Citation
The American theatrical tours of Charles Kean

Material Information

Title:
The American theatrical tours of Charles Kean
Creator:
Strahan, Richard Denman, 1940- ( Dissertant )
Green, Richard L. ( Thesis advisor )
Abbott, Thomas B. ( Reviewer )
Homan, Sidney R. ( Reviewer )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1984
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vii, 266 leaves : ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Acting ( jstor )
Audiences ( jstor )
Fathers ( jstor )
Ions ( jstor )
Libraries ( jstor )
Receipts ( jstor )
Scrapbooks ( jstor )
Seasons ( jstor )
Theater ( jstor )
Tours ( jstor )
Actors -- Biography -- Great Britain ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Speech -- UF
Speech thesis Ph. D
Theater -- History -- United States -- 19th century ( lcsh )
Genre:
Biography ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
individual biography ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract:
During the forty years of his stage career--1827-67--Charles Kean was an important figure in the theatrical activity of England and America. Kean made four American theatrical tours covering eight seasons, fully one-fifth of his career. Earlier studies of Kean have concentrated primarily on studies of his period of management at the Princess's Theatre, reconstructions of his productions done during that period, analysis of his acting career, or Kean's influence on other directorial figures. The current study chronicles the American theatrical tours of Charles Kean. Local newspapers, playbills in various collections, scrapbooks kept by the Keans and others, and the letters of Charles and Ellen Kean in the Folger Shakespeare Library and other collections were used to form a chronology of performances, an assessment of popular appeal, and a compilation of critical commentary. The Keans' letters provided their personal perspective on the tours. The study is basically chronological in organization. Chapter I introduces the methods and materials used. Chapter II places Kean in the theatrical context of the nineteenth century. Chapter III surveys Kean's first American theatrical tour--1830-33--during which he experimented with new roles and developed his performance skills. Chapter IV details the second tour--1839-40--in which Kean was beset by illness and misfortune. Chapter V covers the third tour~1845-47—which reflected the influence of Kean's wife on his repertory and introduced American audiences to his historical stagings of Shakespeare. Chapter IV surveys the fourth tour--1864-66--during which Kean acted in roles representative of the breadth of his career. The Appendices provide a chronology of all confirmed performances by Charles Kean in America.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1984.
Bibliography:
Bibliography: leaves 260-265.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Richard Denman Strahan.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
030501773 ( alephbibnum )
11665469 ( oclc )
ACN8986 ( notis )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text









THE AMERICAN THEATRICAL
TOURS OF CHARLES KEAN











BY



RICHARD DENMAN STRAHAN


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

















This study is dedicated to my wife, Rose Earnest Strahan, and to

my friend, Andrew M. Jones. Their support and motivation supplied the

impetus necessary for its completion.




















































Copyright 1984

by
Richard Denman Strahan













ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Acknowledgement is due the many organizations and individuals

without whose assistance this study could not have been done. Many

historical societies and libraries graciously supplied materials not

otherwise available. Gratitude is expressed to the staff of the

Folger Shakespeare Library and to the staff of the Roberts Library at

Delta State University, especially Ms. Dorothy McCray whose assistance

in securing materials was invaluable.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . .

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . .

CHAPTER

I. INTRODUCTION . . . . .

Notes . . . . . . . .

II. THE THEATRE OF CHARLES KEAN . .

Notes . . . . . . . .

III. THE FIRST TOUR, 1830-33 . . .

Notes . . . . . . . .

IV. THE SECOND TOUR, 1839-40 . . .

Notes . . . . . . . .

V. THE THIRD TOUR, 1845-47 . . .

Notes . . . . . . . .

VI. THE FOURTH TOUR, 1864-66 . . .

Notes . . . . . . . .

VII. CONCLUSION . . . . . .

APPENDIX A. CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES, FIRS

APPENDIX B. CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES, SECC

APPENDIX C. CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES, THIF

APPENDIX D. CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES, FOUF

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . .

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . .


. . . . . iv

. . . . . . vi




. . . . . . 1

. . . . . . 5

. . . . . . 6

. . . . . 17

. . . . . 19

. . . . . 47

. . . . . 51

. . . . 65

. . . . . 67

. . . . . 111

. . . . . 117

. . . . . 185

. . . . . 196

T TOUR, 1830-33 . . 203

)ND TOUR, 1839-40. . 214

RD TOUR, 1845-47 . . 221

!TH TOUR, 1864-66. . 242

. . . . . 260

. . . . . 266














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



THE AMERICAN THEATRICAL TOURS
OF CHARLES KEAN

By

Richard Denman Strahan

April, 1984


Chairman: Richard L. Green
Major Department: Speech


During the forty years of his stage career--1827-67--Charles Kean

was an important figure in the theatrical activity of England and

America. Kean made four American theatrical tours covering eight

seasons, fully one-fifth of his career.

Earlier studies of Kean have concentrated primarily on studies of

his period of management at the Princess's Theatre, reconstructions of

his productions done during that period, analysis of his acting career,

or Kean's influence on other directorial figures. The current study

chronicles the American theatrical tours of Charles Kean. Local

newspapers, playbills in various collections, scrapbooks kept by the

Keans and others, and the letters of Charles and Ellen Kean in the

Folger Shakespeare Library and other collections were used to form a

chronology of performances, an assessment of popular appeal, and a

compilation of critical commentary. The Keans' letters provided their

personal perspective on the tours.

vi









The study is basically chronological in organization. Chapter I

introduces the methods and materials used. Chapter II places Kean in

the theatrical context of the nineteenth century. Chapter III surveys

Kean's first American theatrical tour--1830-33--during which he

experimented with new roles and developed his performance skills.

Chapter IV details the second tour--1839-40--in which Kean was beset by

illness and misfortune. Chapter V covers the third tour--1845-47--which

reflected the influence of Kean's wife on his repertory and introduced

American audiences to his historical stagings of Shakespeare. Chapter

VI surveys the fourth tour--1864-66--during which Kean acted in roles

representative of the breadth of his career. The Appendices provide a

chronology of all confirmed performances by Charles Kean in America.













CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION


For forty years, Charles Kean was in the mainstream of theatrical

activity in England and America. He was influenced by early nineteenth-

century developments in acting and production styles; in turn, he

contributed to and precipitated much of the theatrical innovation of

the mid and late-nineteenth century. Due to the fascination with

visiting "stars" which seemed universal in the American theatre of the

time, Kean spent a significant portion of his career on the stages of

the United States. Kean made four American theatrical tours which

covered eight seasons, fully one-fifth of his theatrical life. These

tours occurred early, midway, and late in his career, and were

reflective of the stages in the development of Kean's acting and

production styles. The early tours--1830-33 and 1839-40--helped

the novice Kean establish a repertory and reputation; the mid-career

tour--1845-47--brought the now established actor to America with his

actress wife and introduced a new repertory and Kean's penchant for

spectacular, historically accurate productions of Shakespeare; the

final, farewell tour--1864-66--presented a sampler of Kean's roles

from all stages of his career, played in his mature style.

Once the dearth of serious study of Kean began to be remedied,

most of the scholarly attention was directed to Kean's production and

management practices. Oliver Larkin, calling Kean a "bad actor and

worse antiquary,"1 dismissed his productions at the Princess's Theatre









as mere catering to middle-class tastes. Muriel St. Claire Byrne2

investigated the matter of Kean's supposed influence on the productions

of Saxe-Meiningen. M. Glen Wilson,3 in one of several articles,

chronicled Kean's years at the Haymarket Theatre prior to his Princess's

years. Douglas R. Vander Yacht4 studied the importance of royal favor

to Kean's position of leadership on the London stage. Marshall E.

Borden, Thomas Booth Haas, M. M. Nilan, Adele F. Seeff, and M. Glen

Wilson have each written studies of individual productions staged by

Charles Kean.5 M. R. Booth, Budge Threlkeld, and Wilson have studied

Kean's management and production practices during the years he managed

the Princess's Theatre.6 The focus of each of these studies has been

the productions staged by Kean in London, and principally those at the

Princess's Theatre between 1850 and 1859. In a recent study, Virginia R.

Francisco detailed the development of Kean's acting style.7 Two

collections of the letters of Charles and Ellen Kean have given their

perspective on the American tours.8 No single study, however, has

concentrated upon a comprehensive detailing of that twenty-percent of

Kean's theatrical career which was spent on American stages. The current

study, with its focus exclusively upon the American theatrical tours of

Charles Kean, supplies an addition to the scholarship and provides a

different perspective on the career of Charles Kean.

Kean's four American theatrical tours occurred at times indicative

of the stages of development in his stage career and were illustrative,

as well, of the development of the theatre of the nineteenth century.

It is the purpose of this study to detail the American theatrical tours

of Charles Kean. A chronology of performances has been established; an









assessment of popular appeal has been made; and critical commentary has

been compiled. It is anticipated that the results will provide a more

comprehensive account of the eight seasons of Charles Kean's performances

on American stages than has hitherto been available.

The study has utilized a diversity of sources. More than five-

thousand editions of more than fifty newspapers in the thirty cities in

which Kean was likely to have played were surveyed, providing more than

five-hundred announcements of performances and over two-hundred-and-

fifty critical notices of varying expertise and detail. The letters of

Charles and Ellen Kean--both those in two collections published since

1945, and as many more from the collections of the Folger Shakespeare

Library and other sources--were searched for the dates of performances,

critical reaction, attendance figures, and receipts, as a gauge of

performance success. Such letters provided details about some aspects

of the tour that could have come only from the Keans. Playbills from

the Folger and other sources aided in confirming performance data.

Scrapbooks kept by the Keans during the final tour, and now in the

Folger Collection, filled gaps in clippings for that tour, thus

providing material not otherwise available. A scrapbook kept by a

San Franciscan during the period of the Keans' final tour, and now in

the collection of the California Historical Society, was a primary

source for reviews of performances in that city. In addition to these

primary materials, various other pieces of correspondence from those

with whom Kean dealt, supplemented the standard works on Kean and the

period.









The study is basically chronological in organization. Chapter II

places Charles Kean in the theatrical context of the middle two-quarters

of the nineteenth century, revealing the ways in which he influenced

and was influenced by his times. Chapter III surveys Kean's first

American theatrical tour--1830-33--during which Kean experimented with

new roles and developed his performance skills. Chapter IV covers Kean's

second American tour--1839-40--which was marked by illness and

misfortune. Chapter V surveys the third American tour--1845-47--which

reflected his wife's influence on Kean's repertory and introduced

American audiences to his historical stagings of Shakespeare. Chapter VI

covers the farewell tour--1864-66--during which Kean acted in a potpourri

of roles from throughout his career. Chapter VII summarizes findings.

The Appendices provide a chronology of all confirmed performances by

Charles Kean in America.


~





5



Notes


Oliver Larkin, "Charles Kean, Pedant Showman," Theatre Arts
Monthly, 18 (1934) 933.
2
Muriel St. Claire Byrne, "Charles Kean and the Meininger Myth,"
Theatre Research, 6 (1964), 137-54.

M. Glen Wilson, "Charles Kean at the Haymarket, 1839-1850,"
Theatre Journal, 31 (1979), 329-42.
4
Douglas R. Vander Yacht, Queen Victoria's Patronage of Charles
Kean, Diss. Ohio State Univ., 1970 Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms
International, 1970).
5
Marshall E. Borden, The Richard the Third of Charles Kean, Edwin
Booth, and Alan Bates. A Stage Chronology and Collative Analysis of
Production, Performance and Text, Diss. Wayne State Univ., 1973
(Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1973); Thomas Booth Haas,
Kean, Irving, Tree: Shakespearean Production Aesthetics, Diss. Univ. of
Wisconsin, 1965 (Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1965);
M. M. Nilan, "Shakespeare Illustrated: Charles Kean's 1857 Production of
The Tempest," Shakespeare Quarterly, 26 (1975), 196-204; Adele F. Seeff,
Charles Kean's King Lear and the Aesthetics of Realism, Diss. Univ. of
Maryland, 1979 (Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1979);
M. Glen Wilson, "Charles Kean's Production of Richard II," Educational
Theatre Journal, 19 (1967), 41-51.
M. R. Booth, "Shakespeare as Spectacle and History: The Victorian
Period," Theatre Research International, 1 (1976), 99-113; Budge
Threlkeld, A Study of the Management of Charles Kean at the Princess's
Theatre, 1850-59, Diss. Ohio State Univ., 1955 (Ann Arbor: University
Microfilms International, 1955); Wilson, "Charles Kean of the Princess's
Theatre: A Financial Report," Educational Theatre Journal, 23 (1971),
51-61.

Virginia R. Francisco, Charles Kean's Acting Career, 1827-57, and
the Development of His Style, Diss. Indiana Univ., 1974 (Ann Arbor:
Univ. Microfilms International, 1974).
8
William G. B. Carson, Letters of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean
Relating to Their American Tours, Washington University Studies in
Language and Literature, No. 15 (St. Louis: Washington Univ. Press,
1945); J. M. D. Hardwick, Emigrant in Motley: The Journey Australia and
America, As Told in Their Hitherto Unpublished Letters (London:
Rockliff, 1954).













CHAPTER II
THE THEATRE OF CHARLES KEAN


Charles John Kean, second and only surviving son of Edmund and

Mary Chambers Kean, became an actor from necessity rather than calling

or genius. He was no better prepared to earn his livelihood on the

stage than would have been any of his fellow Etonians. Charles Kean had

been placed in the privileged position of an Oppidan at Eton by the

critical and financial success of his actor father; he was faced with

the necessity of supporting himself and his invalid mother by that same

father's decline due to an intemperate life style.

Born on January 18, 1811, Kean was three years old when his father,

after years of the barest of existences, made his triumphant debut at

Drury Lane in January, 1814. It is said that Edmund Kean rushed home in

the flush of success, promising his wife "you shall ride in your own

carriage and Charles shall go to Eton."1 The younger Kean did, indeed,

enjoy the fruits of his father's labors, attending preparatory school

before entering Eton in 1824 with an ample allowance for board and
2
education of 300 pounds per year. Charles Kean's biographer spoke of

his accomplishments in fencing and rowing at Eton--he was made second

captain of the "Long Boats"--but made no mention of his academic record.3

Eton was to have prepared Kean for university; during his last term at

Eton, however, Kean was offered a cadetship with the East India Company,

which position had been solicited by his father. Charles Kean refused

to accept unless Edmund Kean, estranged from his wife, guaranteed an









allowance sufficient for her support. His father's finances would not

permit such a demand to be met, and young Kean refused to leave his

mother without an adequate income. It is told that Edmund Kean angrily

asked his son, "What will you do when I discard you, and you are thrown

entirely on your own resources?" The young Charles replied that "I

shall be compelled to seek my fortune on the stage."4 True to his

threat, Edmund Kean cut off his son's allowance and Kean left Eton in

July, 1827.

Much as his father's anger had precipitated Kean's abrupt change in

fortunes, just so his father's departure from Drury Lane following a

misunderstanding with Stephen Price, the American manager, gained for

Kean his first engagement as an actor. Price, having lost the father,

promptly hired the son. Charles Kean's first appearance on any stage

took place on October 1, 1827, at Drury Lane, when he played Young

Norval in John Home's tragedy of Douglas.S Young Kean was not yet

seventeen years old. Over the next forty years, Charles Kean was an

active and innovative actor and producer in the theatre of England and

the United States.

His career spanning the middle four decades of the nineteenth century,

Charles Kean reflected and promoted the developments of a period which

Allardyce Nicoll characterized as "above all others, a period of change

in the theatre," a transition to the modern theatre.6 The nineteenth

century theatre experienced changes in the audience attending the theatre,

the drama performed there, the acting styles of the performers, and the

approach to production of both contemporary and classical plays.

The audience of the nineteenth century was the product of a

changing society brought about by industrialization and urbanization,









and the attendant need for escapism. A feel for the audience of the

early nineteenth century in both England and the United States may be

gained from Nicoll's description of the British audience of that period.

Typical audiences were composed mainly of lowerclass citizens
with a sprinkling of representatives from the gayer and more
libertine section of the aristocracy. The staid middle class
and the respectable, dignified nobility tended to look upon 7
the stage as a thing not to be supported in an active manner.

Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, the theatre became

increasingly accessible to the working class; as the audiences grew in

number, the theatres built increased in capacity, with theatres of 2500

to 3500 capacity not uncommon.

These larger theatres attempted to offer something for every

segment of the audience, with the result that an evening's bill became

a miscellany of offerings ranging from legitimate drama through juggling

acts to equestrian performers and whatever else might be supposed to

attract an audience. As the audience grew, the various segments of it

grew apart as well. Finally, following the Astor Place riot of 1849,

which dramatized that there did, indeed, exist a division of classes in

America, the theatres began to specialize. Rather than the miscellany

of offerings designed to appeal to all audiences, the American theatres

in particular began to cater to the tastes of specific groups. This

exclusivity of appeal helped precipitate the return of the upper classes

to the theatre. Concomitant with Charles Kean's management of the

Princess's Theatre, the English upper class, led by Queen Victoria's

example, returned to the theatre from the opera houses to which they had

earlier fled. The theatre of the nineteenth century, then, responded

to, accommodated, and was changed by its audience.









The influence of the audience was seen as well in the drama of the

nineteenth century. In general, that drama was romanticism throughout

most of the century, especially in America; more particularly, that

drama was melodrama. "Certainly throughout the century the average

spectator of American theatre and drama delighted in the larger-than-

life representation of the romantic imagination."8 The melodrama's

primary appeal early in the period was to the unsophisticated element of

the audience, but following 1840 the "gentlemanly melodrama" of such

writers as Bulwer-Lytton and Marston broadened the audience to whom the

genre appealed. Grimsted attributed melodrama's appeal not to audience

stupidity or bad taste, noting the continued lead enjoyed by Shakespearean

drama in frequency of performance, but to the fact that "nineteenth

century audiences understandably craved a drama reflective of their own

situations and standards."9 Nicoll saw melodrama's dominance in part as

"theatre's protest against the often excrutiating dullness of the literary

efforts."10 Elsewhere, he observed that the "varying of the method of

expression to suit the demands of the period" is characteristic of many

periods of drama.11 The audience clearly preferred these melodramas to

the more literary plays which were removed from contemporary life, often

being mere imitations of old models.

The role of drama for nineteenth century America can be illustrated

by reference to the curtain of the original Chestnut St. Theatre in

Philadelphia: the original legend beneath an emblematic representation

of "America encouraging the drama" read "The Eagle Suffers Little Birds

to Sing"; this was soon changed to read "For Useful Mirth and Salutary

Woe."12 Seen in some quarters as a result of the decline of dramatic









writing, the melodrama at least offered the vitality of thrill and action

not present in most of the drama being written.

As the form itself was an accommodation to the demands of an

emerging audience, melodrama adapted to the changing demands of that

audience, thus remaining vital and, in the words of Nicoll, pointing

"forward towards that type of domestic play which has provided the most

characteristic medium of modern theatrical expression."13 Early in the

century, the melodrama was exotic and romantically adventurous;

following 1830, however, the form became domestic. Grimsted summarized

the appeal of this dramatic genre which dominated the stage, especially

in America, during much of the nineteenth century.

Its conventions were false, its language stilted and commonplace,
its characters stereotypes, and its morality and theology gross
simplifications. Yet its appeal was great, and understandable.
It took the lives of common people seriously and paid much
respect to their superior purity and wisdom. It elevated them
often into the aristocracy, always into a world charged with
action, excitement and a sense of wonder. It gave audiences a
chance to empathize in a direct way, to laugh and to cry, and
it held up ideals and promised rewards, particularly that of the
paradise of the happy home based on female purity, that were
available to all. And its moral parable struggled to reconcile
social fears and life's awesomeness with the period's confidence
in absolute moral standards, man's upward progress, and a 14
benevolent providence that insured the triumph of the pure.

Never static, life was changing still and questions remained

unanswered; faith no longer was sufficient. Thus it was that melodrama

began to be challenged.

Such drama seemed rather to encourage endurance than a search
for solutions. As it became clear in the political and economic
realms that patience under adversity was not sufficient, the
ideals encouraged by romantic drama and melodrama ceaed to
exert any strong appeal for those who favored change.

The faith that everything would work out in the end was replaced by a

scientific search for truth. As the biological, physical, and social









sciences progressed during the nineteenth century, the dramatic form

moved toward realism.

The nineteenth century theatre into which Charles Kean entered in

1827 also exhibited change in its acting style. During the course of

the century, that style moved from the stilted declamation of the

classical school through the emotional and energetic point-making of

the romantic style to the greater realism of a subdued, quiet, and

unified approach at century's end. Kean's father initiated some changes;

the younger Kean had his impact as well. The century began with the

"classical" school in control; acting was seen as a conventional art,

and the classicists "strove to exhibit skill rather than simulate real

life."16 Heavily laden with rules and termed stately, dignified, and

restrained, the classical actors, such as the Kembles, played for points.

Hazlitt declared that Edmund Kean "destroyed the Kemble religion"

upon his London debut in January, 1814. Edmund Kean's acting was

original, emotional, and sometimes naturalistic. His style was

characterized by lack of restraint, wild force, and fiery passion. The

elder Kean exhibited "fitful surges of genuine feeling and . sudden,

intermittent, dazzling glimpses of truth."17

Edmund Kean in turn was challenged by Macready, who debuted in

London two years after Kean, and who, by 1823, was making a bid for

supremacy. William Macready carried the occasional naturalness of Kean

still further. Careful and thorough in his preparations, Macready

strove for a completeness and unity of characterization rather than for

flashy moments or points. Vocally, he aimed for a familiar and natural









style of speech. Furthermore, in an act rather revolutionary for the

time, Macready actually acted in rehearsals.

Thus with the beginnings of something like a method Macready
evolved a faintly natural style of acting, a studied style,
"wholly his own and completely attuned to the spirit of the
early Victorian era whose eminent tragedian he was to be."18

It is seen, then, that English acting moved, however slowly, toward

a more realistic method as the century progressed. By mid century,

there had developed two schools of acting: one considered the conception

of the character to be the most important element of acting and neglected

the projection of that conception to the audience; the other depended

upon the exhibitionism of spectacular delivery for its effects.

Charles Kean continued the movement toward realism during his tenure

at the Princess's Theatre by dabbling "with a style of acting serious

drama which, while only a compromise with the old, was fresher and more

natural than London playgoers had yet seen."19 Kean had undergone much

change to reach this point. Early in his career he tried to play his

father's characters in his father's style; he failed. He moved from that

position to a style of more subdued manner, making his characters, which

were now different themselves, familiar to his audiences. Finally he

returned to the grand Shakespearean roles, humanizing them and making

them, too, familiar. Enroute to his mature style, Kean perfected his

technique of imbuing his characters with those individualizing

characteristics which made them human. He also perfected the use of

byplay to aid this familiarizing of characters. Kean's mature style

was placed in perspective by Francisco:









Charles Kean, then, stood precisely where the romanticist's
understanding of divided human nature became the realist's
style of acting. His conception of character, which conceded
that men have admirable traits as well as evil ones, was
linked to the actors who preceded him. But his carefully
detailed, thoroughly motivated, highly individualized
characterizations looked forward to the realistic and
naturalistic schools; as his production methods looked forward
to the Bancrofts, Irving, and Tree, so his acting style 20
foreshadowed that of many actors of the twentieth century.

American acting of the early nineteenth century was little different

from that of England since most actors were English emigrants or stars

on tour. But with the New York debut of Edwin Forrest in 1826, American

actors began their ascent. Forrest, influenced by an appearance with

Edmund Kean in 1825, developed a style of "strenuous elocutionary,

so-called realism."21 Like Macready and Charles Kean, he aimed for a

complete and detailed characterization. Foreshadowing one realistic

technique, Forrest studied in environments appropriate for the various

roles he played: an asylum and old men's home for Lear; an Indian

tribe for Metamora. Known for his magnificent physique and strong voice,

Forrest was felt by some observers to have "muscularized" his effects

past the point of credibility.22

Edwin Booth was named for Edwin Forrest, but did not fit into the

same energetic, "so-called realistic" mold. His approach was

elocutionary, although he softened and dignified that style.23 Booth

became America's leading actor in the 1860's and 1870's, when, like

Charles Kean, he managed his own theatre and directed "imaginatively

and painstakingly the productions he starred in."24 With the traditional

Atlantic lag, America did not move as rapidly towards realism as the

Europeans.










A development of consequence, especially in the American theatre,

was the fascination with the visiting "star." This was one of the factors

leading to the demise of the repertory system.

Primary among developments in the production and management of

theatre during the nineteenth century was the emergence of the director

as a dominant artistic force--accompanied by the focus on historical

accuracy and pictorial realism in staging, the adoption of the extended

run to replace nightly variation in the performance bill, and the

subsequent decline of the repertory system.

In the late eighteenth century, David Garrick assumed the role of a

dominant actor/manager, controlling all elements of production. William

Macready utilized a similar approach in his management of the Covent

Garden and Drury Lane theatres. Charles Kean adopted the approach, and

expanded it into a unified production concept. Edwin Booth did much the

same in the United States. Henry Irving, in late century, built upon

the work of Macready and Kean. Concomitant with the rising significance

of the director was the movement toward historical accuracy and realism

in staging; the long run resulted from the need to recoup the major

investment of time and finances in such elaborate productions; the long

run meant that theatres used only those actors necessary for the current

production, making a company of versatile performers, used only

infrequently, a liability, thus causing the decline of the repertory

system.

This, then, is in brief the theatre into which Charles Kean stepped

on October 1, 1827, beginning a career that lasted forty years. In his

work in both America and England, Charles Kean was in the mainstream of









theatrical development, reflecting contemporary trends and forecasting

future developments through his acting and production styles.

Charles Kean first performed in America during the three seasons of

1830-33. The young Kean, unprepared by training or apprenticeship,

failed to score a success in London in 1827, and found little acceptance

in the provincial theatres of the British Isles to which he fled

following his London debut. In this first American tour, Kean, despite

playing his father's characters in his father's style, met with the

initial favorable reception of his young career. The second tour,

following an apprenticeship in the provincial theatres of Great Britain

and his eventual triumph on the London stage in 1838, spanned just one

foreshortened season in 1939-40. Kean, chronically ill, encountered

such catastrophes as burning theatres and fatally-injured actors, but

still met with some degree of success when he was able to play. Kean's

third American tour followed a period in which, under his new wife's

influence, he adopted a repertory of roles in comedy and melodrama

replacing the great roles of his father, and gradually perfected an

acting approach which emphasized an unexaggerated, down-played, familiar

performance style unified with a humanized conception of character.

This third tour covered the two seasons of 1845-47; during these

seasons Kean acted roles which were mostly from contemporary plays, and

also foreshadowed his Princess's years by producing Richard III and

King John on the New York stage in full-blown, historically accurate,

and spectacular productions. The fourth and final tour of America by

Kean took place during the seasons of 1864-66; during this tour, Kean

performed for the first time on the west coast of the United States.





16



He played both the contemporary roles in comedy and melodrama which he

had played in 1845-47, and the grand roles of Shakespeare, in the same

carefully detailed, highly individualized acting style for which he

had become noted.









Notes


John William Cole, The Life and Theatrical Times of Charles
Kean, F.S.A. (London: Richard Bentley, 1859), I, 63.
2Cole, I, 143.
3
Cole, I, 144.

Cole, I, 146.

Cole, I, 149.
6Allardyce Nicoll, Early Nineteenth Century Drama, 1800-1850,
Vol. IV of A History of the English Drama, 1600-1900, 2nd ed.
(Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 19667, p. 6.

7Allardyce Nicoll, Late Nineteenth Century, 1850-1900, Vol. V
of A History of the English Drama, 1600-1900, 2nd ed. (Cambridge:
Cambridge Univ. Press, 1966), pp. 8-9.
8
Richard Moody, America Takes the Stage: Romanticism in American
Drama and Theatre, 1750-1900 (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1955),
p. 238.
9
David Grimsted, Melodrama Unveiled: American Theatre and
Culture, 1800-1850 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1968), pp. 20-21.

1Allardyce Nicoll, En lish Drama: A Modern Viewpoint (New York:
Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1968), p. 102.

1Nicoll, History, IV, 214.

1Grimsted, p. 170.

13 Nicoll, History, IV, 212.
14
1Grimsted, p. 248.
15
Oscar G. Brockett and Robert R. Findlay, Century of Innovation:
A History of European and American Theatre and Drama Since 1870
TEnglewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973), p. 4.
16
1Nicoll, History, V, 49.

Edwin Duerr, The Length and Depth of Acting (New York: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, 1962), p. 308.






18


Alan Downer, "The Making of a Great Actor--William Charles
Macready," Theatre Annual, 7 (1948-49), p. 63, in Duerr, p. 315.
19
1Duerr, p. 347.
20
Virginia R. Francisco, Charles Kean's Acting Career, 1827-1867,
and the Development of His Style, Diss. Indiana Univ., 1974 (Ann Arbor:
Univ. Microfilms International, 1974), p. 276.
21
2Duerr, p. 339.
22
Duerr, p. 339.
23
2Duerr, p. 364.
24
Duerr, p. 364.













CHAPTER III
THE FIRST TOUR, 1830-33


In the two years following his acting debut at Drury Lane on

October 1, 1827, Charles Kean endured unfavorable press reaction,

constant comparison to his famous father, and little more than grudging

acceptance by the British public; having, thus, little prospect for

success at home, Kean undertook a tour of Holland with an English

theatrical company. His fortunes deteriorated still further when the

manager of that troupe absconded with all the company funds, leaving

Kean and his companions stranded in Holland; these unfortunates managed

their return to England only through a benefit performance sponsored by

the King of Holland.

