Robert Lowery Sherman.

Chicago stage, its records and achievements (Volume 1) online

. (page 1 of 43)
Online LibraryRobert Lowery ShermanChicago stage, its records and achievements (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


UNIVERSITY OF

ILLINOIS LIBRARY

AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN



• -



CHICAGO STAGE

ITS RECORDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

VOLUME ONE

Gives a complete record of all entertainment and,
substantially, the cast of every play presented in
Chicago, on its first production in the city, from
the beginning of theatricals in 1834 down to the
last before the fire of 1871



U:




BY ROBERT L. SHERMAN

Fifty years in theatricals as actor, author, manager and producer,
Operator of touring attractions from coast to coast and many resi-
dent stock companies. AUTHOR OF DRAMA CYCLOPEDIA
Published by Robert L. Sherman, 2730 Windsor Ave.
Chicago 25, 111.



1



LiSB EafiilaasBaia piiilisj gig] g IgllBipHspippjllstll!



COPYRIGHTED )94^
BY
ROBERT L. SHERMAN



OF VERY OLD PHOTOGRAPHS



ILLUSTRATED WITH REPRODUCTIONS



CHAPTER I-

Harry Isherwood
CHAPTER II- '

John B. Rice
CHAPTER III-

^ Louisa Lane (Mrs. John Drew)
CHAPTER IV-

James H. McVicker
CHAPTER V-

James E. Murdock
fa CHAPTER VI-
ST Edwin Forrest



CHAPTER VII-

Julia Dean



CHAPTER VIII-

Adelaide Patti
CHAPTER IX-

Thoraas Maguire
CHAPTER X-

Tony Pastor
I CHAPTER XI-

Dion Boucicault
CHAPTER XII-

Edwin Booth
CHAPTER XIII-

Frank Chanfrau
CHAPTER XIV-

John Wilkes Booth
CHAPTER XV-

Lawrence Barrett
CHAPTER XVI-

John McCollough
CHAPTER XVII-

Richard M. Hooley
CHAPTER XVIII-

J. H. Haverly
CHAPTER XIX-

McKee Rankin



ALPHABETICAL LIST OF PORTRAITS
FROM OLD PHOTOGRAPHS



Page

BARRETT, LAWRENCE 581

BOUCICAULT, DION 308

BOOTH, EDWIN 371

BOOTH, JOHN WILKES 520

CHANFRAU, FRANK 474

DEAN, JULIA 151

FORREST, EDWIN. 109

HAVERLY, J. H 723

HOOLEY, RICHARD M 704

ISHERWOOD, HARRY 1

LANE, LOUISA (Mrs. John Drew) .... 57

MAGUIRE, THOMAS 212

McCOLLOUGH, JOHN 659

McVICKER, JAMES H 60

MURDOCK, JAMES E 31

PASTOR, TONY 269

PATTI, ADELAIDE 179

RANKIN, McKEE 745

RICE, JOHN B 19



TV* ^



CHICAGO STAGE



CHRONOLOGICAL LIST 01 AMUSEMENT PLACES
CHICAGO FROM 1855 to 1871



IN



Feb.


24,


, 18oo


Uncer


tain 1355


Oct.


gSj


, 1857


May


10j


, 1858


Aug.


2[


, 1840


Uncer


tair


l 1841


April


16.


, 1842


Uncer


tair


l 1844


July


16


, 1845


June


28


, 1847


Dec .


7'


, 1848


Nov.


12,


, 1850


Feb.




, 1851


May


Yh


, 1852


May


25


, 1852


June


4


, 1854


Aug.


b\


, 1354


Sept.




1854


Oct.


16


, 1354


Nov.


4


, 1354


Nov.


19


, 1855


Jan.


5


, 1856


Aug.


18'


, 1856


Apr.


20


, 1357


May


9


, 1357


Nov.


8'


p 1857


Dec .


8


p 1357


Feb.


7


p 1859


Aug.


20;


, 1859


Dec.


5


p 1859


Dec.


8


, 1359


Apr.


20


, 1860


June





1360


June





1360


Sept.


