Eugene Tompkins.

The history of the Boston theatre, 1854-1901 online

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Reverend Athanase Coquerel spoke on "Reformers Past
and Present" on Sunday evening, November 5.

Lotta appeared for two weeks beginning November 13 in
her favorite plays, to which she had added "The Rainbow."

Mile. Morlacchi, assisted by the Majilton Family of
grotesque dancers, opened on November 27 in "The French



Kate Santley

Spy," which ran for the greater part of two weeks. Joseph
Heine, the blind violinist, ap-
peared on Sunday, December 3,

The Grand Duke Alexis of
Russia visited Boston in Decem-
ber, 1871, and was received with
much attention by the citizens,
the culminating point of their
entertaining being the grand ball
which was given in the Boston
Theatre on the evening of Fri-
day, December 8, when the au-
ditorium was floored over for
dancing and the entire interior
was lavishly decorated. This

was one of the most magnificent occasions that the city has
ever known and was a success in every respect.

Morlacchi and the Majiltons con-
tinued for the week of December 11
in "The Wizard Skiff," D. J. Maguin-
nis and the company also playing
"O'Flanagan and the Fairies." For
the last three days of the week Harry
Jackson was added to the bill in the
protean comedietta, "Heads of the
People." in which he impersonated
Napoleon I, King William of Prussia,
Madame Dumpling, a "Dwarf French
Opera Singer"; Susan Squall, an Old



Eliza Weathersby


E. A. Sothern and Amy Roselle

Woman; Sam Wax, a Drunken Cobbler; and Bret Harte's

Heathen Chinee. He also
gave imitations of Charles
Feehter, Edwin Forrest,
Charlotte Cushman, Stuart
Robson, and others.

E. A. Sothern, supported

by Amy Roselle, Charles

Wheatleigh, and the regular

"$&j\ 9 ' company, presented "Our

American Cousin" for three
weeks, commencing Decem-
ber 18.

Edith O'Gorman, the es-
caped nun, lectured on "Convent Life"
on Sunday evening, January 7, 1872.

English opera followed on January 8,
1872, the prominent artists being Pa-
repa Rosa, Jennie Van Zandt, Mr. and
Mrs. Seguin, Clara Doria, Tom Karl,
Gus Hall, Aynsley Cook, William Cas-
tle, and S. C. Campbell. This company
remained three weeks, presenting for
novelties, "Satanella," "La Gazza La-
dra" (The Maid and the Magpie), and
"The Water Carrier."

Frank Mayo, supported by Charles T.
Parsloe and the stock company, played a
fortnight's engagement in " The Streets
of New York," closing on February 17. Christine Nils


sson as Mignon


Delehanty and Hengler and the Midget Sniffen introduced
their specialties in the Union Square scene.

The Strakosch Italian Opera Company returned on Febru-
ary 19 for a fortnight's stay, during which time Ambroise
Thomas's opera, "Mignon" had its first three presentations in
Boston. Christine Nilsson assumed the title role, Mile. Leon
Duval, Victor Capoul, Feretti, and Jamet being also in the cast.
On the afternoon and evening of February 22 and the even-
ing of February 24, William Creswick was seen in " Old Noll,"
and on the evening of February 29 he played "Hamlet."

"The Black Crook" received its first presentation in this
theatre on March 4, 1872, although it had an extended run
at the Continental Theatre, some years previously. The pro-
duction was that of Jarrett and Palmer and the run was five
weeks. The cast was as follows :

Count Wolfenstein W. C. Pope.

Rudolphe, a poor artist J. J. Sullivan.

Von Puffengruntz, the Count's Steward G. W. Wilson.

Hertzog, surnamed the Black Crook,

an alchemist Louis Aldrich.

Greppo, his servant D. J. Maguinnis.

Dragonfln, Master Martin.

Zamiel, the Arch Fiend A. Leonard.

Wolfgar, a Gypsy ruffian J. H. Connor.

Caspar, a peasant F. Rooney.

Redglare, the recording demon A. Fleming.

Skuldawelp, familiar to Hertzog W. Hennesey.

Stalacta, Queen of the Golden Realm Miss Kate Santley.

Amina, betrothed to Rudolphe Miss Dora Goldthvvaite.

Dame Barbara, her foster mother Mrs. Chas. Poole.