With such experiences compounding his frustration and sense of

failure, the young Kean was compelled to search anew for brighter fields;

thus it was that Kean sailed for America in August, 1830. It was on

this initial theatrical tour of the United States that Charles Kean met

with his first real success as an actor.

Years later, Kean acknowledged his debt to the Americans for the

encouragement he received on this initial American tour.

Thrown before the public by untoward circumstances, at the
early age of sixteen and a-half, encompassed by many
difficulties, friendless, and untutored, the efforts of my
boyhood were criticised in so severe and spirit-crushing a
strain, as almost to unnerve my energies, and drive me
despairingly from the stage. The indulgence usually extended
to novices was denied to me. I was not permitted to cherish
the hope that time and study could ever enable me to correct
the faults of youthful inexperience. The very resemblance I
bore to my late father was urged against me as an offence,










and condemned as being "strange and unnatural." Sick at heart,
I left my home and sought the shores of America. To the
generous inhabitants of that far land I am indebted for the
first ray of success that illuminated my clouded career.1

Charles Kean's first American tour was a time of experimentation

and preparation. Like his provincial tours in the British Isles, this

tour enabled Kean to acquire and perfect those acting skills which he

did not possess when he debuted in 1827; it also gave him a chance to

develop a repertory of roles suited to his talents. This initial

American tour comprised three seasons: 1830-31, 1831-32, and 1832-33.

During the first season, Kean played four major cities on the east

coast--New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore--and four other

cities more removed from the populous east--New Orleans, Natchez,

Louisville, and Richmond. Kean played sixteen roles for ninety-one

performances throughout the full nine-month seasons, September to June.

The five roles most frequently performed during this first season were

Sir Giles Overreach in A New Way to Pay Old Debts by Philip Massinger,

Richard III, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Sir Edward Mortimer in

The Iron Chest by George Colman, and Reuben Glenroy in Town and Country

by Thomas Morton. The first season was significant for the characters

which Kean played for the first time in his career; of the sixteen roles

acted by Kean in the 1830-31 season, eight had not been acted previously

by him. Those new characters were Sir Giles Overreach, Richard III,

Shylock, Othello, the title role in The Stranger adapted from Kotzebue

by Benjamin Thompson, Brutus in The Fall of Tarquin by William Hunt,

Duke Aranza in The Honeymoon by John Tobin, and Carwin in Therese, the

Orphan of Geneva by John Kerr. It will be noted that three of the five

most frequently acted roles of this season were new characters for Kean.









Of the eight new roles acted by Kean in 1830-31, only two--Brutus and

Carwin--were not frequently repeated later in Kean's career. Carwin

was not performed after 1834; Brutus was dropped after 1842, having been

performed only infrequently in the twelve years it had been in Kean's

repertory. Sir Giles Overreach and Othello were acted often in

subsequent years by Kean, although both were less frequently acted in

the second half of Kean's career. The Stranger and Duke Aranza were

frequently performed throughout Kean's career; Richard III and Shylock

remained major roles in Kean's repertory. Two of the most frequently

performed characters of 1830-31--Sir Edward Mortimer and Reuben Glenroy--

had been assumed earlier than the 1830-31 season; they remained

frequently performed roles, especially during the first half of Kean's

career. Hamlet, the sixth most frequent performance of 1830-31,

remained a major character throughout Kean's career. Two other roles

acted by Kean during this season, although first played earlier, bear

mentioning: Romeo was played frequently in the first half of Kean's

career; Richard II was infrequently performed, except during the

Princess's seasons of 1856-57 and 1857-58, when it was performed more

than one-hundred times. During this first season of the initial

American tour, Kean began most engagements with Richard III; that

pattern continued through the other two seasons.

During the second season of 1831-32, Kean added Montreal, Albany,

and Washington to the four eastern cities of the previous season,

concentrating his performances in a more compact geographic region,

venturing afield only for an engagement in Charleston. Kean played

fourteen characters for fifty performances throughout the September to










June season. Some adjustment was made in the most frequently performed

roles: Richard III replaced Sir Giles Overreach in first position; Sir

Giles became the second-place role; Shylock dropped from the top five,

being replaced in third position by Hamlet; Sir Edward Mortimer dropped

to fifth place, with Othello becoming the fourth most-frequently-acted

character; Reuben Glenroy dropped from fifth position to quite low on

the list. Only one new role was added by Kean in this season, the title

role in Waldimar, a new play by an American author, J. F. Chapman;

after five performances, the character was never performed again by

Kean. Norval in Douglas by John Home, Kean's London debut role of

1827, was acted once in this season; after 1836, it was dropped from

Kean's repertory.

Kean apparently played only two months of the 1832-33 season in

America, from mid-November to mid-January. During that time, he played

only in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, acting nine roles in

eighteen performances. In this brief period, he did act three new

roles--Master Walter in The Hunchback by Sheridan Knowles, Cassius in

Julius Caesar, and King John. Master Walter, a supporting role, was

not played again by Kean, although he frequently performed in The

Hunchback as Sir Thomas Clifford later in his career. King John was

one of Kean's grand stagings of Shakespeare, both on the third American

tour--1845-47--and during the Princess's period--1850-59; King John was

also played during the farewell tour of 1864-66. Cassius was only

infrequently acted by Kean.

Of all roles acted by Kean during the three seasons of this first

American tour, Sir Giles Overreach, Romeo and Hamlet received the most









positive critical reaction. Sir Giles was called a masterly performance,

highly creditable and original, exhibiting skill and power. Romeo held

the mirror up to nature, and was one of Kean's best characters, the

reviewers said. Hamlet was a finished performance, chaste and classical,

without rant and bombast; it was also thought to be one of Kean's best

roles. Duke Aranza, Rolla in Pizarro by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the

Stranger, and Shylock each received favorable evaluations from the

limited reviews available. Richard III and Reuben Glenroy were met with

mixed reviews; some writers gave these performances strongly favorable

comments, while others thought the same roles on the same occasions were

weakly acted. The most negative critical commentary of the three seasons

was received by Kean's Othello, which was called by several reviewers

"an unequal performance."

During the twenty-nine months of his stay in America, Charles Kean

traveled thousands of miles by land and water; performed throughout the

eastern half of the nation from the Gulf of Mexico into Canada, and all

along the Atlantic seaboard; and enacted at least twenty-one roles with

a total of at least one-hundred-fifty-nine performances. Such are

the confirmed statistics; but what did Charles Kean accomplish?

This initial American tour, coming as it did at a time of

insecurity and doubt, aided Charles Kean in several ways. First, it

removed him for a while from the venue of those English critics who

never let lie the unfavorable comparisons to his father. Second, it

enabled Kean to earn the livelihood necessary to support himself and

his mother. But more importantly, this tour enabled the young actor to

try his wings, playing new roles and developing old ones, so that he










gained that training which had not been his when he first confronted

his native audiences. Charles Kean returned to England in 1833 more

confident and self-possessed.

Charles Kean's debut on the American stage took place at the Park

Theatre in New York on September 1, 1830, when he acted Richard III.

One of those present in the "jammed house" was Philip Hone, the

diarist, who recorded his impressions of the youthful Kean's first

appearance on these shores.

But making every allowance for the disadvantages of a
first appearance, I cannot perceive that he inherits any
great proportion of his father's genius, and is, in my
opinion quite deficient in the requisite physical
qualities of voice, figure, and deportment. Booth is playing
tragedy at the Bowery Theatre, and I have no doubt will be
greatly preferred by theatrical amateurs.2

The Mirror was kinder in its evaluation, noting that Kean seemed

embarrassed as the "overflowing audience" greeted his entrance with

"the most animated and repeated acclamations." The review continued

with an admission of initial skepticism.

We confess, as he proceeded in the opening soliloquy, we
were crossed with a conviction that the endeavour of the
youth . to measure himself with the wonderful genius
of his father, must prove altogether feeble and hopeless.
As he proceeded, however, he appeared to gain new powers,
and gradually to become warmed with his part . and
when the curtain fell, we were fully of the opinion that
he possessed a talent to command success. . His
attitudes and gestures are appropriate and beautiful; his voice
is not loud, but pleasing and well managed.3

The Mirror further stated that Kean could not be accused of "any

servile imitation" of his father, but that the resemblance of son to

father was quite strong. Charles Kean, the account asserted "has

fewer faults than his father, and such as he does possess, will doubt-

less rapidly disappear."









The young thespian, meanwhile, was elated with his debut. Kean

wrote the next day that the theatre had been filled "long before the

rise of the curtain," and that the opening night's receipts had been

$1620. Kean was pleased that "on my entrance I was greeted with thunders

of applause which continued some minutes." Successful as he judged

his debut to be, Kean, perhaps having been cautioned against rash

self-congratulations by manager Simpson, admitted that one performance

had not decided his fate.

Mr. Simpson says I have made a strong impression upon one
party, and the other doesn't know what to think, for they
came to the theatre not expecting much and were astonished.
My fate therefore is not yet decided. Friday night if
successful will establish me.5

One can feel the young Kean's animation as he recounted those scenes

which met with the greatest approbation. The applause was "tremendous"

for the last two acts. "I thought it would never cease," Kean said of

several speeches; among them were those beginning "off with his head,"

"Richard's himself again," and "Draw archers." Also receiving the

accolades of the audience were the tent scene, the fight, the scene with

Lady Anne in the second act, and Richard's death scene.6

Realizing that curiosity to see the unknown quantity of Edmund's

son prompted the attendance of many of his first audience, and that

subsequent performances would determine his success, Kean vowed to

exert himself "to my utmost" in his next appearance.7

Engaged to perform three nights a week, Kean next appeared as

Sir Giles Overreach in Philip Massinger's A New Way to Pay Old Debts

(9/3). The American decried the "want of discrimination" by the

audience at the Park, who applauded Kean most for those points where









his acting most resembled his father's. Kean's resemblance to his

father in the role was called close to "mimicry" and "caricature."

On the other hand, the American said, "of his great merit as a

tragedian . there can be hardly a doubt. . His conception of the

part was just, and in many respects complete." After reflecting on the

similarities between father and son, including the "most expressive eye

that ever portrayed the workings of the mind upon the stage," the

writer repeated that Charles Kean was a "most promising actor."8

The Mirror echoed that sentiment: "It is now no longer a question

whether he shall be placed in the first class of actors, even resting

his reputation upon the two parts already personated." Observing that

Kean displayed skill and power in the role of Sir Giles, the Mirror

expressed pleasure that his success of the first night had been confirmed

by this new Friday audience; all that remained was "to determine the

precise degree of his excellence." Kean displayed remarkable judgment

for a young man not yet twenty, and called forth such bursts of passion

that the Mirror feared that, "the gristle of youth" not yet being

"hardened into the bone of manhood," Kean might overtax his youth.

The "evident fatigue in the last act" was attributed to that cause.

There was then offered a more particular commentary on the performance:

In confirmation of the opinion given above, we adduce the
relenting of paternal affection which occasionally softened
the delivery of his harsh and brutal instructions to his daughter;
and we noticed the tones of the voice to shape themselves
to this with great flexibility. When the crisis in
the third act, so trying to the powers of an actor
personating Sir Giles, arrived, no fault could be
found either with conception or execution; the first shock
over of the blank deed, the faculties gradually rally
themselves to look for a cause; the suspicions hastily
thrown upon Wellborn, the fierce and commanding, and









subsequently imploring and abject manner towards Marall,
the ultimate fits of ungovernable passion, the final
paroxysm, the hysteric laugh, the groan, the syncope--all
these were unexceptionable in point of judgment, although
the degree of positive power in comparison with his
father might be disputed.9

Having met a favorable reception in his first two roles in America,

Kean selected Othello for his third character (9/7). The Mirror did

not offer as strongly favorable a response to Kean's acting of this

role: "If we scan his Othello with an impartial eye, we must pronounce

it an unequal performance." The commentary proceeded with one of those

comparisons to his father's acting style which so dogged Kean early in

his career; particularly noted was Othello's farewell speech, "Soft you,

a word or two before you go," which, "although correctly read, did not

give us that idea of heart-broken despair which the elder Kean used to

impart to it with irresistable power." There was a complaint of

monotony in the murder scene: a "too precise and lengthened delivery

in a scene where so many conflicting passions are struggling for

mastery, is calculated to injure the effect." All was not negative,

however: "his acting in the scenes with lago, and the gradual

awakening of his suspicions, the almost insanity which burst forth

when they become gradually matured were given with the fidelity and

force of a veteran actor."10

Kean followed Othello with Sir Edward Mortimer in The Iron Chest

by George Colman (9/9), the first role in which he had received

favorable notices in London. The week ended with Kean's acting of

Shylock (9/11), another role associated with his father.

During the following week, Kean repeated Richard III (9/14) and

Sir Giles Overreach (9/16), before giving his initial performance of

Hamlet (9/18). The Mirror was laudatory:










A clear, melodious and distinct reading . this is
preeminently one of Mr. C. Kean's merits, and one which
if he had no other, would entitle him to the highest
rank in the list of tragic actors. But in addition to
this, his fine action throughout, the chasteness of his
gesticulation, and his thorough acquaintance with . the
business of the play, stamp his Hamlet as a most finished
performance. . We cannot omit adverting with marked
approbation to the first scene with the ghost, his
instructions to the players, the interview with Ophelia,
and particularly the pathetic delivery of "I did love you
once . To a nunnery go," etc., and the closet scene
with his mother, as finished in the highest possible degree.
Upon the whole, we think that Hamlet is one of Mr. Kean's
best characters.11

Kean's final performance in this initial New York engagement was

as Romeo to the Juliet of Clara Fisher for her benefit performance

(9/20). The Mirror once again was impressed. Kean as Romeo

"throughout . held the mirror up to nature." The balcony scene,

the slaying of Tybalt with its "rapid transition from tenderness to anger

and revenge," were enthusiastically received. The final scene drew

special plaudits: "the deep pathos he threw into the . scene,

where he drinks the poison, and expires with Juliet's name still

quivering on his lips, was . unequalled."12 With Romeo, Kean ended

his Park engagement and left for Philadelphia.

Kean's first role at the Arch St. Theatre in Philadelphia was, as

in New York, Richard III (9/23). Francis C. Wemyss was present for

that performance, and regretted that the "well filled" house had not

been at the Chestnut St. Theatre instead of the Arch St. Wishing for

the success of the young Kean, Wemyss left the theatre, nonetheless,

"with a feeling of disappointment, and a conviction that the mantle of

the father had not descended upon the shoulders of the son." Wemyss









thought the performance "weak throughout" and such a failure that no

later success could remove its effect.13

Kean's second Philadelphia performance was as Sir Giles Overreach

(9/25), followed by Shylock (9/27) and Othello (9/29).

A factor which later became an obsession with Kean surfaced during

this first Philadelphia engagement:

To give some idea of the absurd sums now paid, I must
especially mention, on the manager's authority, that
C. Kean, on his first engagement at the Arch Street
Theatre, received a clear half of each night's gross
receipts, besides being paid full ice for half of
the stockholder's free admissions. (Italics mine.)

Wood observed that such an arrangement could be a prudent one only with

a star who would draw exceedingly well, so as to leave the manager some

profit after the expenses were paid from his half-share. Kean wrote

later that he had a "triumphant" engagement in Philadelphia and had been

reengaged for the following January at fifty pounds per night.15 If

such terms were, indeed, offered, the management evidently had

expectation of reasonable remuneration for themselves from such a

reengagement, indicating that the current engagement had given them a

profit as well.

Kean's next engagement was in Richmond, where he opened, as usual,

in Richard III (10/11). The Compiler offered little illumination:

"Mr. Kean performed Richard, last night, to a crowded and admiring

house. With the exception of a few trifling mispronunciations by some

of the minor characters, the performance was, throughout, excellent."16

Kean noted that the weather caused him to open to a house of only $300,

about half the potential receipts.17 Kean made his second appearance as

Sir Giles Overreach (10/13), followed by Othello (10/15) and a repeat









of Richard III (10/16). For his final performance and benefit, Kean

acted, once more, Sir Giles Overreach (10/20), "by particular desire."18

Baltimore was next on Kean's itinerary; he began at the Holliday St.

Theatre with his usual opening role, Richard III (10/25). Also

performed during the first week at the same theatre were Sir Giles

Overreach (10/27), and Hamlet (10/29). Kean also played one night under

the same management at the Adelphi Theatre, where he acted Shylock to

Mrs. Duff's Portia in The Merchant of Venice (10/28).

Kean acted three nights during the second week of the Baltimore

engagement, playing Rolla in Pizarro (11/1), Shylock (11/3), and Sir

Giles Overreach (11/5). For his final appearance and benefit, Kean

acted Reuben Glenroy in Town and Country by Thomas Morton, and Felix in

The Hunter of the Alps by William Dimond (11/8).

Enroute to Boston for an engagement, Kean played four nights at the

Park Theatre in New York. He opened, as usual, as Richard III (11/12);

played Hamlet (11/15) "to an Ophelia possibly old enough to know better";19

followed with Sir Giles Overreach (11/17); and, for his benefit, acted

Sir Edward Mortimer (11/19).

Kean proceeded to Boston's Tremont Theatre, where he opened as

Richard III (11/22). Walter Leman recalled that the young Kean "met

with an enthusiastic welcome," and that he exhibited the ability to make

points like his father.20 Kean's second role was Sir Giles Overreach

(11/24), succeeded by Hamlet (11/26). The second week's performances

were as Shylock (11/29), Sir Edward Mortimer (12/1), and Reuben Glenroy

(12/3). Kean closed his Tremont engagement on his benefit night, acting

both Sir Giles Overreach and Felix (12/6).









Sir Giles Overreach was acted by Kean on December 14 at the Park;

according to Odell, this was the first performance of the engagement.

Unless Kean had altered his pattern, however, there must have been an

earlier performance of Richard III. Kean himself, although not always

exact about dates, supported an earlier opening when he wrote that the

New York engagement would begin about December 12.2 Odell's reference

to a subsequent performance of Richard III as "repeated" also supports
22
an earlier opening.22 In any event, Kean continued his engagement by

acting Romeo to Clara Fisher's Juliet (12/15), followed by Shylock,

performed with Mrs. Barnes (12/18).

The second week of the Park engagement, Kean acted Hamlet to

Fisher's Ophelia (12/20), and Durimel to her Bertha in A Point of Honor

by Charles Kemble (12/22). The pairing of the two young actors was

continued for Kean's benefit; on that occasion, they appeared as Reuben

Glenroy and Rosalie in Town and Country (12/24).

Kean repeated Richard III (12/27) to begin the final week of the

Park stand; he followed with Sir Edward Mortimer (12/29), and his first

performance as Brutus, one of his father's great parts, in William

Hunt's The Fall of Tarquin, on his benefit night (12/31).

Having closed the old year in New York, Kean opened his 1831

appearances at the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia. The daily

account book of William Burke Wood, co-manager of that theatre, recorded

the receipts for Kean's engagement. The opening performance as Shylock

(1/8) brought in $297, the most remunerative house of the engagement.23

Wemyss attributed Kean's poor houses to his not having chosen the

Chestnut for his initial Philadelphia performances. It would appear









that Kean's reengagement at the Arch St. Theatre had not materialized.

It is evident that the Chestnut receipts for his appearances there could

not have supported the fifty pounds per night Kean reported that the

Arch St. Theatre had offered him; the average night's receipts for

Kean's stand was less than $120, far below the $300 nightly expenses,

causing Wood to proclaim the Kean engagement "a signal failure."24

Kean next acted Richard III (1/11) to receipts of $130; played

Reuben Glenroy (1/12) to receipts of $60; performed Sir Giles (1/13) to

receipts of $80; and repeated Richard III (1/14) to receipts of $41!

For his benefit and final performance at the Chestnut St. Theatre (12/17),

Kean acted Brutus and Felix; the receipts were only $107.25

After such a chilly reception in his second Philadelphia engagement,

Kean headed south to act at the American Theatre in New Orleans. Kean's

first role there was his customary Richard III (2/28). Despite his

suffering the obvious effects of a severe cold, the Courier reported

that Kean received "most enthusiastic acclamations" from an "overflowing

audience." The writer, while confessing the impossibility of a valid

analysis of Kean's acting based upon a single performance, still found

much to commend:

. it is the result of much study and reflection, in
a school where the exuberances of genius have been pruned
away by a judicious hand. It is somewhat surprising that
one so young should be able to delineate such stirring
passions.

While Kean could not be accused of "servile imitation" of his father,

there was much to remind one of Edmund Kean; the Courier perceived in

the son much of the ability of the father:









. in those passages in which the feelings cannot be
expressed by ordinary physical exertions, by his deep
undertone, and the fine play of his speaking countenance,
he threw a spell over his auditory, equal to the magic
which the elder Kean knew so well how to command.26

Kean followed his opening success with a performance of Sir Giles

(3/2). The Courier reaffirmed its initial favorable evaluation, saying

"it is fearlessly asserted that, although his fame was liable to be

questioned, by those who had only seen his Richard III, it has been

established upon a permanent basis, by his personation of Sir Giles

Overreach." The reviewer pointed out the difficulty presented by the

play, containing, as it did, such an abundance of incidents which "quite

laid aside" probability; the actor was then forced to overcome the

impression created in the audience that he was trying to impose upon

their credulity. The Courier found Kean able to surmount such obstacles.

All these disadvantages disappeared before Mr. Kean,
whose unnatural jeering at the orphan's, and the
widow's curse, whose unnatural desire of bestowing upon
his daughter the title of "right honourable" for the
apparently leading purpose that she might gratify his
feelings of revenge, even by the sacrifice of her own
happiness, by triumphing over the old stock of nobility,
were less unnatural and improbable than they have ever
been rendered before the present representative trod
the boards.27

Strong praise, indeed, for a young actor of twenty-one years.

Kean's third role in New Orleans was Shylock (3/4), which the

Courier judged to be "entirely successful." Particularly cited were

the effectiveness of Kean's strong rendering of the bold contrast of

"the father's tenderness for his daughter, and an indomitable love of

'the ducats,'" and his scene before the duke, when the pound of flesh

is demanded. This latter scene may have been played more powerfully by

Kean's father, but it was "never more correctly done."28









During his second week at the American Theatre, Kean acted Sir

Edward Mortimer (3/7); Sir Giles Overreach (3/9), which the Courier

called a "masterly performance";29 and Reuben Glenroy (3/11), for which

he was particularly commended.30

To open the third week in New Orleans, Kean acted for the first time

the title role in The Stranger, Benjamin Thompson's adaptation of

Kotzebue's play (3/14). Rarely had an audience been better entertained,

said the Courier, than by this "masterly performance" with its

exhibition of "deep pathos and feeling."31 Illness caused Kean to miss

a regular performance before returning on his benefit night to act both

Brutus and Felix (3/18). The final performance of Kean's New Orleans

engagement was Othello (3/22), which the Courier called "very unequal."

Admitting the difficulty of the role, the writer had been prepared for

Kean not performing with the same degree of excellence shown in his

earlier roles. Even with the faults, there was merit:

. the conflict between his jealousy and his love of the
"gentle Desdemona;" the gradual awakening of his suspicions;
the almost insanity that burst forth when they were matured,
were exhibited in a manner that reflected the highest credit
upon the young aspirant.

Still, the farewell scene suffered from a lack of the "broken-hearted

despair" with which Booth and the elder Kean had played it. The

Courier did not disavow any of its praise of earlier performances,

"although his Othello may not be compared with those of some other

actors of established fame." Rather, Kean was admired for the "degree

of perfection which no one of his years has ever before attained."32

Having completed his engagement at the American Theatre, Kean was

scheduled to travel to Natchez, Mississippi; before he left, however,









Kean played two benefit performances for others. The first was manager

Caldwell's benefit, when Kean acted Reuben Glenroy (3/25); the second

was for Cowell, the stage manager of the American Theatre, on which

occasion Kean, Caldwell, and Cowell acted in Pizarro by Sheridan, Kean

playing Rolla (3/29). The Courier proclaimed that Kean "gained fresh

laurels" as Rolla. Lauding Kean's close attention to the rules espoused

in Hamlet's advice to the players, the writer reported that "the

absence of everything like rant . rendered it one of the most chaste

pieces of acting that has ever been witnessed upon the boards of the

American Theatre." At the same time, however, the performance could not

be called tame: Kean exhibited "great spirit and enthusiasm," and

"melting tenderness"; he was "in every respect the noble Peruvian."33

Kean's next engagement was in Natchez, Mississippi, at the theatre

managed by Ludlow and Smith. He acted Hamlet, Sir Giles Overreach, Sir

Edward Mortimer, Reuben Glenroy, and Romeo during the week of April 4.

Ludlow recalled that Kean's Hamlet "was a very sensible rendition of

the character, and he looked it very well." Ludlow preferred this

early Hamlet to Kean's acting of the part later in his career. Sir

Edward Mortimer did not impress Ludlow, but Kean's Reuben Glenroy was

"the best I have ever seen . he looked and acted the character

admirably."34 Kean received favorable reaction from The Natchez: "If

one may judge by his Sir Giles Overreach . his talents have not been

overrated. In the last act he is not excelled."35 Ludlow recalled

that Kean left upon the minds of the "high toned and educated"

residents of Natchez, the impression of "a gentleman and a scholar."36









Before Kean left New Orleans, the Courier suggested through its

columns that a joint engagement of Kean and Clara Fisher, playing the

characters in which they had acted in New York in the fall, would be

welcomed by the New Orleans public. Upon Kean's return from Natchez,

such an engagement was announced as having been secured "at an enormous

expense.37 The young stars opened their joint reengagement as Romeo

and Juliet (4/18), appearing for the first time in these roles in

New Orleans. The Courier was unstinting in its praise:

The immortal bard himself would have joined with the
large and fashionable audience that was present . they
were applauded to the "very echo." . highly as our
expectations were raised they were more than realized;
Mr. Kean exceeded himself, by which we would be understood
as denominating his Romeo as the best character he has
enacted here.38

Alternating with the music of Mr. and Mrs. Plumer, Kean and Fisher

played twice more during the first week of their joint stand: as

Durimel and Bertha in The Point of Honor (4/20), and as Sir Edward

Mortimer and Wilford in The Iron Chest (4/22).

The young pair opened their second week as Hamlet and Ophelia

(4/25), and then acted a double bill as Reuben Glenroy and Rosalie Somers

in Town and Country, and as Carwin and Therese in Therese, the Orphan

of Geneva by John Kerr; Kean had never before acted Carwin. The Courier

was not pleased with Kean's Glenroy, "in only two scenes did he rise

above mediocrity." More pleasing was Carwin, "not only played better,

but a better play." The Courier offered its view that Kean's better

roles were those which revealed the baser feelings of man:

Carwin is a character that is better adapted to Mr. Kean,
than Reuben Glenroy, who, to make the most of him is a
good young man, who obeys the impulse of strong but pure









feeling; while Carwin is a monster of crime and guilt,
in whose bosom none of the kindlier sympathies are
recognized. It is in the delineation of such dark
passions that Mr. Kean is peculiarly successful, and
therefore it is that his Carwin is superior to his
Reuben Glenroy, and his Richard, in spite of his
unauspicious opening in it, even to his Romeo.39

For his last night and benefit, Kean acted a role new to him, but

familiar to the New Orleans audience through Caldwell's representation:

Duke Aranza in The Honeymoon by John Tobin (4/29). The Courier reported

that Kean "fully realized the expectations of his warmest admirers, in the

character of the Duke Aranza last night," being "very spirited" in the

role.40

Kean remained in New Orleans long enough to play two benefit

performances. The first, for the benefit of the Asylum for Orphan Boys,

netted $1000 as Kean and Fisher repeated Romeo and Juliet (5/2). Kean's

final appearance in New Orleans was as Sir Giles Overreach (5/4) at

Mrs. Page's benefit performance. The Courier called that performance

"one of the most spirited . of that young tragedian upon our

boards." Kean left New Orleans, the Courier observed, with the "respect

and goodwill" of its citizens, having garnered a share of "public

applause and individual esteem" equaled by few who had acted there. In

summary criticism, the Courier offered a general evaluation:

Faults he certainly has; but they are not great or glaring,
and will doubtless disappear before the voice of friendly
and judicious criticism. The greatest, is the monotony of
his voice, in the less exciting scenes; and a disposition
to rely upon particular points rather than the conformity
of a well sustained character.41

Kean wrote that his New Orleans and Natchez engagements had been "great

in the extreme," earning him $3000.42









Kean and Clara Fisher left New Orleans together bound for Louisville,

where they both were engaged, although they did not play the same nights.

Kean's first appearance was as Sir Giles Overreach (5/21). The Daily

Journal called Kean's Sir Giles a "masterly personation of one of the

most difficult characters of the drama." Success in handling the

contrasting qualities of pride and greed which characterized Sir Giles

was "convincing proof that the histrionic abilities of the performer are

of the very highest order."43 A later edition provided more specific

remarks:

His personation of Sir Giles was chaste and highly
creditable. His person, voice and manner, are peculiarly
adapted to that line of characters. His voice though not
very full and powerful, is clear, melodious, and well
trained; his enunciation very distinct; his readings
generally correct; his attitudes graceful. . In the
last act . Mr. Kean gave full scope to his powers. . .
We have rarely seen higher evidence of talent, than he
manifested throughout the last act.

