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Plays EJ Phillips was in 
It can be difficult to determine just which plays are being performed, as the stock companies might have several touring versions of a popular play, old favorites would be revived, and new plays would be tried out prior to the New York season.

EJ Phillips and John Nickinson plays
EJP Chronology   Uncle Tom's Cabin   Octoroon  

Our Boys EJ Phillips played Clarissa Champney in "Our Boys" at the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia,  which ran the whole Centennial summer June 26- November 18, 1876 Our Boys was an 1875 play by Henry James Byron (1835-1884).. EJ Phillips played Mrs. Malaprop in the Chestnut Street Theatre's Nov. 1877 production of The Rivals in Philadelphia.

Plays EJ Phillips was best known for
Engaged by WS Gilbert  1886  (first produced 1879). EJP played Mrs. McFarlane.
False Friend
by Edgar Fawcett 1880. EJP played Lady Ogden.
French Flats 
Jim the Penman 1886-1892
by Charles Young  EJP played Lady Dunscombe.
Lady Windermere's Fan
by Oscar Wilde 1893-1894 played the Duchess of Berwick.
Lights of London by George Robert Sims, 1881-1882. EJP played Mrs. Jarvis.
Our Society 1885-1888
by Clinton Stuart.  EJP played Mrs. Spencer.
Saints & Sinners
by Henry Arthur Jones 1885- 1892 EJP played Lydia, the minister's housekeeper.
Two Orphans 
Hart Jackson's translation of Les Deux Orphelines by Eugene Corman and Adolphe Phillipe D'Ennery 1880 (first produced 1875). EJ Phillips played the Countess.

Palmer plays EJ Phillips was in
Broken Seal  1892  Captain Swift   1888-1889   Esther Sandraz  1891  Foregone Conclusion  1886-1887  Heart of Hearts   1888  Judah  1891  Middleman  1890  Partners  1888  Ibsen's Pillars of Society  1890  Wealth  1890-1891 

Post Palmer plays  Camille  1894-1895  Gay Parisians  1895-1897  Joseph  1892-1893  Romeo & Juliet   1894  

Broken Seal by William Bertrand Busnach, adapted by Sydney Grundy. Odell notes the remarkable cast "but religious folk were shocked by the exploitation of the broken seal of the confessional and others, possibly less religious, were repelled by the gloomy story, and the irresponsible activity of the young hero".  1892

New York, Jan 24th 1892  In the new play [Broken Seal] I have a small character part - not much in it - but the dress is that of a French peasant housekeeper to the Village Priest - whom she scolds for not coming home punctually to his meals.  They intend bringing it out a week from to-morrow. 

Captain Swift  The 1888- 1889 Madison Square season was largely given over to C. Haddon Chambers' (Australian dramatist 1860-1921) Captain Swift, an English piece slightly altered and staged by Dion BoucicaultJH Stoddart reported that this production proved "one of the strongest attractions both in New York and on the road." [Durham]  Captain Swift (Maurice Barrymore), an Australian bushranger, came to London as Mr. Wilding and was introduced to blind and doddering Mr. Seabrook (Frederic Robinson).  Swift finds that Mrs. Seabrook (Agnes Booth) is his mother.  EJ Phillips played Lady Staunton, Mrs. Seabrook's sister and Walden Ramsay the Australian detective.   

New York, Nov. 21, 1888 I hope Captain Swift may be [a success. It was.]  For I have an easy pleasant part & do not want to buy any more wardrobe this season.  

Captain Swift 1914 film http://entertainment.msn.com/movies/movie.aspx?m=29852

Engaged by WS Gilbert  1886  (first produced 1879). EJP played Mrs. McFarlane.

Esther Sandraz 1891 by Adolphe Belot, adapted by Sydney Grundy New York, Jan 6, 1891 I went to Phila on Friday Afternoon and got back yesterday in time for rehearsal at "Palmer's" Theatre.  I am rehearsing in Esther Sandraz for a Matinee on Thursday for the "Little Mothers of the Poor".  Odell calls it a "sickly piece" and wondered if Palmer was "trying it with an eye to regular production."  EJ Phillips played Mme Fourcanade. 

Fair Fame May 1887 [Denise] Alexandre Dumas, adapted by Clinton Stuart.  The May 25, 1887 New York Times review noted that "Mr. Ramsey, Mr. JH Fitzpatrick, Miss Lilla Vane, Mr. Frank Rodney and Mrs. EJ Phillips were in the cast, and the last named actress treated her one short scene with admirable artistic skill.  But it was a depressing afternoon.  The play by Clinton Stuart... turned out to be another version of "Denise" with English names for the French personages, an English country house for the scene and the character of the Baroness, transformed  into Lady Clara Farquhar made much more prominent than she is in Dumas's curious study of social life in France.

New York, Dec. 2, 1887 Saw Mr. Clinton Stuart last night and he said he had been reading a new play to AM P[almer] who was much pleased with it.  Mr. Stuart said in consideration of a very bad part I played for him in Fair Fame last season that he had written a very fine part for me in the new play.

Foregone Conclusion  1886-1887 by William Dean Howells' (originally called Priest and Painter) in which Alessandro Salvini played Don Hippolito, the Venetian priest who falls in love with a lively American girl, Florida Vervain (Marie Burroughs).  EJ Phillips played Mrs. Vervain.  "The conviction of that time that a successful novelist could not write a good play was amply justified by this effort." Odell
Foregone Conclusion, Project Gutenberg  http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=7839 

According to the NY Times review (Nov 19,1886) this was the first of a series of new plays with special afternoon performances ("Author's Matinees") intended to produce works by American writers.  Mr. Howells was called forward after the third act (of five).  