Carline, Amina's maid Miss Rachel Noah.

Rosetta, a peasant Miss Emma Smiley.



The ballet was led by
Pierina Sassi, with Bonni
Bambini, Clotilde Mar-
chesi, Cora Adrienne,
and Bedon Felieita as
secondas. The special-
ties included the Majil-
tons, grotesque dancers,
the St. Felix Infant Bal-
let, the Egyptian Jug-
lers, Hassan, Anak, and


The Majiltons Frank, Charles, and Marie

Selim, Professor Smith
and his children gym-
nasts, Professor Sam-
well's Troupe of Trained
Animals, the Celebrated

Clown Dog Grimaldi, and Professor Smith's Illuminated
Fountain and Cloud Veil with the Hues of Sunset. During
the engagement Master Martin, the
sprite, was injured and his place was
taken by D. J. Maguinnis, whose part

of Greppo

was filled by

George W.

Wilson, he in

turn being

replaced by

J. W. Hague

as Puffen-



Mrs. John Wood

St. Felix Infant Ballet


Oliver Doud Byron then first introduced "Across the Con
tinent" to Boston playgoers, opening on April 8 and re-
maining two weeks.

Mrs. John Wood and
the St. James Theatre
Company of London
were seen on April 22
for one week m bur-
lesques and farces, their
offering's being; " La Belle
Sauvage," "Poll and
Partner Joe/' "To
Oblige Benson," and
" Jenny Lind." The com-
pany included Emily
Weston, Julian Cross,
G. W. Anson, A. W.
Young, and Harry Cox.

Maggie Mitchell's an-

on ver Doud Byron

v &&

nual engagement was for three weeks from April 29, her
plays being "Fanchon," "Jane Eyre," and "The Pearl of

Joseph Jefferson filled his usual three weeks to his cus-
tomary heavy receipts in " Rip Van Winkle," closing on June 1.

John M. Ward had a benefit on May 18, when John H.
Selwyn played in "The Little Treasure" and Mile. Zoe was
seen in "The Wept of Wish-ton- Wish."

On Saturday evening, May 25, Mrs. J. B. Booth had a
benefit, appearing with her husband, in The Robbers."
General F. J. Lippitt and Miss Nina Glover were also seen in



'Monsieur Jacques" and the Boston Chorus Club was heard
in songs.

On Monday, June 3, 1872, the Vokes Family made their
first Boston appearance, supported by Mr. and Mrs. John L.
Hall and some members of the Boston Theatre Company.
The bill on this occasion consisted of "Our Nelly" and "The
Belles of the Kitchen," the Vokeses appearing only in the latter
piece which was cast as follows :


Written, adapted, arranged and performed exclusively by themselves, as
played more than a thousand nights by them in the principal theatres
of Great Britain and Ireland : and during the past two months with
unprecedented success at the Union Square Theatre, New York.
Illustrating the High Tints in the Lower Regions, or, the Doings of
Domestics in the absence of their employers.

Lucinda Scrubbs, a Lady's Maid Miss Jessie Vokes.

Mary, a House Maid Miss Victoria Vokes.

Barbara, a Kitchen Maid Miss Rosina Vokes.

Timotheus Gibbs, an Apothecary's Clerk Mr. Fred Vokes.

Wiggins, a Hair Dresser Mr. Fawdon Vokes.

In the course of the piece will be introduced specimens of


The audience will please retain their seats during the exhibition of
the Prismatic Waters, which concludes the entertainment.

"The Belles of the Kitchen" ran four weeks, "The Wind-
mill" being played with it in the second week, " The Spitfire"
the third, and " The Lottery Ticket," the fourth. The Vokeses
then were seen for two more weeks in "The Wrong Man in
the Right Place." Jennie Lee, George W. Howard, J. P.












i i























Burnett, and others were seen with them in "Betsy Baker"
for one week and "Checkmates" for another.

The Irish National Band, which had come across the water
to play at the World's Peace Jubilee in this city, appeared in
concert on Sunday, July 14, and the season closed with a bene-
fit to H. A. M'Glenen on Monday evening, July 15, the
volunteers including Mile. Morlacchi, Joseph Proctor, W. J.
LeMoyne, G. Swaine Buckley, Sam B. Villa, Delehanty and
Hengler, Harry Bryant the ventriloquist, and others.