19


, 1860



Page

Mansion House ... 2

Brambock Hall ... 5

Saganaush Hotel . . 9

Chicago Theatre . . 20

City Saloon .... 61

Chapman Rooms ... 62

The Theatre .... 62

V/arners Hall. ... 86

Western Museum. . . 87

Rice's Theatre. . . 95

Emmetts Varieties . 106

Tremont Hall. . . . 177

Rice's New Theatre. 179

City Hall 256

Melodeon Hall . . . 257

Woods Museum. . * . 269

S. Market St. Hall. 260

Butlers Amphitheatre 260

Metropolitan Hall . 266

Robinsons Athenaeum 260

Norths Amphitheatre 276

Phelps Opera House 517

Thome's National . 298

Lyceum Theatre. . . 569

Light Guard Hall. . 569

McVicKers Theatre . 557

Apollo Hall .... 563

Sam Ryan Hall . . . 457

Mechanics Hall. . . 418

Rices Aeoleon . . . 418

Beebe's Concert Hall 418

Kingsbury Hall. * . 472

Kinzie Hall .... 457

Wigwam 475

Bryans Hall .... 470



CHICAGO STAGE



CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF AMUSEMENT PLACES IN
CHICAGO IROM 1355 to 1871 (Cont'd)



Sept.


19;


, 1860


Jan.


15


, 1862


March


7


, 1862


March


15.


, 1862


June


1


, 1863


Dec.


21,


, 1863


Bee.


29


, 1863


March


16'


, 1864


Apr.


20


, 1365


Nov.


29


, 1365


Jan.


1]


, 1366


July


9


, 1367


Feb.


6


, 1868


March


14


, 1368


April


7


, 1868


Dec.


14


, 1868


March


25'


, 1670


May


19


, 1370


Aug.


1


, 1870


Jan.


l"


, 1871


Aug.


29


, 1871



Bryans Hall ....
Canterbury Hall . .
Dearborn St. Op. Hse.
Christys Opera House
Varieties Theatre .
New Opera House . .
Academy of Music. .
Woods. Dram. Museum
Crosbys Opera House
Crosbys Music Hall.
Smith & Nixons Hall
Theatre Comique
Olympic Theatre
Arcade Hall . .
Farewell Hall .
Dearborn Theatre
Standard Hall .
Globe Theatre .
Mannings Theatre
Hooley's Opera House
McVickers Th. Rebuilt



Page

470
513
511
512
540
511
511
645
610
613
655
678
703
681
682
701
743
741
720
754
748



- NOTE: Many of the above listed amuse-
ment places are the same buildings with
names changed to suit the whim of what-
ever theatrical manager was in charge at
the moment./



CHICAGO STAGE



ALPHABETICAL LIST Of AMUSEMENT PLACES IN
CHICAGO IROM 1835 to 1371



Opened



Page



ACADEMY OF MUSIC,
AIKENS THEATRE,
APOLLO HaLL,
ARCADE HALL,
ARLINGTON HALL,
ARLINGTON THEATRE,
BEEBE'S CONCERT HALL,
BROMBACK HALL,
BRYAN'S HALL,
BUTLERS AMPHITHEATRE,
CANTERBURY HALL,
CHAPMAN ROOMS,
CHICAGO THEATRE
CHRISTY'S THEATRE,
CITY HALL,
CITY SALOON,
CROSBYS MUSIC HaLL,
CROSBYS OPERA HOUSE,
DAN EMMETT'S

VARIETIES,
DEARBORN ST.

^PERA HOUSE,
DEARBORN THEATRE,
EMMETT'S VARIETIES,
FAREWELL HALL,
GLOBE THEATRE,
HOOLEYS OPERa HOUSE,
KINGSBURY'S HaLL,
KINZIE HALL,
LIBRARY HaLL,
LIGHT GUARD HALL,
LYCEUM THEATRE,
MANNINGS THEATRE,



Dec.


29,


, 1865


511


Oct.





1867


679


Dec.


8


, 1857


568


Mar.


14]


, 1868


681


Sept




, 1867


680


Feb.


8'


, 1869


720


Dec.


8


, 1869


418


May-


29


, 1855


5


Sept


.19


, 1360


470


Sept


.18'


, 1354


260


Jan.


15


, 1860


518


Apr.


16


, 1841


62


May-


10'


, 1858


20


Mar.


