Walter Thomas Huston was a Canadian actor and singer. Huston won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, directed by his son John Huston, he is the patriarch of the four generations of the Huston acting family, including his son John, Anjelica Huston, Danny Huston, Allegra Huston and Jack Huston. The Huston family has three generations of Academy Award winners: Walter, his son John and John's daughter Anjelica. Huston was born in Toronto, where he attended Winchester Street Public School, he was Robert Moore Huston, a farmer who founded a construction company. He was of Irish descent, he had two sisters, one of whom was the theatrical voice coach Margaret Carrington. His family moved, before his birth, from Melville, just south of Orangeville, where they were farmers; as a young man, he in his spare time attended the Shaw School of Acting. He made his stage debut in 1902, he went on to tour in In Convict Stripes, a play by Hal Reid, father of Wallace Reid and appeared with Richard Mansfield in Julius Caesar.
He again toured in another play The Sign of the Cross. In 1904, he married Rhea Gore and gave up acting to work as a manager of electric power stations in Nevada, Missouri, he maintained these jobs until 1909. In 1909, his marriage foundering, he appeared with an older actress named Bayonne Whipple, they were billed as Whipple and Huston and, in 1915, they married. Vaudeville was their livelihood into the 1920s. Huston began his Broadway career on January 22, 1924, he appeared in Mr. Pitt. Several more Broadway plays solidified his fame, e.g. Desire Under the Elms, The Barker, Elmer the Great and Dodsworth. Once talkies began in Hollywood, he was cast as a leading man, his first major role was portraying the villainous Trampas in the western The Virginian with Gary Cooper. His early films are Abraham Lincoln, Gabriel Over the White House. Huston remained busy throughout the 1930s and 1940s, both on stage and screen, becoming one of America's most prominent actors, he starred as the title character in the Broadway theatrical adaptation from Sinclair Lewis's novel Dodsworth in 1934 and the play's film version released two years later.
For his role as Sam Dodsworth, Huston won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and was Oscar nominated. He performed "September Song" in the original Broadway production of Knickerbocker Holiday. Huston's recording of "September Song" is heard in September Affair. Huston made an uncredited appearance in The Maltese Falcon portraying the ship's captain, shot just before delivering the black bird to Sam Spade. Walter's son, John Huston, directed the picture. John, as a practical joke, had his father die in more than 10 different takes. Among several contributions to World War II Allied propaganda films, Huston portrayed the part of a military instructor in a short propaganda film, Safeguarding Military Information; the film produced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and distributed by the War Activities Committee of the Motion Pictures Industry. This was an performance. Along with Anthony Veiller, he narrated the Why We Fight series of World War II documentaries directed by Frank Capra.
In this period he appeared in The Devil and Daniel Webster as Mr. Scratch, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Mission to Moscow, a pro-Soviet World War II propaganda film, in which he played Ambassador Joseph E. Davies. Huston played Howard in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, directed by John Huston; the film was based on B. Traven's novel, which told the story of three gold diggers in 1920s post-revolution Mexico. Walter Huston won the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film, while John Huston won the Best Director Academy Award, thus making them the first father and son to win at the same ceremony, his last film was the western The Furies with Barbara Stanwyck. On April 7, 1950, two days after his 67th birthday, Huston died of an aortic aneurysm in his hotel suite in Beverly Hills, he was cremated and his ashes were buried at Belmont Memorial Park in Fresno, California. In 1960, Huston received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6624 Hollywood Boulevard for his contributions to motion pictures.
He is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame. Huston's son John became a screenwriter, before becoming an Academy Award-winning director and acclaimed actor. All of Huston's grandchildren have become actors, as well as his great-grandson. Granddaughter Anjelica sang "September Song" on the May 2012 episode of the NBC TV series Smash. In 1998, the biography September Song – An Intimate Biography of Walter Huston by John Weld was published by The Scarecrow Press. Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood List of actors with Academy Award nominations John Weld. September Song: An Intimate Biography of Walter Huston"; the Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1998. Walter Huston on IMDb Walter Huston at the Internet Broadway Database
Night Must Fall
Night Must Fall is a play, a psychological thriller, by Emlyn Williams, first performed in 1935. There have been Night Must Fall. Mrs Bramson, a bitter, self-pitying elderly woman, resides in a remote part of Essex, with her intelligent yet subdued niece, Olivia. Mrs Bramson spends all her time complaining, she is disliked by her two servants, Dora, a young, sensitive maid and Mrs Terrence, the cook, as well as Olivia, whom Mrs. Bramson treats as a servant. One day, Dora reveals. Mrs Bramson considers dismissing her, but decides to persuade the father of Dora's unborn child to marry her; the father turns out to be a handsome young man named Dan. He immediately charms Mrs Bramson, causing her to forget all about Dora's pregnancy and take Dan on as her private assistant. Olivia, isn't as taken in by the charming Dan as her aunt is, her suspicions grow when, a few days it is reported that a local beauty has gone missing. Believing Dan to be involved, the servants, her pompous admirer, Hubert, go through Dan's things when he is not around, finding a picture of him and the missing woman buried among his belongings.