Ned Buntline, Buffalo Bill, and Texas Jack



During the season of 1872-73 H. S. Murdoch, H. A.
Weaver, R. J. Dillon, C. A. Stedman, E. B. Holmes,
J. B, Bradford, Harry Lampee, May Fiske, Viola Vance, and
Mrs. H. A. Weaver were new members of the company,
Viola Vance was not long at the theatre when she was taken
ill and died of smallpox, during the epidemic of 1872-73.
May Fiske was afterward at the head of an organization called
May Fiske's Blondes.

The Band of the Garde Republicaine of Paris gave four
concerts on the evenings of August 5, 6, and 8, and the after-
noon of the 7th to large houses.



Kit and the Beats
C. Leslie Allen, F. S. Chanfrau, 1). J.


engagement, during which he
produced "The Red Pocket-
Book," a play with a remark-
able shipwreck scene, and Dr.
Bird's ever-attractive "Nick of
the Woods."

On September 23, 1872, F.
S. Chanfrau began the first of
his regular autumnal visits in
'Kit, the Arkansas Traveller,"
remaining; three weeks. For
thirteen consecutive years Mr.


Lisa Weber and a bur-
lesque troupe, which in-
cluded Pauline Markham,
Emma Moshier, Hetty
Tracy, Cassie Troy, Hattie
O'Neil, George Atkins,
Welsh Edwards, H. S. Mur-
doch, and C. W. Butler,
opened the season on Au-
gust 19 and remained two
weeks, presenting "Paris,"
Quiet Family."

Joseph Proctor began on
September 2 a three weeks'

Lester Wallack


Chanfrau played "Kit" her
his death in 1884. The im-
pression is widespread that
"Kit" opened the season
each year, but, strange to
say, it never was the first
attraction of the season.
The drawing power of
'Kit" lay not so much in
the play itself as in its num-
ber of excellent parts, so well
acted by Mr. Chanfrau and
the various members of the
Boston Theatre Company.
Lester Wallack, supported
by Efh'e Germon and the

e in September, continuing until

Father Tom Burke

Charlotte Cushman

stock company, commenced
on October 14 a three weeks'
engagement in " Rosedale,"
"Ours," and "John Garth."
In "Ours" he had the assist-
ance of Gilmore's Band.

Charlotte Cushman began
on November 4 a stay of three
weeks, during which she played
in "Macbeth," "Guv Man-
nering," '' Henry VIII," and
''Simpson and Co."



On Saturday evening, November 9, 1872. while the com-
pany was playing "Nobody's Daughter" and "Paddy Miles's

Boy," the great Boston fire broke out,
burning over a large part of the busi-
ness district of the city and causing
several days' interruption of the busi-
ness of the theatre, owing to the shut-
ting-off of the gas in the downtown
section of the city,
but Miss Cushman
continued her en-


o n

Pauline Lucca

Mrs. Thomas Barry

Thursday, Novem-
ber 14, as soon as
it was possible to
light the theatre.
Father Tom Burke lectured on the
evening of Sunday, November 24.

"The Cataract of the Gan-
ges," introducing the stud of
John H. Murray's Circus, was
produced on November 25 and
ran five weeks, "Mazeppa"
being added to the bill for the
final week.

"The Streets of New York"
was given for the week of De-
cember 30.

On Tuesday, January 7,
W. II. Bartholomew Max Maretzek's Grand Italian



Opera began a three weeks' engagement, the principals being
Pauline Lucca, Clara Louise Kellogg, Senora Sanz, Leoni
Lavielli, Clara Doria, Vizzani, Ronconi, Dubreuil, Sparapani,
Moriami, Jamet, Abrugnedo, and Reiehardt. There were no
novelties in their repertoire.

On Wednesday afternoon, January 15, Stuart Robson
appeared in ''Everybody's Friend," "Ten Minutes' Talk with
Little Boys and Girls," and "The Skeleton Captain, or Blue-
Eyed William." On Saturday evening, January 18, he played
in one act of "The Rivals,"
" Hamlet, or the Wearing of
the Black," "The Wander-
ing Minstrel," and "The

Oliver Doud Byron pre-
sented "Across the Contin-
ent" for the week of Jan-
uary 27 and on Saturday
evening, February 1, "Nick
of the Woods" was added *

to the bill, Mr. Byron being
the Jibbenainosay.