16'


, 1862


512


May


15


, 1852


256


Apr.


14'


, 1840


61


Nov.


29


, 1865


618


Apr.


20,


, 1865


610


Dec .


7.


, 1848


506


Mar.


7


j 1862


511


Lee.


14


, 1868


701


Dec.


7


, 1843


506


Apr.


7'


, 1868


632


May


19


, 1870


741


Jan.


1


, 1871


754


Apr.


20'


, 1860


472


June


-


1860


457


Jan.


7


, 1868


681


May


9'


, 1857


569


Apr .


20


, 1857


569


Aug.


1


, 1869


7S0



CHICAGO STAGE



ALPHABETICAL LIST OF AMUSEMENT PLACES IN
CHICAGO FROM 1355 to 1871 (Cont'd)



Opened



Page



MANSION HOUSE,
McVICKERS THEATRE,
McVICXERS (Rebuilt)
MECHANICS HALL,
MELODEON HALL,
METROPOLITAN HALL,
NEW OPERA HOUSE,
NORTH MARKET ST. HALL,
NORTHS AMPHITHEATRE,
OLYMPIC THEATRE,
PHELPS OPERA HOUSE,
RICE'S AEOLEON HALL,
RICE'S CHICAGO THEA.
RICE'S NEW THEaTRE,
ROBINSONS ATHENAEUM,
SAG*NAUSH HOTEL,
SAM RYAN'S HALL,
STANDARD HALL,
THEATRE COMIQUE,
VARIETIES THEATRE,
WIGWAM,
WOODS DRAMATIC MUSEUM



Feb.


24


, 1855


2


Nov.


8


, 1857


357


Aug.


29


, 1871


748


Aug.


20'


, 1859


418


May


25


, 1852


257


Oct.


12


, 1854


566


Dec .


21'


, 1863


542


May


10


, 1855


231


Nov.


19


, 1855


276


Feb.


6


, 1868


705


Jan.


3]


, 1856


317


Dec .


5


, 1859


418


June


28*


p 1347


37


Feb.


5


, 1851


179


Nov.


4'


p 1854


260


Oct.


25,


p 1857


9


Feb.


7


, 1859


457


Mar.


25.


, 1870


745


July


9


, 1867


678


June


l'


p 1865


540


June





1860


473


Mar.


16.


, 1864


648



PREFACE



This is the first Volume of a set of three books it
is the author's intention to issue at various periods.
This, the first volume, deals with the period when the
first paid entertainment was given in Chicago in 1834,
to the last before the great fire of 1871. The second
volume will embrace the time from 1871 to 1900, the
third from then until the present or to the date of pub-
lication.

The records of the CHICAGO STAGE, not only
include theatres proper, but halls where any form of
entertainment was given and tents, where circus per-
formances took place. They do not include any form
of pictures. Here, as in other new born ciiies, early
amusements of the kind originated in hotel dining
rooms, as a rule, and graduated to the "halls" where
such provided opportunity for the display of histrionic
talent, where much of ihis important talent first mani-
fested itself. Before theatres were constructed for
housing the regular theatrical attractions the popula-
tion of a city had to increase enough to justify the
risk of such a venture. The study of attractions in
these halls should not be neglected if one is to iden-
tify performers whose names became famous in the
dramatic and musical field, for it is in such halls that
many of them began their career.

In compiling these records it has been the aim oi
the author, in mentioning a play, to give the cast of
characters of all important full length plays on the
occasion of its first presentation in Chicago. But not
to repeat such cast every time the play is produced,
unless there has arisen some special reason for such
repetition. If the reader is confused by the limited

I



number of characters in one cast which does not cor-
respond with the full cast that may be shown else-
where it is because that, in some cases, the company
producing the play were handicapped with a limited
number of performers so the producer did, what has
always been done, simply cut the play and cast to
meet conditions. This has and must be done until a
better way is provided.

The records herewith compiled and set fourth are
the first of such a compilation gathered for any
American city, outside of New York, and the diffi-
culty of acquiring this data may well be imagined
when consideration is given to the fact that the at-
tempt was not made until one hundred and ten
years after the first public performance was given
here, together with the destruction of so much im-
portant material by the great fire of Oct 9th, 1871.
The author is indebted to the Newberry Library, the
Chicago Historical Society and Chicago Public Libra-
ry, for giving him access to the newspaper files and
other valuable material preserved and accumulated
by these institutions and to the attendants who have
assisted materially.