Having begun the performance as less than attentive, the "most crowded

house ever witnessed in our city" was won over as Kean exhibited his

powers in the final act, giving him a "decided verdict of approbation."44

A second full house found Kean's Brutus (5/25) more to their

liking. The Daily Journal, however, thought Brutus less suited to Kean

than Sir Giles or Richard III. He was, nonetheless, credited with a

"correct" conception and readings, giving a performance which was less

characterized by "rant and extravagance" than was customary. Kean was

"an actor of much merit," who could not fail to please the "intelligent

lovers of the drama."45 The favorable reaction of the press was

seconded by the anonymous writer of a letter to the editor, who

expressed his satisfaction with the performances given by Kean.









Sir Giles and Brutus had "sustained his high reputation, and fully

equalled the expectations of crowded houses." The writer further

observed that the depth of feeling displayed by Kean could not be "other

than the effect of natural emotion."46

Kean continued his Louisville performances with Richard III (5/28)

and Shylock (6/1). For his benefit performance, Kean acted two roles:

Rolla in Pizarro and Felix in The Hunter of the Alps (6/4). There

evidently had been some desire for further appearances, at least by Kean

and Fisher together, since two additional performances occurred the

following week. Billed as the last performance of the season, Kean and

Fisher acted Romeo and Juliet (6/6). Public response apparently was

positive and remunerative, for this "one-night-only" event was succeeded

by another appearance by Kean and Fisher, on which occasion they acted

Sir Edward Mortimer and Wilford (6/8).

It is clear that Kean planned a restful summer, a part of which,

if not all, he anticipated spending at Niagara Falls, for he wrote from

New Orleans:

I shall not appear again in New York till Sept. next.
. I shall arrive in New York about the end of June.
It is my intention then immediately to start for Niagara.

Following this summer respite, and before his return to New York

for an engagement at the Park Theatre, Kean played a brief engagement

in Montreal. He acted at the Montreal theatre under the management of

Vincent de Camp, appearing as Sir Giles Overreach (8/25) and Shylock

(8/26). La Minerve reported that both performances enjoyed large

audiences, and that Kean "completely justified the hope of the public

and proved himself to be worthy of his father, whose bearing, voice,

and gesture he has."48









Kean opened his fall, 1831, engagement at the Park as Richard III

(8/31). He did not prove "a great drawing card,"49 and the engagement

ended before September 7, after Kean had played Sir Giles Overreach

(9/2), enabling Kean to begin an engagement at the Tremont Theatre in

Boston as Sir Giles (9/7).

At the close of his brief August appearances in Montreal, Kean had

been reengaged for the fall. He began that series of performances as

Richard III (10/3), and followed with Othello (10/4), Hamlet (10/7),

and Sir Giles (10/8).

Kean began the second week in Montreal with a benefit performance

as Reuben Glenroy (10/10), and continued with performances as Sir Edward

Mortimer (10/12), the Stranger (10/14), and Othello (10/15). Having

completed his contracted engagement, Kean gave two "command performances"

for the British Governor, Lord Aylmer; he acted Richard III (10/18) and

Hamlet (10/20).

"No great draw" or not, Kean returned to the Park as the title

character in Waldimar by J. F. Chapman (11/1). Following one additional

performance (11/5) and the author's benefit (11/8), Waldimar was

relegated "to the tombs of his fathers."50 During the brief run of

Waldimar, Kean also acted Richard III (11/3). For his benefit, Kean

acted Hamlet (11/10); Philip Hone recorded his impressions of Kean's

performance:

I don't know when I have been so delighted as I was last
evening in seeing young Kean play Hamlet at the Park
Theatre, for his benefit. It is a chaste, classical
performance; this difficult character is justly conceived,
and performed without rant and bombast. Mr. Adams the
other day at dinner at my house, in the course of a long
talk about Shakespeare, gave us a beautiful analysis of
the play of "Hamlet," which he prefers to any of Shakespeare's
plays, and in fact considers it the most splendid of all









the conceptions of the human imagination. I am inclined to
think so too, and that opinion was confirmed by Kean's fine
representation of the wayward and moody, but highly
interesting young Dane.51

Kean opened a one week engagement with William Duffy at the Albany

Theatre as Sir Giles (11/14); he also played Richard III (11/15),

Hamlet (11/16), and Othello (11/18). "Not being properly advertised,

he did not attract largely"52; his income was not hurt, however, since

he received $240 for his four performances. It appears that Kean was

paid his stated terms of "thirds and half,"53 probably at the expense

of the manager's purse. Even so, Kean's engagement apparently was not

as costly as the rest of the manager's season; for Kean to have received

the sum he did at his terms, the income on the nights he acted must

have been more than double the average receipts for the season, which

had been under $70.54

Kean returned to the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia, making

his first appearance there as Richard III (11/23), to receipts of $135.

Sir Giles (11/24) played to receipts of $140, and the novelty of a first

performance pushed the receipts for Waldimar (11/26) to $270.

Philadelphians, like New Yorkers, quickly assessed the value of this

play, and its second night (11/29) brought $94. Kean's benefit

performance of Hamlet (12/1) played to $140. Since the expenses were

$300 per night, the Kean engagement was not a profitable one for the

management.55 That apparently happened with performers other than

Kean, however. Such meager receipts were still above the previous

season's low of $41 for a Kean performance.

Heading south, Kean began an engagement at the Holliday St. Theatre

in Baltimore as Richard III (12/5). Kean acted Othello to J. R. Booth's









lago (12/8), an appearance which had been arranged with "difficulty, and

considerable expense."56 Kean subsequently played Hamlet (12/10), Sir

Edward Mortimer (12/12), and Durimel (12/14), for his benefit.

Still headed south, Kean played his first engagement in Washington,

opening as Sir Giles (12/16). He continued his performances with

Richard III (12/19), Shylock (12/20), and Hamlet (12/21), and closed his

engagement on his benefit night playing both Othello and Felix.

Vincent de Camp, under whose management Kean had made his

appearances in Montreal, engaged Kean to perform at the Charleston

Theatre, Charleston, South Carolina. Kean's first performance there,

Sir Giles (2/10/32), was better than the Charleston Courier expected;

having been prepared to judge Kean a mere copy of his father, the

writer was "most agreeably disappointed" instead. Kean had developed

"a style and genius of his own," which he used to advantage as Sir Giles.57

Kean's engagement continued with performances as Shylock (2/11), Richard

III (2/13), Brutus (2/15), the Stranger (2/17), and Othello (2/18) to

J. H. Hackett's lago. Throughout his engagement, Kean received the

"enthusiastic applause of well-filled houses."58

Management and public apparently were pleased with Kean's efforts;

he was reengaged at the Charleston Theatre. Opening with Richard III

(3/5), Kean also acted Sir Edward Mortimer (3/7), Hamlet (3/9), Sir

Giles (3/10), and Reuben Glenroy (3/12).

Enroute to New York, Kean played a short return engagement at the

Washington Theatre. He opened as Hamlet (5/2), acted Sir Edward Mortimer

(5/4), and played two characters on his benefit night, Young Norval in

Douglas and Carwin in Therese, the Orphan of Geneva (5/5).









Following this engagement in the nation's capitol, Kean played at

the Walnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia, acting, among other roles, Sir

Giles Overreach (5/16).

Back in New York, Kean was not engaged, but played Richard III (6/14)

for the benefit of Mrs. Sharpe. The season being at an end, Kean retired,

as he had the previous summer, for a period of rest. It is likely that

he, once again, went to British Niagara, one of his favorite spots.

Kean's vacation, however, was not sufficient explanation for the

lengthy period before his next acting appearance. During the summer of

1832, there was a cholera epidemic in the United States; from June through

September, there was reference to the deaths from cholera in virtually

every day's newspaper. Along with the disruption of everyday life caused

by the epidemic, public gatherings, such as at theatres, were not

frequent. The cholera epidemic, along with Kean's practice of not

performing during the summer's heat, provide a reasonable explanation for

his not performing until the fall season resumed in New York. Even at

that time, however, Kean did not resume acting. Whatever the reason for

Kean's failure to perform, Kean himself confirmed that fact, when he

wrote on October 15, 1832, that "for being so many months on the shelf I

shall feel the effects."59

Kean opened an engagement at the Tremont Theatre in Boston with a

performance of Sir Giles Overreach (11/15). This opening performance was

followed by an appearance as Richard III (11/16) at the Federal St.

Theatre, under the same management as the Tremont. Kean returned to the

Tremont as Romeo (11/19), after which he acted for the first time the

role of Master Walter in The Hunchback by Sheridan Knowles (11/21). The









Transcript reported that Kean "played with his usual judgment and

discrimination, and fully realized the author's idea of Master Walter."60

This production, with three visiting stars--Kean, Hamblin, and Miss

Vincent--received several repetitions during the engagement.

Kean's next appearance was in an evening's entertainment of

interesting composition (11/22): Kean acted Hamlet in the third act of

that play; the fourth act of Pizarro, in which Kean did not appear, was

acted; Kean returned as Shylock in the fourth act of The Merchant of

Venice; a "living statue" presentation ensued; and the evening concluded

with the "nautical melodrama" entitled Black Eyed Susan.

The Hunchback, having proved popular and profitable, was twice

repeated (11/23 & 11/26) before Kean switched to the Federal St. Theatre

for a performance as Sir Edward Mortimer (11/27). Upon Kean's return to

the Tremont, The Hunchback was again acted for three nights (11/28, 11/30

& 12/3).

Kean, as well as The Hunchback, had proved a reasonably attractive

drawing card for the management, and his engagement was extended. During

this reengagement, Kean acted Master Walter (12/4), King John to Hamblin's

Faulconbridge (12/5), Master Walter again (12/6), and Cassius to Hamblin's

Brutus in Julius Caesar (12/7).

Kean went directly from Boston to Philadelphia where he opened an

engagement at the Arch St. Theatre as Richard III (12/12). During the

eight-night engagement extending over two weeks, Kean was no more

successful back at the Arch St. than he had been at the Chestnut St.

Theatre. The receipts on the first night of his reengagement (12/19),

were $72.25.61 Kean's last performance, his benefit (11/26), drew only









$90.00 into the house.62 Such receipts were in marked contrast to the

crowded houses of the just completed Boston engagement. During the Arch

St. engagement, Kean apparently performed King John, and possibly

Posthumous in Cymbeline; James Murdoch described Kean's acting of that

role "at the Arch St. Theatre in Philadelphia about 1832."63 After a

dispute with manager Duffy, caused by the management trying to lose as

little as possible on the Kean engagement by deducting the cost of tickets

provided Kean from the actor's share, Kean left for New York without

collecting his money from the Arch St. engagement.64

Following this unsatisfactory Philadelphia engagement, Kean opened

at the Park Theatre in New York, playing Richard III (12/28). Kean

subsequently acted Sir Giles (12/31) and Brutus (1/10/33). For his

farewell benefit and "last appearance in America," (1/14) Kean presented

a sampler of roles: the first and third acts of Hamlet, select scenes

from The Merchant of Venice, and the fourth and fifth acts of A New Way

to Pay Old Debts.

The seven nights of Kean's final New York engagement had receipts

which averaged less than the $300 nightly expenses of the Park Theatre.65

His farewell benefit, however, brought in $934. Although he obviously

failed to attract crowds, possibly because of the competition of Booth at

the Bowery, Kean's leaving was greeted with regret by the Mirror, which

commented that "this gifted and accomplished performer has won justly

and worn modestly, a high reputation."66

Thus ended Charles Kean's first American theatrical tour. He spent

two-and-a-half seasons on American stages, perfecting roles already in

his list of characters, and experimenting with new ones. He took back






46



to England characterizations which had been tested before a variety of

audiences; he also took with him a renewed confidence in his ability,

gained through these seasons of experience in America. Kean was not

always successful, but he persevered, and he gained a reputation as a

gentleman actor with talent, not just the son of Edmund Kean.









Notes


1Cole, I, 180.

2 Philip Hone, The Diary of Philip Hone, 1828-1851, ed. Allan Nevins
(New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1936), p. 27.

George Clinton Dinsmore Odell, Annals of the New York Stage
(1928, rpt. New York: AMS Press, 1970), I11, 482.

Odell, III, 482.

5 Charles Kean, Letter to Samuel Brooks, 2 September 1830, Folder
Y.c. 393 (7), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library,
Washington, D.C.
6 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (7).

7 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (7).

8 Odell, III, 482-83.

Robert Hamilton Ball, The Amazing Career of Sir Giles Overreach
(1939; rpt. New York: Octagon Books, Inc., 1968), p. 239.
10 Odell, III, 483.

11Odell, III, 484.
1Odell, III, 484.

1Francis C. Wemyss, Twenty-Six Years of the Life of an Actor and
Manager (New York: Burgess, Stringer, 18477, pp. 185-86.
14 William Burke Wood, Personal Recollections of the Stage
(Philadelphia: H. C. Baird, 1855), p. 361.
15 "To George P. Morris," 13 October 1830, Letter I, Letters of
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean Relating to Their American Tours, Washington
Univ. Studies in Language and Literature, No. 15, ed. William G. B.
Carson (St. Louis: Washington Univ., 1945), p. 41.
16 Richmond Compiler, 12 October 1830, p. 2, col. 2
17 "To George P. Morris," 13 October 1830, Letter I, Carson, p. 41.

18 Richmond Compiler, 20 October 1830, p. 3, col. 4.

19 Odell, III, 490.









20
Walter M. Leman, Memories of an Old Actor (San Francisco:
A. Roman Co., Publishers, 1886), p. 87.
1 "To George P. Morris," 13 October 1830, Letter I, Carson, p. 41.

22
2Odell, III, 493.

3 Reese D. James, Old Drury of Philadelphia: A History of the
Philadelphia Stage, 1800-1835 (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania
Press, 1932), p. 464.
24
2Wood, p. 359.
25
James, p. 465.
26
Louisiana Courier, 29 February 1831, p. 3, col. 2
27
Louisiana Courier, 2 March 1831, p. 3, col. 1.
28
Louisiana Courier, 5 March 1831, p. 3, col. 1.
29
Louisiana Courier, 10 March 1831, p. 3, col. 2.
30
John S. Kendall, The Golden Ase of the New Orleans Theatre
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1952, p. 56.
31
Louisiana Courier, 15 March 1831, p. 3, col. 2.
32
Louisiana Courier, 23 March 1831, p. 3, col. 1.
33
Louisiana Courier, 30 March 1831, p. 3, col. 2.
34
Noah M. Ludlow, Dramatic Life As I Found It (1880; rpt. New York:
Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1966), p. 376.
35
The Natchez, 9 April 1831, p. 2, col. 2.
36
Ludlow, p. 377.
37
Louisiana Courier, 15 April 1831, p. 3, col. 2.
38
Louisiana Courier, 19 April 1831, p. 3, col. 2.
39
Louisiana Courier, 28 April 1831, p. 3, col. 1.
40
Louisiana Courier, 30 April 1831, p. 3, col. 2.
41
Louisiana Courier, 6 May 1831, p. 3, col. 3.
42
Charles Kean, Letter to George P. Morris, 27 April 1831, Folder
Y.c. 393 (165), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library,
Washington, D.C.










4Louisville Daily Journal, 25 May 1831, p. 3, col. 2.
44LouisvilleDaily Journal, 27 May 1831, p. 3, cl. 3.
4Louisville Daily Journal, 27 May 1831, p. 3, col. 2.

46 Louisville Daily Journal, 27 May 1831, p. 3, col. 2.

47
Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (165).
48
4La Minerve, 28 August 1831, p. 2, col. 4.
49
Odell, III, 544.
50 Odell, III, 550.

Hone, p. 52.

52 Henry Pitt Phelps, Players of a Century: A Record of the Albany
Stage, 2nd ed. (Albany: Joseph McDonough, 1880), p. 156.

53 Charles Kean, Letter to J. Duffy, 7 November 1831, Charles Kean
Papers, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, N.Y. The term
"thirds and half" meant that the star received one-third the gross
receipts for each regular performance and one-half the gross receipts
on the night of his benefit performance.

5Phelps, p. 158.
55
Wood, p. 365.
56 Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser, 8 November
1831, p. 3, col. 3.

57 Charleston Daily Courier, 13 February 1832, p. 3, col. 2.

58 William Stanley Hoole, The Antebellum Charleston Theatre
(Tuscaloosa: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1946), p. 32.
59 "To William Duffy," 15 October 1832, Letter II, Carson, p. 42.

60 Boston Daily Evening Transcript, 22 November 1832, p. 3, col. 1.

61 James E. Leonard, "The Letters of William Duffy, Albany Theatre
Manager, 1830-1835," Thesis, State Univ. of N.Y. at Albany, 1971,
p. 107.
62 Leonard, p. 109.

63 James E. Murdoch, The Stage (Philadelphia: J. M. Stoddart &
Co., 1880), p. 146.






50



64
Leonard, p. 109.

65
6Odell, III, 615.

66 Ba, p. 242.
Ball, p. 242.


I













CHAPTER IV
THE SECOND TOUR, 1839-40



Following his initial American tour, Charles Kean was first engaged

in London at the Covent Garden Theatre at thirty pounds per week. His

opening night was not received enthusiastically, and Kean "acted only a

few nights with qualified success."1 The management soon engaged Edmund

Kean, thus setting the stage for the first and only joint London

appearance by father and son (3/25/33); Edmund Kean played Othello with

his son's support as lago and Ellen Tree's as Desdemona. Less than two

months later, the elder Kean was dead.

Since he could readily secure profitable engagements in the

provincial theatres, Kean refused an offer from Bunn at Drury Lane, and

vowed never to act again in London until his terms of fifty pounds per

night were met. Bunn assured the young actor that such terms as he

demanded would never again be paid. Kean then began his preparations for

a second London debut by playing a series of provincial engagements which

occupied almost five years and earned him some twenty-thousand pounds.2

During this provincial interim, Kean became a popular and profitable star

for the theatres outside London. "He presented the unique instance of an

actor without metropolitan popularity, proving himself the safest

speculation and the most attractive 'star' that a manager in the country

could venture to engage."3

Late in 1837, Kean accepted an engagement at Drury Lane at fifty

pounds per night from Bunn, who had offered him just fifteen pounds per










week less than five years earlier. Kean opened his Drury Lane engagement

as Hamlet (1/8/38). The original twenty nights of his contract became

forty-three when Kean's popularity caused Bunn to extend the engagement.

Over three months, Kean's engagement netted him 2100 pounds as he appeared

in only three roles: Hamlet, Richard III, and Sir Giles Overreach.

Hamlet was the most popular character, being acted twenty-one times. The

average receipts for the forty-three nights of Kean's performances was

309 pounds, making the engagement a profitable one for the management as

well.4 This initial engagement was succeeded, after a brief tour of the

provinces, by another stand which was a somewhat "diminished attraction."5

Kean spent the next year successfully touring the provinces before

returning to London for an engagement at the Haymarket (5/9/39). The

twelve nights for which Kean had been engaged were extended to twenty-two,

Hamlet again being the most frequently acted character. Kean received

fifty pounds per night for this engagement as well.

Having successfully established a base in the provinces, and having

achieved a degree of popular acclaim in London, Kean once again looked

toward America; in early August, 1839, he sailed for the United States.

Whereas, Kean's first American theatrical tour had been a rewarding

change from the circumstances following his London debut, the second

tour illustrated Kean's persistence in overcoming a plethora of

adversities. The tenor of the tour was set even before Kean reached these

shores; a storm at sea destroyed the tiller of the ship on which he

sailed, leaving the vessel to drift without control until the storm

abated. The unpropitious circumstances continued upon landing in America.

Kean was ill enough to feel the need for a period of recuperation at


I









Niagara before beginning his performances. Perhaps the crossing was an

omen; there was much to discourage Kean on this tour and little to

encourage him.

Individual misfortune and general conditions both served to confound

and frustrate Kean during this second American tour. He was forced to

abandon performances due to chronic ill health; the New York theatre in

which he was to perform burned on the afternoon of his reappearance; a

supernumerary awaiting an entrance next to Kean was killed by a falling

piece of stage rigging. Additionally, the theatrical conditions were

adversely affected by the economic situation and the changing tastes of

audiences. Legitimate theatre suffered at the hands of novelty, and many

actors and theatres were in dire financial straits. Manager Price of the

Park Theatre in New York was forced to offer his company the alternatives

of two-thirds salary or a closed theatre.6

In persisting against such adverse conditions, Kean acted sixteen

characters for eighty-eight performances in seven cities of the populous

east, venturing afield only to play an engagement in Charleston, South

Carolina. The roles most frequently performed during this second tour

were Hamlet, Richard III, Claude Melnotte in The Lady of Lyons by Edward

George Bulwer-Lytton, Macbeth, and three roles which tied for fifth place:

Shylock, Sir Giles Overreach, and Sir Edward Mortimer. Included in

these seven roles are the five most frequently acted on the first tour.

Only Claude Melnotte and Macbeth, added to Kean's repertory after 1832-33,

were changes from the 1830-33 grouping of most frequently acted roles.

Only five of the sixteen roles performed by Kean on this tour were not

acted during the first tour. Only three of the sixteen were not









frequently acted by Kean throughout major portions of his career. This

fact, when considered with the concurrent fact that Kean acted no role

for the first time on this tour, unlike the first, indicated that Kean

played those roles which he had determined were successful for him.

The second tour lasted only one season rather than the three of the

first tour; Kean acted fewer roles in fewer cities, but still played more

than half as many performances as during the much longer first tour.

Despite all the misfortunes, Kean did not hit the lowest point of the

first tour, though the peaks were not as high either. At a time when the

theatrical situation in the United States was unstable, Kean managed to

survive with at least modest success. The second tour was not a great

triumph, but neither was it a disgrace.

Kean's first performance of the second tour occurred at the National

Theatre in New York as Hamlet (9/9/39). The theatre was crowded, and

Kean was well received. The Herald reported that Kean "made some fine

points; but he played very unevenly."7 Kean wrote that his reception was

"brilliant, almost equal to that at Drury Lane on the 8th January."8 For

his second appearance, Kean acted Sir Giles Overreach (9/10). The

Mirror thought it a fine piece of acting:

In . Sir Giles Overreach, Mr. Kean developed new powers
and gave additional indications of that high histrionic genius
which he has matured by assiduous practice and study. The
tempestuous scenes in the last act--were rendered with
extraordinary effect. The manner in which he sprang across
the stage with every limb quivering, when he gives the lie
to Wellborn was a most thrilling piece of acting.9

The week continued with Kean's performance of Shylock (9/11) and Lear

(9/12). Philip Hone recorded his evaluation of Lear:

He is so hoarse from a cold that it is now difficult to
hear his articulation. He is his father all over again









in this part, but I did not perceive many of those thrilling
passages which left an impression upon my memory never to be
effaced. This may be my fault, not his; my sensibility is
not so acute as in the days of the elder Kean. The son looked0
Lear admirably; never was there a more perfect little old man.

Clearly, Kean's health had not improved, for bronchitis forced him to

give up his engagement following this performance of Lear. After a

"feeble struggle of four nights, I was obliged to relinquish the task,

and keep within the solitary seclusion of a sick chamber for three

weeks."11

Kean's illness had been obvious to all observers, including the

press, and they graciously declined to criticize less than his best

efforts. "Mr. Charles Kean has been playing here, but under such

circumstances of illness and bodily suffering, that it would be unjust

to enter upon a criticism of his acting."12 "We have a criticism to make

on Charles Kean, but as we want to do his talents justice, we advise him

to suspend his acting until next week."13 Audiences evidently waited for

Kean's improvement; after crowded houses for the first two performances,

attendance fell off sharply.

Following a long weekend's rest, Kean was announced to reappear on

September 16. The papers cautioned against too precipitate a return to

acting. He was warned that "if he should then labour under the same

hoarseness, he will risk all his laurels; his friends and the manager

should at all events deter him from the attempt."14 "Charles Kean,--quit

the stage for a couple of months, or you will ruin your health. During

the past week, you have been playing against Death--try it no more."15

Kean asserted that, though his doctors knew little about his illness,

they did agree on urging him not to act again for six months. "I need









not tell you what a serious pecuniary loss this must be to me."16 Kean

rued the loss of companionship as well as the loss of income; "having

no body to care for, or care for me, on this side of the Atlantic, does

not increase the pleasure of my solitary hours."17

With an additional week's rest, Kean's reappearance was once again

announced. His ill wind continued to blow, however. On the afternoon

of his reappearance, the National Theatre was consumed by fire; Kean's

wardrobe was saved, but that of Wallack, the manager, was entirely lost.

His proposed three-week engagement at the National Theatre destroyed

with the building, Kean left New York to play an engagement at the

Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia.

Kean's first role in Philadelphia was Hamlet (9/30). Wemyss

observed that it was "fortunate for his reputation that he paid us a

second visit," alluding to the failure of Kean to impress the

Philadelphia audiences on the first tour. Although the young Kean had

improved, there was "much room for improvement left."18 During the

remainder of the first week, Kean acted Sir Giles Overreach (10/2),

Lear (10/3), Sir Giles again (10/4), and Richard III (10/5).

The second week at the Chestnut St. Theatre began with Macbeth

(10/7), succeeded by Shylock (10/8), lago (10/9), Hamlet (10/10), Sir

Edward Mortimer (10/11), and Claude Melnotte (10/12). "The best part he

acted, during his present engagement, was Claude Melnotte," wrote Wemyss.

"He looked the part better than any representative I have yet seen, and

that is at least half the battle."19

Following this two-week stand in Philadelphia, Kean traveled to

Baltimore, where he opened at the Holliday St. Theatre as Hamlet (10/14).









The Sun deemed the performance a success:

Our space allows us to say but little, or we should permit
our enthusiasm to offer such a tribute to this splendid
performance as its excellence so well deserves. We were
never a witness to so successful an appearance in tragedy,
in Baltimore, as that of Charles Kean on Monday night.
Our prejudice was not in his favor at first, but subsequently
he would have won our applause, though he had been our enemy.
Our limits must be our excuse for avoiding detail, and we
have only to say that his Hamlet should be played again.20

Kean followed Hamlet with Sir Giles (10/16), Sir Edward Mortimer (10/17),

Hamlet again (10/18), and Richard III (10/19). During this first week

in Baltimore, Kean's competition at the other theatre was Edwin Forrest,

the native American actor who was just a few years older than Kean. Kean

must have gained a degree of satisfaction from the fact that the prices

at the American Theatre where Forrest acted were exactly half those of

the Holliday St.

Kean opened his second week in Baltimore with Claude Melnotte (10/21).

This benefit performance was succeeded by Hamlet (10/22), and by Macbeth

on the last night of Kean's engagement (10/23). Kean prolonged his

stay in Baltimore for one night in order to appear in the benefit

performance for Abbott, the manager; Kean acted Shylock (10/24).

Kean had competition during his second week in Baltimore, as well;

J. R. Booth played the American Theatre. The Spirit of the Times

reported that "the critics were somewhat divided" as to Kean's excellence.

The criticism indicated that Kean still fought his illness, since the

"principal difficulty seems to be a want of voice and physical power .

no merit in the conception of a character can excuse the fault of not

being audible."21









Kean returned to New York to play an engagement at Wallack's

temporary theatre at Niblo's Garden. His opening role there was Hamlet

(10/28). Kean's second performance, Claude Melnotte (10/30) did not draw

a large house, a circumstance the Spirit blamed on the play, "which never

deserved a long run."22 When Kean acted Richard III (10/31), the Herald

lauded the performance:

Since the era of the older Kean, there has not been such a
representation of the crooked back tyrant, as his son
Charles delineated at the National last night. It was,
indeed, a superb piece of acting, and the house was crowded.

Kean completed the first week at Niblo's Garden with Othlello (11/1) and

Claude Melnotte (11/2), "his great character . in the popular

estimation."24

During his second week in New York, Kean acted Richard III (11/4),

Hamlet (11/6), Richard III again (11/7), and Macbeth for his benefit

performance (11/8). Kean reported that "the house was the most

brilliant of the season, both as to numbers and fashion--and so great

is the excitement I have left behind that I really believe that if the

Old Theatre stood, I should have cleared thousands."25

Successful though this return engagement in New York may have been,

Kean's evil star was evidently still shining. Kean, at Wallack's

request, left most of his share of the profits from this engagement on

deposit with the manager. Following Kean's engagement, Wallack

experienced an unprofitable period with Forrest and went bankrupt,

leaving Kean among his creditors in the amount of 150 pounds.26

Kean opened a Boston engagement at the Tremont Theatre as Hamlet

(11/11). The Spirit reported that the impression given by the Boston










press was that Kean "was more successful there than in any other city

where he has yet appeared."27 Kean must have been pleased with the

crowded house that greeted his first performance; his stated terms for

the engagement were "thirds and halves" of the receipts.28 Kean's second

role was Sir Giles (11/12). If we can believe the Herald, Kean was not a

critical success, though he may have been a popular one. "The Boston

critics have decided that Kean is only the 'second crop' as compared to

his father. He has not the 'most eminent stamp of genius'--he only

'attempts it.'"29

Near the close of his Tremont engagement, Kean played Rolla in

Sheridan's Pizarro (11/28). On this occasion, Kean's evil star remained

ascendant, though Providence continued to protect. As Kean related the

incident, he was

standing on the prompt side, waiting to go on with the
child, in the last scene of Rolla, and giving some stage
directions to a person of the name of Stimpson, leader
of the supernumeraries, the iron weights by which the
curtain is suspended, gave way, fell upon the head of
the unfortunate man, and laid him instantaneously a
corpse at my feet, covering e with his blood. . I
was within a foot of Death.3u

One can imagine Kean wondering what other calamities awaited. Though

confronted with only modest success, illness, and other catastrophes,

Kean dared not return home before spring, lest it be reported that he had

failed in America.