Adelaide Neilson made
her Boston debut on Feb-
ruary 3, 1873, in "Romeo and Juliet," with Joseph Wheelock
as Romeo. The following week she played Rosalind in " As
You Like It," H. S. Murdoch being the Orlando, and on the
evenings of February 13. 14, and 15, she again was seen as
Juliet, with Mr. Murdoch as Romeo.

On the afternoon of Friday, February 7, 1873, a compli-

James S. Maffitt



mentary benefit was given to Thomas Barry, the first manager
of the theatre, he being at this time a very old man and an
invalid. The entire receipts, $3126.50, were given to Mr.
Barry. The stockholders waived their rights for this occa-
sion, with the exception of

one single individual, who
insisted on his right to save
one dollar. The bill for
the benefit included Mrs.
Thomas Barry, C. Leslie
Allen, W. R. Floyd, W. E.
Sheridan, and D. Harkins
in scenes from " The School
for Scandal." Adelaide
Neilson recited a poem by
Tennyson. Stuart Robson,
supported by H. S. Mur-
doch, C. H. Frye, G. Le-
vick, and Mrs. H. A.
Weaver, played "Camille,
or the Cracked Heart."
C. W. Couldock recited "The Vagabonds." Maffitt and Bar-
tholomew and the Howard Athenaeum Company presented
their wonderful pantomime, " The Comanches." Louis Aldrich
recited "The Bridge of Sighs"; and Mary Shaw, an old
favorite, returned to the stage to play in " Jenny Lind," sup-
ported by members of the Boston Theatre Company.

Charles R. Thorne, Jr., began on February 17 a two weeks'

engagement, having the Majiltons as an added attraction.

'The Three Guardsmen" filled the first week, while the


Adelaide Neilson


second was divided between "Amos Clarke," 'The Octo-
roon," and "Foul Play."

Buffalo Bill (W. F. Cody), Texas Jack (J. B. Omohundro),
Ned Buntline (E. Z. C. Judson), and Mile. Morlacchi next
appeared for a single week in "The Scouts of the Plains," to
the unrepressed delight of top-heavy houses. This was the
first appearance of Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack in this city.

Maggie Mitchell, supported by L. R. She well, played her
annual three weeks' engagement, beginning March 10, in
"Jane Eyre," 'Fanchon," 'The Pearl of Savoy," and "Little

Edwin Adams opened on March 31 in "Enoch Arden,"
staying two weeks, and offering
also " The Marble Heart," " Wild
Oats," "Black -Eyed Susan,"
and " The Drunkard."

Mrs. F. S. Chanfrau followed
on April 14 in "Two Wives,"
"Christie Johnstone," and
"Dora," her stay continuing
two weeks. Mrs. Chanfrau has
since left the stage and is now
practicing as a Christian Science
healer in Philadelphia.

"Under the Gaslight" was
given by the stock company for
the week of April 28, the Carroll
family of dancers appearing also

in their specialty, and in the week of May 5, the company
were seen in "Jack Harkaway."


Mrs. Chanfrau as Dora


Luke Schoolcraft

For the week of May 12 Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Albaugh, the
latter a sister of Maggie Mitchell, were seen in "Poverty

At the farewell benefit to Mrs. J. B. Booth on Saturday

evening, May 10, 1873, Mrs. J.
H. C. Richmond of New Bedford
made her first appearance on the
stage, essaying the character of
Juliana in "The Honeymoon," the
beneficiary being the Volante. Mrs.
Booth was also seen in " Asmodeus,
or the Little Devil's Share," and
D. J. Maguinnis played " The
Limerick Boy."

W. E. Sheridan had a benefit on
May 17, appearing in "The Marble
Heart," supported by Mrs. J. B. Booth and J. W. Albaugh.
The Vokes Family began on May 19 a five weeks' engage-
ment in "The Belles of the Kitchen," "Fun in a Fog," "The
Wrong Man in the Right Place," "Nan, the Good-for-No-
thing," and 'Phobus' Fix." For the week of June 9 they
were reinforced by John T. Raymond and F. F. Mackay in
"Heep vs. Micawber."