While the writer believes in free enterprise he also
believes the ''laborer is worthy of his hire" but he
has little hope of being compensated adequately far
the hours, days and weeks of toil associated with this
effort. He is also gratified to have found a way of
getting this book into the hands of individuals and
institutions sorely in need of it without involving a
risk by some magnanimous publisher who might be
inspired to speculate on entering upon the publica-
tion of such a work.

THE AUTHOR.

H



*



CHICAGO STAGE
ITS RECORDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

THEATRES, AMPHITHEATERS, OPERA HOUSES, HALLS, CiRCUSES

1834 - 1837

CHAPTER I



| Chicago, in its early struggle
for a start in theatricals, was
t j&mt-, not like some other cities such
; as New York, Boston and Phila-
M.'> delphia, which had begun nearly
LJfe* " -if i a nun dred years before. Chicago
l|fll|fe then, as now, had the advantage
VIlllllllHHICl Q f ffa e cities just referred to
harry as it could, and did, profit by
isherwood the success or failure of what
had happened to the others. When
the drama - and by that we mean all forms
of stage entertainment - was first intro-
duced in New York in 1750, there were no
established American actors, and no plays,
except those imported from England. But by
the time Chicago came into the theatrical
picture there were plenty of both, and the
patrons here knew considerable about plays
and players. This same condition exists
today. Chicago now gets only what has been
tried and proved successful. In New York,
now as then, new productions originate and
if successful, eventually find their way to
Chicago. By the time plays were presented
in the rapidly growing village by the lake,
dramas were being written in our country,
whereas, when they were first presented in



CHICAGO STAGE



Origin in Chicago 1834

New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Albany,
Baltimore and other eastern and southeast-
ern cities, only the English made products
were available.

It must be admitted, however, that at
that time the producers of such as well as
the public were very much inclined to the
work of dramatists in the mother country,
The reason, doubtless, was that such plays
were better than those written by our own
inexperienced home craftsmen. Playwriting
is an art, and while some amateur writers
have turned out successful plays, it has
been on more or less occasions an accident .

In 1853 Chicago was a rapidly growing
village. People were coming to it from all
parts of the country, many of whom had
cultivated a desire for entertainment in
their former home in the East, and were
yearning for amusement in their new found
habitation; and purveyors of that form of
recreation were seeking new fields. With
the meager population the village enjoyed,
in its earliest stages, really important
amusement enterprises could hardly be ex-
pected, and if some few hoped for more
outstanding events, such persons were des-
tined to disappointment. Hence, the early
entertainers were limited to what we shall
call "one man shows".

The first record we have of a perform-
ance given in Chicago,— where an admission
fee was exacted, — occurred on February 24,



CHICAGO STAGE

Origin in Chicago 1834

1833, when a Mr. Bowers gave an exhibition
at Dexter Graves Mansion House at 84 and 86
West Lake Street, old numbers. This enter-
taining melange consisted of magic, ven-
triloquism and other stunts that could be
provided by a single individual, — as the
said Mr. Bowers was the whole show. Since
there was no newspaper published in Chicago
at the tine, we have no way of learning
the reaction of the people towards Bowers'
one-man organization. But we feel sure it
must have met with substantial favor. How-
ever, there was no other effort made to
entertain Cnicagoans until over a year
later .

The next venture of the kind took place
in the dining room of a hotel, the name of
which was then The Travelers' Home, in a
room called Bambock Hall. While somewhat
similar to the entertainment given by Bow-
ers, it had in addition "songs and funny
sayings." The town was growing and was
much talked about throughout the country
as a possible western metropolis, and was
attracting wide attention. This talk in-
spired one Oscar Stone to venture in with
what might be called a small circus, which
was given with only a sidewall. The opening
date occurred on September 14, 18o6. The
attraction evidently remained for some time
as The Chicago Democrat, first newspaper-
published here, speaks of it on November
5d of that year as being "a splendid show."
And to the natives, hungry for amusement,
it doubtless was.