Enroute to New York, Kean played a week's engagement in Providence,

Rhode Island, beginning on December 2. The week was clearly not a

remunerative one: "Providence is not much of a theatrical town, as our

readers will readily believe, when told that Kean played there to $60

only, some nights."31









In New York, Kean's illness persisted; once again he was placed under

medical care. He was seriously advised to give up acting for the winter

and recuperate in some warmer clime, such as Havana. Although Kean wrote

that he had not left his hotel room for a week, and that he was seriously

concerned about the persistence of his illness, he recovered sufficiently

to resume his New York performances.32

Such failure to attract audiences as had been exhibited in

Providence, did not affect Kean's terms for the New York engagement. He

succeeded Forrest at the Bowery Theatre at "fifty pounds per night."33

The first role of Kean's eight night engagement was Richard III (12/19).

Kean subsequently acted Sir Giles (12/20) and repeated Richard III (12/21)

to close the first week.

During the second week, Kean played lago to the Othello of manager

Hamblin (12/23), followed by Hamlet (12/24). The bill for Christmas Day

had Kean acting Cassius to the Brutus of Hamblin (12/25). Othello and

Julius Caesar apparently were popular, for Kean repeated his lago (12/26)

and Cassius (12/27), before acting both Sir Edward Mortimer and Claude

Melnotte for his benefit performance (12/28) and the close of the

engagement.

Kean opened an engagement at the Chestnut St. Theatre in

Philadelphia as Richard III (12/20), and closed 1839 with a performance

of Hamlet (12/31). During the remainder of the one-week stand, Kean

acted King John (1/1/40), Rolla (1/2), Reuben Glenroy (1/3), and

Macbeth (1/4).

Continuing southward, Kean played at Washington, opening as Hamlet

(1/6), and subsequently acted Shylock (1/8), Richard III (1/9), and









Sir Edward Mortimer (1/10). Perhaps because of the disagreeably cold

weather which caused the management to advertise that stoves had been

placed in the parquette, the audiences were not large. The Spirit

reported that "Kean did a poor business at Washington. A Baltimore paper

informs us that he has been playing to empty benches."34 The

correspondent of the Herald declared "I do not believe he drew $100 any

night he was here. Washington is the very worst theatrical town in the

world."35 The Daily National Intelligencer regretted that, "notwithstanding

the great attraction of Kean's superior acting in some of the principal

characters of Shakespeare, . the Theatre has not been remarkedly

well attended during the past week."36 Such failure to attract

audiences must have intensified Kean's earlier declaration, "Would to

God I had remained at home!"37

Kean's next engagement was at the New Charleston Theatre in

Charleston, South Carolina, where he opened as Hamlet (2/11). During

the course of this first week, Kean performed Shylock (2/12), Richard III

(2/13), Sir Giles (2/14), and Macbeth (2/15).

Kean's engagement was to have closed with his performances of Sir

Edward Mortimer and Claude Melnotte for his benefit (2/17). We learn,

however, that "in consequence of the non arrival of Mr. Burton . .

Mr. C. Kean has kindly delayed his departure and will, at the request of

many parties, repeat his highly successful character of Richard III

(2/18)."38 Kean's substitute booking continued with performances of

Macbeth (2/19), Reuben Glenroy (2/20), the Stranger (2/21), and King

Lear (2/22). An unidentified correspondent provided an account of

Kean's success in Charleston.









From what I can learn, Kean succeeded well here.
. He was much admired here, and by the best
judges. . He made money here, which goes far
to prove how well he played, for they give in as
little to humbug here, as in any town I know.39

It will be recalled that Kean's doctors had for some time advised

him to suspend acting and recuperate in a warmer climate, such as the

West Indies. Although he had resisted until winter was past, Kean

apparently now submitted to that advice. He sailed from Charleston to

Havana about March 4, 1840, and remained there for a month.

Having just "returned from the Havana, where I have been for the

recovery of my health,"40 Kean opened an engagement at the Holliday St.

Theatre in Baltimore with a performance of King Lear (4/8). Kean's

competition during this week in Baltimore illustrated the American

theatre-going public's fascination with novelty: the attraction with the

biggest draw was five-and-a-half year old Master Hutchings, the

"Lilliputian Wonder." The competition was so great that the Holliday St.

and the other legitimate theatres had to reduce prices to attract

audiences. During the remainder of his week's engagement, Kean played

Shylock (4/9), Hamlet (4/10), Richard III (4/11), and Sir Edward Mortimer

and Claude Melnotte for his benefit (4/13). Evidently the press shared

the public fascination with Master Hutchings; much was written of the

juvenile sensation, while Kean's performances were ignored.

Enroute to New York, Kean played four nights at the Chestnut St.

Theatre in Philadelphia. His first role was Hamlet (4/15), followed by

Shylock (4/16), Richard III (4/17), and Sir Edward Mortimer and Claude

Melnotte for his benefit (4/18).









Kean then returned to New York after an absence of four months.

Acting this time at the Park Theatre, Kean alternated nights with Hackett.

During the first week, Kean acted Hamlet (4/20), King Lear (4/22), and

Hamlet once again (4/24).

The second week of the Park engagement began with Kean's performance

of Hotspur to Hackett's Falstaff for the latter's benefit (4/27). Kean

next acted Claude Melnotte (4/28). Philip Hone was in the audience.

I went this evening . to see Charles Kean and
Claude Melnotte in Bulwer's "Lady of Lyons." He is to
act only three nights, when he returns to England, not
well satisfied with the results of his visit to the
United States. I do not like his acting. He rants
terribly and the rapidity of his utterance renders
him unintelligible in all those fine declamatory
speeches with which his part in this fine play abounds.
He is impassioned without sensibility, and ardent with very
little touch of tenderness.41

Although Hone was clear in his failure to appreciate Kean's acting, Kean

gained some credit by comparison to Hone's analysis of Macready in the

same role some time later: "Charles Kean pleased me more in the part of

Claude."42 During the remainder of his second week at the Park, Kean

acted Hamlet (4/29), Macbeth (4/30), and Richard III for his farewell

benefit (5/1). Kean acted once more prior to sailing for England,

playing Macbeth for Charlotte Cushman's benefit (5/7).

An incident which was perhaps illustrative of the plight of actors

such as Kean occurred when Kean decided to assay the competition by

seeing Booth act Richard III. The Herald reported the story:

Charles Kean had never seen Booth play, and wrapping himself
in his cloak, went to the little Chatham, paid his half
dollar, and took his seat in the boxes by the side of a
genuine soaplock. Charles Thorne played the part of Richard,
in lieu of Booth. As the play progressed, Charles Kean
showed evident signs of dissatisfaction, and in the third act,









he turned round to the soaplock (who sat in juxtaposition
with him) and exclaimed with all that suavity for which
he is distinguished, "I beg your pardon, sir; but--is--that
is--is that gentleman who is playing Richard, Mr. Booth?"
--"Booth be d----d," said the soaplock, with an indignant
and contemptuous curl of the lip--"no, by Jasus; it's
Charley Thorne, my sucker. To be sure he has not so big
a name, but he's a d----d sight better than all the Charley
Keans and Booths to boot, and can beat' em all to blazes,
easy, by Jasus!"--Charles Kean wrapped his cloak around
him, rose and returned home.43

Home, no doubt, beckoned more strongly than ever.

In evaluating Kean's second American tour, the Knickerbocker

Magazine laid some of the blame for Kean's shortcomings upon the public

who insisted upon comparing the young man to his famous father: "Charles

was applauded only in so far as he was able to imitate his father."

Any attempt Kean made for "quiet and natural" acting went unnoticed.

Kean himself, however, was not without blame; whether out of a sense of

frustration or not, Kean appeared on many occasions to be careless in his

acting, "even before full houses," which the Knickerbocker found

difficult to accept.44

Kean's second American theatrical tour must have been a terribly

frustrating experience for the young actor. Remembering the kind

reception he received on his first tour, remembering also the reputation

he had finally established at home, Kean must have found this misfortune-

filled nine months difficult to endure. He did endure, however, in a

time when the legitimate theatre, not just Charles Kean, had to struggle

to exist. Under the circumstances, Charles Kean fared not so badly.










Notes



SCole, I, 204.

2 Cole, I, 211.

3Cole, I, 230.

4Cole, I, 279.

Cole, I, 291.

Charles Kean, Letter to David Buchanan, 29 November 1839, Folder
Y.c. 393 (12), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library,
Washington, D.C.

New York Herald, 10 September 1839, p. 3, col. 2.

8 Charles Kean, Letter to William Harvey, 18 December 1839, Folder
Y.c. 393 (103), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library,
Washington, D.C.

9Ball, p. 242.

1Hone, p. 422.

11 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (12).
12 The Spirit of the Times, 14 September 1839, p. 3, col. 4.
13
1New York Herald, 12 September 1839, p. 3, col. 3.

14 Spirit, 14 September 1839, p. 3, col. 4.

15 New York Herald, 16 September 1839, p. 3, col. 1.

16 Charles Kean, Letter to William Harvey, 20 September 1839,
Folder Y.c. 393 (102), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare
Library, Washington, D.C.
17 "To John Hughes," 20 September 1839, Letter VIII, Carson, p. 46.

18
Wemyss, p. 327.

19 Wemyss, p. 328.
20 Baltimore Sun, 16 October 1839, p. 2, col. 3.

21 Spirit, 26 October 1839, p. 3, col. 2.









22
2Spirit, 2 November 1839, p. 3, col. 1.
23
New York Herald, 1 November 1839, p. 3, col. 2.
24
Spirit, 9 November 1839, p. 3, col. 4.
25
"To John Hughes," 15 November 1839, Letter IX, Carson, p. 47.

26 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (12).

7Spirit, 16 November 1839, p. 3, col. 2.
28
2Charles Kean, Letter to unidentified correspondent, 11 September
1839, Folder Y.c 393 (115), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare
Library, Washington, D.C.
29
SNew York Herald, 22 November 1839, p. 3, col. 1.

30 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (12).

31 Spirit, 21 December 1839, p. 3, col. 1.
32 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (103).

3Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (103).
34
Spirit, 25 January 1840, p. 3, col. 2.
35
New York Herald, 17 January 1840, p. 3, col. 3.
36
Daily National Intelligencer, 13 January 1840, p. 2, col. 1.

"To John Hughes," 15 November 1839, Letter IX, Carson, p. 47.
38
3Charleston Mercury, 18 February 1840, p. 3, col. 1.
39
Spirit, 14 March 1840, p. 3, col. 4.
40
4"To Benjamin Webster," 11 April 1840, Letter X, Carson, p. 48.

4Hone, p. 476.
42
Hone, p. 674.
43
New York Herald, 9 May 1840, p. 3, col. 2.
44
Odell, IV, 357.














CHAPTER V
THE THIRD TOUR, 1845-47



Safely home again, Charles Kean opened an engagement at the

Haymarket, his second at that theatre; the engagement, originally

scheduled for thirty nights, ran for two months. During that time,

Madame Vestris tried to entice Kean to Covent Garden, where he would

act with Ellen Tree, by offering him fifty pounds per night. The

Haymarket management met that offer, and added an inducement of half a

benefit for twenty nights for three successive seasons. Kean accepted,

and the Haymarket became his London base for some time.1 Following the

close of the London appearances, Kean toured the provinces, acting in

those cities in which he had earlier been successful.

He returned to London in May, 1841, where he opened an engagement

at the Haymarket, which, like the earlier bookings, was extended beyond

the contract time to thirty-seven nights. Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet

were the major attractions, being performed on two-thirds of the nights

of Kean's engagement. Ellen Tree played Juliet to Kean's Romeo in this

Haymarket production, which was directed by Kean, "affording the first

stamp of that rare combination of taste and judgment which he has since

carried to such perfection in the Shakespearean revivals at the

Princess's Theatre."2

At the close of the 1841 Haymarket engagement, Kean resumed his

provincial touring. During this season, on January 29, 1842, Charles

Kean married Ellen Tree. The marriage, not immediately made public,

67









had a strong affect on Kean's career through his wife's influence on

the roles he subsequently played. The appeal of the two players seemed

increased by their marriage; when the Keans first acted together after

the announcement of their marriage, they averaged two-hundred pounds

per night.3

When the Keans returned to the Haymarket for an engagement in May,

1842, the principal attractions revealed the influence of Mrs. Kean;

As You Like It, The Gamester by Edward Moore, and The Lady of Lyons by

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, were the most frequently played pieces.

This first London engagement for the Keans was extended into fifty-two

nights over three months. When the engagement ended, the Keans once

again took to the provinces.

Kean fulfilled his obligations under the Haymarket contract by

acting twenty nights in the summer of 1843 without his wife, who was

expecting their first child. Later in the 1843-44 season, Kean acted

at Drury Lane, where he directed Richard III "in a style of unprecedented

magnificance, with historical costumes and appointments."4

During the summer of 1843, Kean received an offer from Ludlow and

Smith to perform at those theatres in the mid-western and southern

United States which they managed. Kean declined the offer, but promised

that he and his wife would visit the United States before taking their

contemplated retirement from the stage.5 It was evident that Ellen Kean

desired to return to the United States, for Kean wrote Sol Smith in

April, 1845, that his attention had been increasingly directed toward

America, "not on my own account, but on that of Mrs. Kean."6 The

contemplated visit would be a farewell tour prior to Mrs. Kean's

retirement from the stage, and would require a guarantee of one-half









the gross receipts for every night on which they acted.7 Two recurrent

themes were developed in this letter: retirement from the stage, a

process which occupied twenty-two years, and the demand for "clear

halves," an obsession with the Keans for the remainder of their careers.

Ellen Kean made it clear to Sol Smith in the summer of 1845 that

she had taken over negotiations for an American tour and that she was no

less determined than her husband on the terms for their engagements--the

Keans would accept no less than a full half of the gross receipts for

each performance. "I was a Queen of Trumps when I was with you before-

I am a better actress now, and I bring a King with me."8 Even though

they had not come to terms with Ludlow and Smith, the Keans proceeded

with arrangements for a visit to America, based primarily on an offer

from Simpson, manager of the Park Theatre in New York. Appearances in

other towns would be arranged after the Keans arrived in the United

States.

Charles Kean's third American theatrical tour was a period of

transition in his repertory, preparation for forthcoming antiquarian

productions, and accumulation of funds for the contemplated retirement.

The roles Kean acted were changing, under his wife's influence, from

the classical tragic roles he played early in his career to a mixture

consisting of roles in comedy, more roles in melodrama, and some of the

classical roles associated with his father. Kean also was busy preparing

for the spectacularly historical productions which he was to do at the

Princess's Theatre from 1850 to 1859. There was also a financial

purpose to the tour; Kean had set a goal of ten-thousand pounds--fifty

thousand dollars--profit for this two-year trip to America. This third

tour by Kean comprised two theatrical seasons, 1845-46 and 1846-47.










During the first season, Kean played four major cities of the

eastern United States--New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore--

which had been on the two earlier tours. Also played were Charleston

and New Orleans, both of which had been played by Kean previously;

added were Mobile and St. Louis, towns in which Ludlow and Smith

managed theatres. In this first season, Kean acted twenty-two roles in

two-hundred-and-fourteen performances. Significant was the changing

nature of Kean's roles as evidenced by the fact that eleven of these

roles had not been acted before by Kean in America; of these, four

roles--Adrastus in Ion by Thomas Noon Talfourd, Duke de Chartres in

J. R. Planche's The Follies of a Night, Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night,

and Sir Thomas Clifford in The Hunchback by Sheridan Knowles--were first

acted by Kean during this 1845-46 season. Of the five most frequently

acted roles of 1845-46, three had been adopted by Kean since the

previous American tour; these were Beverley in Edward Moore's The

Gamester, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, and Adrastus in Talfourd's

Ion. Only Richard III and the Stranger had been acted previously by

Kean in America.

Also of significance during the first season was Kean's production

of Richard III at the Park Theatre in New York. The production, which

Kean had staged at Drury Lane in 1843, was mounted in that spectacular

style of historical accuracy which was to become Kean's trademark at the

Princess's Theatre. Richard III, which ran for three full weeks, was

based on promptbooks sent him by George Ellis, the Drury Lane prompter

who became Kean's stage manager at the Princess's Theatre. The

production was planned as the first in a series of grand revivals of

Shakespeare during this tour.










During the second season in America, Kean played mostly in the

eastern cities, adding Buffalo, which he had never played before; he

ventured afield only to play Richmond and New Orleans. Kean acted three

roles for the first time during the 1846-47 season; they were Sir Walter

Amyot in The Wife's Secret, written by George Lovell under commission

from the Keans; Oakley in The Jealous Wife by George Colman; and

Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona. These roles affected the

composition of the most-frequently-acted list of roles: Sir Walter

Amyot held first place; King John was next by virtue of Kean's "grand"

production; Richard III was third; fourth position was still held by

Beverley in The Gamester; and Oakley took over fifth place. Kean

continued to add new roles to his repertory.

Kean also continued his plans for a series of "grand" revivals of

Shakespeare; Two Gentlemen of Verona was given a limited run, and King

John was staged as elaborately as Richard III had been. King John,

however, did not receive as favorable a reception from the public.

Kean, disappointed, abandoned his plans for further productions, which

would have included Macbeth.

Charles Kean's third American theatrical tour was reflective of the

transitional period during which his career moved into the roles in

which he developed his mature style of acting, and also moved more into

the production style which became a principal part of his fame. Of the

twenty-six roles acted by Kean during the two years of the third tour,

fourteen had not been acted by him only five years earlier when he had

last acted in the United States. Seven roles were acted for the first

time during the 1845-47 seasons. The lists of most frequently acted

roles illustrated the difference in Kean's repertory. On the 1830-33









tour, the most frequently acted roles were Sir Giles, Richard III, Hamlet,

Shylock, and Mortimer; all but Mortimer were closely identified with his

father. On the truncated 1839-40 tour, the list changed little: Hamlet,

Richard III, Melnotte, Macbeth, and Mortimer. The list now included two

melodramatic roles and three of the great roles associated with Edmund

Kean. On the 1845-47 tour, however, more change was obvious: Richard

III, Beverley in The Gamester, Sir Walter Amyot in The Wife's Secret, the

Stranger, and Don Felix in The Wonder. Melodrama and comedy were now

firmly in Kean's repertory. While in many instances the new roles were

added because they were in plays that offered good roles for his wife,

each was also a character which Kean could play in the familiarized style

he had developed to accompany his humanized conception of character.

The third tour could also be seen as an out-of-town tryout of

contemplated productions of Shakespeare in the historically accurate

production style he used at the Princess's Theatre. Kean was sent a

number of promptbooks of productions which had been staged at Drury

Lane, along with watercolor designs for settings, by George Ellis. He

had intended to produce Macbeth, also possibly The Merchant of Venice,

Othello, and Cymbeline; after the failure of King John Kean abandoned

those plans.

Charles and Ellen Kean opened their first joint American tour at

the Park Theatre in New York, playing Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in Edward

Moore's The Gamester (9/1/45) before a "densely crowded audience" which

gave a reception "enthusiastic in the extreme." The Spirit of the Times

observed that "we have rarely witnessed a performance which gave such

universal satisfaction." Kean was lauded for the care and attention he

devoted to often neglected points of the role, and was said to have









improved since his last visit to the United States. Still, the Spirit

deemed the role of Beverley not "suited to the peculiarities in

characteristics of his style."9 The Herald was pleased at the return of

legitimate drama, but found Kean's performance uneven.

Mr. Kean, from experience, has gained much ripeness. He
is strong in conception, and, to a great degree, effective
in delineation; but whether it be from lack of physique,
or vocal compass, the climax of his point is frequently
marred. There are flashes of fearful intensity, which
expire almost as soon as kindled. . .10

The Herald was reminded of Kean's father, especially in the third act,

but did not think that Kean deliberately copied his father.

When Kean acted Benedick to his wife's Beatrice in Much Ado About

Nothing, the Herald saw evidence of new ability. Kean not only "extended

his sphere of versatility," but showed to "peculiar advantage" in

genteel comedy, which he played with great sprightliness.

His iron vows of celibacy were recorded with a force
which would render them apparently incapable of recantation,
and his general aversion from the sex, but particularly from
his 'evil genius,' was hit off with admirable lightness
and much sincerity. His gradual disentanglement from
the misanthropic vows he had imposed upon himself, and
the dexterous sophistry whereby he seeks to justify their
sudden violation, were given with great effect; and we
have seldom seen more highly-finished by-play than in
the scene where the bachelor is dying to avow his love,
even trembling on his lip, yet is partially restrained
by the ridicule to which vacallation exposes him, as
well as the fear of Beatrice's pride and petulance.11

The Stranger in Benjamin Thompson's adaptation of Kotzebue's play

of that name was Kean's third role of the first week (9/3). The

Herald found the play a powerful moral statement, but "in every point

deficient as an acting play." The play, therefore, demanded that the

actor bring more from himself, a challenge Kean met.









The story of his domestic wrong was finely told, and when
the tear started at their mimicry--the genius of the
actor was untramelled--the sudden misanthrope was merged
in the suffering and agonized husband, and nature rose,
once again, from the tomb where treachery had laid her
to light, and animate the bosom she had so long abandoned.

Kean could not, however, escape comparison to his father; the Herald

reported that it would have had difficulty in distinguishing the young

Kean from his father, "had our eyes been closed."13

Kean next acted Don Felix to his wife's Donna Violante in Mrs.

Centlivre's comedy, The Wonder (9/4), followed by Jaques to his wife's

Rosalind in As You Like It (9/5). The role of Jaques did not offer

Kean, said the Herald, a character "congenial to his genius." Requiring

"little beyond the capabilities of the reader," the role offered scant

opportunity for the actor in whom "are united the higher endowments of

the impulsive actor with the acquirements of a polished education."14

The first week at the Park closed with a repetition of Moore's

The Gamester (9/6). The Herald found it redundant to repeat its comments,

but did feel compelled to report on the "impressive terror" of the

death scene, which was the most memorable that Kean had played thus far.

The throes of agony as 'the potent poison o'erpowers the spirit,'
struggling with the gradual rigidity of death--the locked
and quivering hand, the attempted prayer recoiling on the
crushed and guilty heart, as a mockery rather than attestation
of repentance, were delineations as true to nature as they
were evidences of study and genius.15

When Kean repeated Benedick to open the second week in New York

(9/8), the Herald reported that Kean could not rid himself of the "weight

of tone and measured . gesture" of the practiced tragedian, even

though he played genteel comedy "with all the ease of the gentleman and

much of the vivacity of the actor." Still, the second performance of









the role was better than the first, exhibiting "more of the mercurial,

light-hearted bachelor."16

Kean and his wife next played Alfred Evelyn and Clara Douglas in

Money by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (9/9). The Herald lauded the

effect with which Kean delivered the "caustic sentiments of a wrung and

trampled spirit." Especially powerful was the dinner scene in which

Evelyn "probes the truth and honesty of his pretended friends."17 Kean

repeated Jaques in As You Like It (9/10), then again acted Alfred

Evelyn (9/11). The Herald declared that Evelyn, "from the strong

intermixture of irony and bitterness, is a light-comedy part better

adapted to Mr. Kean's powers than any we have seen him in." The scene

in the gambling room was found to be particularly effective.18

On the final two nights of their Park engagement (9/12 & 9/13),

the Keans acted the same double bill, appearing as the Stranger and

Mrs. Haller in Thompson's The Stranger, and as Duke Aranza and Juliana

in John Tobin's The Honeymoon. The Stranger was especially effective:

We have seldom seen it more powerfully played; the keen
and the harrowing repentance of the wife--the anguish
and generous forgiveness of the injured husband carried
(we may say) the feelings of the house. We literally
seldom saw the powers of the actor or the delusion of
the scene so generally responded to by the feelings
of the audience.19

The Honeymoon was performed with "great spirit."

The Keans opened an engagement at the Chestnut St. Theatre in

Philadelphia playing the Beverleys in The Gamester (9/15). This

performance prompted Kean to write of the perils of having to rely on

the local stock companies to fill supporting roles.









We have been doing capital business here, but excellent
as it is, it would have been still better, but for the
failure of Mr. Fredericks, as Stukely, on our opening
night, who did not [know] two lines of his part. The
audience hissed him all through & at last laughed &
yelled, so you may imagine that such an exhibition must
have materially injured the impression we might otherwise
have made. It is hard that we should be at the mercy of
such acting.20

To prevent such embarrassment in the future, Kean engaged John Dyott,

a member of the company at the Park Theatre, to play supporting roles.

Dyott, who debuted in September, 1844, at the Park, and who was a

regular stock player for many years in New York, supported the Keans

during the remainder of the Philadelphia engagement and a subsequent

one in Baltimore.

During the remainder of the first week at the Chestnut St. Theatre,

the Keans acted Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (9/16),

the Stranger and Mrs. Haller in The Stranger (9/17), Don Felix and Donna

Violante in The Wonder (9/18), Jaques and Rosalind in As You Like It

(9/19), and Shylock and Portia in The Merchant of Venice (9/20). The

attendance was evidently good; Kean wrote that business was "great."21

Benedick and Beatrice opened the second week at the Chestnut St.

Theatre (9/22), followed by Alfred Evelyn and Clara Douglas in Bulwer-

Lytton's Money (9/23), Jaques and Rosalind (9/24), Alfred and Clara

again (9/25), Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in The Gamester (9/26), and the

Stranger and Mrs. Haller (9/27), ending the engagement.

The Keans next appeared in a limited engagement at the Front St.

Theatre in Baltimore. The fact that prices had been raised to the

level of the Chestnut St. Theatre by manager W. E. Burton, did not

prevent a full house from attending the Keans' opening as the Beverleys









in The Gamester (9/29). During the remainder of their brief engagement,

the Keans acted Benedick and Beatrice (9/30), Don Felix and Donna

Violante (10/1), Jaques and Rosalind (10/2), and played their benefit as

the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, and Duke Aranza and Juliana (10/3).

Upon their return to New York, the Keans received a hearty greeting

in their opening roles of Benedick and Beatrice (10/6). The versatility

of the talented couple, "who, from the deepest tragedy, the profoundest

analysis of the human mind and passion, can slide with facility into the

playful, sparkling, and humorous phases of character," was evidence,

averred the Herald, that it was genius, not craft which they displayed.22

Kean's second role, Hamlet (10/7), was his best character, and his

conception of the part was "nearly perfect," said the Spirit. Especially

commended were the scene of the mock tragedy, the closet scene with his

mother, and the "nunnery" scene with Ophelia. By contrast, the

soliloquies were not equal to the rest of his acting.23 The Herald

concurred with the Spirit in lauding the scenes that paper commended;

but disagreed with the Spirit regarding the soliloquies, declaring that

they "came alive" when Kean delivered them. Indeed, the whole of Kean's

performance was lauded:

Mr. Kean . makes a great Hamlet. . Like a great
master, who, with a few bold strokes of his pencil--a
scientific disposition of light and shade--produces an
impressive painting, so does this gentleman, by strong
contrasts in gesticulation, emphasis, and all the other
graces of elocution, give a bold relief to his delineation,
which falls upon the sight with unmatched effect. Hence
those old, familiar, but dignified monitors and friends
of our school-boy days--"Hamlet's Soliloquies," come
fresh with renewed youth, and even novelty. Strange
that some dozen years have not proved sufficient for the
discovery of the beauties in the soliloquies, until the
magic sound of Mr. Kean's voice . have given it a
new soul, and new graces altogether.24









In the view of the Herald, Kean's Hamlet "immensely raised" his reputation

as an actor. Kean's acting of the part was characterized by

"originality, dignity, force, and passion." Kean's quiet intensity was

especially noted, and the "absolute identity and concentration" with

which he played the role, stirred feelings similar to the anecdote about

an audience member, who being asked after a performance by Garrick, who

played the part, replied, "It wasn't played at all, the gentleman was

there himself."25

When the Keans acted Jaques and Rosalind (10/8), the Herald judged

all except their acting to be "mediocre" and "tame," and hoped that more

worthy material would be forthcoming.26 The Keans continued the week

by playing Romeo and Juliet for the first time on this tour (10/9).

The Herald reported that no more accomplished or talented performance

had been given during the current season than this by the Keans.27 As

the Stranger and Mrs. Haller (10/10), the Keans were, "if possible, still

more meritorious" than the earlier presentations of the play.28 The

Keans closed the first week of their return engagement by playing Huon

and the Countess in Sheridan Knowles' Love (10/11) for the first time

on this tour.

Romeo and Juliet was repeated to open the second week at the Park

(10/13). The Herald judged Kean's Romeo to be "finely conceived" and

"beautifully executed."

His melancholy at his unrequited love--the breathing
of his impassioned soul to Juliet--the absorbed, the
musing, the abstracted Romeo, all was portrayed to the
life; and the sentiments to which his passions gave vent,
were given with deep and natural feeling and his readings
were throughout admirable. In the most powerful scenes,
he evinced his wonted energy. Nothing could be finer
than his transition from the fanciful to the imaginative,
and then impassioned Romeo--and at the close, when deep
sorrow sits brooding at his heart, his performance assumed
a higher degree of beauty--it could not be excelled.29









The Keans next acted Macbeth for the first time (10/14). Essential

to the excellence of the production was the equally admirable

representations of the two leading characters, a circumstance the Herald

lauded because of its rarity. Kean's Macbeth was commended in detail:

There are here the strongest workings of human passion--the
most stormy conflicts of the human mind--superstition,
ambition, weakness, guilt, remorse and desperation assail
him by turns; and it is in portraying these varied passions
by so life-like a representation, that the actor evinced
his just and poetical conception of the character, and
his extraordinary powers.