French Flats 1884 "a wild helter-skelter of pursuit from flat to flat and hiding of various characters in room after room or closet after closet" and a jealous tenor and impressionable baroness.  EJ Phillips played the Marchioness, Sara Jewett the Baroness
French flats in New York City http://www.explorenyc.com/Hell's%20Kitchen/text.html

Union Square Theatre Company French Flats

Heart of Hearts, another melodrama by Henry Arthur Jones opened at the Madison Square in January 1888. as part of a "lackluster season [which] reputedly cleared above $60,000". [Durham

"Not a strong work "the kind of play that impresses people who do not think much at the theatre as being improbable."  Marie Burroughs played a heroine of humble origins, about to marry a young man of high social position.  JH Stoddart played the butler, with Fanny Davenport as his aristocratic wife.  EJ Phillips was "an admirable representative of the stern dowager of Avonthorpe".  The plot involved the theft of a family jewel referred to as the "Heart of Hearts". NY Times (Jan 17, 1888) 

A program for the week of March 26, 1888 lists EJ  Phillips as Lady Clarissa Fitzralph, Harold's mother (Louis Massen played Harold Fitzralph of Avonthorpe).  Frederic Robinson, EM Holland, CP Flockton, John Findlay, WH Pope, George S. Steven,  Blanche Curtisse and Marie Greenwald. Partners was announced for Easter Monday, April 2.

JH Stoddart writes about Heart of Hearts and the Blizzard of 1888

San Francisco review of  Heart of Hearts

Jim the Penman  1886-1892  by Charles Young  EJP played Lady Dunscombe.

Judah by Henry Arthur Jones  1891  New York, Dec. 5, 1890 Heard last night that  Judah will take the place of The Middleman on the 29th of this month, Monday after Xmas.  Suppose we shall begin rehearsals next week.

Margery's Lovers 1887  The comedy by James Brander Matthews was given at an author's Matinee on Jan 11th, 1887 and though declared a success by the Herald was never put into the regular bills. Matthews taught drama at Columbia from 1891-1924 and was pivotal in establishing theatre as an academic subject.  Memoirs: These Many Years (1917) and Rip Van Winkle Goes to the Play 1926. 

The NY Times review (Jan 12 1887) describes the play as the second in a series of Author's Matinees with JH Stoddart as the English gambler and swindler (and Margery's father) and Marie Burroughs, Linc Langdon, Marie Greenwald, EJ Phillips, A Salvini, EM Holland, CP Flockton, Louis Massen and Walden Ramsey also in the cast.  "Mr. Matthews' play is stronger than might have been expected from its failure on the London stage".  EJ Phillips played Mrs. Webster, the kindhearted traveling American who befriended Margery.  The reviewer noted that the first half was dull, but praised the last half of the second and the third acts.  

Martyr 1886-1887   This play was first presented by Palmer's Company (as Love's Martyr) in Chicago.  It was then very much like the English version (by Sullivan Edwards and Sydney Grundy) done at about the same time in London.  Later alterations [1887] were apparently to strengthen the picturesque element.  The play had been in readiness more than a year because of the long run of Jim the Penman.  Mrs. Phillips played the determined mother of a wife who proclaimed (for complicated and apparently dubious reasons) that her brother was her lover.  NY Times review (Nov 11 1887)

Boston May 19, 1886 Yesterday Mr. AMP[almer] read the new play The Martyr to us. The play is a strange one and I have a good part.  It is going to cost a lot of money to dress it.  I believe we are to produce it in Chicago.  I do not think we shall rehearse it before next week.

Boston May 30, 1886 [AR] Cazauran has joined us.  He was here to rehearse the play [The Martyr which he had adapted from the French] on Friday.  Queer as the old boy is, I felt rather glad to see him & he seemed delighted to be with us.  We leave tonight at 7 by the Boston & Albany road. 

Chicago, June 13, 1886  My dress for the new play will cost $46.  I shall have two weeks board to pay next Wed, they not having presented last weeks bill yet.  The two weeks salary is knocked out but when I get my things all ready for The Martyr I shall then be able to help you and pay the notes to Johnson.

New York, Jan. 9, 1887 We are booked for Boston on the 2nd of May for four weeks -- after that nothing definite is arranged.  We may be four weeks idle. Then to San F'co by St Paul and Northern Pacific RR.  Jim the Penman will possibly run for the rest of the season, but there is to be a new play done by Mr. [Peter] Robertson of San F'co and also The Martyr .  I shall have 3 dresses to get for the latter, how much for the former I do not yet know.  I think I told you that I asked Mr. P[almer] to raise my salary -- but while he was very pleasant over it -- said he could not do it. 

Boston Sept. 7, 1887 I suppose we shall be required to find new dresses for the opening of a new season and that I do not like - especially as two or three other plays calling for lots of dresses are to be produced.  One of these will be the Martyr for which I shall require three new dresses.  I have one that I had made for the part in Chicago and have not worn.  The others I have been wearing in  Jim[ the Penman ] and they are nearly worn out.  So will have to get some new ones.  And where! and oh, where will the new ones come from! 

New York, Oct. 21, 1887 Have to start soon to prepare three new dresses for the Martyr. the Prologue of which is rehearsed today.  Not being in it, I was exempt but it will most likely be called for a full rehearsal next Tuesday. 

New York, Nov, 13, 1887 Your Mother has been neglecting you for the past week.  She has been working hard and her time has been spent in the theatre until she is about "played out".  To make things worse the play [Cazauran's Martyr] has not "caught on". 

