet: The double Tyrolean quartette (octet) of singers in the original production of Sidney R. Ellis and Charles A. Gardner's musical comedy, Fatherland (1888), had perhaps been reduced to a sextet for the later road tours of the show.
Punch Wheeler: "Punch" Wheeler's career as an advance man and press agent extended from the early 1880s, when he was press agent for Primrose and Dockstader's minstrel troupe to c. 1911, when he was press agent for Robinson's Circus. His "memoirs of an advance agent," written c. 1886-87, are in the Barker Collection at the New York Public Library.
Rip: Rip Van Winkle, the ne'er-do-well protagonist of Washington Irving's story of the same name (1819) goes to sleep in the Catskills after drinking with a group of dwarves and wakes up twenty years later, to find that his wife and most of his friends are gone, his children grown up, and his country changed from a British colony to an independent nation.The character of Rip van Winkle was Joseph Jefferson's greatest role, in a dramatized version by Jefferson and Dion Boucicault that emphasized the pathos and humor of the story.
Professor Waldauer: August Waldauer, whose early work had been on the violin, was the conductor of the St. Louis Philharmonic Society orchestra in 1866-67. He was the founder of the Beethoven Conservatory in St. Louis, and in 1881 he became co-founder and conductor of the 54-member St. Louis Musical Union orchestra, the largest in St. Louis up to then. It was absorbed by the St. Louis Choral Society in 1890, becoming a precursor of the St Louis Symphony (1907). Waldauer built a handsome new building for his Beethoven Conservatory in 1891.
Conservatory of music: The Beethoven Conservatory of St. Louis was founded by August Waldauer in 1871. By 1891, when it moved into a new building, it offered training for musicians and music teachers in singing and elocution, violin and cello, piano, organ, and harp, guitar and mandolin, coronet and flute, as well as composition, harmony, and counterpoint.The Beethoven Conservatory building at 2301 Locust St. in St. Louis is now on the National Register of Historic Places.