Kean's performance was "chaste," "unique," and "energetic" throughout,

but the passion exhibited in the last act was "truly terrific." The

Herald called the "air of abstraction" which characterized Kean's

Macbeth in the scenes following the first confrontation with the witches,

"one of the most prominent beauties" of his performance. Ambition

enveloped Macbeth completely, and in his total preoccupation with his

destiny, all around him was ignored. Macbeth's displays of tenderness

toward the dead Duncan were strongly natural as played by Kean, and were

given with "touching effect." Also noted as exceptionally effective were

the scenes with Lady Macbeth, the banquet scene, and the last act when

Macbeth had lost all those on whom he had counted for support. With

remorse and guilt threatening him with madness,

'tis here that Kean rises with the scene, and gives to
it a terrific energy. . In these high wrought stirring
scenes, the transition to a contemplative melancholy was
very touching and effective--and those passages, "Seyton!
I am sick at heart," and "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and
tomorrow!" &c, were given with a pathos and beauty that
could not be surpassed.30

Hamlet and Ophelia followed Macbeth as the third performance of the

week (10/15); the Herald was glowing in its praise:









We see in his performance the embodiment of the great poet's
conception, and his whole soul thrown into it--We perceive
that it is the result of minute investigation and of deep
study and thought, but there is nothing labored or artificial--
it is natural, easy and consistent.

The scene with his father's ghost; the scene with Rosencrantz and

Guildenstern; and the scene with Ophelia, which was "wild, impassioned

and abrupt, but tempered with great tenderness;" these were the most

effective scenes, said the Herald. Kean "always excells in the

contemplative and philosophical," and was effective in the soliloquies.

His great scene, however, was that with his mother, in which

the anger, the tenderness, the force of his appeals to his
mother, the conflict of his deep emotions, the sudden and
powerful transitions of feeling, the awe and solemnity at
the sight of his father's spirit, . were all admirable,
and the house showed their approbation of them by applause
loud and long.31

Shylock and Portia were next acted by the Keans (10/16), and they

closed their New York engagement by playing the same double bill for

their last two nights (10/17 & 10/18), appearing as Claude Melnotte and

Pauline in Bulwer-Lytton's The Lady of Lyons, and as the Duke and Duchess

de Chartres in J. R. Planche's The Follies of a Night. Both plays were

performed for the first time on this tour; the latter play was acted

for the first time ever at the Park.32 The house was so crowded that

many in the pit doubled up, as did the second tier. The Herald judged

such inconvenience to be justified, saying that The Lady of Lyons "was

never presented to an American audience in such perfection, and was

rapturously received . with unbounded applause." The afterpiece

was also well received.3

Closing in New York, the Keans moved on to Baltimore, playing there

at the Front St. Theatre. The engagement lasted five nights, with the









Keans acting The Lady of Lyons for their opener (10/20). During the

remainder of the week, the Keans acted Hamlet and Ophelia (10/21), Alfred

Evelyn and Clara Douglas in Money (10/22), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

(10/23), and the dual roles of Romeo and Juliet, with the Duke and

Duchess de Chartres in The Follies of a Night, for their benefit.

Leaving Baltimore, the Keans were engaged once again at the

Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia. They played Claude Melnotte and

Pauline to open a two-week engagement (10/27). The Lady of Lyons was

succeeded by Hamlet and Ophelia (10/28), Othello and Desdemona (10/28),

Huon and the Countess in Knowles' Love (10/30), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

(10/31), and Benedick and Beatrice (11/1).

The second week at the Chestnut St. Theatre had performances as

Huon and the Countess (11/3), Romeo and Juliet (11/4), Hamlet and

Ophelia (11/5), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (11/6), and, for the Keans'

benefit, the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, with the Duke and Duchess de

Chartres (11/7). The Herald and Spirit accounts differed as to the

success of this engagement for the Keans: The Spirit reported that it was

a "very miserable engagement--one night not more than a hundred dollars

in the house," while the Herald reported "crowded houses," "golden

opinions," and that the Keans were reengaged.34 Kean's correspondence,

however, indicated a degree of success, since he reported having made a

profit, after expenses, of one thousand pounds--$5000--during each of

the first three months in America. In 1980 dollars, each month's profit

would equal $40,000.35

Enroute to Boston for an engagement, the Keans acted for three

nights at the Park Theatre, performing first in Hamlet (11/10).









There is probably no character in the whole range of tragedy
or comedy which Mr. Kean has more closely studied than that
of Hamlet, and we consider it more admirably adapted to his
peculiar powers than any other. . Truly it is singular.
. Mr. Kean depicts it with such a truthfulness as to 36
carry the hearts, as well as the minds of the house, with him.

When Macbeth was acted by Kean (11/11), the Herald found that it

possessed the same excellence as his Hamlet.37 The double bill of

The Stranger and The Follies of a Night closed this brief engagement

(11/12). Although performed with his "usual neat, and when necessary,

powerful style," the Herald judged the Stranger "not at all suited to

Mr. Kean's peculiar style." The Keans were credited with making a

defective play all that it could be.38

The Keans opened a Boston engagement at the Howard Atheneum with

The Stranger, and the Post, believing that it took "transcendent talents

to render it tolerable," thought that Kean performed the lead role as

"well as a just conception and appropriate action could enable any one

to do it."39 The Keans then played Benedick and Beatrice (11/18),

followed by Hamlet and Ophelia (11/19). The Keans ended their first

week in Boston with performances as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in The Gamester,

and Duke Aranza and Juliana in The Honeymoon (11/21).

During their second week at the Atheneum, the Keans acted Macbeth

and Lady Macbeth (11/24), and Don Felix and Donna Violante (11/27). For

Mrs. Kean's benefit (11/28), a crowded house provided receipts of "about

$1600" from an audience of over seventeen hundred persons.40 At the

close of this second week, Kean wrote that the success of the tour was

"as great as ever." Kean had sent to his bankers a sum representing

more than two-hundred dollars profit, after tour expenses, for each of

the seventy performances played thus far. Such profits prompted Kean to









declare that there was "little probability of our returning . before

the spring of 1847, as two years will pay well here & Home will wait."

Kean admitted that the motivation for the tour was money, and anticipated

that he would send home ten-thousand pounds--almost $50,000.41 Such a

sum would equal at least $400,000 in 1980 dollars.

Kean spent the weekend prior to the third week in Boston studying

for new roles to be acted in support of Ellen Kean's "most successful,

most attractive parts when last in this country."42 During the third

week at the Atheneum, Kean acted for the first time the roles of Adrastus

in support of his wife's Ion in Thomas Noon Talfourd's Ion (12/1), Duke

Orsino in support of his wife's Viola in Twelfth Night, and Sir Thomas

Clifford in support of his wife's Julia in The Hunchback by Sheridan

Knowles. On the last night of their engagement (12/5), it was reported

that two thousand patrons crowded into the Atheneum.43

Returning to New York, the Keans began a fourth engagement at the

Park Theatre with performances as Adrastus and Ion (12/8). The desire

to see Ion was strong enough to fill the house. Although the primary

appeal was clearly Ellen Kean's Ion, the Herald observed that Kean's

Adrastus was "characterized by the usual fine conception, reading, and

power, which distinguish him as an actor--and the character of the

tyrant of Argos was given with great truthfulness and beauty."44 When

the Keans acted in The Stranger for their second night (12/9), once again

they were credited with making the play all that it could be.45 Kean's

first performance of Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night made the role

"strikingly prominent and interesting, by his beautiful delivery of the









poetic gems," said the Albion.46 The Herald reported that the role was

"Characterized by its energy and firmness, and though the character does

not permit a thorough display of his genius and unrivalled excellence as

a tragedian, the conception and delineation will add to his present

reputation as an artiste."48 Kean played Duke Orsino (12/12) and Shylock

(12/13) to end the first week in New York. Kean's Shylock impressed the

Herald: it was

a deep, powerful and terrible performance. He became for
the time the very impersonation of unrelenting selfishness,
and exhibited in a powerful and truthful light the repulsive
but faithful conception of Shakespeare.49

The Keans repeated Adrastus and Ion to open the second week at the

Park (12/15), succeeded by Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia in The Hunchback

and the Duke and Duchess de Chartres in The Follies of a Night for Kean's

benefit (12/16). Calling the performances the most successful of all

those the Keans had played, the Herald lauded Kean's Sir Thomas Clifford

as "an admirable piece of acting." Particularly commended was "his

description of his love for Julia, in the third scene--his enthusiasm

when asserting the charms which the country had for him in summer, winter,

and in winter's night, ending with a declaration, and an offer of his

hand."50 The Spirit declared that it had "seldom seen even at the Park,

any piece better put upon the stage, better cast, or better played, than

was the 'Hunchback.'51 The Keans played repetitions of Twelfth Night

(12/17) and The Hunchback (12/18), before acting in The Iron Chest by

George Colman as Sir Edward Mortimer and Wilford, and in Don Caesar de

Bazan by Gilbert Abbott & Beckett as the Don and Maritana (12/19 &

12/20). As Sir Edward Mortimer, Kean










achieved one of the greatest triumphs we have had the pleasure
of recording for a long time. His delineation of the disappointed,
conscience-stricken, misanthropic Mortimer, betrayed an intimate
knowledge of the workings of human nature, and the secret springs
which incite men to action--it was marked by great power and
deep feeling--it was something more than a mere artistical
performance--it was the effort of true genius. His soliloquies
were listened to with breathless interest by the enthusiastic
and excited auditors, and the last scene of the fifth act was
thrilling, grand and startling.52

The Keans' New York engagement ended with this performance.

Kean and his wife did not act during Christmas week, but journeyed

to Philadelphia to open at the Chestnut St. Theatre as Adrastus and Ion

(12/29). They acted Duke Orsino and Viola (12/30), and followed with

Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (12/31) to end 1845. The Keans acted

Benedick and Beatrice (1/1/46), repeated Duke Orsino and Viola (1/2),

and ended the Chestnut St. Theatre engagement as Adrastus and Ion (1/3).

The Keans then returned to New York to complete preparations for

the opening of Richard III, which Kean had promised would be staged in
53
a style "of unparallel splendor and magnificence."53 The cost of the

production was given as ten-thousand dollars--at least $80,000 in

1980--with Kean bearing six-thousand dollars of that expense by

furnishing "the proper costumes for every character in the play."54

The premiere took place before a capacity audience at the Park

Theatre (1/7). The production featured twenty-two scenes newly painted

by Hillyard and his associates; quantities of costumes, armour, banners,

and other dressings, imported from London by Kean; numerous other

costumes and appointments made by Dejonge of the Park; and stage

machinery built by Speyer. In addition to the speaking roles, Kean

employed one-hundred-and-fifty supernumeraries; the total cast numbered

one-hundred-and-eighty, most of whom were on stage for the Coronation


Scene.









While the public flocked to see Richard III, the critical reaction

was varied. The Albion described the spectacle, but had little

commentary on the acting; Kean was reported to have looked "every inch"

Shakespeare's Richard, and as having given "life-like illustration" in

his actions.55 The Herald reported that Richard III was the "most

splendid, magnificent, and gorgeous spectacle" on record, but also

appreciated Kean's acting.

Mr. Kean's manner and style of reading the opening
soliloquy is worthy of imitation. It showed that he
fully appreciated the character Shakespeare had drawn
with such skill. Mr. Kean did not make Gloster the
melo-dramatic, vulgar, and morose villain so commonly
represented on the stage, but the man of commanding
intellect, sure of his object, which, however, he
did not hesitate to achieve by the combined efforts
of cunning, force, and wily dissimulation.

Among the evidences of the excellence of Kean's performance were his

playing with the hilt of his sword in the scene with King Henry, his

reaction to the news that his brother had been taken ill, and the wooing

scene with Lady Anne, which was a "rare exhibition of smooth, adroit,

and smiling villany." Kean's

entree in the bustling and more dramatic scenes showed powers
of great strength and capability; and when he resolves upon
immediate conquest, fearless of results, and with impetuous
haste declares, "and dull delay leads impotence and fear,"56
the supremacy of his intellect and talent became manifest.

While the Herald labelled Richard III one of the "greatest dramatic

triumphs" that writer had ever witnessed, Philip Hone recorded a less

favorable impression of Kean's Richard:

The scenery is beautiful, representing the actual places
where the events took place; the costumes of all the
characters, . the armor, standards, music all are
strictly correct and derived with antiquarian diligence
from the most authentic historical records. . Mrs. Kean









gave great interest to the stupid part of the queen, but
her husband cannot play Gloster. He does many things,
especially his last fight and death, like his father,
but he suffers exceedingly by the comparison.57

The Spirit, like Hone, did not find Kean's acting of Richard impressive;

in two separate commentaries, that publication offered only negative

criticism.

His acting of the part has long been the subject of
argument, and his various merits and faults have been
sufficiently exhibited heretofore; nor could we discover
that this "dawning era in dramatic annals," had brought
to light any hidden excellences or disguised any of the
imperfections in the gentleman's style. . His best
acting was, in our opinion, in the wooing scene, and
decidedly his worst in the closing ones of the fifth
act, in which he ranted and threw himself into such 58
unnatural attitudes as almost to make the piece ridiculous.

Kean did, at least, receive favorable comment on the spectacular

elements of the production, and was given credit for the "excellent

training of that generally neglected class, the supernumeraries." In a

subsequent review, the Spirit decried the production as a "botching up

of a sort of melodramatic spectacle," dependent upon its appointments

for effect, and "heightened by rant and noise upon the part of the

performers." The production was not the tragedy of Richard III, but

the "most perfect of melodramas," acted by the "most perfect of

melodramatic actors, for we cannot, in candor, consider Mr. Kean's merits

as ranking higher."59 The Spirit's evaluation of Kean's Richard III

was in sharp contrast to the laudatory review of his Macbeth in October.

Whatever the merits of the production, and one feels that the

accurate assessment was at neither extreme illustrated by the commentaries

quoted above, the public thronged to see it. Richard III was planned

for a two-week run, but the demand for seats exceeded the capacity of









the Park Theatre, and it was announced that the run was extended for

four additional performances, closing on January 24. This was a

legitimate extension, since Kean wrote that he and his wife would open

an engagement in Charleston on January 26;60 that opening was later

changed to February 2.61 The extension made the run of Richard III into

sixteen consecutive performances; the receipts for those performances

were reported as $16,000.62 If the cost of $10,000 was accurate, the

Park management and the Keans divided $6,000 for an average of about

$200 profit each per night. The same report gave the Keans' profits for

one-hundred-and-nine performances as $30,000, an average of close to

$300 before their expenses. In five months, the Keans earned the

equivalent of $240,000 in 1980 figures. Richard III was not as

remunerative, then, as their average performance had been; considering,

however, the extraordinary expense of its production, it provided a

reasonable profit.

The Keans opened their Charleston, South Carolina, engagement at

manager W. C. Forbe's Charleston Theatre as the Stranger and Mrs. Haller

(2/2). They subsequently acted Benedick and Beatrice (2/3), and

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (2/4). The Charleston Courier characterized

Kean's Macbeth as "great throughout," with "his last act, and dying

scene . indeed a sublime and mighty effort."63 When Kean played

Sir Thomas Clifford to his wife's Julia (2/5), the theatre held a "most

attentive and delighted" audience, paying the "almost necessary and

involuntary homage of a cultivated people to genius, talent and

education," said the Courier. Kean was "perfect in grace, gesture, and

manner . the very finest specimen of the victory . of art over









nature."64 The Keans acted Jaques and Rosalind (2/6), and Claude

Melnotte and Pauline (2/7) to conclude their first week in Charleston.

During the second week at the Charleston Theatre, Kean and his wife

performed as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley, and the Duke and Duchess de Chartres

for Kean's benefit performance (2/9); they subsequently acted Adrastus

and Ion (2/10), Shylock and Portia (2/11), Duke Orsino and Viola (2/12),

Benedick and Beatrice (2/13), and Romeo and Juliet (2/14). Hamlet and

Ophelia were acted by the Keans at the opening of the third week (2/16),

followed by the double bill of Adrastus and Ion, with Duke Aranza and

Juliana, for Mrs. Kean's benefit (2/17). Don Felix and Violante (2/18)

were succeeded by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (2/19), and Mr. and Mrs.

Beverley with the Duke and Duchess de Chartres for the Keans' joint

benefit and final Charleston performance (2/20). Both the Herald and

the Spirit reported that business was good for the Kean engagement.65

The engagement with Forbes in Charleston ended earlier than planned,

and a Savannah engagement was dropped completely, so that the Keans

could play an engagement with Ludlow and Smith in New Orleans, Mobile,

and St. Louis. Although the frontier managers had made the initial

offer which prompted the Keans to undertake this American tour, no

agreement was reached before the Keans arrived in New York. Negotiations

continued between the Keans and Ludlow and Smith, with neither party

willing to compromise on the Keans' demand for a clear half of each

night's receipts. Kean was adamant: "if Messrs. Smith and Ludlow

would offer me half the receipts after one dollar per night!!! I would

not accept them."66 Mrs. Kean reiterated the firmness of their terms:

You say you would rather give thirds and halves to Mr.
and Mrs. Kean separately. Mr. Kean himself alone does
not act and has not for the last nine years acted









anywhere under half the Houses--with the exception of
Dublin which holds $1600 and there he shares after $100--He
made no addition to his terms when I accompanied him as
his wife--Why should he then in this country act on smaller
terms than he can get at Home? business is business and you
know very well people do not cross the Atlantic--leave
parents and child at such a sacrifice! . I do not
boast when I say proudly we draw the money we receive
everywhere and leave as much behind.67

By the time Ludlow and Smith agreed to the terms demanded by the Keans,

they were told they were too late; bookings were set for the winter and

spring, precluding a southern engagement.68 Perhaps because of their

friendship with the managers, perhaps because of their recollection of

previous receptions in the southern cities and a desire to play those

same cities jointly, the Keans reopened negotiations with Ludlow and

Smith in October and reached agreement on terms in November. The Keans

were to shorten their Charleston engagement, cancel the Savannah

engagement, and come to New Orleans by the first of March. Their

engagement was to comprise forty nights in New Orleans, Mobile, and

St. Louis; the Keans actually played fifty-two nights in these three

cities.69

The Keans' opening roles at the St. Charles Theatre in New Orleans

were Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in The Gamester (3/2). The Picayune "had no

expectation of witnessing the effect he produced in that character,"

and was astonished at the "power with which he sustained it." Kean's

Beverley was "good throughout, but his death scene was wonderful."

Actors for the most part die so hard upon the stage,
they make such ugly faces and are so grotesque in the
agonies of dissolution, they kick and groan, fall down
and get up so often, gasp away and come to life again
so pertinaciously, that the histrionic "grim King of
Terrors" exacts as little reverence as a clown, and the
sexton no more gravity than Pantaloon. . Mr. Kean,
in the last act of Beverley, died like a gentleman. The









solemnity of the scene was not marred by a single effort
to impart extra honor to a terrible catastrophe. Good
taste was not startled by sudden convulsions; but from
the moment of swallowing the poison to the close of the
play, he sank so naturally into the grave that the emotion
of the audience, under the influences of a pure and perfect
sympathy, were oppressed with gloom and awe.70

The Picayune perceived Kean's acting as natural and underplayed, at

least in comparison with the point-making of the romanticists, such as

his father. The audience was overwhelmed, as well, by the last act and

"paid as rich a tribute of tears as dramatic talent ever levied upon the

gentler sensibilities of woman or the stubborn heart of man."71 The

Commercial Bulletin, agreeing that the last act "was an exhibition of

the highest tragic powers," was especially impressed by the sense of

involvement and identification shown by the Keans, who appeared lost to

themselves and the audience. It was particularly commendable, said the

Commercial Bulletin, that the Keans took a tragedy "of no marked

popularity or celebrity, and by no means perfect in language or poetry,"

and, by a "united effort of art, genius and nature," imparted "an

interest which we have seldom seen surpassed."72

The Keans followed the Beverleys with Benedick and Beatrice (3/3).

Kean, said the Picayune, was not as effective in Benedick as in

Beverley; he was "better qualified for tragic effects than the higher

grades of comedy."73 Macbeth and Lady Macbeth drew the "fullest house

of the season," (3/4) reported the Bulletin, which gave Kean his

harshest review of the tour.

We say Mrs. Kean carried the whole play, for there was
no other actor beyond mediocrity that took part in it.
Mr. Kean has no figure, countenance or voice for the
stage, and though he has evidently reduced his characters
with commendable labor and diligence, no pains that he









can bestow can compensate or overcome the difficulties
presented by nature. Adapting himself, however, to the
manner of his gifted wife, and playing always with her,
the pieces in which they engage have no appearance of
lameness, which might otherwise be expected.74

Such sentiments are difficult to reconcile with the commendation

accorded Kean's Beverley by this same publication. The week continued

with Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (3/5), "given with an effect that we

did not suppose the piece capable of," said the Bulletin;75 Macbeth and

Lady Macbeth were repeated (3/6), followed by Shylock and Portia (3/7).

A benefit performance of The Gamester opened the second week (3/9);

it was played with "such a thrilling effect that . it left scarcely

a dry eye in the audience."76 During the remainder of the week, the

Keans acted Jaques and Rosalind (3/10), Romeo and Juliet (3/11), Claude

Melnotte and Pauline (3/12), Don Felix and Violante (3/13), and Sir

Thomas Clifford and Julia (3/14).

Charles Kean's benefit performance at the start of the third week

was a double bill; the Keans played the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, and

Duke Aranza and Juliana (3/16). Although Kean's correspondence with

Ludlow and Smith indicated that a three-week engagement was planned for

the St. Charles Theatre before the Keans played Mobile, all advertise-

ments for March 17 announced that "in consequence of the extraordinary

success which had attended upon the performances of Mr. and Mrs. Kean,

an arrangement has been made to postpone their appearance in Mobile for

a few nights," enabling the management to satisfy the demand for a

production of Ion.77 Whether publicity hyperbole or fact, the extension

of the engagement and the appearance of the Keans as Adrastus and Ion

was greeted by a "densely crowded" audience (3/17).









When Hamlet was announced, the Bulletin resumed its attacks upon

Kean's ability even before having seen him act the role.

No doubt Mr. Kean will play it very well, though it is
impossible he should look it. . But it is nevertheless
a character that requires genius of a high order, and we
wish, therefore, we had the power to consign it to the
hands of Mrs. Kean.78

Kean's Hamlet (3/18) was reported by the Commercial Times to be

"particularly fine--neither exaggerated in the outline, nor overcharged

in the coloring--but chaste, classical, and true to the admirable text."79

The final week of the initial New Orleans engagement ended with Adrastus

and Ion (3/19), Jaques and Rosalind (3/20), and Adrastus and Ion once

again, paired with Don Felix and Violante (3/21).

Steaming the short distance along the Gulf coast to Mobile, the

Keans opened at the Mobile Theatre as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley (3/23).

The Register and Journal reported that a crowded house attended the

Keans' debut, "notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather"; the Keans

acted the Beverleys "as they were never played before . nobly and

impressively done."80 An incident which occurred at the conclusion of

this opening performance revealed both Kean's temper and the total

control in preparation and execution he considered necessary for the

unified effect he wished to achieve on stage. As Ludlow related it, an

inexperienced orchestra leader decided to assist Kean's death scene by

playing a "solemn, dirge-like" musical accompaniment to the last act

curtain's slow descent. Kean, unaware of the orchestra leader's

intention, held his place until the curtain hit the floor, but sprang

to his feet and began a verbal tirade as soon as the curtain struck the

stage.81 Once again the local company had not met Kean's standards.




Full Text

PAGE 1

THE AMERICAN THEATRICAL TOURS OF CHARLES KEAN BY RICHARD DENMAN STRAHAN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1984

PAGE 2

This study is dedicated to my wife, Rose Earnest Strahan, and to my friend, Andrew M. Jones. Their support and motivation supplied the impetus necessary for its completion.

PAGE 3

Copyright 1! by Richard Denman Strahan

PAGE 4

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Acknowledgement is due the many organizations and individuals without whose assistance this study could not have been done. Many historical societies and libraries graciously supplied materials not otherwise available. Gratitude is expressed to the staff of the Folger Shakespeare Library and to the staff of the Roberts Library at Delta State University, especially Ms. Dorothy McCray whose assistance in securing materials was invaluable. TV

PAGE 5

TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iv ABSTRACT vi CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1 Notes 5 II. THE THEATRE OF CHARLES KEAN 6 Notes 17 III. THE FIRST TOUR, 1830-33 19 Notes 47 IV. THE SECOND TOUR, 1839-40 51 Notes 65 V. THE THIRD TOUR, 1845-47 67 Notes Ill VI. THE FOURTH TOUR, 1864-66 117 Notes 185 VII. CONCLUSION 196 APPENDIX A. CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES, FIRST TOUR, 1830-33 .... 203 APPENDIX B. CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES, SECOND TOUR, 1839-40. ... 214 APPENDIX C. CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES, THIRD TOUR, 1845-47 .... 221 APPENDIX D. CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES, FOURTH TOUR, 1864-66. ... 242 BIBLIOGRAPHY 260 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 266 v

PAGE 6

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE AMERICAN THEATRICAL TOURS OF CHARLES KEAN By Richard Denman Strahan April, 1984 Chairman: Richard L. Green Major Department: Speech During the forty years of his stage career--1827-67--Charles Kean was an important figure in the theatrical activity of England and America. Kean made four American theatrical tours covering eight seasons, fully one-fifth of his career. Earlier studies of Kean have concentrated primarily on studies of his period of management at the Princess's Theatre, reconstructions of his productions done during that period, analysis of his acting career, or Kean's influence on other directorial figures. The current study chronicles the American theatrical tours of Charles Kean. Local newspapers, playbills in various collections, scrapbooks kept by the Keans and others, and the letters of Charles and Ellen Kean in the Folger Shakespeare Library and other collections were used to form a chronology of performances, an assessment of popular appeal, and a compilation of critical commentary. The Keans' letters provided their personal perspective on the tours. vi

PAGE 7

The study is basically chronological in organization. Chapter I introduces the methods and materials used. Chapter II places Kean in the theatrical context of the nineteenth century. Chapter III surveys Kean's first American theatrical tour--1830-33--during which he experimented with new roles and developed his performance skills. Chapter IV details the second tour--1839-40--in which Kean was beset by illness and misfortune. Chapter V covers the third tour~1845-47— which reflected the influence of Kean's wife on his repertory and introduced American audiences to his historical stagings of Shakespeare. Chapter VI surveys the fourth tour--1864-66--during which Kean acted in roles representative of the breadth of his career. The Appendices provide a chronology of all confirmed performances by Charles Kean in America. vn

PAGE 8

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION For forty years, Charles Kean was in the mainstream of theatrical activity in England and America. He was influenced by early nineteenthcentury developments in acting and production styles; in turn, he contributed to and precipitated much of the theatrical innovation of the mid and late-nineteenth century. Due to the fascination with visiting "stars" which seemed universal in the American theatre of the time, Kean spent a significant portion of his career on the stages of the United States. Kean made four American theatrical tours which covered eight seasons, fully one-fifth of his theatrical life. These tours occurred early, midway, and late in his career, and were reflective of the stages in the development of Kean's acting and production styles. The early tours--1830-33 and 1839-40--helped the novice Kean establish a repertory and reputation; the mid-career tour--1845-47--brought the now established actor to America with his actress wife and introduced a new repertory and Kean's penchant for spectacular, historically accurate productions of Shakespeare; the final, farewell tour--1864-66--presented a sampler of Kean's roles from all stages of his career, played in his mature style. Once the dearth of serious study of Kean began to be remedied, most of the scholarly attention was directed to Kean's production and management practices. Oliver Larkin, calling Kean a "bad actor and worse antiquary," dismissed his productions at the Princess's Theatre

PAGE 9

2 as mere catering to middle-class tastes. Muriel St. Claire Byrne investigated the matter of Kean's supposed influence on the productions 3 of Saxe-Meiningen. M. Glen Wilson, in one of several articles, chronicled Kean's years at the Haymarket Theatre prior to his Princess's years. Douglas R. Vander Yacht studied the importance of royal favor to Kean's position of leadership on the London stage. Marshall E. Borden, Thomas Booth Haas, M. M. Milan, Adele F. Seeff, and M. Glen Wilson have each written studies of individual productions staged by 5 Charles Kean. M. R. Booth, Budge Threlkeld, and Wilson have studied Kean's management and production practices during the years he managed the Princess's Theatre. The focus of each of these studies has been the productions staged by Kean in London, and principally those at the Princess's Theatre between 1850 and 1859. In a recent study, Virginia R. Francisco detailed the development of Kean's acting style. Two collections of the letters of Charles and Ellen Kean have given their o perspective on the American tours. No single study, however, has concentrated upon a comprehensive detailing of that twenty-percent of Kean's theatrical career which was spent on American stages. The current study, with its focus exclusively upon the American theatrical tours of Charles Kean, supplies an addition to the scholarship and provides a different perspective on the career of Charles Kean. Kean's four American theatrical tours occurred at times indicative of the stages of development in his stage career and were illustrative, as well, of the development of the theatre of the nineteenth century. It is the purpose of this study to detail the American theatrical tours of Charles Kean. A chronology of performances has been established; an

PAGE 10

assessment of popular appeal has been made; and critical commentary has been compiled. It is anticipated that the results will provide a more comprehensive account of the eight seasons of Charles Kean's performances on American stages than has hitherto been available. The study has utilized a diversity of sources. More than fivethousand editions of more than fifty newspapers in the thirty cities in which Kean was likely to have played were surveyed, providing more than five-hundred announcements of performances and over two-hundred-andfifty critical notices of varying expertise and detail. The letters of Charles and Ellen Kean--both those in two collections published since 1945, and as many more from the collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library and other sources--were searched for the dates of performances, critical reaction, attendance figures, and receipts, as a gauge of performance success. Such letters provided details about some aspects of the tour that could have come only from the Keans. Playbills from the Folger and other sources aided in confirming performance data. Scrapbooks kept by the Keans during the final tour, and now in the Folger Collection, filled gaps in clippings for that tour, thus providing material not otherwise available. A scrapbook kept by a San Franciscan during the period of the Keans' final tour, and now in the collection of the California Historical Society, was a primary source for reviews of performances in that city. In addition to these primary materials, various other pieces of correspondence from those with whom Kean dealt, supplemented the standard works on Kean and the period.