It cost me $200 exclusive of one dress I got for the part in Chicago a year ago which cost me $50.  So it has cost me $250 and the play will be taken off in two weeks.  

Augustus R Cazauran's adaptation of Martyr (from D'Ennery and EJL Tarbe-des Sablons' Martyre) opened in New York in November 1887 "for which the indifferent business of a year before in Chicago  was repeated in New York. [Durham]     

Middleman 1890 Henry Arthur Jones Appeared at the Palmer Theatre from Nov. 10th- Dec 27th. [Odell] Humor, love, and social comment are inextricably interwoven into its plot, which has, as its focal point a dreamy exploited porcelain worker turning the tables on his ruthless master.  The subplot unites the worker's daughter and the master's son." [Magill]  NY Times Oct 21, 1890 ES Willard's debut, Nov 9. 

New York, Oct. 27th, 1890  To-day recd my part in Middleman - so bad!  that I first thought I would not do it - come what might - but on 2nd thoughts - there is a long winter before us - it will be easy work and I had better not bite off my nose to spite my face - so I shall try to bear it with all the good nature I can. 

It is a much worse part than I had in either Jim [the Penman] or Captain Swift and those were bad enough.  I do not want to either take salary another season without doing something for it - and it is not Mr. P[almer]'s fault if authors write such miserable parts.

New York, Nov. 5, 1890   Middleman is pretty perfect and I think will be a success. 

New York, Feb. 5, 1891 I have been kept so busy since I stopped playing in the Middleman that I have neglected you

Our Society 1885-1888 by Clinton Stuart.  EJP played Mrs. Spencer.

Partners by Robert Williams Buchanan, adapted from Alphonse Daudet, had been a financial success in New York.   Introduced on April 2, 1888, prior bookings forced its withdrawal at its peak of popularity.  It was on the road for most of 1888-1889 because Captain Swift, playing in New York, had a relatively small cast.   [Odell]

New York, Mar. 11, 1888  But yesterday at Matinee, new parts were given out in a play by Robert Buchanan, the Poet and Novelist, called Partners.  It is now playing in London with great success. 

I have a good "part" - somewhat on the same order as Mrs. Spencer in Our Society.  We are to rehearse it tomorrow at 11.  I hope the play is as good as my part.  Anyway the language will be strong and good & that is a treat after such trashy stuff as Heart of Hearts &c.  I suppose we shall produce it on Easter Monday.  So I shall have to work hard from now until then. 

Boston Spring 1888 Business has been bad this week.  Boston did not take to the Partners, but she has not forgotten the members of the old Union Square Co.  Mr. Stoddart and I have rec'd big receptions every performance.  We have very little to do, but what we do is well received. 

A review of Partners from the May 1, 1888 Boston Daily Adv read "Last night their audience was very large and noisily enthusiastic...Mrs. Phillips, who was the most warmly received, plays a genuinely shrewd and intuitive old lady of rank, and acts with her usual pleasant ease and intimacy of style".

San Francisco, Aug. 10, 1888 We open with Partners on Monday night. 

The Madison Square Company were given a royal welcome back to the city after an absence of two years....Everyone came in an amiable frame of mind, because they wanted to be pleased and had implicit faith in the company, and if there was any disappointment or letting down of expectations it was either the fault of the play or the players themselves, certainly not to be traced to the audience...There were a number of new faces in the cast, but they were not coldly received.  The stimulus of Mr. A.M. Palmer's presence was missed and many friends will regret to learn that it was because of the ill health on the part of Mrs. Palmer that both did not visit the Coast again. ... Mrs. Phillips who had the inexplicable good fairy to do, was charming, as Mrs. Phillips always is. ... Partners is worth seeing because of the company.  It only goes a week."

An undated newspaper clipping gives a brief plot summary of Partners "In the third act Borgfeldt [Alessandro Salvini] comes back from a journey to find the house of Borgfeldt & Derwentwater on the edge of bankruptcy, and to hear at the same moment, from his confidential clerk, the accusations that are made against his wife.  He shrinks from believing what the old clerk tells him, but on entering his wife's drawing room, he thinks he sees indisputable proof of his worse suspicions. 

Here the dramatic significance of the play ceases, for the fifth act is devoted to sentiment, and the most naive spectator will hardly fail to see that the mislaid letter -- which nobody will open until the last moment -- holds locked under its self, explanation, forgiveness, peace, and happiness ever after... Mrs. Phillips -- always an artist-- played an elderly guardian-angel [Lady Silverdale] with charming benignity...and -- to the praise of the company be it said -- nobody was incompetent

New York, Nov. 21, 1888I do not think Partners is a success, the newspapers to the contrary notwithstanding.

New York, Nov. 25, 1888 Yesterday the "posters" were put up announcing the last nights of Partners and underlining Capt Swift on Dec 3rd.  So instead of doing it tomorrow night, we have a week to rehearse and prepare costumes

Partners in in Boston  New York  San Francisco

Pharisee by Malcolm Watson  Dec 1890 and Mar 1891.  Described by Odell as "unfortunate"  and "poor as a play had ... an interesting cast".  EJ Phillips played Miss Maxwell, also in the cast were Maurice Barrymore, May Brookyn, Edward Bell, Harry Woodruff and Reub Fax.

New York, Mar. 22, 1891Pharisee is not a pleasing success according to the newspapers, but we have had very good houses for the past week.  We may not play it more than another week as a play is in rehearsal that was to have been played before the Pharisee. 