On the morning of Decoration Day, May 30, a fire broke
out near the Globe Theatre and destroyed that theatre and
a number of other buildings. In consequence, the gas was
shut off in the Washington Street main, but the gasman of
the Boston Theatre connected his pipes with the main on
West Street and the performance was given on time.

At the benefit of the Vokes Family on Friday evening, June



20, 1873, in addition to "Fun in a Fog," "Black-Eyed Susan"
was played, with Louis Aldrich as William, H. S. Murdoch as
Captain Crosstree, Fred Yokes as Jacob Twig, George W.
Wilson as Gnatbrain, Jessie Yokes as Susan, and Victoria
Yokes as Dolly Mayflower. Miss Victoria Yokes met with an
accident on this occasion which resulted in a broken arm.

H. A. M'Glenen's benefit on Saturday evening, June 21,
introduced the Yokes Family, John T. Raymond, John
Gilbert, Ida Savory, Lillie Wilkinson, the California Quar-
tette (Welling Brothers and J. W. Freeth), and members of
the Boston Theatre Company.

R. W. Butler's Great New York Combination opened on
June 23 and remained two weeks, the stars being Sophie and
Irene Worrell, the Zanfretta Troupe,
Raphael Abecco the harpist, Luke
Schoolcraft, George H. Coes, Joe
Lang, Add Ryman, Harry Hunter,
George F. Ketchum, Sam Holds-
worth, George and Charles Reynolds,
Charles and Carrie Austin, Jennie
Kimball, Minnie Jackson, Helene
Smith, Laura LeClaire, the Rem-
melsberg Sisters, the Caron Family,
and Zegrino and Moulton.

On the afternoon of Monday, June 30, 1873, Napier
Lothian had a benefit at which the Yokes Family appeared
minus Victoria, who was prevented by her injury. The stock
company played "A Quiet Family" ; Brown's Brigade Band,
the Cornet Quartette from Gilmore's Band, and an orchestra
of forty were heard. Among other selections the orchestra


George H. Coes


played the Evangeline March, composed by Edward E. Rice
and dedicated to James Alexander of the Cunard Steamship
Company. Mr. Rice was at that time in the employ of the
Cunard Company. His extravaganza, "Evangeline," did not
reach the stage until a year later, when it was seen at Niblo's

Garden, New York.
R. W. Butler left
for New York on
the evening of Sat-
urday, July 5, and
his company scat-
tered. A portion,
however, remained
and continued two
weeks longer to

rftf^L^ m light business.

"^ t ^p^B W Josh Hart's Com

pany from the The-
atre Comique, New
York, played from
July 21 to August 16,
thus closing a very
long season. The
members of this
company were John Hart, John Wild, Frank Kerns, Cool Bur-
gess, Harrigan and Hart, Larry Tooley, J. H. Budworth, John
Queen, G.L. Stout, James Bradley, E. D. Gooding, Dave Bra-
ham, John Williams, O'Reardon, Mrs. Yeamans, Jennie Yea-
mans, Jennie Hughes, Ada Wray, Kitty O'Neil, and Minnie
Loder. During their stay a sketch called "The Gripsack"


Harrigan and Hart


was played by Frank Kerns, John Wild, and G. L. Stout. The
programme had the following note: " ' Gripsack' is a theatrical
term and used by the members of the profession to initiate
new beginners. It consists of a large bag, generally filled with
old pieces of iron, weighing from seventy-five to one hundred
and fifty pounds, which the applicant for histrionic honors is
requested to carry to a rival theatre, accompanied with a letter
which requests some member of the company to keep him
going. The unfortunate dupe, after making the rounds of the
various theatres, generally comes to the conclusion that the
road to theatrical fame is of most rocky description and re-
quires more manual labor than all others combined." It was
from this theatrical term that the name, "gripsack," now in
common use, meaning any ordinary hand-satchel, was orig-
inated, though it did not reach the general public until many
years after this programme was printed.

Limington R. Shewell



JB. Booth retired from the management of the Boston
Theatre in 1873 and was succeeded by L. R. Shewell, who
engaged the following company: H. S. Murdoch, J. H. Fitz-
patrick, C. Leslie Allen, D. J. Maguinnis, J. W. Hague, T.