PAGE 11

The study is basically chronological in organization. Chapter II places Charles Kean in the theatrical context of the middle two-quarters of the nineteenth century, revealing the ways in which he influenced and was influenced by his times. Chapter III surveys Kean's first American theatrical tour--1830-33--during which Kean experimented with new roles and developed his performance skills. Chapter IV covers Kean's second American tour--1839-40--which was marked by illness and misfortune. Chapter V surveys the third American tour--1845-47--which reflected his wife's influence on Kean's repertory and introduced American audiences to his historical stagings of Shakespeare. Chapter VI covers the farewell tour--1864-66--during which Kean acted in a potpourri of roles from throughout his career. Chapter VII summarizes findings. The Appendices provide a chronology of all confirmed performances by Charles Kean in America.

PAGE 12

Notes Oliver Larkin, "Charles Kean, Pedant Showman," Theatre Arts Monthly , 18 (1934) 933. 2 Muriel St. Claire Byrne, "Charles Kean and the Meininger Myth," Theatre Research , 6 (1964), 137-54. 3 M. Glen Wilson, "Charles Kean at the Haymarket, 1839-1850," Theatre Journal , 31 (1979), 329-42. 4 Douglas R. Vander Yacht, Queen Victoria's Patronage of Charles Kean, Diss. Ohio State Univ., 1970 (Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1970). 5 Marshal 1 E. Borden, The Richard the Third of Charles Kean , Edwin Booth , and Alan Bates . A Stage Chronology and Collative Analysis of Production , Performance and Text , Diss. Wayne State Univ., 1973 (Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1973); Thomas Booth Haas, Kean, Irving, Tree : Shakespearean Production Aesthetics , Diss. Univ. of Wisconsin, 1965 (Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1965); M. M. Nilan, "Shakespeare Illustrated: Charles Kean's 1857 Production of The Tempest," Shakespeare Quarterly , 26 (1975), 196-204; Adele F. Seeff, Charles Kean's King Lear and the Aesthetics of Realism , Diss. Univ. of Maryland, 1979 (Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1979); M. Glen Wilson, "Charles Kean's Production of Richard II," Educational Theatre Journal , 19 (1967), 41-51. M. R. Booth, "Shakespeare as Spectacle and History: The Victorian Period," Theatre Research International , 1 (1976), 99-113; Budge Threlkeld, A Study of the Management of Charles Kean at the Princess's Theatre , 1850-59 , Diss. Ohio State Univ., 1955 (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1955); Wilson, "Charles Kean of the Princess's Theatre: A Financial Report," Educational Theatre Journal , 23 (1971), 51-61. Virginia R. Francisco, Charles Kean's Acting Career , 1827-57 , and the Development of His Style , Diss. Indiana Univ., 1974 (Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1974). o William G. B. Carson, Letters of Mr. and Mrs . Charles Kean Relating to Their American Tours , Washington University Studies in Language and Literature, No. 15 (St. Louis: Washington Univ. Press, 1945); J. M. D. Hardwick, Emigrant in Motley : The Journey Australia and America , As Told in Their Hitherto Unpubl ished Letters (London : Rock! iff, 1954)7

PAGE 13

CHAPTER II THE THEATRE OF CHARLES KEAN Charles John Kean, second and only surviving son of Edmund and Mary Chambers Kean, became an actor from necessity rather than calling or genius. He was no better prepared to earn his livelihood on the stage than would have been any of his fellow Etonians. Charles Kean had been placed in the privileged position of an Oppidan at Eton by the critical and financial success of his actor father; he was faced with the necessity of supporting himself and his invalid mother by that same father's decline due to an intemperate life style. Born on January 18, 1811, Kean was three years old when his father, after years of the barest of existences, made his triumphant debut at Drury Lane in January, 1814. It is said that Edmund Kean rushed home in the flush of success, promising his wife "you shall ride in your own carriage and Charles shall go to Eton." The younger Kean did, indeed, enjoy the fruits of his father's labors, attending preparatory school before entering Eton in 1824 with an ample allowance for board and 2 education of 300 pounds per year. Charles Kean's biographer spoke of his accomplishments in fencing and rowing at Eton--he was made second 3 captain of the "Long Boats"--but made no mention of his academic record. Eton was to have prepared Kean for university; during his last term at Eton, however, Kean was offered a cadetship with the East India Company, which position had been solicited by his father. Charles Kean refused to accept unless Edmund Kean, estranged from his wife, guaranteed an

PAGE 14

allowance sufficient for her support. His father's finances would not permit such a demand to be met, and young Kean refused to leave his mother without an adequate income. It is told that Edmund Kean angrily asked his son, "What will you do when I discard you, and you are thrown entirely on your own resources?" The young Charles replied that "I 4 shall be compelled to seek my fortune on the stage." True to his threat, Edmund Kean cut off his son's allowance and Kean left Eton in July, 1827. Much as his father's anger had precipitated Kean's abrupt change in fortunes, just so his father's departure from Drury Lane following a misunderstanding with Stephen Price, the American manager, gained for Kean his first engagement as an actor. Price, having lost the father, promptly hired the son. Charles Kean's first appearance on any stage took place on October 1, 1827, at Drury Lane, when he played Young 5 Norval in John Home's tragedy of Douglas . Young Kean was not yet seventeen years old. Over the next forty years, Charles Kean was an active and innovative actor and producer in the theatre of England and the United States. His career spanning the middle four decades of the nineteenth century, Charles Kean reflected and promoted the developments of a period which Allardyce Nicoll characterized as "above all others, a period of change in the theatre," a transition to the modern theatre. The nineteenth century theatre experienced changes in the audience attending the theatre, the drama performed there, the acting styles of the performers, and the approach to production of both contemporary and classical plays. The audience of the nineteenth century was the product of a changing society brought about by industrialization and urbanization,

PAGE 15

and the attendant need for escapism. A feel for the audience of the early nineteenth century in both England and the United States may be gained from Nicoll's description of the British audience of that period. Typical audiences were composed mainly of lowerclass citizens with a sprinkling of representatives from the gayer and more libertine section of the aristocracy. The staid middle class and the respectable, dignified nobility tended to look upon -, the stage as a thing not to be supported in an active manner. Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, the theatre became increasingly accessible to the working class; as the audiences grew in number, the theatres built increased in capacity, with theatres of 2500 to 3500 capacity not uncommon. These larger theatres attempted to offer something for every segment of the audience, with the result that an evening's bill became a miscellany of offerings ranging from legitimate drama through juggling acts to equestrian performers and whatever else might be supposed to attract an audience. As the audience grew, the various segments of it grew apart as well. Finally, following the Astor Place riot of 1849, which dramatized that there did, indeed, exist a division of classes in America, the theatres began to specialize. Rather than the miscellany of offerings designed to appeal to all audiences, the American theatres in particular began to cater to the tastes of specific groups. This exclusivity of appeal helped precipitate the return of the upper classes to the theatre. Concomitant with Charles Kean's management of the Princess's Theatre, the English upper class, led by Queen Victoria's example, returned to the theatre from the opera houses to which they had earlier fled. The theatre of the nineteenth century, then, responded to, accommodated, and was changed by its audience.

PAGE 16

The influence of the audience was seen as well in the drama of the nineteenth century. In general, that drama was romanticism throughout most of the century, especially in America; more particularly, that drama was melodrama. "Certainly throughout the century the average spectator of American theatre and drama delighted in the largerthanes life representation of the romantic imagination." The melodrama's primary appeal early in the period was to the unsophisticated element of the audience, but following 1840 the "gentlemanly melodrama" of such writers as Bulwer-Lytton and Marston broadened the audience to whom the genre appealed. Grimsted attributed melodrama's appeal not to audience stupidity or bad taste, noting the continued lead enjoyed by Shakespearean drama in frequency of performance, but to the fact that "nineteenth century audiences understandably craved a drama reflective of their own g situations and standards." Nicoll saw melodrama's dominance in part as "theatre's protest against the often excrutiating dullness of the literary efforts." Elsewhere, he observed that the "varying of the method of expression to suit the demands of the period" is characteristic of many periods of drama. The audience clearly preferred these melodramas to the more literary plays which were removed from contemporary life, often being mere imitations of old models. The role of drama for nineteenth century America can be illustrated by reference to the curtain of the original Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia: the original legend beneath an emblematic representation of "America encouraging the drama" read "The Eagle Suffers Little Birds to Sing"; this was soon changed to read "For Useful Mirth and Salutary 12 Woe." Seen in some quarters as a result of the decline of dramatic

PAGE 17

10 writing, the melodrama at least offered the vitality of thrill and action not present in most of the drama being written. As the form itself was an accommodation to the demands of an emerging audience, melodrama adapted to the changing demands of that audience, thus remaining vital and, in the words of Nicoll, pointing "forward towards that type of domestic play which has provided the most 13 characteristic medium of modern theatrical expression." Early in the century, the melodrama was exotic and romantically adventurous; following 1830, however, the form became domestic. Grimsted summarized the appeal of this dramatic genre which dominated the stage, especially in America, during much of the nineteenth century. Its conventions were false, its language stilted and commonplace, its characters stereotypes, and its morality and theology gross simplifications. Yet its appeal was great, and understandable. It took the lives of common people seriously and paid much respect to their superior purity and wisdom. It elevated them often into the aristocracy, always into a world charged with action, excitement and a sense of wonder. It gave audiences a chance to empathize in a direct way, to laugh and to cry, and it held up ideals and promised rewards, particularly that of the paradise of the happy home based on female purity, that were available to all. And its moral parable struggled to reconcile social fears and life's awesomeness with the period's confidence in absolute moral standards, man's upward progress, and a ,* benevolent providence that insured the triumph of the pure. Never static, life was changing still and questions remained unanswered; faith no longer was sufficient. Thus it was that melodrama began to be challenged. Such drama seemed rather to encourage endurance than a search for solutions. As it became clear in the political and economic realms that patience under adversity was not sufficient, the ideals encouraged by romantic drama and melodrama ceased to exert any strong appeal for those who favored change. The faith that everything would work out in the end was replaced by a scientific search for truth. As the biological, physical, and social

PAGE 18

11 sciences progressed during the nineteenth century, the dramatic form moved toward realism. The nineteenth century theatre into which Charles Kean entered in 1827 also exhibited change in its acting style. During the course of the century, that style moved from the stilted declamation of the classical school through the emotional and energetic point-making of the romantic style to the greater realism of a subdued, quiet, and unified approach at century's end. Kean's father initiated some changes; the younger Kean had his impact as well. The century began with the "classical" school in control; acting was seen as a conventional art, and the classicists "strove to exhibit skill rather than simulate real life." Heavily laden with rules and termed stately, dignified, and restrained, the classical actors, such as the Kembles, played for points. Hazlitt declared that Edmund Kean "destroyed the Kemble religion" upon his London debut in January, 1814. Edmund Kean's acting was original, emotional, and sometimes naturalistic. His style was characterized by lack of restraint, wild force, and fiery passion. The elder Kean exhibited "fitful surges of genuine feeling and . . . sudden, 17 intermittent, dazzling glimpses of truth." Edmund Kean in turn was challenged by Macready, who debuted in London two years after Kean, and who, by 1823, was making a bid for supremacy. William Macready carried the occasional naturalness of Kean still further. Careful and thorough in his preparations, Macready strove for a completeness and unity of characterization rather than for flashy moments or points. Vocally, he aimed for a familiar and natural

PAGE 19

12 style of speech. Furthermore, in an act rather revolutionary for the time, Macready actually acted in rehearsals. Thus with the beginnings of something like a method Macready evolved a faintly natural style of acting, a studied style, "wholly his own and completely attuned to the spirit of the early Victorian era whose eminent tragedian he was to be. "18 It is seen, then, that English acting moved, however slowly, toward a more realistic method as the century progressed. By mid century, there had developed two schools of acting: one considered the conception of the character to be the most important element of acting and neglected the projection of that conception to the audience; the other depended upon the exhibitionism of spectacular delivery for its effects. Charles Kean continued the movement toward realism during his tenure at the Princess's Theatre by dabbling "with a style of acting serious drama which, while only a compromise with the old, was fresher and more 19 natural than London playgoers had yet seen." Kean had undergone much change to reach this point. Early in his career he tried to play his father's characters in his father's style; he failed. He moved from that position to a style of more subdued manner, making his characters, which were now different themselves, familiar to his audiences. Finally he returned to the grand Shakespearean roles, humanizing them and making them, too, familiar. Enroute to his mature style, Kean perfected his technique of imbuing his characters with those individualizing characteristics which made them human. He also perfected the use of byplay to aid this familiarizing of characters. Kean's mature style was placed in perspective by Francisco:

PAGE 20

13 Charles Kean, then, stood precisely where the romanticist's understanding of divided human nature became the realist's style of acting. His conception of character, which conceded that men have admirable traits as well as evil ones, was linked to the actors who preceded him. But his carefully detailed, thoroughly motivated, highly individualized characterizations looked forward to the realistic and naturalistic schools; as his production methods looked forward to the Bancrofts, Irving, and Tree, so his acting style 2 q foreshadowed that of many actors of the twentieth century. American acting of the early nineteenth century was little different from that of England since most actors were English emigrants or stars on tour. But with the New York debut of Edwin Forrest in 1826, American actors began their ascent. Forrest, influenced by an appearance with Edmund Kean in 1825, developed a style of "strenuous elocutionary, 01 so-called realism." Like Macready and Charles Kean, he aimed for a complete and detailed characterization. Foreshadowing one realistic technique, Forrest studied in environments appropriate for the various roles he played: an asylum and old men's home for Lear ; an Indian tribe for Metamora . Known for his magnificent physique and strong voice, Forrest was felt by some observers to have "muscularized" his effects 22 past the point of credibility. Edwin Booth was named for Edwin Forrest, but did not fit into the same energetic, "so-called realistic" mold. His approach was 23 elocutionary, although he softened and dignified that style. Booth became America's leading actor in the 1860's and 1870's, when, like Charles Kean, he managed his own theatre and directed "imaginatively 24 and painstakingly the productions he starred in." With the traditional Atlantic lag, America did not move as rapidly towards realism as the Europeans.

PAGE 21

14 A development of consequence, especially in the American theatre, was the fascination with the visiting "star." This was one of the factors leading to the demise of the repertory system. Primary among developments in the production and management of theatre during the nineteenth century was the emergence of the director as a dominant artistic force--accompanied by the focus on historical accuracy and pictorial realism in staging, the adoption of the extended run to replace nightly variation in the performance bill, and the subsequent decline of the repertory system. In the late eighteenth century, David Garrick assumed the role of a dominant actor/manager, controlling all elements of production. William Macready utilized a similar approach in his management of the Covent Garden and Drury Lane theatres. Charles Kean adopted the approach, and expanded it into a unified production concept. Edwin Booth did much the same in the United States. Henry Irving, in late century, built upon the work of Macready and Kean. Concomitant with the rising significance of the director was the movement toward historical accuracy and realism in staging; the long run resulted from the need to recoup the major investment of time and finances in such elaborate productions; the long run meant that theatres used only those actors necessary for the current production, making a company of versatile performers, used only infrequently, a liability, thus causing the decline of the repertory system. This, then, is in brief the theatre into which Charles Kean stepped on October 1, 1827, beginning a career that lasted forty years. In his work in both America and England, Charles Kean was in the mainstream of

PAGE 22

15 theatrical development, reflecting contemporary trends and forecasting future developments through his acting and production styles. Charles Kean first performed in America during the three seasons of 1830-33. The young Kean, unprepared by training or apprenticeship, failed to score a success in London in 1827, and found little acceptance in the provincial theatres of the British Isles to which he fled following his London debut. In this first American tour, Kean, despite playing his father's characters in his father's style, met with the initial favorable reception of his young career. The second tour, following an apprenticeship in the provincial theatres of Great Britain and his eventual triumph on the London stage in 1838, spanned just one foreshortened season in 1939-40. Kean, chronically ill, encountered such catastrophes as burning theatres and fatally-injured actors, but still met with some degree of success when he was able to play. Kean's third American tour followed a period in which, under his new wife's influence, he adopted a repertory of roles in comedy and melodrama replacing the great roles of his father, and gradually perfected an acting approach which emphasized an unexaggerated, down-played, familiar performance style unified with a humanized conception of character. This third tour covered the two seasons of 1845-47; during these seasons Kean acted roles which were mostly from contemporary plays, and also foreshadowed his Princess's years by producing Richard III and King John on the New York stage in full-blown, historically accurate, and spectacular productions. The fourth and final tour of America by Kean took place during the seasons of 1854-66; during this tour, Kean performed for the first time on the west coast of the United States.

PAGE 23

16 He played both the contemporary roles in comedy and melodrama which he had played in 1845-47, and the grand roles of Shakespeare, in the same carefully detailed, highly individualized acting style for which he had become noted.

PAGE 24

17 Notes John William Cole, The Life and Theatrical Times of Charles Kean , F.S.A . (London: Richard Bentley, 1859), I, 63. 2 Cole, I, 143. 3 Cole, I, 144. 4 Cole, I, 146. 5 Cole, I, 149. Allardyce Nicoll, Early Nineteenth Century Drama , 1800-1850 , Vol . IV of A History of the English Drama, 1600-1900 , 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1966), p. 6. Allardyce Nicoll, Late Nineteenth Century , 1850-1900, Vol. V of A History of the English Drama , 1600-1900 , 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1966), pp. 8-9. o Richard Moody, America Takes the Stage : Romanticism in American Drama and Theatre , 1750-1900 (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1955), p. 238. g David Grimsted, Melodrama Unveiled : American Theatre and Culture , 1800-1850 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1968), pp. 20-21. Allardyce Nicoll, English Drama : A Modern Viewpoint (New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1968), p. 102. 11 Nicoll, History , IV, 214. 12 Grimsted, p. 170. 13 Nicoll, History , IV, 212. 14 Grimsted, p. 248. 15 Oscar G. Brockett and Robert R. Findlay, Century of Innovation : A History of European and American Theatre and Drama Since 1870 TEnglewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973]", p. 4. 16 Nicoll, History , V, 49. Edwin Duerr, The Length and Depth of Acting (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962), p. 308.

PAGE 25

18 10 Alan Downer, "The Making of a Great Actor—William Charles Macready," Theatre Annual , 7 (1948-49), p. 63, in Duerr, p. 315. 19 Duerr, p. 347. 20 Virginia R. Francisco, Charles Kean's Acting Career , 1827-1867, and the Development of His Style , Diss. Indiana Univ., 1974 (Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms International, 1974), p. 276. 21 Duerr, p. 339. 22 Duerr, p. 339. 23 Duerr, p. 364. 24 Duerr, p. 364.

PAGE 26

CHAPTER III THE FIRST TOUR, 1830-33 In the two years following his acting debut at Drury Lane on October 1, 1827, Charles Kean endured unfavorable press reaction, constant comparison to his famous father, and little more than grudging acceptance by the British public; having, thus, little prospect for success at home, Kean undertook a tour of Holland with an English theatrical company. His fortunes deteriorated still further when the manager of that troupe absconded with all the company funds, leaving Kean and his companions stranded in Holland; these unfortunates managed their return to England only through a benefit performance sponsored by the King of Holland. With such experiences compounding his frustration and sense of failure, the young Kean was compelled to search anew for brighter fields; thus it was that Kean sailed for America in August, 1830. It was on this initial theatrical tour of the United States that Charles Kean met with his first real success as an actor. Years later, Kean acknowledged his debt to the Americans for the encouragement he received on this initial American tour. Thrown before the public by untoward circumstances, at the early age of sixteen and a-half, encompassed by many difficulties, friendless, and untutored, the efforts of my boyhood were criticised in so severe and spirit-crushing a strain, as almost to unnerve my energies, and drive me despairingly from the stage. The indulgence usually extended to novices was denied to me. I was not permitted to cherish the hope that time and study could ever enable me to correct the faults of youthful inexperience. The wery resemblance I bore to my late father was urged against me as an offence, 19

PAGE 27

20 and condemned as being "strange and unnatural." Sick at heart, I left my home and sought the shores of America. To the generous inhabitants of that far land I am indebted for the first ray of success that illuminated my clouded career.! Charles Kean's first American tour was a time of experimentation and preparation. Like his provincial tours in the British Isles, this tour enabled Kean to acquire and perfect those acting skills which he did not possess when he debuted in 1827; it also gave him a chance to develop a repertory of roles suited to his talents. This initial American tour comprised three seasons: 1830-31, 1831-32, and 1832-33. During the first season, Kean played four major cities on the east coast--New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore—and four other cities more removed from the populous east--New Orleans, Natchez, Louisville, and Richmond. Kean played sixteen roles for ninety-one performances throughout the full nine-month seasons, September to June. The five roles most frequently performed during this first season were Sir Giles Overreach in A New Way to Pay Old Debts by Phil ip Massinger, Richard III, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice , Sir Edward Mortimer in The Iron Chest by George Colman, and Reuben Glenroy in Town and Country by Thomas Morton. The first season was significant for the characters which Kean played for the first time in his career; of the sixteen roles acted by Kean in the 1830-31 season, eight had not been acted previously by him. Those new characters were Sir Giles Overreach, Richard III, Shylock, Othello, the title role in The Stranger adapted from Kotzebue by Benjamin Thompson, Brutus in The Fall of Tarquin by William Hunt, Duke Aranza in The Honeymoon by John Tobin, and Carwin in Therese , the Orphan of Geneva by John Kerr. It will be noted that three of the five most frequently acted roles of this season were new characters for Kean.

PAGE 28

21 Of the eight new roles acted by Kean in 1830-31, only two--Brutus and Carwin--were not frequently repeated later in Kean's career. Carwin was not performed after 1834; Brutus was dropped after 1842, having been performed only infrequently in the twelve years it had been in Kean's repertory. Sir Giles Overreach and Othello were acted often in subsequent years by Kean, although both were less frequently acted in the second half of Kean's career. The Stranger and Duke Aranza were frequently performed throughout Kean's career; Richard III and Shylock remained major roles in Kean's repertory. Two of the most frequently performed characters of 1830-31--Sir Edward Mortimer and Reuben Glenroy-had been assumed earlier than the 1830-31 season; they remained frequently performed roles, especially during the first half of Kean's career. Hamlet, the sixth most frequent performance of 1830-31, remained a major character throughout Kean's career. Two other roles acted by Kean during this season, although first played earlier, bear mentioning: Romeo was played frequently in the first half of Kean's career; Richard II was infrequently performed, except during the Princess's seasons of 1856-57 and 1857-58, when it was performed more than one-hundred times. During this first season of the initial American tour, Kean began most engagements with Richard III; that pattern continued through the other two seasons. During the second season of 1831-32, Kean added Montreal, Albany, and Washington to the four eastern cities of the previous season, concentrating his performances in a more compact geographic region, venturing afield only for an engagement in Charleston. Kean played fourteen characters for fifty performances throughout the September to

PAGE 29

22 June season. Some adjustment was made in the most frequently performed roles: Richard III replaced Sir Giles Overreach in first position; Sir Giles became the second-place role; Shylock dropped from the top five, being replaced in third position by Hamlet; Sir Edward Mortimer dropped to fifth place, with Othello becoming the fourth most-frequently-acted character; Reuben Glenroy dropped from fifth position to quite low on the list. Only one new role was added by Kean in this season, the title role in Waldimar , a new play by an American author, J. F. Chapman; after five performances, the character was never performed again by Kean. Norval in Douglas by John Home, Kean's London debut role of 1827, was acted once in this season; after 1836, it was dropped from Kean's repertory. Kean apparently played only two months of the 1832-33 season in America, from mid-November to mid-January. During that time, he played only in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, acting nine roles in eighteen performances. In this brief period, he did act three new roles— Master Walter in The Hunchback by Sheridan Knowles, Cassius in Julius Caesar , and King John. Master Walter, a supporting role, was not played again by Kean, although he frequently performed in The Hunchback as Sir Thomas Clifford later in his career. King John was one of Kean's grand stagings of Shakespeare, both on the third American tour--1845-47--and during the Princess's period--1850-59; King John was also played during the farewell tour of 1864-66. Cassius was only infrequently acted by Kean. Of all roles acted by Kean during the three seasons of this first American tour, Sir Giles Overreach, Romeo and Hamlet received the most

PAGE 30

23 positive critical reaction. Sir Giles was called a masterly performance, highly creditable and original, exhibiting skill and power. Romeo held the mirror up to nature, and was one of Kean's best characters, the reviewers said. Hamlet was a finished performance, chaste and classical, without rant and bombast; it was also thought to be one of Kean's best roles. Duke Aranza, Rolla in Pizarro by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the Stranger, and Shylock each received favorable evaluations from the limited reviews available. Richard III and Reuben Glenroy were met with mixed reviews; some writers gave these performances strongly favorable comments, while others thought the same roles on the same occasions were weakly acted. The most negative critical commentary of the three seasons was received by Kean's Othello, which was called by several reviewers "an unequal performance." During the twenty-nine months of his stay in America, Charles Kean traveled thousands of miles by land and water; performed throughout the eastern half of the nation from the Gulf of Mexico into Canada, and all along the Atlantic seaboard; and enacted at least twenty-one roles with a total of at least one-hundred-fifty-nine performances. Such are the confirmed statistics; but what did Charles Kean accomplish? This initial American tour, coming as it did at a time of insecurity and doubt, aided Charles Kean in several ways. First, it removed him for a while from the venue of those English critics who never let lie the unfavorable comparisons to his father. Second, it enabled Kean to earn the livelihood necessary to support himself and his mother. But more importantly, this tour enabled the young actor to try his wings, playing new roles and developing old ones, so that he

PAGE 31

24 gained that training which had not been his when he first confronted his native audiences. Charles Kean returned to England in 1833 more confident and self-possessed. Charles Kean's debut on the American stage took place at the Park Theatre in New York on September 1, 1830, when he acted Richard III. One of those present in the "jammed house" was Philip Hone, the diarist, who recorded his impressions of the youthful Kean's first appearance on these shores. But making every allowance for the disadvantages of a first appearance, I cannot perceive that he inherits any great proportion of his father's genius, and is, in my opinion quite deficient in the requisite physical qualities of voice, figure, and deportment. Booth is playing tragedy at the Bowery Theatre, and I have no doubt will be greatly preferred by theatrical amateurs. 2 The Mirror was kinder in its evaluation, noting that Kean seemed embarrassed as the "overflowing audience" greeted his entrance with "the most animated and repeated acclamations." The review continued with an admission of initial skepticism. We confess, as he proceeded in the opening soliloquy, we were crossed with a conviction that the endeavour of the youth ... to measure himself with the wonderful genius of his father, must prove altogether feeble and hopeless. As he proceeded, however, he appeared to gain new powers, and gradually to become warmed with his part . . . and when the curtain fell, we were fully of the opinion that he possessed a talent to command success. . . . His attitudes and gestures are appropriate and beautiful; his voice is not loud, but pleasing and well managed. 3 The Mirror further stated that Kean could not be accused of "any servile imitation" of his father, but that the resemblance of son to father was quite strong. Charles Kean, the account asserted "has fewer faults than his father, and such as he does possess, will doubt4 less rapidly disappear."