Pillars of Society  "Bowing to pressure from New York's strait-laced reviewers, Palmer summarily called off his scheduled staging of Ibsen's The Pillars of Society in January 1890." Durham 1986  Reviewed NYT Mar 19, 1891  

New York, Jan 6, 1890  I was afraid of getting a "call" as I had heard on Friday that Pillars of Society is to be put in rehearsal this week and I am to be in it.   So I could not risk staying away.

New York, Feb. 14, 1890 No rehearsals yet.  I asked Mr. Presbrey on Wed'day when [Ibsen's] Pillars of Society would be rehearsed.  He said he didn't know. 

Boston April 29, 1890  It is expected that we shall play Pillars of Society here.  Some of the "parts" were given out today.  I am in it, but have not yet received the "part".  Do not expect it to be a very good one, and hope it is not very long. 

Boston May 2, 1890  I cannot tell you anything about business.  All is uncertain.  We may be here only three weeks and we may stay six.  The "parts" have been given out to some of the company in Pillars of Society.  I have not yet received mine.  Mr. [Frederic] Robinson has a very long part, the one played by Herr [Ernest Ritter Von] Possart  last Fall at the "Amberg" theatre, N.Y.  The play is a heavy talkative one and not likely to "catch" the American audiences!  Whether it will be tried here or not, remains to be seen but we are told such is the intention. 

Boston, May 7, 1890  We are now rehearsing [Ibsen's] Pillars of Society.  I am only in the 1st Act, and shall not have anything to buy for the part.  If the play is done here, I do not think it will be before the 5th week commencing 26th of May.  I heard this Morning that we shall only be here five weeks -- that leaves only two weeks from the closing here to the starting for California. 

Boston, May 9, 1890 We have been rehearsing Pillars of Society and yesterday afternoon a telegram came from A.M. [Palmer] to Mr. Presbrey to rehearse Her Father today -- which was done.  Should that be done the last two nights, it will let me off, but changes may come that I shall be in the bill during the whole last week.  And in that case I may not be able to be with you before Sunday or Monday, 1st or 2nd of June.

Ibsen, Pillars of Society, Project Gutenberg  http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=2296  Originally produced 1877.

Priest and Painter  An early alternate title for William Dean Howells Foregone Conclusion, New York 1886

Saints & Sinners by Henry Arthur Jones 1885- 1892 EJP played Lydia, the minister's housekeeper.

Social Scandal  New York, March 28th, 1887 I commence rehearsing tomorrow in 'Social' Scandal' a very bad part and a very bad play. 

New York, March 30th, 1887 Had a long rehearsal this AM of a very bad play -- 'Social Scandal" I am in the 1st and last act only.  Thanks for small favors.

STORMBEATEN  Union Square 1883-1884

Wealth  This Henry Arthur Jones play revolves around the refusal of its heroine to obey her father and marry the wealthy man he has chosen for her.  Turned out on the streets for her disobedience, she marries for love, and finally is reconciled with her father on his deathbed.

Jones deals with the conflict between love and wealth, emotion and filial duty.  He was tackling a subject which was increasingly to occupy the attention of his fellow dramatists Arthur Wing Pinero, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw: the emerging modern woman and her aspirations.  As theatre however, Wealth was not a success -- it was believed to lack wit." [Magill

Odell calls it "a pretty poor play...dealt with a hard man of wealth, who told us, in Act I, how a thirsty hot lad, he had decided not to buy an orange; the idea being, that self-denial leads to wealth".  

New York, Feb. 26, 1890 Today I was called to rehearsal of a new play, the title of which is Wealth.  I am in the 1st and 3rd acts.  My part is a very bad one, and requires two dresses.  This is why I do not send you the $15 this week unless you really require it.   

New York, Mar. 20, 1890 No change of bill yet, but I am preparing for Wealth and the other plays for the Summer trip.

New York, Mar 24, 1890 I have no rehearsals.  Wealth is perfect and they are letting it alone.  The dresses I am giving to be fixed are for Jim the Penman, my former ones being worn out. 

New York Mar. 25, 1890 Rehearse Wealth again tomorrow, and are to play it a week from Saturday night.  So Mr. Presbrey told me to-day.  I have a good many things to buy for it.  So cannot do much for you at present. 

New York, Mar. 30, 1890 The Herald does not yet announce the last nights of Aunt Jack -- so I think we shall play Wealth next Saturday night, Mr. Presbrey to the contrary not withstanding.  But it will not surprise me if we play it on Saturday of next week and run it the two last weeks of the season -- ending April 26th. 

Do not know whether I go to Boston or not.  But it is given out that we leave for Oregon on the 16th of June, opening in Seattle 23rd.

New York, Feb. 18, 1891 I am now rehearsing at Palmer's Theatre in a play called Wealth.  Do not know when it will be produced but I imagine within the next 4 or 5 weeks.  

New York, Mar. 8, 1891 So here I have been since Friday night.  It appears that the lady who had been rehearsing in Wealth could not come up to the requirements of the "part" and they could not find it out until almost the last rehearsal.  And as I had studied and was ready for the part last Spring, and had rehearsed the first Act with the present cast, I was called upon to play until someone else gets ready for the "part" this week as I play Madison Square [Theatre] next week.  I do not mind any part of the matter, but being brought back from Phila so suddenly, that was a great annoyance, and I have not recovered from it yet. 

New York, Mar. 11, 1891 This week at Palmers in Wealth, a very bad part indeed.  Yesterday had to go to dressmakers after rehearsal, and today have to go to wigmakers & shoe stores. 

Post Palmer plays
Bachelor's Romance  This is the play that EJ Phillips replaced Mrs. Pitt in when Mr. Pitt (of Jim the Penman) died.  It was EJ Phillips' last stage appearance.  This is the only mention of the play in these letters, and it was quite new.  Was EJ Phillips a quick study?.  A Bachelor's Romance by Martha Morton Sept 1897.