This shocking discovery strengthens Olivia's suspicions and determination to prove that Dan is not what he seems. One night, a human hand is found in the rubbish outside the house. On, a body is discovered in the woods — it is that of the missing woman, only without a head. Olivia now fears, she believes he keeps the head in a small hat box that he brought with him. Amidst all the chaos, Hubert tries to convince Olivia to come away with him and be his wife, but she refuses. One night, Mrs Bramson reveals to Olivia that she has hundreds of pounds locked away in a safe in the middle of the living room. Olivia warns her that it is not wise to leave a safe in plain sight, but Mrs Bramson refuses to listen; that night, Olivia tries again to confront Dan and he tells her about his past. She tells him why she puts up with her aunt saying that she wished she could kill her, to which Dan replies that she couldn't; the two share a brief moment of understanding. They are interrupted by Belsize, a police officer from Scotland Yard who has come to question Olivia and Dan in connection with the murder.
While interviewing Dan, Belsize discovers the locked hat box. He asks Dan for the key; as Belsize grows more persistent and suspicious, Olivia comes in and states that the hat box is hers and puts it in her room. That night, the servants get ready to go home. Olivia says she is leaving to stay with friends in London, she tells Mrs. Bramson she is too frightened to stay in the house and warns her to get out of the house too. Mrs. Bramson again refuses thinking she is just being overexcited; as Dora and Mrs. Terrence prepare to leave, Dan decides to accompany them. Mrs. Bramson is left alone and for the first time, the audience sees that she too is terrified. Dan soon gets Mrs. Bramson ready for bed; when she drifts off to sleep, he gets a pillow and smothers her to death, although this is not explicitly shown. Dan opens the safe and steals the money, he prepares to burn the house down, only to be interrupted by Olivia, who has come back and discovered her aunt's dead body. She tells Dan. Dan confesses.
Just they see the lights of a police car coming to the house. Olivia says. Belsize and some other officers arrest Dan. Dora and Mrs Terrence are present. Olivia tries to implicate herself in the crime, but Dan will not let her, confessing that it was all his own work. Before he is dragged away, he looks in the mirror and talks to himself, proving he is in fact insane, he grabs Olivia and passionately kisses her. Produced by Miles Malleson, the original production of Night Must Fall premiered May 31, 1935, at the Duchess Theatre in London; the formal West End opening was preceded by a preliminary tour of Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne and Glasgow. The play ran in London for 436 performances. Eric Stanley … The Lord Chief Justice May Whitty … Mrs. Bramson Angela Baddeley … Olivia Grayne Basil Radford … Hubert Laurie Dorothy Langley … Nurse Libby Kathleen Harrison … Mrs. Terence Betty Jardine … Dora Parkoe Matthew Boulton … Inspector Belsize Emlyn Williams … Dan The New York production of Night Must Fall opened on Broadway September 28, 1936, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
Produced by Sam H. Harris and directed by Emlyn Williams, the play ran for 64 performances. Ben Webster … The Lord Chief Justice May Whitty … Mrs. Bramson Angela Baddeley … Olivia Grayne Michael Shepley … Hubert Laurie Shirley Gale … Nurse Libby Doris Hare … Mrs. Terence Betty Jardine … Dora Parkoe Matthew Boulton … Inspector Belsize Emlyn Williams … Dan The most recent West End revival opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on October 14, 1996, it starred Jason Donovan as Dan, Rosemary Leach as Mrs. Bramson and Charlotte Fryer as Olivia Grayne, it lasted two months amid terrible reviews, not least for Donovan's attempt at a Welsh accent. Matthew Broderick starred as Dan in a Broadway revival which ran from February 2 to June 27, 1999 at the Lyceum Theatre and the Helen Hayes Theatre; the cast included Judy Parfitt as J. Smith-Cameron as Olivia Grayne. A 1937 film adaptation using the same title was
Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke was an American actress, famous on Broadway, on radio, early silent film, subsequently in sound film. She is best known to modern audiences as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie musical The Wizard of Oz. Burke was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1938 for her performance as Emily Kilbourne in Merrily We Live and is remembered for her appearances in the Topper film series, her high-pitched, aristocratic voice was her trademark, which made her a frequent choice to play dim-witted, spoiled society types. Billie Burke was the wife of Broadway producer and impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. founder of dance troupe and theatrical revue, the Ziegfeld Follies which operated from 1914 until his death in 1932. Billie Burke was born Mary Burke, the daughter of William "Billy" Burke and Blanche, in Washington, D. C, she toured the United States and Europe with her father, a singer and clown and worked for the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Her family settled in London where she attended plays in the West End. In 1903, she began