3



CHICAGO STAGE



Origin in Chicago 1856

Up to this time no attempt had been
made to introduce the drama into Chicago,
but now that the population had reached the
staggering proportions of 4000, the town
began to attract more important amusement
enterprises. Dean & McKinney — that is
Edwin Dean and D. D. McKinney — who were
operating at the Eagle Theatre in Buffalo,
New York, were beginning to feel the ef-
fects of the financial depression approach-
ing which was showing such consequences on
the theatre in all cities where such in-
stitutions were operating. Like all pioneer
showmen, they commenced to figure on get-
ting out of a bad town while the getting
was good, so they ventured to send their
"advance agent" to Chicago, to learn what
arrangements could be made for the display
of their dramatic talents. Their agent 1 s
name was E. W. Trobridge, so long attached
to the Albany theatres. Mr. Trobridge did
what all such "advance agents" have always
done - and still do - got the city fathers
together and made the best terms possible
in the way of license procurement - and as
many other concessions as he could persuade
them to grant. However, when he reported
to Messrs. Dean and McKinney at Buffalo,
they considered the license too high and
decided not to venture here. Both of these
men were well established in the theatri-
cal business of the time, and one of them,
Edwin Dean, often appeared in Chicago lat-
er. He had, before this, been a partner in
the operation of theatres and companies
with William Forrest, brother of the cele-



CHICAGO STAGE



Origin in Chicago 1836

brated actor, Edwin Forrest. The firm name
of Forrest & Duffy had been highly success-
ful in Albany, but when William Duffy died
Dean became Mr. Forrest's partner. After-
ward, on the death of Forrest, Mr. McKin-
ney became the associate of Dean under the
firm name above mentioned. The records as
to the life of this Edwin Dean are more or
less confusing. Some claim he married Julia
Drake, the daughter of the great theatri-
cal pioneer, Samuel Drake. When Hhis Samuel
Drake left Albany, New York, in 1815, to
establish the theatre in the west, he had
with him at the time a certain Fanny Denny,
a young amateur of Albany, about eighteen
years old. Drake had what has become known
as a family show, and in the family, among
several others, was Alexander Drake, who
married this Fanny Denny. Out of that union
came the celebrated Julia Dean. Alexander
Drake died some time later, and his widow
married Edwin Dean of the firm of Dean &
McKinney before referred to.

In the original Drake organization was
a Julia Drake, then about fourteen years
old. Some claim that Julia Dean was the
offspring of this Drake girl, but we pre-
fer to credit the former contention. Julia
adopted the name of Dean out of deference
to her stepfather, Edwin Dean.

As we have previously stated, Dean &
McKinney concluded not to visit Chicago in
1836, and so the town was without any dra-
matjc performances until McKinzie & Isher-



CHICAGO STAGE

Origin in Chicago 1857

wood came here. The name McKinzie must not
be confused with D. D. McKinney mentioned
heretofore. Henry Isherwood of this firm
was not only a capable actor, but a scenic
artist as well. In fact, every company
traveling in those days had some one that
could and did paint scenery. The places in
which they must appear were very primitive
and needed some scenic investure to give
them a theatrical appearance. After doing
the advance work, painting the scenery,
passing the tonight bills and running the
"props", Isherwood had nothing to do except
to learn and play an important line of
parts .

McKinzie' s principal activities were
to get the company from town to town, and
cultivate a friendship with the hotel keep-
er, for economic purposes, which usually
began by giving the entire family and staff
"corr.ps" or passes. This policy of giving
complimentary tickets or so-called passes-
the abuse of which continued for many
years and, to some extent is still prac-
ticed - is a pronounced annoyance. Showmen
have learned that it is easy to make a pass
hound out of a person: they first thank
you for it; next they ask you for it; and
then they demand it. Show business nowa-
days is more on a monetary basis, so it is
no longer necessary to give free admission
to every one you fear is apt to be your
creditor before your show leaves town. The
practice was common for years and was more
or less justified under the precarious con-



CHICAGO STAGE

Saganaush Hotel 1857

ditions that existed among all theatrical
companies traveling in those early days.
The one characteristic a pioneering trav-
eling theatrical manager must and did have
was affability, which seemed to be a nec-
essary ingredient when it became essential
to move his company from one town to an-
other on a "shoe string".