Camille 1894  The dramatization of Alexander Dumas (fils) novel first appeared in 1852 in France, brought to the US in 1853, and was later a triumph of Sarah Bernhardts'  tours and remained popular into the 1930's. [Oxford] An Olga Nethersole production.  EJ Phillips had played in Camille earlier, at the Union Square Theatre (1881).

Pittsburgh, Nov. 28, 1894 Opened last night to a fair house in Camille.  I think the audience was pleased with [Olga] Nethersole & hope business will increase. 

Toronto Xmas Eve 1894 We open with Camille to-night and play it at Matinee to-morrow and Thursday night -

Toronto Dec. 26, 1894 Tomorrow night Camille

Montreal, Jan 2, 1895 Sat Mat.[inee] Camille

Chicago Feb. 1, 1895 I am glad you and your friends enjoyed Camille but am sorry you will not be able to see Romeo & Juliet - for we do not return to New York to play at  [Stanford White's] Garden Theatre or any other theatre with Miss Olga [Nethersole] at present.  

Boston, Apr.. 7, 1895 Last night we closed our Season with Camille and after the curtain fell Miss [Olga] Nethersole gave us a champagne & sandwich farewell.  She, her brother & maid sail on Wednesday for England.  I am very sorry we close so early, for she could have prolonged the Season for a few weeks with advantage to herself, and certainly to me. 

Frou-Frou 1894 First produced in 1870  Based on a French play by Ludovic Halevy and Henri Meilhac, adapted by Augustin Daly, and presented by him in 1870.  The plot involves "an irresponsible young wife who invites her staid sister to live with her and her family so that she herself can flit about the town.  She loses everyone's affection and returns home to repent and to die... The play was revived regularly until the early years of the twentieth century and was one of [Sarah] Bernhardt's most popular vehicles on her American tour." [Oxford]  An Olga Nethersole production, which EJ Phillips seems to have been in originally, but later wasn't.

Pittsburgh Nov 27, 1894  I think the audience was pleased with [Olga] Nethersole & hope business will increase. We begin rehearsing Frou-Frou this Morning, but when it is to be played I do not know.  I was in high hopes we had done with rehearsals for a time, but this very ambitious young Nethersole is determined to keep us at work.

Baltimore, Dec 14, 1894 No, I have not been working so very hard for the past two weeks.  I get out of playing Frou-Frou and have not had so many rehearsals. 

Rochester Dec  19,1894Tonight Miss Olga [Nethersole] appears as Frou-Frou & I take a rest.  She plays Frou-Frou on Friday night in Buffalo.  The little lady is working altogether too hard.  The rehearsal of Frou-Frou yester-day was from 12 until 6 PM & then had the Transgressor to play, and was to have more rehearsal after the performance, but I hear she fainted after the curtain fell on the last act, and had to be taken home. 

Gay Parisians 1895-1897
French farce,  by George Feydeau and Maurice Desvailliere Kansas City review A Chestnut St. Theatre, Philadelphia program lists  WJ Ferguson as Joseph Pinglet, a master builder, Mrs. EJ Phillips as Angelique, his wife  and Sadie Martinot as Marcella, an architect's wife. Joseph Humphreys is listed as the stage director.

New York, Nov. 11, 1895 50th performance souvenir
|Chicago, Aug. 12, 1896 100th performance in Chicago

Joseph is the first production [of Ramsey Morris's stock company]. Philadelphia June 22, 1892

Philadelphia, June 27, 1892 The first play is to be Joseph which I am sure Mr. Palmer was going to produce sometime ago.  All these things tend to make me believe AM [Palmer] is at the back of it, but for various reasons does not wish to make it known and you need not mention my ideas about it outside your own house, but I think you will find we shall follow Bronson Howard's play [Aristocracy] at Palmer's Theatre at the end of its run there with Joseph.  The Co is to be first class in every respect, play in first class theaters &c,&c. 

Joseph at Stone's Opera House, Binghamton New York, Nov. 21, 1892

NY Times review Mar 21, 1893, Union Square Theatre "The farce in its original form has been and remains a phenomenal success in Paris. First presented there in the December of 1890, it is still running, and at the same theatre. Here, its vogue will be somewhat shorter, unkind things will be said about it ... and when hungry oblivion makes way with the vivacious bit of nonsense "Died of adaptation" will serve as sufficient obituary. 

From an undated clipping:  Joseph proves a strong card at the Grand -- a bit of Realism at Jacobs and Sparrow's.  The  House contained a large and fashionable audience last evening on the occasion of the first presentation here of the high amusing comedy Joseph by Ramsey Morris' talented New York Company.  Joseph is an adaption from the French of Leon Gandillot by Malcolm Watson of London, and the translation has been cleverly done.  Joseph is in fact one of the brightest comedies of the day, and although there is here and there a French suggestion it is at no time offensive, the humor on the whole being sparkling, hearty and wholesome.  

As originally produced in Paris, Joseph was somewhat highly spiced, but it has been carefully toned down by the translator without in any way destroying its piquancy.  Mrs. E.J. Phillips was simply faultless as his somewhat domineering wife.  A more perfect bit of acting than Mrs. Phillips' personation of this character is seldom seen anywhere.  

A program from Stone's Opera House of Binghamton New York, Nov. 21, 1892 lists EJ Phillips' role as Mrs. Horace Bellingham, principal of Bellingham's Select Seminary.  Characters included Elsie De Wolfe as Constance Flutterby and Amelia Chadwell, President of the Puddlington Branch of the Ladies Anti-Matrimonial League.