PAGE 32

25 The young thespian, meanwhile, was elated with his debut. Kean wrote the next day that the theatre had been filled "long before the rise of the curtain," and that the opening night's receipts had been $1620. Kean was pleased that "on my entrance I was greeted with thunders of applause which continued some minutes." Successful as he judged his debut to be, Kean, perhaps having been cautioned against rash self-congratulations by manager Simpson, admitted that one performance had not decided his fate. Mr. Simpson says I have made a strong impression upon one party, and the other doesn't know what to think, for they came to the theatre not expecting much and were astonished. My fate therefore is not yet decided. Friday night if successful will establish me. 5 One can feel the young Kean's animation as he recounted those scenes which met with the greatest approbation. The applause was "tremendous" for the last two acts. "I thought it would never cease," Kean said of several speeches; among them were those beginning "off with his head," "Richard's himself again," and "Draw archers." Also receiving the accolades of the audience were the tent scene, the fight, the scene with Lady Anne in the second act, and Richard's death scene. Realizing that curiosity to see the unknown quantity of Edmund's son prompted the attendance of many of his first audience, and that subsequent performances would determine his success, Kean vowed to exert himself "to my utmost" in his next appearance. Engaged to perform three nights a week, Kean next appeared as Sir Giles Overreach in Philip Mas singer's A New Way to Pay Old Debts (9/3). The American decried the "want of discrimination" by the audience at the Park, who applauded Kean most for those points where

PAGE 33

26 his acting most resembled his father's. Kean's resemblance to his father in the role was called close to "mimicry" and "caricature." On the other hand, the American said, "of his great merit as a tragedian . . . there can be hardly a doubt. . . . His conception of the part was just, and in many respects complete." After reflecting on the similarities between father and son, including the "most expressive eye that ever portrayed the workings of the mind upon the stage," the Q writer repeated that Charles Kean was a "most promising actor." The Mirror echoed that sentiment: "It is now no longer a question whether he shall be placed in the first class of actors, even resting his reputation upon the two parts already personated." Observing that Kean displayed skill and power in the role of Sir Giles, the Mirror expressed pleasure that his success of the first night had been confirmed by this new Friday audience; all that remained was "to determine the precise degree of his excellence." Kean displayed remarkable judgment for a young man not yet twenty, and called forth such bursts of passion that the Mirror feared that, "the gristle of youth" not yet being "hardened into the bone of manhood," Kean might overtax his youth. The "evident fatigue in the last act" was attributed to that cause. There was then offered a more particular commentary on the performance: In confirmation of the opinion given above, we adduce the relenting of paternal affection which occasionally softened the delivery of his harsh and brutal instructions to his daughter; and we noticed the tones of the voice to shape themselves to this with great flexibility. When the crisis in the third act, so trying to the powers of an actor personating Sir Giles, arrived, no fault could be found either with conception or execution; the first shock over of the blank deed, the faculties gradually rally themselves to look for a cause; the suspicions hastily thrown upon Wellborn, the fierce and commanding, and

PAGE 34

27 subsequently imploring and abject manner towards Ma rail, the ultimate fits of ungovernable passion, the final paroxysm, the hysteric laugh, the groan, the syncope--all these were unexceptionable in point of judgment, although the degree of positive power in comparison with his father might be disputed. 9 Having met a favorable reception in his first two roles in America, Kean selected Othello for his third character (9/7). The Mirror did not offer as strongly favorable a response to Kean's acting of this role: "If we scan his Othello with an impartial eye, we must pronounce it an unequal performance." The commentary proceeded with one of those comparisons to his father's acting style which so dogged Kean early in his career; particularly noted was Othello's farewell speech, "Soft you, a word or two before you go," which, "although correctly read, did not give us that idea of heart-broken despair which the elder Kean used to impart to it with irresi stable power." There was a complaint of monotony in the murder scene: a "too precise and lengthened delivery in a scene where so many conflicting passions are struggling for mastery, is calculated to injure the effect." All was not negative, however: "his acting in the scenes with Iago, and the gradual awakening of his suspicions, the almost insanity which burst forth when they become gradually matured were given with the fidelity and force of a veteran actor." Kean followed Othello with Sir Edward Mortimer in The Iron Chest by George Colman (9/9), the first role in which he had received favorable notices in London. The week ended with Kean's acting of Shylock (9/11), another role associated with his father. During the following week, Kean repeated Richard III (9/14) and Sir Giles Overreach (9/16), before giving his initial performance of Hamlet (9/18). The Mirror was laudatory:

PAGE 35

28 A clear, melodious and distinct reading . . . this is preeminently one of Mr. C. Kean's merits, and one which if he had no other, would entitle him to the highest rank in the list of tragic actors. But in addition to this, his fine action throughout, the chasteness of his gesticulation, and his thorough acquaintance with . . . the business of the play, stamp his Hamlet as a most finished performance. ... We cannot omit adverting with marked approbation to the first scene with the ghost, his instructions to the players, the interview with Ophelia, and particularly the pathetic delivery of "I did love you once ... To a nunnery go," etc., and the closet scene with his mother, as finished in the highest possible degree. Upon the whole, we think that Hamlet is one of Mr. Kean's best characters. H Kean's final performance in this initial New York engagement was as Romeo to the Juliet of Clara Fisher for her benefit performance (9/20). The Mirror once again was impressed. Kean as Romeo "throughout . . . held the mirror up to nature." The balcony scene, the slaying of Tybalt with its "rapid transition from tenderness to anger and revenge," were enthusiastically received. The final scene drew special plaudits: "the deep pathos he threw into the . . . scene, where he drinks the poison, and expires with Juliet's name still 12 quivering on his lips, was . . . unequalled." With Romeo, Kean ended his Park engagement and left for Philadelphia. Kean's first role at the Arch St. Theatre in Philadelphia was, as in New York, Richard III (9/23). Francis C. Wemyss was present for that performance, and regretted that the "well filled" house had not been at the Chestnut St. Theatre instead of the Arch St. Wishing for the success of the young Kean, Wemyss left the theatre, nonetheless, "with a feeling of disappointment, and a conviction that the mantle of the father had not descended upon the shoulders of the son." Wemyss

PAGE 36

29 thought the performance "weak throughout" and such a failure that no later success could remove its effect. Kean's second Philadelphia performance was as Sir Giles Overreach (9/25), followed by Shylock (9/27) and Othello (9/29). A factor which later became an obsession with Kean surfaced during this first Philadelphia engagement: To give some idea of the absurd sums now paid, I must especially mention, on the manager's authority, that C. Kean, on his first engagement at the Arch Street Theatre, received a clear half of each night's gross receipts, besides being paid full price for half of the stockholder's free admissions. (Italics mine.) Wood observed that such an arrangement could be a prudent one only with a star who would draw exceedingly well, so as to leave the manager some profit after the expenses were paid from his half-share. Kean wrote later that he had a "triumphant" engagement in Philadelphia and had been 15 reengaged for the following January at fifty pounds per night. If such terms were, indeed, offered, the management evidently had expectation of reasonable remuneration for themselves from such a reengagement, indicating that the current engagement had given them a profit as well . Kean's next engagement was in Richmond, where he opened, as usual, in Richard III (10/11). The Compiler offered little illumination: "Mr. Kean performed Richard, last night, to a crowded and admiring house. With the exception of a few trifling mispronunciations by some of the minor characters, the performance was, throughout, excellent." Kean noted that the weather caused him to open to a house of only $300, about half the potential receipts. Kean made his second appearance a; Sir Giles Overreach (10/13), followed by Othello (10/15) and a repeat

PAGE 37

30 of Richard III (10/16). For his final performance and benefit, Kean IP acted, once more, Sir Giles Overreach (10/20), "by particular desire. Baltimore was next on Kean's itinerary; he began at the Holliday St. Theatre with his usual opening role, Richard III (10/25). Also performed during the first week at the same theatre were Sir Giles Overreach (10/27), and Hamlet (10/29). Kean also played one night under the same management at the Adelphi Theatre, where he acted Shylock to Mrs. Duff's Portia in The Merchant of Venice (10/28). Kean acted three nights during the second week of the Baltimore engagement, playing Roll a in Pizarro (11/1), Shylock (11/3), and Sir Giles Overreach (11/5). For his final appearance and benefit, Kean acted Reuben Glenroy in Town and Country by Thomas Morton, and Felix in The Hunter of the Alps by William Dimond (11/8). Enroute to Boston for an engagement, Kean played four nights at the Park Theatre in New York. He opened, as usual, as Richard III (11/12); played Hamlet (11/15) "to an Ophelia possibly old enough to know better"; followed with Sir Giles Overreach (11/17); and, for his benefit, acted Sir Edward Mortimer (11/19). Kean proceeded to Boston's Tremont Theatre, where he opened as Richard III (11/22). Walter Leman recalled that the young Kean "met with an enthusiastic welcome," and that he exhibited the ability to make 20 points like his father. Kean's second role was Sir Giles Overreach (11/24), succeeded by Hamlet (11/26). The second week's performances were as Shylock (11/29), Sir Edward Mortimer (12/1), and Reuben Glenroy (12/3). Kean closed his Tremont engagement on his benefit night, acting both Sir Giles Overreach and Felix (12/6). 19

PAGE 38

31 Sir Giles Overreach was acted by Kean on December 14 at the Park; according to Odell, this was the first performance of the engagement. Unless Kean had altered his pattern, however, there must have been an earlier performance of Richard III. Kean himself, although not always exact about dates, supported an earlier opening when he wrote that the 21 New York engagement would begin about December 12. (Well's reference to a subsequent performance of Richard III as "repeated" also supports 22 an earlier opening. In any event, Kean continued his engagement by acting Romeo to Clara Fisher's Juliet (12/15), followed by Shylock, performed with Mrs. Barnes (12/18). The second week of the Park engagement, Kean acted Hamlet to Fisher's Ophelia (12/20), and Durimel to her Bertha in A Point of Honor by Charles Kemble (12/22). The pairing of the two young actors was continued for Kean's benefit; on that occasion, they appeared as Reuben Glenroy and Rosalie in Town and Country (12/24). Kean repeated Richard III (12/27) to begin the final week of the Park stand; he followed with Sir Edward Mortimer (12/29), and his first performance as Brutus, one of his father's great parts, in William Hunt's The Fall of Tarquin , on his benefit night (12/31). Having closed the old year in New York, Kean opened his 1831 appearances at the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia. The daily account book of William Burke Wood, co-manager of that theatre, recorded the receipts for Kean's engagement. The opening performance as Shylock 23 (1/8) brought in $297, the most remunerative house of the engagement. Wemyss attributed Kean's poor houses to his not having chosen the Chestnut for his initial Philadelphia performances. It would appear

PAGE 39

32 that Kean's reengagement at the Arch St. Theatre had not materialized. It is evident that the Chestnut receipts for his appearances there could not have supported the fifty pounds per night Kean reported that the Arch St. Theatre had offered him; the average night's receipts for Kean's stand was less than $120, far below the $300 nightly expenses, 24 causing Wood to proclaim the Kean engagement "a signal failure." Kean next acted Richard III (1/11) to receipts of $130; played Reuben Glenroy (1/12) to receipts of $60; performed Sir Giles (1/13) to receipts of $80; and repeated Richard III (1/14) to receipts of $41! For his benefit and final performance at the Chestnut St. Theatre (12/17), 25 Kean acted Brutus and Felix; the receipts were only $107. After such a chilly reception in his second Philadelphia engagement, Kean headed south to act at the American Theatre in New Orleans. Kean's first role there was his customary Richard III (2/28). Despite his suffering the obvious effects of a severe cold, the Courier reported that Kean received "most enthusiastic acclamations" from an "overflowing audience." The writer, while confessing the impossibility of a valid analysis of Kean's acting based upon a single performance, still found much to commend: ... it is the result of much study and reflection, in a school where the exuberances of genius have been pruned away by a judicious hand. It is somewhat surprising that one so young should be able to delineate such stirring passions. While Kean could not be accused of "servile imitation" of his father, there was much to remind one of Edmund Kean; the Courier perceived in the son much of the ability of the father:

PAGE 40

33 ... in those passages in which the feelings cannot be expressed by ordinary physical exertions, by his deep undertone, and the fine play of his speaking countenance, he threw a spell over his auditory, equal to the magic which the elder Kean knew so well how to command. 26 Kean followed his opening success with a performance of Sir Giles (3/2). The Courier reaffirmed its initial favorable evaluation, saying "it is fearlessly asserted that, although his fame was liable to be questioned, by those who had only seen his Richard III , it has been established upon a permanent basis, by his personation of Sir Giles Overreach." The reviewer pointed out the difficulty presented by the play, containing, as it did, such an abundance of incidents which "quite laid aside" probability; the actor was then forced to overcome the impression created in the audience that he was trying to impose upon their credulity. The Courier found Kean able to surmount such obstacles. All these disadvantages disappeared before Mr. Kean, whose unnatural jeering at the orphan's, and the widow's curse, whose unnatural desire of bestowing upon his daughter the title of "right honourable" for the apparently leading purpose that she might gratify his feelings of revenge, even by the sacrifice of her own happiness, by triumphing over the old stock of nobility, were less unnatural and improbable than they have ever been rendered before the present representative trod the boards. " Strong praise, indeed, for a young actor of twenty-one years. Kean's third role in New Orleans was Shylock (3/4), which the Courier judged to be "entirely successful." Particularly cited were the effectiveness of Kean's strong rendering of the bold contrast of "the father's tenderness for his daughter, and an indomitable love of 'the ducats,'" and his scene before the duke, when the pound of flesh is demanded. This latter scene may have been played more powerfully by 28 Kean's father, but it was "never more correctly done."

PAGE 41

34 During his second week at the American Theatre, Kean acted Sir Edward Mortimer (3/7); Sir Giles Overreach (3/9), which the Courier 29 called a "masterly performance"; and Reuben Glenroy (3/11), for which 30 he was particularly commended. To open the third week in New Orleans, Kean acted for the first time the title role in The Stranger , Benjamin Thompson's adaptation of Kotzebue's play (3/14). Rarely had an audience been better entertained, said the Courier , than by this "masterly performance" with its 31 exhibition of "deep pathos and feeling." Illness caused Kean to miss a regular performance before returning on his benefit night to act both Brutus and Felix (3/18). The final performance of Kean's New Orleans engagement was Othello (3/22), which the Courier called "very unequal." Admitting the difficulty of the role, the writer had been prepared for Kean not performing with the same degree of excellence shown in his earlier roles. Even with the faults, there was merit: . . . the conflict between his jealousy and his love of the "gentle Desdemona;" the gradual awakening of his suspicions; the almost insanity that burst forth when they were matured, were exhibited in a manner that reflected the highest credit upon the young aspirant. Still, the farewell scene suffered from a lack of the "broken-hearted despair" with which Booth and the elder Kean had played it. The Courier did not disavow any of its praise of earlier performances, "although his Othello may not be compared with those of some other actors of established fame." Rather, Kean was admired for the "degree 32 of perfection which no one of his years has ever before attained." Having completed his engagement at the American Theatre, Kean was scheduled to travel to Natchez, Mississippi; before he left, however,

PAGE 42

35 Kean played two benefit performances for others. The first was manager Caldwell's benefit, when Kean acted Reuben Glenroy (3/25); the second was for Cowell , the stage manager of the American Theatre, on which occasion Kean, Caldwell, and Cowell acted in Pizarro by Sheridan, Kean playing Rolla (3/29). The Courier proclaimed that Kean "gained fresh laurels" as Rolla. Lauding Kean's close attention to the rules espoused in Hamlet's advice to the players, the writer reported that "the absence of everything like rant . . . rendered it one of the most chaste pieces of acting that has ever been witnessed upon the boards of the American Theatre." At the same time, however, the performance could not be called tame: Kean exhibited "great spirit and enthusiasm," and "melting tenderness"; he was "in every respect the noble Peruvian." Kean's next engagement was in Natchez, Mississippi, at the theatre managed by Ludlow and Smith. He acted Hamlet, Sir Giles Overreach, Sir Edward Mortimer, Reuben Glenroy, and Romeo during the week of April 4. Ludlow recalled that Kean's Hamlet "was a very sensible rendition of the character, and he looked it very well." Ludlow preferred this early Hamlet to Kean's acting of the part later in his career. Sir Edward Mortimer did not impress Ludlow, but Kean's Reuben Glenroy was "the best I have ever seen ... he looked and acted the character 34 admirably." Kean received favorable reaction from The Natchez : "If one may judge by his Sir Giles Overreach . . . his talents have not been 35 overrated. In the last act he is not excelled." Ludlow recalled that Kean left upon the minds of the "high toned and educated" nr residents of Natchez, the impression of "a gentleman and a scholar."

PAGE 43

36 Before Kean left New Orleans, the Courier suggested through its columns that a joint engagement of Kean and Clara Fisher, playing the characters in which they had acted in New York in the fall, would be welcomed by the New Orleans public. Upon Kean's return from Natchez, such an engagement was announced as having been secured "at an enormous 37 expense." The young stars opened their joint reengagement as Romeo and Juliet (4/18), appearing for the first time in these roles in New Orleans. The Courier was unstinting in its praise: The immortal bard himself would have joined with the large and fashionable audience that was present . . . they were applauded to the "very echo." . . . highly as our expectations were raised they were more than realized; Mr. Kean exceeded himself, by which we would be understood as denominating his Romeo as the best character he has enacted here. 38 Alternating with the music of Mr. and Mrs. Plumer, Kean and Fisher played twice more during the first week of their joint stand: as Durimel and Bertha in The Point of Honor (4/20), and as Sir Edward Mortimer and Wilford in The Iron Chest (4/22). The young pair opened their second week as Hamlet and Ophelia (4/25), and then acted a double bill as Reuben Glenroy and Rosalie Somers in Town and Country , and as Carwin and Therese in Therese , the Orphan of Geneva by John Kerr; Kean had never before acted Carwin. The Courier was not pleased with Kean's Glenroy, "in only two scenes did he rise above mediocrity." More pleasing was Carwin, "not only played better , but a better play ." The Courier offered its view that Kean's better roles were those which revealed the baser feelings of man: Carwin is a character that is better adapted to Mr. Kean, than Reuben Glenroy , who, to make the most of him is a good young man, who obeys the impulse of strong but pure

PAGE 44

37 feeling; while Carwin is a monster of crime and guilt, in whose bosom none of the kindlier sympathies are recognized. It is in the delineation of such dark passions that Mr. Kean is peculiarly successful, and therefore it is that his Carwin is superior to his Reuben Glenroy , and his Richard , in spite of his unauspicious opening in it, even to his Romeo . 3" For his last night and benefit, Kean acted a role new to him, but familiar to the New Orleans audience through Caldwell's representation: Duke Aranza in The Honeymoon by John Tobin (4/29). The Courier reported that Kean "fully realized the expectations of his warmest admirers, in the character of the Duke Aranza last night," being "very spirited" in the , 40 role. Kean remained in New Orleans long enough to play two benefit performances. The first, for the benefit of the Asylum for Orphan Boys, netted $1000 as Kean and Fisher repeated Romeo and Juliet (5/2). Kean's final appearance in New Orleans was as Sir Giles Overreach (5/4) at Mrs. Page's benefit performance. The Courier called that performance "one of the most spirited ... of that young tragedian upon our boards." Kean left New Orleans, the Courier observed, with the "respect and goodwill" of its citizens, having garnered a share of "public applause and individual esteem" equaled by few who had acted there. In summary criticism, the Courier offered a general evaluation: Faults he certainly has; but they are not great or glaring, and will doubtless disappear before the voice of friendly and judicious criticism. The greatest, is the monotony of his voice, in the less exciting scenes; and a disposition to rely upon particular points, rather than the conformity of a well sustained character. 41 Kean wrote that his New Orleans and Natchez engagements had been "great 42 in the extreme," earning him $3000.

PAGE 45

38 Kean and Clara Fisher left New Orleans together bound for Louisville, where they both were engaged, although they did not play the same nights. Kean's first appearance was as Sir Giles Overreach (5/21). The Daily Journal called Kean's Sir Giles a "masterly personation of one of the most difficult characters of the drama." Success in handling the contrasting qualities of pride and greed which characterized Sir Giles was "convincing proof that the histrionic abilities of the performer are 43 of the very highest order." A later edition provided more specific remarks: His personation of Sir Giles was chaste and highly creditable. His person, voice and manner, are peculiarly adapted to that line of characters. His voice though not very full and powerful, is clear, melodious, and well trained; his enunciation very distinct; his readings generally correct; his attitudes graceful. ... In the last act . . . Mr. Kean gave full scope to his powers. . . . We have rarely seen higher evidence of talent, than he manifested throughout the last act. Having begun the performance as less than attentive, the "most crowded house ever witnessed in our city" was won over as Kean exhibited his powers in the final act, giving him a "decided verdict of approbation." A second full house found Kean's Brutus (5/25) more to their liking. The Daily Journal , however, thought Brutus less suited to Kean than Sir Giles or Richard III. He was, nonetheless, credited with a "correct" conception and readings, giving a performance which was less characterized by "rant and extravagance" than was customary. Kean was "an actor of much merit," who could not fail to please the "intelligent 45 lovers of the drama." The favorable reaction of the press was seconded by the anonymous writer of a letter to the editor, who expressed his satisfaction with the performances given by Kean.

PAGE 46

39 Sir Giles and Brutus had "sustained his high reputation, and fully equalled the expectations of crowded houses." The writer further observed that the depth of feeling displayed by Kean could not be "other than the effect of natural emotion." Kean continued his Louisville performances with Richard III (5/28) and Shylock (6/1). For his benefit performance, Kean acted two roles: Rolla in Pizarro and Felix in The Hunter of the Alps (6/4). There evidently had been some desire for further appearances, at least by Kean and Fisher together, since two additional performances occurred the following week. Billed as the last performance of the season, Kean and Fisher acted Romeo and Juliet (6/6). Public response apparently was positive and remunerative, for this "one-night-only" event was succeeded by another appearance by Kean and Fisher, on which occasion they acted Sir Edward Mortimer and Wilford (6/8). It is clear that Kean planned a restful summer, a part of which, if not all, he anticipated spending at Niagara Falls, for he wrote from New Orleans: I shall not appear again in New York till Sept. next. ... I shall arrive in New York about the end of June. .-, It is my intention then immediately to start for Niagara. Following this summer respite, and before his return to New York for an engagement at the Park Theatre, Kean played a brief engagement in Montreal. He acted at the Montreal theatre under the management of Vincent de Camp, appearing as Sir Giles Overreach (8/25) and Shylock (8/26). La Minerve reported that both performances enjoyed large audiences, and that Kean "completely justified the hope of the public and proved himself to be worthy of his father, whose bearing, voice, and gesture he has.

PAGE 47

40 Kean opened his fall, 1831, engagement at the Park as Richard III (8/31). He did not prove "a great drawing card," and the engagement ended before September 7, after Kean had played Sir Giles Overreach (9/2), enabling Kean to begin an engagement at the Tremont Theatre in Boston as Sir Giles (9/7). At the close of his brief August appearances in Montreal, Kean had been reengaged for the fall. He began that series of performances as Richard III (10/3), and followed with Othello (10/4), Hamlet (10/7), and Sir Giles (10/8). Kean began the second week in Montreal with a benefit performance as Reuben Glenroy (10/10), and continued with performances as Sir Edward Mortimer (10/12), the Stranger (10/14), and Othello (10/15). Having completed his contracted engagement, Kean gave two "command performances' for the British Governor, Lord Aylmer; he acted Richard III (10/18) and Hamlet (10/20). "No great draw" or not, Kean returned to the Park as the title character in Waldimar by J. F. Chapman (11/1). Following one additional performance (11/5) and the author's benefit (11/8), Waldimar was 50 relegated "to the tombs of his fathers." During the brief run of Waldimar , Kean also acted Richard III (11/3). For his benefit, Kean acted Hamlet (11/10); Philip Hone recorded his impressions of Kean's performance: I don't know when I have been so delighted as I was last evening in seeing young Kean play Hamlet at the Park Theatre, for his benefit. It is a chaste, classical performance; this difficult character is justly conceived, and performed without rant and bombast. Mr. Adams the other day at dinner at my house, in the course of a long talk about Shakespeare, gave us a beautiful analysis of the play of "Hamlet," which he prefers to any of Shakespeare's plays, and in fact considers it the most splendid of all

PAGE 48

41 the conceptions of the human imagination. I am inclined to think so too, and that opinion was confirmed by Kean's fine representation of the wayward and moody, but highly interesting young Dane. 51 Kean opened a one week engagement with William Duffy at the Albany Theatre as Sir Giles (11/14); he also played Richard III (11/15), Hamlet (11/16), and Othello (11/18). "Not being properly advertised, he did not attract largely" ; his income was not hurt, however, since he received $240 for his four performances. It appears that Kean was paid his stated terms of "thirds and half," probably at the expense of the manager's purse. Even so, Kean's engagement apparently was not as costly as the rest of the manager's season; for Kean to have received the sum he did at his terms, the income on the nights he acted must have been more than double the average receipts for the season, which had been under $70. Kean returned to the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia, making his first appearance there as Richard III (11/23), to receipts of $135. Sir Giles (11/24) played to receipts of $140, and the novelty of a first performance pushed the receipts for Waldimar (11/26) to $270. Philadelphians, like New Yorkers, quickly assessed the value of this play, and its second night (11/29) brought $94. Kean's benefit performance of Hamlet (12/1) played to $140. Since the expenses were $300 per night, the Kean engagement was not a profitable one for the 55 management. That apparently happened with performers other than Kean, however. Such meager receipts were still above the previous season's low of $41 for a Kean performance. Heading south, Kean began an engagement at the Holliday St. Theatre in Baltimore as Richard III (12/5). Kean acted Othello to J. R. Booth's

PAGE 49

42 Iago (12/8), an appearance which had been arranged with "difficulty, and 56 considerable expense." Kean subsequently played Hamlet (12/10), Sir Edward Mortimer (12/12), and Durimel (12/14), for his benefit. Still headed south, Kean played his first engagement in Washington, opening as Sir Giles (12/16). He continued his performances with Richard III (12/19), Shylock (12/20), and Hamlet (12/21), and closed his engagement on his benefit night playing both Othello and Felix. Vincent de Camp, under whose management Kean had made his appearances in Montreal, engaged Kean to perform at the Charleston Theatre, Charleston, South Carolina. Kean's first performance there, Sir Giles (2/10/32), was better than the Charleston Courier expected; having been prepared to judge Kean a mere copy of his father, the writer was "most agreeably disappointed" instead. Kean had developed 57 "a style and genius of his own," which he used to advantage as Sir Giles. Kean's engagement continued with performances as Shylock (2/11), Richard III (2/13), Brutus (2/15), the Stranger (2/17), and Othello (2/18) to J. H. Hackett's Iago. Throughout his engagement, Kean received the "enthusiastic applause of well-filled houses." Management and public apparently were pleased with Kean's efforts; he was reengaged at the Charleston Theatre. Opening with Richard III (3/5), Kean also acted Sir Edward Mortimer (3/7), Hamlet (3/9), Sir Giles (3/10), and Reuben Glenroy (3/12). Enroute to New York, Kean played a short return engagement at the Washington Theatre. He opened as Hamlet (5/2), acted Sir Edward Mortimer (5/4), and played two characters on his benefit night, Young Norval in Douglas and Carwin in Therese , the Orphan of Geneva (5/5).

PAGE 50

43 Following this engagement in the nation's capitol, Kean played at the Walnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia, acting, among other roles, Sir Giles Overreach (5/16). Back in New York, Kean was not engaged, but played Richard III (6/14) for the benefit of Mrs. Sharpe. The season being at an end, Kean retired, as he had the previous summer, for a period of rest. It is likely that he, once again, went to British Niagara, one of his favorite spots. Kean's vacation, however, was not sufficient explanation for the lengthy period before his next acting appearance. During the summer of 1832, there was a cholera epidemic in the United States; from June through September, there was reference to the deaths from cholera in virtually every day's newspaper. Along with the disruption of everyday life caused by the epidemic, public gatherings, such as at theatres, were not frequent. The cholera epidemic, along with Kean's practice of not performing during the summer's heat, provide a reasonable explanation for his not performing until the fall season resumed in New York. Even at that time, however, Kean did not resume acting. Whatever the reason for Kean's failure to perform, Kean himself confirmed that fact, when he wrote on October 15, 1832, that "for being so many months on the shelf I shall feel the effects." 59 Kean opened an engagement at the Tremont Theatre in Boston with a performance of Sir Giles Overreach (11/15). This opening performance was followed by an appearance as Richard III (11/16) at the Federal St. Theatre, under the same management as the Tremont. Kean returned to the Tremont as Romeo (11/19), after which he acted for the first time the role of Master Walter in The Hunchback by Sheridan Knowles (11/21). The

PAGE 51

44 Transcript reported that Kean "played with his usual judgment and discrimination, and fully realized the author's idea of Master Walter ." 60 This production, with three visiting stars--Kean, Hamblin, and Miss Vincent--received several repetitions during the engagement. Kean's next appearance was in an evening's entertainment of interesting composition (11/22): Kean acted Hamlet in the third act of that play; the fourth act of Pizarro , in which Kean did not appear, was acted; Kean returned as Shylock in the fourth act of The Merchant of Venice ; a "living statue" presentation ensued; and the evening concluded with the "nautical melodrama" entitled Black Eyed Susan . The Hunchback , having proved popular and profitable, was twice repeated (11/23 & 11/26) before Kean switched to the Federal St. Theatre for a performance as Sir Edward Mortimer (11/27). Upon Kean's return to the Tremont, The Hunchback was again acted for three nights (11/28, 11/30 & 12/3). Kean, as well as The Hunchback , had proved a reasonably attractive drawing card for the management, and his engagement was extended. During this reengagement, Kean acted Master Walter (12/4), King John to Hamblin's Faulconbridge (12/5), Master Walter again (12/6), and Cassius to Hamblin's Brutus in Julius Caesar (12/7). Kean went directly from Boston to Philadelphia where he opened an engagement at the Arch St. Theatre as Richard III (12/12). During the eight-night engagement extending over two weeks, Kean was no more successful back at the Arch St. than he had been at the Chestnut St. Theatre. The receipts on the first night of his reengagement (12/19), were $72.25. Kean's last performance, his benefit (11/26), drew only

PAGE 52

45 en $90.00 into the house. Such receipts were in marked contrast to the crowded houses of the just completed Boston engagement. During the Arch St. engagement, Kean apparently performed King John, and possibly Posthumous in Cymbel ine ; James Murdoch described Kean's acting of that role "at the Arch St. Theatre in Philadelphia about 1832. " 63 After a dispute with manager Duffy, caused by the management trying to lose as little as possible on the Kean engagement by deducting the cost of tickets provided Kean from the actor's share, Kean left for New York without collecting his money from the Arch St. engagement. Following this unsatisfactory Philadelphia engagement, Kean opened at the Park Theatre in New York, playing Richard III (12/28). Kean subsequently acted Sir Giles (12/31) and Brutus (1/10/33). For his farewell benefit and "last appearance in America," (1/14) Kean presented a sampler of roles: the first and third acts of Hamlet , select scenes from The Merchant of Venice , and the fourth and fifth acts of A New Way to Pay Old Debts . The seven nights of Kean's final New York engagement had receipts 65 which averaged less than the $300 nightly expenses of the Park Theatre. His farewell benefit, however, brought in $934. Although he obviously failed to attract crowds, possibly because of the competition of Booth at the Bowery, Kean's leaving was greeted with regret by the Mirror , which commented that "this gifted and accomplished performer has won justly and worn modestly, a high reputation." Thus ended Charles Kean's first American theatrical tour. He spent two-and-a-half seasons on American stages, perfecting roles already in his list of characters, and experimenting with new ones. He took back

PAGE 53

46 to England characterizations which had been tested before a variety of audiences; he also took with him a renewed confidence in his ability, gained through these seasons of experience in America. Kean was not always successful, but he persevered, and he gained a reputation as a gentleman actor with talent, not just the son of Edmund Kean.