making her debut in London in The School Girl. Other London shows included The Duchess of The Blue Moon, she returned to America to star in Broadway musical comedies. Burke went on to play leads on Broadway in Mrs. Dot, The Runaway, The "Mind-the-Paint" Girl, The Land of Promise from 1910 to 1913, along with a supporting role in the revival of Sir Arthur Wing Pinero's The Amazons. There she caught the eye of producer Florenz Ziegfeld, marrying him in 1914. Two years they had a daughter, author Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson. Burke was made her cinematic debut in the title role of Peggy, her success was phenomenal, she was soon earning what was reputedly the highest salary granted to a motion picture actress up to that time. She followed her first feature with the 15-part serial Gloria's Romance, another popular and critically acclaimed vehicle. By 1917 Billie Burke was a favorite with silent movie fans, rivaling Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Clara Kimball Young and Irene Castle.
Billie Burke starred in provocative society dramas and comedies, similar in theme to The "Mind-the-Paint" Girl, her most successful American play. The star's girlish charm rivaled her acting ability, as she dressed to the hilt in fashionable gowns and jewelry, her clothes sense won the devotion of female audiences. Among the films in which she appeared during this period were Arms and the Girl, The Mysterious Miss Terry, Let's Get a Divorce, Good Gracious, Away Goes Prudence and The Frisky Mrs. Johnson; the actress's beauty and taste made her a major trendsetter throughout the 20s. As early as 1909, following her Broadway performance in My Wife, department stores began carrying the "Billie Burke Dress," with a signature flat collar and lace trim." During this time, much of her wardrobe was provided by the leading European couturier Lucile, whose New York branch was the fashion mecca for socialites and entertainment celebrities. Burke reflected on her reputation as "a new kind of actress and red-headed, I had beautiful clothes.”Despite her success in film, Burke returned to the stage, appearing in Caesar's Wife, The Intimate Strangers, The Marquise and The Happy Husband.
When the family's investments were wiped out in the Wall Street Crash the following year, she resumed screen acting to aid her husband. Burke made her Hollywood comeback in 1932, when she starred as Margaret Fairfield in A Bill of Divorcement, directed by George Cukor, she played Katharine Hepburn's mother in the film, Hepburn's debut. Despite the death of her husband Florenz Ziegfeld during the film's production, she resumed acting shortly after his funeral. In 1933, Burke was cast as Millicent Jordan, a scatterbrained high-society woman hosting a dinner party in the comedy Dinner at Eight, directed by George Cukor, co-starring with Lionel Barrymore, Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Jean Harlow and Wallace Beery; the movie was a great success and revitalized her career and she subsequently starred in many comedies and musicals, typecast as a ditzy and feather-brained upper-class matron with her high-pitched voice. In 1936, MGM filmed a sanitized biopic of Florenz Ziegfeld, a film that won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actress.
William Powell played Flo Ziegfeld and Myrna Loy played Burke, which infuriated Burke because she was under contract to the studio and could have played herself, but MGM considered her too old to cast in the part of her younger self, despite her having the look and mannerisms down otherwise. In 1937, Burke appeared in the first of the Topper films, about a man haunted by two socialite ghosts, in which she played the twittering and daffy Clara Topper, her performance as Emily Kilbourne in Merrily We Live resulted in her only Oscar nomination. In 1938 she was chosen to play Glinda the Good Witch of the North, in the musical The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming, which starred Judy Garland, she had worked with Garland in the film, Everybody Sing, in which she played Judy's histrionically hysterical actress-mother. Director George Cukor offered her the role of Aunt Pittypat in Gone With the Wind, but she declined and it was playe
Seventh Avenue (Manhattan)
Seventh Avenue – known as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard north of Central Park – is a thoroughfare on the West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, it is southbound below a two-way street north of the park. Seventh Avenue originates in the West Village at Clarkson Street, where Varick Street becomes Seventh Avenue South, it is interrupted by Central Park from 59th to 110th Street. Artisans' Gate is the 59th Street exit from Central Park to Seventh Avenue. North of Warriors' Gate at the north end of the Park, the avenue carries traffic in both directions through Harlem, where it is called Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. Addresses continue as if the street was continuous through Central Park, with the first block north of the park being the 1800 block; the United States Postal Service delivers mail using either street name. As is the case with "Sixth Avenue" and "Avenue of the Americas", long-time New Yorkers continue to use the older name; the street has two northern termini.