Detroit, Nov. 15, 1893 I heard of the failure of the Joseph Co but not from [Albert].  Miss [Maud] Harrison sent me a notice of it from NY World.  I was very sorry but not surprised.  I knew it could not last another season.  

Toronto Dec. 7, 1892 Rehearsals of the Judge began this morning. I am only in the last act - and did not have to go to-day. It is another farcical comedy.

Cincinnati, Jan. 20, 1893 We are going to play The Judge tomorrow night.  We are busy rehearsing it.  It is only for the 1 performance at present to secure the right of the play.

Judge review 1893

Lady Windermere's Fan, by Oscar Wilde 1893-1894EJ Phillips played the Duchess of Berwick.

Lost Paradise by Ludwig Fulda, Henry Churchill De Mille.  
Henry C. de Mille enjoyed one final success when Charles Frohman produced his version of Ludwig Fulda 's Das verlorene Paradies as The Lost Paradise ( 11-16- 91), 23rd St.). Reset in America, it recounted how Andrew Knowlton ( Frank Mordaunt), a rich Boston industrialist, hands over his factory's day-today operations to his trusted, warmhearted manager, Reuben Warner ( William Morris), in order to devote his time to his daughter, Margaret (Sydney Armstrong). Henry C. de Mille enjoyed one final success when Charles Frohman produced his version of Ludwig Fulda 's Das verlorene Paradies as The Lost Paradise ( 11-16- 91), 23rd St.). Reset in America, it recounted how Andrew Knowlton ( Frank Mordaunt), a rich Boston industrialist, hands over his factory's day-today operations to his trusted, warmhearted manager, Reuben Warner ( William Morris), in order to devote his time to his daughter, Margaret ( Sydney Armstrong).  Gerald Bordman, American Theater 1869-1914, Oxford Univ. Press, 1994  http://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/maude/adams73.html 

Romeo & Juliet 1894 with Olga Nethersole EJ Phillips played the Nurse.

Transgressor 1894  by A.W. Gatti, Olga Nethersole's American debut in the Palmer Theatre's brief (four plays in ten weeks) 1894 season.  [Odell]

The New York Times review [Oct. 15, 1894 5:5] is headlined A Large Audience Patiently Sits Through "The Transgressor" at Palmer's Theatre -- A Great Deal of Very Loud Applause Bestowed upon a Generally Competent, but by No Means Brilliant, Performance of a Very Bad Play. The reviews notes that preparation had begun in March in London. "She came in like a small cyclone" and compares the plot to "Miss Bronte's story of Jane Eyre and Rochester, deprived the man of all manly attributes, tried to transform Jane into a type of the modern "Emancipated" woman and failed. In the critic's opinion Olga Nethersole's' personality will doubtless be very attractive after one has grown used to it.

EJ Phillips wasn't in The Transgressor, but it accompanied Nethersole plays she was in. 

Plays EJ Phillips wasn't in, but her colleagues were
Alabama by Augustus Thomas (1857-1934) DAB, with an unrepentant Confederate colonel who initially fails to recognize his engineer son who went off to fight for the Union, was produced by AM Palmer at the Madison Square Theatre, opening April 1, 1891.  Maurice Barrymore played the son and Walden Ramsey a villainous brother- in- law. 

Previous commitments forced Palmer to take it on the road while still drawing large houses.  An initial poor reception outside New York, and other financial pressures led Palmer to give up the Madison Square Theatre, though the play eventually caught on and stayed popular for a decade (but had no part for EJ Phillips).  

Aristocracy by Bronson Howard opened at Palmer's Nov 14 1892.  Odell remarks that "everything was exactly right; except that the public did not care for the play".  The plot pitted a family from San Francisco against "a family of settled social supremacy in New York -- the son of the New York group being balked by his aristocratic parents in his desire to marry the nice California girl".  

Aunt Jack  The 1889-1890 season was launched with Ralph R. Lumley's farce Aunt Jack: A Man of the World, written expressly for Maurice Barrymore.  Nov 2, 1889

Barrister 1887

Broken Hearts  WS Gilbert's "poignant drama" joined the Madison Square repertory in the 1885-1886 season. "Prince Florian, being estranged from his affianced, secures a talisman which makes him invisible...and tracks the lost maiden and her sisters to a fairy island". [NY Times Feb 13, 1885]  Odell calls it "another glorious memory of my youth -- Gilbert's pathetic verse drama.... Agnes Booth renewed her earlier success as Mrs. Brownlee, assisted by the handsome Herbert Kelcey as Warburton"  Maud Harrison was an exquisite Hilda and Annie Russell's pathetic Lady Vavir was one of the memorable achievements of her earlier career.  LeMoyne was excellent as the dwarf, Mousta and Louis Massen a handsome Prince Florian, though one could have wished for him a greater degree of poetical fervour. 

Broken Hearts, Gilbert & Sullivan Archive  http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas/other_gilbert/html/broken_hearts_synopsis.html

City Directory by Paul Meredith Potter, Feb 15, 1890.

Diplomacy by Victorien Sardou (adapted by Clement William Scott and Benj Charles Stevenson) Mar/ Apr 1885.

Henry Arthur Jones adapted Ibsen's A Doll's House for the English public under the title Breaking a Butterfly in 1884.  The actor Richard Mansfield first brought Ibsen to the attention of the American public.  

