BLTC Press Titles

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Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Bhagavad Gita


The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

Driftwood of the stage

by William Ellis Horton


John Drew made his first appearance on the stage at the Arch Street Theater, Philadelphia, then under his mother's management, on March 23, I§73, as Plumper in the farce "Cool as a Cucumber." His second part was Hornblower in "The Laughing Hyena." The debut of Edward H. Sothern took place at Abbey's Park Theater, New York, in September, 1879, as the cabman in "Sam," one of his father's plays. All he had to do was to appear, carry his hand to his head and say: "Half a crown, your honor. I think you won't object!"

What might properly be called the professional debut of William Gillette took place at the Globe Theater, Boston, September 13, 1875, when he appeared as Guzman in "Paint Heart Never Won Fair Lady." Previous to this he had given public readings, and met with much success in his imitations. James K. Hackett made his debut at the Park Theater, Philadelphia, March 28, 1892, as a member of A. M. Palmer's stock company. His first part was Francois in "The Broken Seal."

The first part acted by Otis Skinner was that of Old Plantation, an aged negro, in a rural play called "Woodleigh," at Wood's Museum, Philadelphia, October 30, 1877, and the first

part entrusted to Robert Mantell was that of the Sergeant in "Arrah-na-Pogue," at Rockdale, England, in 1874.

The distinguished place that Mrs. Fiske has achieved among contemporary players emphasizes as notably as it emphasizes anything, the intrinsic value of hard work, careful training and wide experience in the dramatic profession. Mrs. Fiske was born at New Orleans, her father being Thomas W. Davey, a well known manager in the south and west, but from the first she was known as Minnie Maddern, after her mother, who was Lizzie Maddern, an actress and musician of much ability. Her first appearance in a play occurred when she was three years old. She played the Duke of York in "Richard III." Before attaining her fourteenth year she had acted many of the leading juvenile parts, and occasionally old women's parts, so remarkable was her adaptability. At the age of sixteen she became a star. The play in which she made her stellar debut was called "Fogg's Ferry," and was presented at the Park Theater, New York, May 20, 1882.

Julia Marlowe began her stage experience at the age of twelve as a member of the chorus of Colonel Miles' Juvenile Pinafore Company. At that time she was known as Fanny Erough.

She did not remain long in the chorus, soon being permitted to take the parts of Hebe and Little Buttercup. At the age of sixteen Miss Marlowe played her first Shakespearean character, that of Balthazar, in "Romeo and Juliet." Her debut as a star took place at New London, Conn., April 25, 1887. The play selected was "Tngomar," in which she acted Parthenia. It was at this time she was first called Julia Marlowe.

Blanche Walsh made her first public appearance at a benefit performance at the Windsor Theater, New York, in June, 1887. Miss Walsh played Desdemona on that occasion. Her first professional engagement was in a small part in the melodrama, "Siberia." Maxine Elliott began her serious dramatic work when she became a member of E. S. Willard's company in 1890, during the English actor's first tour of this country. The first part that was given her was Felecia Umfraville in "The Middleman," and she also played Virginia Fleetwood in "John Needham's Double." The next season she remained with Mr. Willard and was given the part of Beatrice Selwyn in "A Fool's Paradise," and later that of Lady Gilding in "The Professor's Love Story."

Ada Rehan made her first appearance on the stage at Newark, N. J., in 1873. She acted the part of Clara in Oliver Doud Byron's play "Across the Continent." Her first professional engagement was at the Arch Street Theater, Philadelphia, then under the management of Mrs. John Drew. Miss Rehan became a member of this company in 1873, and remained with i* for three seasons. May Irwin made her first appearance on the stage at a variety theater in Buffalo in December, 1875. At that time she and her sister Flora were known as the Irwin Sisters. They were little girls in short dresses, and the first song they sang was "Sweet Genevieve." Their salary was thirty dollars a week. Later they did their first sketch, which was called "On Board the Mary Jane." Lizzie Evans made her first bow to the public as a professional actress at the Standard Theater, New York, August 25, 1882. Her first part was that of Clip in Barney Macauley's "A Messenger from Jarvis Section."

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