Alexander McKinzie was the manager of
Isherwood & McKinzie, the first dramatic
organization to appear in Chicago. It was
approaching the eighteen thirties when the^
original Joseph Jefferson discovered Alex-
ander McKinzie operating a book store at
Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and induced him
to become a partner in leasing and operat-
ing a theatre at Lancaster, and Harrisburg
in Pennsylvania, and at Washington,- since
McKinzie had more money than Jefferson. So
the former, being susceptible to the prop-
osition, yielded and thereby found himself
in the show business, which became a part
of his vocation during the remainder of his
struggling existence. In 1829 he married
Hetty Jefferson, daughter of his original
partner. Hetty had not been intended for
the stage, but had been given an excellent
education in a leading Philadelphia school.
After her marriage to McKinzie, she became
the leading lady of the company operated by
her husband and Harry Isherwood.

Acting as advance, Harry Isherwood on
a cold, rainy night, landed in the village
of Chicago. After wandering through the



CHICAGO STAGE
Saganaush Hotel 1837



muddy streets for some time, he finally
found a hole in the wall at a hotel where,
tired and weary from the long ride on the
stage then running between Buffalo, Mew
York, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he tumbled
into bed. With its thin straw tick and
ridge-making slats, it made him look and
feel like the upper and nether side of a
waffle iron, as he wrote his friend McVick-
er in 1382. He said: "It was the most God-
forsaken looking place it had ever been my
misfortune to see." Then he went on to say:
"The mud was knee deep. No sidewalks, ex-
cept here and there a small piece. No hall
that could be used to any advantage for
theatrical presentation." However, the
following morning he began to tour the town
and inspect every building that might be
turned into something for his purpose. He
finally decided on the dining room of the
Saganaush Hotel. John Murphy, then propri-
etor of that pioneer habitation, had just
opened a new and more commodious place for
the care of weary visitors to the new city
and was glad to have a part of the building
occupied .

Negotiations were completed and Isher-
wood proceeded to put said dining room in
a theatre-like appearance. He purchased a
few yards of cloth and commenced painting
scenery for the auspicious occasion. Mean-
while, lumber and other material was being
provided and used to make seats and a stage
platform. This was not unusual, as he had
done the same thing in hamlets he and the

8



CHICAGO STAGE



Saganaush Hotel 1857

company had visited elsewhere.

Locking at the present day metropolis
of Chicago with its innumerable places of
entertainment, one finds it hard to visual-
ize the condition over a hundred years ago.
But "big trees from little acorns grow" and
the early settlers certainly planted fer-
tile acorns. As bad as the village looked
to Isherwood, there v/as nothing he could
do but make the best of it as other "ad-
vance agents" had done before and ever
since .

Harry Isherwood, even then, was no nov-
ice in theatricals. He was practically
raised in the show business, finishing as
scenic artist with Lester Wallack at a ripe
old age. He had, under the guidance of the
old actor-artist, Joe Cowell, decorated the
Park Theatre in New York in 1324.

The license Isherwood finally agreed
to pay for the right to supply entertain-
ment to an anxious populace was $125.00,
pretty stiff for a barnstorming organiza-
tion playing in a hotel dining room. When
everything was in readiness, Mr. McKinzie
brought in the troupe and braced himself
for the auspicious opening, which occurred
on Monday, October 23 , 1837.

The first play presented by McKinzie &
Isherwood was James* Sheridan Knowles 1 "The
Hunchback" with the following



CHICAGO STAGE



Saganaush Hotel



1857



CAST



Julia

Father Walter

Sir Thomas Clifford

Helen

Lord Twlssel

Master Wilford

Gaylove

Heartwell

Modus

Simpson



Mrs. Ingersoll
Henry Leicester
Isherwood
McKinziee
Wright
Sankey



Harry
Hetty
James
Thomas



Thus we have the cast of the
produced in Chicago.



Wm. Childs
Mr . McKihzie
Master Burke
Madam Austine

first



drama



As we have seen, the company was head-
ed by Alexander McKinzie, actor and man-
ager; and Harry Isherwood, actor, scene
painter, advance agent, and general all a-
round fixer — anything from a chair to a



Online LibraryRobert Lowery ShermanChicago stage, its records and achievements (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 43)