Colonel Carter of Cartersville by Augustus Thomas, opened on March 22, 1892 and was withdrawn on April 30.  [Odell]

Dinner at Eight  Not the 1932 Kaufman and Ferber play, but a curtain raiser and "a trifle by JA Ritchie", with EM Holland, Maud Harrison and FH Tyler. Odell 

New York, Mar. 22, 1891Dinner at 8 is the title of the "Curtain raiser" you speak about.  There are only four characters in it and it plays only 18 minutes.  The plot is very good & amusing but not sufficiently carried out to be attractive.  Still it gets its share of applause from the audience and I think a little disappointment at its brevity & sudden ending.  The author has done exceedingly good work as far as it goes, and I hope will be encouraged to do more.  Dinner at 8 is his first effort in play writing.  He need not be discouraged. 

Elaine by George Parsons Lathrop and Harry Edwards (adapted from Tennyson's Idylls of the King) opened in December 1887 and was a great financial success.

Fashion Chicago, July 23, 1887 "a satirical comedy on social climbing in New York" (and a success in American, but not in Toronto [Shortt]

Margaret Fleming  New York, Dec. 3, 1891 A new play, Margaret Fleming is to be produced but it is an outside speculation.  James A. Herne is the author and his wife plays the leading part, and if successful will star in it.  Only 3 of the company play in it -- Messrs [EM] Holland, [Charles L.] Harris & [Edward M]  Bell.  It is for next Wednesday Matinee only. 

The first important American play to demonstrate Ibsen's influence.  Since no New York producer or theatre owner would book the play, the performance was a special matinee at Palmer's Theatre on Dec 9, 1891 .  Though revived several times, it was never popular with either the critics or the public.  [Odell?]

Master and Man by Henry Alfred Pettitt and George Robert Sims  Feb 1890.  Odell describes it as "cheap melodrama and it was not a success, opening on Feb 5th and closing on Feb 14th.  Richard Mansfield acted in. 1890

Old Love Letters  A curtain raiser, by Bronson Howard, a vehicle for Agnes Booth since 1878. Originally paired with  W.S. Gilbert's Broken Hearts as part of the Madison Square repertory .

One Touch of Nature1884 Described by Odell as [Benjamin] "Webster's old one act drama" [in the 1884-1885 Union Square season] and it periodically reappears after that as a curtain raiser.  

A Pair of Spectacles by Sydney Grundy, adapted from Eugene Labiche and Alfred- Charlemagne Delacour's Les petite oiseaux opened at the Madison Square in October 1890.  Palmer had met the company in Chicago and they rehearsed in Philadelphia just before the New York opening.

Sealed Instructions  was Julia Campbell Verplanck's "melodrama of amatory and political intrigue" which had run at the Madison Square Theatre in New York  from April 13 to  June 6, 1885.  (Durham). 

From the wreckage of the Union Square company Palmer enlisted the lovely Maud Harrison...and JH Stoddart...[for a revival of Sealed Instructions]...Members of the original cast remaining were Frederic Robinson, WJ LeMoyne, Walden Ramsay, Harry Hogan, Annie Russell and Lena Langdon.  What a joy to be a boyish lover of the drama...Yet I remember that, to my surprise, the usually beautifully gowned Mrs. [Agnes] Booth and Miss Harrison wore dresses of a former era; perhaps they were unwilling to buy new clothes for what could be but a brief run for a play not new." [Odell]

A Madison Square program from that season has sketches of  Mrs. Haughton (Mathilde Madison), Lord Dorchester (Frederic Robinson), Katharine (Jessie Milward ), Mons Gervais Dupuis, Banker and broker (WJ LeMoyne), Ada (Annie Russell), Faithful Benton (Thomas Whiffen)  

Social Fiction by Malcolm Watson, came at the end of the 1890-91 season and was not a success.

Sunlight and Shadow by Richard Carton [Richard Claude Critchett] Jan 1891.  Maud Harrison played a nice young girl about to marry Maurice Barrymore, when they learn that his former wife is not, as he thought, dead but "very much alive and ready to cause heart woe...Edward Bell played a loving cripple, who sacrificed all to bring happiness to the sorrowing girl." Odell]

Vera the Nihilist by Oscar Wilde, produced by the Union Square Theater Company ran for one week in August  1883 

Plays EJ Phillips mentions or goes to
Caste by Thomas William Robertson 1867

Charley's Aunt

The Dominie's Daughter  was David [Demarest] Lloyd's American play, a charming picture of colonial life in 1781. [Boston Globe ad Sept 7, 1887]  Reviewed NY Times Mar 25 1887 "when it was fashionable on the island of Manhattan to be a Tory and dangerous to be a patriot...The plot...is far from strong to be sure, and the development of it is far from ingenious."

"A romantic Revolutionary War comedy" -- an era rarely then or now chosen for plays, which arrived too late to save Wallack's but with "picturesque" costumes and sets praised for their depiction of "an old parsonage standing amid rolling meadows where the vilest part of the Bowery is now; a quaint churchyard that contains the simple memorials of early Dutch settlers, with a farmhouse here and there nearby, and the sunlit East River in the distance".

Gaiety Girl by Henry Hewetson Greenbank and Owen Hall [James Davis], music by Sidney Jones.  Sept 1894. 

Girl I left behind me Franklin Fyles, adapted by David Belasco, Feb 1893.

Gilbert & Sullivan's GondoliersPatience,   HMS Pinafore   Mikado

La Tosca New York, Mar. 11, 1888 Yes, Nyson Crinkle and all the critics gave La Tosca a drubbing and the play is crowding the theatre.  Tell people a play is bad and they are bound to see for themselves.  [Fanny] Davenport will make more money with it, than with any other play she has ever appeared in, but possibly for only one season.