A lower level continues a bit further curves into the lower level of West 155th Street. Seventh Avenue was laid out in the Commissioners' Plan of 1811; the southern terminus of Seventh Avenue was Eleventh Street in Greenwich Village through the early part of the 20th century. It was extended southward, as Seventh Avenue South, to link up with Varick Street in 1914, Varick was widened at the same time. Extension of the avenue allowed better vehicular connections between midtown Manhattan and the commercial district in what is now TriBeCa, it permitted construction of the New York City Subway IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line which opened in 1918. Extension of the avenue was under consideration for several years, was approved by the New York City Board of Estimate in September 1911, when the first $3 million appropriation was made for the initial planning of the work; the extension had been urged by civic groups to meet the commercial needs of Greenwich Village. A significant number of old buildings were marked for demolition in the extension, the demolished buildings included the Bedford Street Methodist Church, constructed in 1840.
Most of Seventh Avenue has carried traffic one-way southbound since June 6, 1954. The portion north of Times Square carried two-way traffic until March 10, 1957. Seventh Avenue is served by the 1, 2, 3 trains for most of its length, with N, Q, R, W service between 42nd Street and Central Park South; the Seventh Avenue station serves the B, D, E trains. North of the park, Powell Boulevard is served by the Harlem–148th Street on the 3 train, the 155th Street station on the B and D trains, it is served by numerous local MTA New York City Bus routes the M7 and M20 south of Central Park and the M2 north of the park. South of 14th Street Seventh Avenue is a major thoroughfare in the West Village; the now defunct Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center was a main downtown hospital on Seventh Avenue and 11th Street. Running through the Garment District, it is referred to as Fashion Avenue due to its role as a center of the garment and fashion industry and the famed fashion designers who established New York as a world fashion capital.
The first, temporary signs designating the section of Seventh Avenue as "Fashion Avenue" were dual-posted in 1972, with permanent signs added over the ensuing years. Seventh Avenue intersects with Broadway and with 42nd Street at Times Square, with multiple buildings at the intersections. Notable buildings located on Seventh Avenue include: Carnegie Hall, 57th Street Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, 32nd Street Fashion Institute of Technology, 27th Street Alwyn Court Apartments, 58th Street AXA Center, at 51st Street. Notable buildings on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, from Central Park north through Harlem, include: Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building Hotel Theresa Seventh Avenue is mentioned in films and books. Seventh Avenue was mentioned in the Simon and Garfunkel song "The Boxer," in which the protagonist mentions receiving a "come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue." In the 1962 play and 1965 film A Thousand Clowns, Seventh Avenue is mentioned as being in proximity.
In the 1973 Steely Dan song "The Boston Rag", the protagonist declares, "There was nothing that I could do So I pointed my car down Seventh Avenue". In the 1978 Rolling Stones song "Shattered", from the Some Girls album, Mick Jagger sings "I can't give it away on Seventh Avenue." Seventh Avenue is mentioned in Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, when detective Sam Spade tells the gunsel Wilmer that his telling him to "shove off" "would go over big back on Seventh Avenue. But you're not in Romeville now. You're in my burg." In Dave Gibbons's Watching the Watchmen, the comics artist speculates that the Gunga Diner, Utopia Cinema, Promethean Cab Co. and Institute for Extraspatial Studies are situated at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and West 31st Street. Seventh Avenue was the title and subject of a 1977 NBC TV miniseries which focused on the Garment District. In the 2008 The Gaslight Anthem song "Here's Looking At You, Kid", Seventh Avenue is mentioned in the lyric, "goes crazy over that New York scene on Seventh Avenue".