M. Hunter, W. H. Norton, George W. Wilson, Rufus Scott,
Harry Richmond, R. J. Dillon, E. B. Holmes, J. O. Stevens,
J. W. Gardiner, Harvey
Collins, William Raynor,
Charles Madden, Mrs.
Thomas Barry, Olivia Rand,
Blanche Hayden, Mrs.
Charles Poole, Mrs. C. L.
Allen, Hattie Stevens, Marie
Uart, Carrie Prescott, Mar-
ion Follett, Annie Winslow,
Emma Smiley, Iola Smiley,
Carrie Jones, Misses Hoff-
man and Morgan. Charles
S. Getz became the scenic
artist, with
John Sommer

as assistant, the working staff other-
/- v wise remaining as before.

The season opened on September 1
with two weeks of "Polaris, or the
Northern Lights," acted by Mr.
Shewell and members of the regular

F. S. Chanfrau, in " Kit, the Arkan-
saw Traveller," followed on Septem-
ber 15 for three weeks.

Edwin Booth in tragic repertoire
played three weeks, beginning Octo-

Tamberlik uer 6 -

Erminie Rudersdorf



The Maretzek Italian Opera Company followed for a
fortnight, the company being headed by Pauline Lneca,

lima di Murska, Madame Ru-
dersdorf (who was the mother of
Richard Mansfield), Louise Mar-
chetti, Natali Testa, Lichtmay,
Tamberlik, Rossi-Galli, Jamet, and
Vizzani. Their list of operas con-
tained nothing that was new. Ma-
dame Rudersdorf 's first appearance
in opera in America was made
here on October 30, 1873, as Leo-
nora, in "II Trovatore," Signor

Tamberlik being the Manrico.

Tommaso Salvini

Mr. and
Mrs. W. J.

Florence opened on November 10 for
two weeks in "Inshavogue," "The
Yankee Housekeeper," 'The Ticket
of Leave Man," 'The Irish Lion,"
"Thrice Married," "The Returned
Volunteer," and "Eileen Oge."

Tommaso Salvini made his Boston
debut on November 24, 1873, remain-
ing but one week. He was supported
by his brother and an Italian com-
pany and played in " Othello," " Sam-
son," 'David Garrick," "'Civil
Death," and "Hamlet."

Charles Fechter then appeared for


Emma Smiley and Carrie Jones
in " The Naiad Queen "


on the evening; of December 13 for

Charles S. Getz

one week in "Hamlet," "Don Ca?sar de Bazan," 'Ruy Bias,"
and "The Lady of Lyons."

On the afternoon of Wednesday,
December 8, Salvini was again seen in

Charlotte Cushman began on Decem-
ber 3 a week of "Guy Mannering" and
"Henry VIII," the theatre being closed

rehearsal of the com-
ing production. This
was Miss Cushman's

last engagement in this theatre, her final
role being Meg Merrilies in " Guy Manner-
ing," on Saturday afternoon, December 13,

"The Naiad Queen" was given a spec-
tacular presentation on December 15 and
ran five weeks. The ballet introduced the entire Kiralfy family,
Imre, Bolossy, Haniola, Emilie, Katie,
and Arnold, besides two Italian pre-
mieres, Boni and Giavazzi. The special-
ties included Felix Regamey the French
caricaturist. Young Americus the child
violinist (who died suddenly during this
engagement), the Ulm Sisters, and the
youthful Vaidis Sisters, trapeze perform-
ers, who are still before the public as
aerial artists. A boy choir sang "Spring,
Gentle Spring," one of its members


Del Puente

Victor Maurel


being a schoolboy named Lawrence McCarty, who was after-
ward the manager of the

Frank Mayo played " Davy
Crockett" for the first time
in this theatre on January
19, 1874, continuing two

The Strakosch Italian Op-
era Company began a fort-
night's season on February
3, with Nilsson, Cary, Tor-

riani, Campanini, Del Pu-

/,. .^r y' ' % f " m_ ' ^ ^ *-

' ente, Capoul, and Victor

Frank Mayo as Davy Crockett

Maurel, in "The Huguenots,"
"Mignon," "Aida," "Lucia,"
"Faust," "II Trovatore,"
"Martha," and "Don Gio-
vanni." "Aida" had its first
Boston presentation on the
evening of February 5, 1874.

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