Tosca and Oscar Wilde http://home.arcor.de/oscar.wilde/interactive/paper/vissi_d_arte.htm 

Ingomar the Barbarian "translated from the German, the beautiful heroine wins her father's freedom and the heart of the barbarian chief, who for her sake agrees to be comes civilized, was performed at the Royal Lyceum, Toronto. A succession of female stars reveled in the role of Parthenia. [Shortt]  EJP saw it in Boston May 28, 1886.

Lady of Lyons This Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) romantic drama was first performed in the US at the (first) Park Theatre in 1838.  "The work remained one of the most popular of all plays for the rest of the century.  The list of important performers in this play would include virtually every serious actor and actress of the period including Agnes Booth and WJ LeMoyne".  

Produced in Toronto by John Nickinson in the 1850's "two rejected suitors revenge themselves on the beautiful but proud Pauline by tricking her into marriage with a gardener's son, Claude Melnotte, who has assumed a title to win her. Remorseful, the noble-hearted Claude refuses to hold her to this marriage, and goes off to fight under Napoleon, returning a few years later, laden with honors and wealth, in time to save the humbled and loving Pauline from a villain to whom her father was indebted. EJ Phillips played Pauline to John Nickinsons' Col. Damas in March 1861

Jack Dolman quotes from with "Nay Nay Pauline" Nov 19, 1895

Lost Paradise by Ludwig Fulda, Henry Churchill De Mille

New Woman by Sydney Grundy Nov. 1894.Female emancipation and the much derided 'New Woman' was a subject of immense fascination in the English Theatre of the 1890s. Associated issues of women's education, freedom of thought, the sexual double standard, and the right to self-determination feature in play after play of the period. However, the advent of the New Drama after the turn of the century marked a change of emphasis and figures previously demonized now became heroes. This collection includes two plays from the 1890s, Sidney Grundy's The New Woman (1894) and Arthur Wing Pinero's The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith (1895), both much mentioned in recent criticism but neither available until now.  The New Woman, Oxford University Press, 1998 http://www1.oup.co.uk/WorldsClassics/newdrama.htm#new

Old Homestead by Denman Thompson, was first produced in January 1887 and ran for 160 performances at the Academy of  Music from  Aug 30, 1888 - May 1891.  "'Certainly the most famous of all rural plays', it grew out of a vaudeville sketch.  Thompson also played the role of the New Hampshire farmer whose son had gone to New York and not been heard from for nearly a year.  Old schoolmate Henry Hopkins (now a New York millionaire) helped him discover the now derelict son and rehabilitate him.  [Odell?]

New York, Feb. 18th 1887 Hattie goes to a matinee occasionally and that is about all the amusement she gets.  Yesterday she went to see Denman Thompson in the "Old Homestead" and Wed with Mrs. Dr. Nagle to see School for Scandal at Wallacks.

NY, Feby 6th/[18]90   The first time [to a theater this winter] being with Neppie and her aunt to [Denman Thompson's] the Old Homestead.   

Denman Thompson had played Uncle Tom in a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin with John Nickinson's at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Toronto in Feb. 1857. Charlotte Nickinson played Eliza. Topsey was played by Virginia NickinsonOwen Marlowe, who married Virginia Nickinson in 1857 played Shelby.  Miss Phillips played Cassy. 

Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope Hopkins, ad Edward Everett Rose, Sept 1895.   James Hackett played in this.


Sporting Duchess, 1898
Coveting the Duke of Desborough's prize race horse "Clipstone," Major Roland Mostyn schemes to destroy his rival and thus obtain possession of the animal. After framing the duke's wife Muriel in a false adultery suit which results in divorce, Mostyn ruins the young duke at cards, thus forcing him to auction his horse in order to pay his debts. Muriel, heartbroken by the separation, persuades her old friend Captain Streatfield to purchase the horse and enter him in the derby. Mostyn bets all his money on his horse and attempts to fix the race but his plot is discovered and Clipstone wins the contest. After Muriel's innocence is proven, Mostyn's villainy towards the duke is finally stopped and the couple is happily reunited.   Film [1920] Based on the play The Sporting Duchess by Augustus Harris, Cecil Raleigh, Henry Hamilton (New York, 29 Aug 1895). http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=1&Movie=17992 

Too Much Johnson Maurice Ordomean (adapted by Wm. Hooker Gillette) Dec 1894

Trip to Chinatown by Charles Hoyt 
The story of a widow who maneuvers several young suburban couples into a big city restaurant Ė where a rich man loses his wallet before true love wins out in the end.  John Kendrick http://www.musicals101.com/1890-1900.htm 
Charles H. Hoyt and Broadway of the  1890's, Charles H. Annaheim, 1999 http://www.geocities.com/musictheater/trip/china.html 

The Wife, Belasco & DeMille 1887  The first play written by collaborators David Belasco and Henry C. DeMille.  Opened in New York in Nov 1887 and was a huge success.  

Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde Dec 1893 Maud Harrison was in this, after leaving Palmers.
Project Gutenberg text http://digital.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=854

John Nickinson's plays and some playbills 1850s -1860s
Uncle Tomís Cabin
Napoleon's Old Guard, Dion Boucicault
Octoroon, Dion Boucicault

IDDB Internet Broadway DataBase, advanced search http://www.ibdb.com/advancedsearch.asp  Searchable by play, person or New York theater.
Hawkins-Dady, Mark (editor), International Dictionary of Theatre Playwrights, Detroit  London : St. James Press 1992.
New York Times Theater Reviews, New York: New York Times, 1975. Vol. 1. 1870-1885, Vol. 2 1886-1895

Last Updated March 13, 2005

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