The Pet Shop Boys' song "New York City Boy" has as its prominent refrain the line, "'Cause you're a New York City boy, where Seventh Avenue meets Broadway". The 1980s hair metal band Ratt featured a song dedicated to Seventh Avenue on their thi
Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center and neighborhood in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York City at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. It stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements, Times Square is sometimes referred to as "The Crossroads of the World", "The Center of the Universe", "the heart of The Great White Way", "the heart of the world". One of the world's busiest pedestrian areas, it is the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Times Square is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days. Known as Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building – now One Times Square – the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop which began on December 31, 1907, continues today, attracting over a million visitors to Times Square every year.
Times Square functions as a town square, but is not geometrically a square. Broadway runs diagonally, crossing through the horizontal and vertical street grid of Manhattan laid down by the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, that intersection creates the "bowtie" shape of Times Square; the southern triangle of Times Square has no specific name, but the northern triangle is called Father Duffy Square. It was dedicated in 1937 to Chaplain Francis P. Duffy of New York City's U. S. 69th Infantry Regiment and is the site of a memorial to him, along with a statue of George M. Cohan, as well as the TKTS reduced-price ticket booth run by the Theatre Development Fund. Since 2008, the booth has been backed by a red, triangular set of bleacher-like stairs, used by people to sit, talk and take photographs; when Manhattan Island was first settled by the Dutch, three small streams united near what is now 10th Avenue and 40th Street. These three streams formed the "Great Kill". From there the Great Kill wound through the low-lying Reed Valley, known for fish and waterfowl and emptied into a deep bay in the Hudson River at the present 42nd Street.
The name was retained in a tiny hamlet, Great Kill, that became a center for carriage-making, as the upland to the south and east became known as Longacre. Before and after the American Revolution, the area belonged to John Morin Scott, a general of the New York militia, in which he served under George Washington. Scott's manor house was at what is 43rd Street, surrounded by countryside used for farming and breeding horses. In the first half of the 19th century, it became one of the prized possessions of John Jacob Astor, who made a second fortune selling off lots to hotels and other real estate concerns as the city spread uptown. By 1872, the area had become the center of New York's horse carriage industry; the locality had not been given a name, city authorities called it Longacre Square after Long Acre in London, where the horse and carriage trade was centered in that city. William Henry Vanderbilt ran the American Horse Exchange there. In 1910 it became the Winter Garden Theatre; as more profitable commerce and industrialization of Lower Manhattan pushed homes and prostitution northward from the Tenderloin District, Long Acre Square became nicknamed the Thieves Lair for its rollicking reputation as a low entertainment district.
The first theater on the square, the Olympia, was built by cigar manufacturer and impresario Oscar Hammerstein I. According to Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, "By the early 1890s this once sparsely settled stretch of Broadway was ablaze with electric light and thronged by crowds of middle- and upper-class theatre and cafe patrons." In 1904, New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs moved the newspaper's operations to a new skyscraper on 42nd Street at Longacre Square, on the site of the former Pabst Hotel, which had existed on the site for less than a decade since it opened in November 1899. Ochs persuaded Mayor George B. McClellan Jr. to construct a subway station there, the area was renamed "Times Square" on April 8, 1904. Just three weeks the first electrified advertisement appeared on the side of a bank at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway; the north end became Duffy Square, the former Horse Exchange became the Winter Garden Theatre, constructed in 1911. The New York Times moved to more spacious offices one block west of the square in 1913 and sold the building in 1961.
The old Times Building was named the Allied Chemical Building in 1963. Now known as One Times Square, it is famed for the Times Square Ball drop on its roof every New Year's Eve. In 1913, the Lincoln Highway Association, headed by entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher, chose the intersection of 42nd Street and Broadway to be the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway; this was the first road across the United States, which spanned 3,389 miles coast-to-coast through 13 states to its western terminus in Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California. Times Square grew after World War I, it became a cultural hub full of theatres, music halls, upscale hotels. Times Square became New York's agora, a place to gather to await great tidings and to celebrate them, whether a World Series or a presidential election. Advertising grew in the 1920s, growing
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, the resulting satire of Victorian ways; some contemporary reviews praised the play's humour and the culmination of Wilde's artistic career, while others were cautious about its lack of social messages. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play; the successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas was Wilde's lover, planned to present the writer with a bouquet of rotten vegetables and disrupt the show.
Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Their feud came to a climax in court, where Wilde's homosexuality was revealed to the Victorian public and he was sentenced to imprisonment. Despite the play's early success, Wilde's notoriety caused the play to be closed after 86 performances. After his release from prison, he published the play from exile in Paris, but he wrote no further comic or dramatic work; the Importance of Being Earnest has been revived many times since its premiere. It has been adapted for the cinema on three occasions. In The Importance of Being Earnest, Dame Edith Evans reprised her celebrated interpretation of Lady Bracknell. After the success of Wilde's plays Lady Windermere's Fan and A Woman of No Importance, Wilde's producers urged him to write further plays. In July 1894, he mooted his idea for The Importance of Being Earnest to George Alexander, the actor-manager of the St James's Theatre. Wilde spent the summer with his family at Worthing, where he wrote the play in August.
His fame now at its peak, he used the working title Lady Lancing to avoid preemptive speculation of its content. Many names and ideas in the play were borrowed from people or places the author had known. Wilde scholars agree the most important influence on the play was W. S. Gilbert's 1877 farce Engaged, from which Wilde borrowed not only several incidents but "the gravity of tone demanded by Gilbert of his actors". Wilde continually revised the text over the next months. No line was left untouched and the revision had significant consequences. Sos Eltis describes Wilde's revisions as refined art at work; the earliest and longest handwritten drafts of the play labour over farcical incidents, broad puns, nonsense dialogue and conventional comic turns. In revising, "Wilde transformed standard nonsense into the more systemic and disconcerting illogicality which characterises Earnest's dialogue". Richard Ellmann argues Wilde had reached his artistic maturity and wrote more and rapidly. Wilde hesitated about submitting the script to Alexander, worrying it might be unsuitable for the St James's Theatre, whose typical repertoire was more serious, explaining it had been written in response to a request for a play "with no real serious interest".
When Henry James's Guy Domville failed, Alexander agreed to put on Wilde’s play. After working with Wilde on stage movements with a toy theatre, Alexander asked the author to shorten the play from four acts to three. Wilde combined elements of the second and third acts; the largest cut was the removal of the character of Mr. Gribsby, a solicitor who comes from London to arrest the profligate "Ernest" for unpaid dining bills; the four-act version is still sometimes performed. Some consider the three-act structure more effective and theatrically resonant than the expanded published edition; the play was first produced at the St James's Theatre on Valentine's Day 1895. It was freezing cold but Wilde arrived dressed in "florid sobriety", wearing a green carnation; the audience, according to one report, "included many members of the great and good, former cabinet ministers and privy councillors, as well as actors, writers and enthusiasts". Allan Aynesworth, who played Algernon Moncrieff, recalled to Hesketh Pearson that "In my fifty-three years of acting, I never remember a greater triumph than first night".
Aynesworth was himself "debonair and stylish", Alexander, who played Jack Worthing, "demure". The cast was: John Worthing, J. P.—George Alexander Algernon Moncrieff—Allan Aynesworth Rev. Canon Chasuble, D. D.—H. H. Vincent Merriman—Frank Dyall Lane—F. Kinsey Peile Lady Bracknell—Rose Leclercq Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax—Irene Vanbrugh Cecily Cardew—Evelyn Millard Miss Prism—Mrs. George CanningeThe Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Wilde's lover Lord Alfred Douglas, had planned to disrupt the play by throwing a bouquet of rotten vegetables at the playwright when he took his bow at the end of the show. Wilde and Alexander learned of the plan, the latter cancelled Queensberry's ticket and arranged for policemen to bar his entrance, he continued harassing Wilde, who launched a private prosecution against the peer for criminal libel, triggering a series of trials ending in Wilde's imprisonment for gross indecency. Alexander tried, unsuccessfully, to save the production by removing Wilde's name from the billing, but t
Fourteenth Street Theatre
The Fourteenth Street Theatre was a New York City theatre located at 107 West 14th Street just west of Sixth Avenue. It was designed by Alexander Saeltzer and opened in 1866 as the Theatre Francais, as a home for French language dramas and opera; the theatre was renamed the Lyceum in 1871. In 1879, it was taken over by producer J. H. Haverly who renamed it Haverly's 14th Street Theatre. By the mid-1880s, it had become the Fourteenth Street Theatre. By the mid 1910s it was being used as a movie theatre, until actress Eva Le Gallienne turned it into the Civic Repertory Theatre in 1926, she mounted 34 successful productions, but the Great Depression ended that venture in 1934. The building was demolished in 1938. Evangeline! The Still Alarm The Old Homestead A Romance of Athlone Blue Jeans Mavourneen Alice in Wonderland Peace on Earth Let Freedom Ring Notes Bibliography Brockett, Oscar G. History of the Theatre, Second Edition. Boston and Bacon, 1974. Listing on the Internet Broadway Database