PAGE 54

47 Notes 1 Cole, I, 180. 2 Philip Hone, The Diary of Philip Hone, 1828-1851, ed. Allan Nevins (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1936), p. 27. 3 George Clinton Dinsmore Odell , Annals of the New York Stage (1928, rpt. New York: AMS Press, 1970), III, 482. 4 Odell, III, 482. c Charles Kean, Letter to Samuel Brooks, 2 September 1830, Folder Y.c. 393 (7), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 6 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (7). 7 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (7). 8 Odell, III, 482-83. o Robert Hami 1 ton Bal 1 , The Amazing Career of Sj£ Giles Overreach (1939; rpt. New York: Octagon Books, Inc., 196877 p. 239. 10 Odell, III, 483. 11 Odell, III, 484. 12 Odell, III, 484. 1 o Francis C. Wemyss, TwentySix Years of tlie Life of an Actor and Manager (New York: Burgess, Stringer, 184777 PP185-86. William Burke Wood, Personal Recollections of the Stage (Philadelphia: H. C. Baird, 1855), p. 361. 15 "To George P. Morris," 13 October 1830, Letter I, Letters of Mr . and Mrs . Charles Kean Relating to Their American Tours , Washington Univ. Studies in Language and Literature, No. 15, ed. William G. B. Carson (St. Louis: Washington Univ., 1945), p. 41. 16 Richmond Compiler , 12 October 1830, p. 2, col. 2 17 "To George P. Morris," 13 October 1830, Letter I, Carson, p. 41. 18 Richmond Compiler , 20 October 1830, p. 3, col. 4. 19 Odell, III, 490.

PAGE 55

48 20 Walter M. Leman, Memories of an Old Actor (San Francisco: A. Roman Co., Publishers, 1886), p. 87. 21 22 23 "To George P. Morris," 13 October 1830, Letter I, Carson, p. 41. Odell, III, 493. Reese D. James, Old Drury of Philadelphia : A History of the Philadelphia Stage , 1800-1835 (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1932), p. 464. 24 25 26 27 28 29 Wood, p. 359. James, p. 465. Louisiana Courier , 29 February 1831, p. 3, col. 2 Louisiana Courier , 2 March 1831, p. 3, col. 1. Louisiana Courier , 5 March 1831, p. 3, col. 1. Louisiana Courier , 10 March 1831, p. 3, col. 2. 30 :on 31 John S. Kendal 1 , The Golden Age of the New Orleans Theatre (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1952), p. 56. 32 33 Louisiana Courier , 15 March 1831, p. 3, col. 2. Louisiana Courier , 23 March 1831, p. 3, col. 1. Louisiana Courier , 30 March 1831, p. 3, col. 2. 34 jam35 Noah M. Ludlow, Dramatic Life As I Found It (1880; rpt. New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1966), p. 376. 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 The Natchez , 9 April 1831, p. 2, col. 2. Ludlow, p. 377. Louisiana Courier , 15 April 1831, p. 3, col. 2. Louisiana Courier , 19 April 1831, p. 3, col. 2. Louisiana Courier , 28 April 1831, p. 3, col. 1. Louisiana Courier , 30 April 1831, p. 3, col. 2. Louisiana Courier , 6 May 1831, p. 3, col. 3. Charles Kean, Letter to George P. Morris, 27 April 1831, Folder Y.c. 393 (165), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.

PAGE 56

49 Louisville Daily Journal , 25 May 1831, p. 3, col. 2. 44 Louisville Daily Journal , 27 May 1831, p. 3, col. 3. Louisville Daily Journal , 27 May 1831, p. 3, col. 2. 4fi Louisville Daily Journal , 27 May 1831, p. 3, col. 2. 47 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (165). 48 La Mi nerve , 28 August 1831, p. 2, col. 4. 49 Odell, III, 544. 50 Odell, III, 550. 51 Hone, p. 52. 52 Henry Pi tt Phel ps , Players of a^ Century : A Record of the Albany Stage , 2nd ed. (Albany: Joseph McDonough, 1880), p. 156. 53 Charles Kean, Letter to J. Duffy, 7 November 1831, Charles Kean Papers, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, N.Y. The term "thirds and half" meant that the star received one-third the gross receipts for each regular performance and one-half the gross receipts on the night of his benefit performance. 54 Phelps, p. 158. 55 Wood, p. 365. re Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser , 8 November 1831, p. 3, col. 3. 57 Charleston Daily Courier , 13 February 1832, p. 3, col. 2. 58 William Stanley Hoole, The Antebellum Charleston Theatre (Tuscaloosa: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1946), p. 32. 59 "To William Duffy," 15 October 1832, Letter II, Carson, p. 42. 60 Boston Daily Evening Transcript , 22 November 1832, p. 3, col. 1. 61 James E. Leonard, "The Letters of William Duffy, Albany Theatre Manager, 1830-1835," Thesis, State Univ. of N.Y. at Albany, 1971, p. 107. 62 Leonard, p. 109. 63 James E. Murdoch, The Stage (Philadelphia: J. M. Stoddart & Co., 1880), p. 146.

PAGE 57

50 64 65 66 Leonard, p. 109. Odell, III, 615. Ball, p. 242.

PAGE 58

CHAPTER IV THE SECOND TOUR, 1839-40 Following his initial American tour, Charles Kean was first engaged in London at the Covent Garden Theatre at thirty pounds per week. His opening night was not received enthusiastically, and Kean "acted only a few nights with qualified success." The management soon engaged Edmund Kean, thus setting the stage for the first and only joint London appearance by father and son (3/25/33); Edmund Kean played Othello with his son's support as Iago and Ellen Tree's as Desdemona. Less than two months later, the elder Kean was dead. Since he could readily secure profitable engagements in the provincial theatres, Kean refused an offer from Bunn at Drury Lane, and vowed never to act again in London until his terms of fifty pounds per night were met. Bunn assured the young actor that such terms as he demanded would never again be paid. Kean then began his preparations for a second London debut by playing a series of provincial engagements which 2 occupied almost five years and earned him some twenty-thousand pounds. During this provincial interim, Kean became a popular and profitable star for the theatres outside London. "He presented the unique instance of an actor without metropolitan popularity, proving himself the safest speculation and the most attractive 'star' that a manager in the country 3 could venture to engage. Late in 1837, Kean accepted an engagement at Drury Lane at fifty pounds per night from Bunn, who had offered him just fifteen pounds per 51

PAGE 59

52 week less than five years earlier. Kean opened his Drury Lane engagement as Hamlet (1/8/38). The original twenty nights of his contract became forty-three when Kean's popularity caused Bunn to extend the engagement. Over three months, Kean's engagement netted him 2100 pounds as he appeared in only three roles: Hamlet, Richard III, and Sir Giles Overreach. Hamlet was the most popular character, being acted twenty-one times. The average receipts for the forty-three nights of Kean's performances was 309 pounds, making the engagement a profitable one for the management as 4 well. This initial engagement was succeeded, after a brief tour of the „5 provinces, by another stand which was a somewhat diminished attraction. Kean spent the next year successfully touring the provinces before returning to London for an engagement at the Haymarket (5/9/39). The twelve nights for which Kean had been engaged were extended to twenty-two, Hamlet again being the most frequently acted character. Kean received fifty pounds per night for this engagement as well. Having successfully established a base in the provinces, and having achieved a degree of popular acclaim in London, Kean once again looked toward America; in early August, 1839, he sailed for the United States. Whereas, Kean's first American theatrical tour had been a rewarding change from the circumstances following his London debut, the second tour illustrated Kean's persistence in overcoming a plethora of adversities. The tenor of the tour was set even before Kean reached these shores; a storm at sea destroyed the tiller of the ship on which he sailed, leaving the vessel to drift without control until the storm abated. The unpropitious circumstances continued upon landing in America. Kean was ill enough to feel the need for a period of recuperation at

PAGE 60

53 Niagara before beginning his performances. Perhaps the crossing was an omen; there was much to discourage Kean on this tour and little to encourage him. Individual misfortune and general conditions both served to confound and frustrate Kean during this second American tour. He was forced to abandon performances due to chronic ill health; the New York theatre in which he was to perform burned on the afternoon of his reappearance; a supernumerary awaiting an entrance next to Kean was killed by a falling piece of stage rigging. Additionally, the theatrical conditions were adversely affected by the economic situation and the changing tastes of audiences. Legitimate theatre suffered at the hands of novelty, and many actors and theatres were in dire financial straits. Manager Price of the Park Theatre in New York was forced to offer his company the alternatives of two-thirds salary or a closed theatre. In persisting against such adverse conditions, Kean acted sixteen characters for eighty-eight performances in seven cities of the populous east, venturing afield only to play an engagement in Charleston, South Carolina. The roles most frequently performed during this second tour were Hamlet, Richard III, Claude Melnotte in The Lady of Lyons by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Macbeth, and three roles which tied for fifth place: Shylock, Sir Giles Overreach, and Sir Edward Mortimer. Included in these seven roles are the five most frequently acted on the first tour. Only Claude Melnotte and Macbeth, added to Kean's repertory after 1832-33, were changes from the 1830-33 grouping of most frequently acted roles. Only five of the sixteen roles performed by Kean on this tour were not acted during the first tour. Only three of the sixteen were not

PAGE 61

54 frequently acted by Kean throughout major portions of his career. This fact, when considered with the concurrent fact that Kean acted no role for the first time on this tour, unlike the first, indicated that Kean played those roles which he had determined were successful for him. The second tour lasted only one season rather than the three of the first tour; Kean acted fewer roles in fewer cities, but still played more than half as many performances as during the much longer first tour. Despite all the misfortunes, Kean did not hit the lowest point of the first tour, though the peaks were not as high either. At a time when the theatrical situation in the United States was unstable, Kean managed to survive with at least modest success. The second tour was not a great triumph, but neither was it a disgrace. Kean's first performance of the second tour occurred at the National Theatre in New York as Hamlet (9/9/39). The theatre was crowded, and Kean was well received. The Herald reported that Kean "made some fine points; but he played very unevenly." Kean wrote that his reception was Q "brilliant, almost equal to that at Drury Lane on the 8th January." For his second appearance, Kean acted Sir Giles Overreach (9/10). The Mirror thought it a fine piece of acting: In . . .Sir Giles Overreach, Mr. Kean developed new powers and gave additional indications of that high histrionic genius which he has matured by assiduous practice and study. The tempestuous scenes in the last act — were rendered with extraordinary effect. The manner in which he sprang across the stage with e^ery limb quivering, when he gives the lie to Wellborn was a most thrilling piece of acting. 9 The week continued with Kean's performance of Shylock (9/11) and Lear (9/12). Philip Hone recorded his evaluation of Lear: He is so hoarse from a cold that it is now difficult to hear his articulation. He is his father all over again

PAGE 62

55 in this part, but I did not perceive many of those thrilling passages which left an impression upon my memory never to be effaced. This may be my fault, not his; my sensibility is not so acute as in the days of the elder Kean. The son looked 1n Lear admirably; never was there a more perfect little old man. Clearly, Kean's health had not improved, for bronchitis forced him to give up his engagement following this performance of Lear. After a "feeble struggle of four nights, I was obliged to relinquish the task, and keep within the solitary seclusion of a sick chamber for three weeks." Kean's illness had been obvious to all observers, including the press, and they graciously declined to criticize less than his best efforts. "Mr. Charles Kean has been playing here, but under such circumstances of illness and bodily suffering, that it would be unjust to enter upon a criticism of his acting." 12 "We have a criticism to make on Charles Kean, but as we want to do his talents justice, we advise him to suspend his acting until next week." 13 Audiences evidently waited for Kean's improvement; after crowded houses for the first two performances, attendance fell off sharply. Following a long weekend's rest, Kean was announced to reappear on September 16. The papers cautioned against too precipitate a return to acting. He was warned that "if he should then labour under the same hoarseness, he will risk all his laurels; his friends and the manager should at all events deter him from the attempt." 14 "Charles Kean, --quit the stage for a couple of months, or you will ruin your health. During the past week, you have been playing against Death--try it no more." 15 Kean asserted that, though his doctors knew little about his illness, they did agree on urging him not to act again for six months. "I need

PAGE 63

56 not tell you what a serious pecuniary loss this must be to me." 16 Kean rued the loss of companionship as well as the loss of income; "having no body to care for, or care for me, on this side of the Atlantic, does not increase the pleasure of my solitary hours." 17 With an additional week's rest, Kean's reappearance was once again announced. His ill wind continued to blow, however. On the afternoon of his reappearance, the National Theatre was consumed by fire; Kean's wardrobe was saved, but that of Wallack, the manager, was entirely lost. His proposed three-week engagement at the National Theatre destroyed with the building, Kean left New York to play an engagement at the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia. Kean's first role in Philadelphia was Hamlet (9/30). Wemyss observed that it was "fortunate for his reputation that he paid us a second visit," alluding to the failure of Kean to impress the Philadelphia audiences on the first tour. Although the young Kean had improved, there was "much room for improvement left." 18 During the remainder of the first week, Kean acted Sir Giles Overreach (10/2), Lear (10/3), Sir Giles again (10/4), and Richard III (10/5). The second week at the Chestnut St. Theatre began with Macbeth (10/7), succeeded by Shylock (10/8), Iago (10/9), Hamlet (10/10), Sir Edward Mortimer (10/11), and Claude Melnotte (10/12). "The best part he acted, during his present engagement, was Claude Melnotte," wrote Wemyss. "He looked the part better than any representative I have yet seen, and that is at least half the battle." 19 Following this two-week stand in Philadelphia, Kean traveled to Baltimore, where he opened at the Holliday St. Theatre as Hamlet (10/14).

PAGE 64

57 The Sun deemed the performance a success: Our space allows us to say but little, or we should permit our enthusiasm to offer such a tribute to this splendid performance as its excellence so well deserves. We were never a witness to so successful an appearance in tragedy, in Baltimore, as that of Charles Kean on Monday night. Our prejudice was not in his favor at first, but subsequently he would have won our applause, though he had been our enemy. Our limits must be our excuse for avoiding detail, and we have only to say that his Hamlet should be played again. 20 Kean followed Hamlet with Sir Giles (10/16), Sir Edward Mortimer (10/17), Hamlet again (10/18), and Richard III (10/19). During this first week in Baltimore, Kean's competition at the other theatre was Edwin Forrest, the native American actor who was just a few years older than Kean. Kean must have gained a degree of satisfaction from the fact that the prices at the American Theatre where Forrest acted were exactly half those of the Holliday St. Kean opened his second week in Baltimore with Claude Melnotte (10/21] This benefit performance was succeeded by Hamlet (10/22), and by Macbeth on the last night of Kean's engagement (10/23). Kean prolonged his stay in Baltimore for one night in order to appear in the benefit performance for Abbott, the manager; Kean acted Shylock (10/24). Kean had competition during his second week in Baltimore, as well; J. R. Booth played the American Theatre. The Spirit of the Times reported that "the critics were somewhat divided" as to Kean's excellence. The criticism indicated that Kean still fought his illness, since the "principal difficulty seems to be a want of voice and physical power . . . no merit in the conception of a character can excuse the fault of not 21 being audible."

PAGE 65

58 Kean returned to New York to play an engagement at Wal lack's temporary theatre at Niblo's Garden. His opening role there was Hamlet (10/28). Kean's second performance, Claude Melnotte (10/30) did not draw a large house, a circumstance the Spirit blamed on the play, "which never 22 deserved a long run." When Kean acted Richard III (10/31), the Herald lauded the performance: Since the era of the older Kean, there has not been such a representation of the crooked back tyrant, as his son Charles delineated at the National last night. It was, 2 -j indeed, a superb piece of acting, and the house was crowded. Kean completed the first week at Niblo's Garden with Othlello (11/1) and Claude Melnotte (11/2), "his great character ... in the popular 24 estimation." During his second week in New York, Kean acted Richard III (11/4), Hamlet (11/6), Richard III again (11/7), and Macbeth for his benefit performance (11/8). Kean reported that "the house was the most brilliant of the season, both as to numbers and fashion--and so great is the excitement I have left behind that I really believe that if the 25 Old Theatre stood, I should have cleared thousands ." Successful though this return engagement in New York may have been, Kean's evil star was evidently still shining. Kean, at Wallack's request, left most of his share of the profits from this engagement on deposit with the manager. Following Kean's engagement, Wallack experienced an unprofitable period with Forrest and went bankrupt, leaving Kean among his creditors in the amount of 150 pounds. Kean opened a Boston engagement at the Tremont Theatre as Hamlet (11/11). The Spirit reported that the impression given by the Boston

PAGE 66

59 press was that Kean "was more successful there than in any other city 27 where he has yet appeared." Kean must have been pleased with the crowded house that greeted his first performance; his stated terms for oo the engagement were "thirds and halves" of the receipts. Kean's second role was Sir Giles (11/12). If we can believe the Herald , Kean was not a critical success, though he may have been a popular one. "The Boston critics have decided that Kean is only the 'second crop' as compared to his father. He has not the 'most eminent stamp of genius '--he only 'attempts it.'" Near the close of his Tremont engagement, Kean played Roll a in Sheridan's Pizarro (11/28). On this occasion, Kean's evil star remained ascendant, though Providence continued to protect. As Kean related the incident, he was standing on the prompt side, waiting to go on with the child, in the last scene of Rolla, and giving some stage directions to a person of the name of Stimpson, leader of the supernumeraries, the iron weights by which the curtain is suspended, gave way, fell upon the head of the unfortunate man, and laid him instantaneously a corpse at my feet, covering me with his blood. ... I was within a foot of Death. 30 One can imagine Kean wondering what other calamities awaited. Though confronted with only modest success, illness, and other catastrophes, Kean dared not return home before spring, lest it be reported that he had failed in America. Enroute to New York, Kean played a week's engagement in Providence, Rhode Island, beginning on December 2. The week was clearly not a remunerative one: "Providence is not much of a theatrical town, as our readers will readily believe, when told that Kean played there to $60 31 only, some nights."

PAGE 67

60 In New York, Kean's illness persisted; once again he was placed under medical care. He was seriously advised to give up acting for the winter and recuperate in some warmer clime, such as Havana. Although Kean wrote that he had not left his hotel room for a week, and that he was seriously concerned about the persistence of his illness, he recovered sufficiently "SO to resume his New York performances. Such failure to attract audiences as had been exhibited in Providence, did not affect Kean's terms for the New York engagement. He succeeded Forrest at the Bowery Theatre at "fifty pounds per night." 33 The first role of Kean's eight night engagement was Richard III (12/19). Kean subsequently acted Sir Giles (12/20) and repeated Richard III (12/21) to close the first week. During the second week, Kean played Iago to the Othello of manager Hamblin (12/23), followed by Hamlet (12/24). The bill for Christmas Day had Kean acting Cassius to the Brutus of Hamblin (12/25). Othello and Julius Caesar apparently were popular, for Kean repeated his Iago (12/26) and Cassius (12/27), before acting both Sir Edward Mortimer and Claude Melnotte for his benefit performance (12/28) and the close of the engagement. Kean opened an engagement at the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia as Richard III (12/20), and closed 1839 with a performance of Hamlet (12/31). During the remainder of the one-week stand, Kean acted King John (1/1/40), Rolla (1/2), Reuben Glenroy (1/3), and Macbeth (1/4). Continuing southward, Kean played at Washington, opening as Hamlet (1/6), and subsequently acted Shylock (1/8), Richard III (1/9), and

PAGE 68

61 Sir Edward Mortimer (1/10). Perhaps because of the disagreeably cold weather which caused the management to advertise that stoves had been placed in the parquette, the audiences were not large. The Spirit reported that "Kean did a poor business at Washington. A Baltimore paper informs us that he has been playing to empty benches." The correspondent of the Herald declared "I do not believe he drew $100 any night he was here. Washington is the very worst theatrical town in the 35 world." The Daily National Intelligencer regretted that, "notwithstanding the great attraction of Kean's superior acting in some of the principal characters of Shakespeare, ... the Theatre has not been remarkedly well attended during the past week." Such failure to attract audiences must have intensified Kean's earlier declaration, "Would to 37 God I had remained at home!" Kean's next engagement was at the New Charleston Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina, where he opened as Hamlet (2/11). During the course of this first week, Kean performed Shylock (2/12), Richard III (2/13), Sir Giles (2/14), and Macbeth (2/15). Kean's engagement was to have closed with his performances of Sir Edward Mortimer and Claude Melnotte for his benefit (2/17). We learn, however, that "in consequence of the non arrival of Mr. Burton . . . Mr. C. Kean has kindly delayed his departure and will, at the request of many parties, repeat his highly successful character of Richard III (2/18)." Kean's substitute booking continued with performances of Macbeth (2/19), Reuben Glenroy (2/20), the Stranger (2/21), and King Lear (2/22). An unidentified correspondent provided an account of Kean's success in Charleston.

PAGE 69

62 From what I can learn, Kean succeeded well here. ... He was much admired here, and by the best judges. ... He made money here, which goes far to prove how well he played, for they give in as little to humbug here, as in any town I know. 39 It will be recalled that Kean's doctors had for some time advised him to suspend acting and recuperate in a warmer climate, such as the West Indies. Although he had resisted until winter was past, Kean apparently now submitted to that advice. He sailed from Charleston to Havana about March 4, 1840, and remained there for a month. Having just "returned from the Havana, where I have been for the 40 recovery of my health," Kean opened an engagement at the Holliday St. Theatre in Baltimore with a performance of King Lear (4/8). Kean's competition during this week in Baltimore illustrated the American theatre-going public's fascination with novelty: the attraction with the biggest draw was five-and-a-half year old Master Hutchings, the "Lilliputian Wonder." The competition was so great that the Holliday St. and the other legitimate theatres had to reduce prices to attract audiences. During the remainder of his week's engagement, Kean played Shylock (4/9), Hamlet (4/10), Richard III (4/11), and Sir Edward Mortimer and Claude Melnotte for his benefit (4/13). Evidently the press shared the public fascination with Master Hutchings; much was written of the juvenile sensation, while Kean's performances were ignored. Enroute to New York, Kean played four nights at the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia. His first role was Hamlet (4/15), followed by Shylock (4/16), Richard III (4/17), and Sir Edward Mortimer and Claude Melnotte for his benefit (4/18).

PAGE 70

63 Kean then returned to New York after an absence of four months. Acting this time at the Park Theatre, Kean alternated nights with Hackett. During the first week, Kean acted Hamlet (4/20), King Lear (4/22), and Hamlet once again (4/24). The second week of the Park engagement began with Kean's performance of Hotspur to Hackett' s Fal staff for the latter' s benefit (4/27). Kean next acted Claude Melnotte (4/28). Philip Hone was in the audience. I went this evening ... to see Charles Kean and Claude Melnotte in Bulwer's "Lady of Lyons." He is to act only three nights, when he returns to England, not well satisfied with the results of his visit to the United States. I do not like his acting. He rants terribly and the rapidity of his utterance renders him unintelligible in all those fine declamatory speeches with which his part in this fine play abounds. He is impassioned without sensibility, and ardent with very little touch of tenderness. 41 Although Hone was clear in his failure to appreciate Kean's acting, Kean gained some credit by comparison to Hone's analysis of Macready in the same role some time later: "Charles Kean pleased me more in the part of 42 Claude." During the remainder of his second week at the Park, Kean acted Hamlet (4/29), Macbeth (4/30), and Richard III for his farewell benefit (5/1). Kean acted once more prior to sailing for England, playing Macbeth for Charlotte Cushman's benefit (5/7). An incident which was perhaps illustrative of the plight of actors such as Kean occurred when Kean decided to assay the competition by seeing Booth act Richard III. The Herald reported the story: Charles Kean had never seen Booth play, and wrapping himself in his cloak, went to the little Chatham, paid his half dollar, and took his seat in the boxes by the side of a genuine soaplock. Charles Thorne played the part of Richard, in lieu of Booth. As the play progressed, Charles Kean showed evident signs of dissatisfaction, and in the third act,

PAGE 71

64 he turned round to the soaplock (who sat in juxtaposition with him) and exclaimed with all that suavity for which he is distinguished, "I beg your pardon, sir; but— is— that is— is that gentleman who is playing Richard, Mr. Booth?" --"Booth be d d," said the soaplock, with an indignant and contemptuous curl of the lip— "no, by Jasus; it's Charley Thorne, my sucker. To be sure he has not so big a name, but he's a d d sight better than all the Charley Keans and Booths to boot, and can beat' em all to blazes, easy, by Jasus!"— Charles Kean wrapped his cloak around him, rose and returned home. 43 Home, no doubt, beckoned more strongly than ever. In evaluating Kean's second American tour, the Knickerbocker Magazine laid some of the blame for Kean's shortcomings upon the public who insisted upon comparing the young man to his famous father: "Charles was applauded only in so far as he was able to imitate his father." Any attempt Kean made for "quiet and natural" acting went unnoticed. Kean himself, however, was not without blame; whether out of a sense of frustration or not, Kean appeared on many occasions to be careless in his acting, "even before full houses," which the Knickerbocker found difficult to accept. Kean's second American theatrical tour must have been a terribly frustrating experience for the young actor. Remembering the kind reception he received on his first tour, remembering also the reputation he had finally established at home, Kean must have found this misfortunefilled nine months difficult to endure. He did endure, however, in a time when the legitimate theatre, not just Charles Kean, had to struggle to exist. Under the circumstances, Charles Kean fared not so badly.

PAGE 72

65 Notes 1 Cole, I, 204. 2 Cole, I, 211. 3 Cole, I, 230. 4 Cole, I, 279. 5 Cole, I, 291. Charles Kean, Letter to David Buchanan, 29 November 1839, Folder Y.c. 393 (12), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 7 New York Herald , 10 September 1839, p. 3, col. 2. o Charles Kean, Letter to William Harvey, 18 December 1839, Folder Y.c. 393 (103), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 9 Ball, p. 242. 10 Hone, p. 422. 11 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (12). 12 The Spirit of the Times , 14 September 1839, p. 3, col. 4. 13 New York Herald , 12 September 1839, p. 3, col. 3. 14 Spirit , 14 September 1839, p. 3, col. 4. 15 New York Herald , 16 September 1839, p. 3, col. 1. 16 Charles Kean, Letter to William Harvey, 20 September 1839, Folder Y.c. 393 (102), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 17 "To John Hughes," 20 September 1839, Letter VIII, Carson, p. 46. 18 Wemyss, p. 327. Wemyss, p. 328. 20 Baltimore Sun , 16 October 1839, p. 2, col. 3. 21 Spirit , 26 October 1839, p. 3, col. 2.

PAGE 73

66 22 23 24 Spirit , 2 November 1839, p. 3, col. 1. New York Herald , 1 November 1839, p. 3, col. 2. Spirit , 9 November 1839, p. 3, col. 4. 25 „ To John Hughes," 15 November 1839, Letter IX, Carson, p. 47. 26 27 28 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (12). Spirit , 16 November 1839, p. 3, col. 2. Charles Kean, Letter to unidentified correspondent, 11 September 1839, Folder Y.c 393 (115), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 New York Herald , 22 November 1839, p. 3, col. 1. Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (12). Spirit , 21 December 1839, p. 3, col. 1. Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (103). Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (103). Spirit , 25 January 1840, p. 3, col. 2. New York Herald , 17 January 1840, p. 3, col. 3. Daily National Intelligencer , 13 January 1840, p. 2, col. 1 37 „ To John Hughes," 15 November 1839, Letter IX, Carson, p. 47. 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 Charleston Mercury , 18 February 1840, p. 3, col. 1. Spirit , 14 March 1840, p. 3, col. 4. "To Benjamin Webster," 11 April 1840, Letter X, Carson, p. 48. Hone, p. 476. Hone, p. 674. New York Herald , 9 May 1840, p. 3, col. 2. Odell, IV, 357.

PAGE 74

CHAPTER V THE THIRD TOUR, 1845-47 Safely home again, Charles Kean opened an engagement at the Haymarket, his second at that theatre; the engagement, originally scheduled for thirty nights, ran for two months. During that time, Madame Vestris tried to entice Kean to Covent Garden, where he would act with Ellen Tree, by offering him fifty pounds per night. The Haymarket management met that offer, and added an inducement of half a benefit for twenty nights for three successive seasons. Kean accepted, and the Haymarket became his London base for some time. Following the close of the London appearances, Kean toured the provinces, acting in those cities in which he had earlier been successful. He returned to London in May, 1841, where he opened an engagement at the Haymarket, which, like the earlier bookings, was extended beyond the contract time to thirty-seven nights. Macbeth and Romeo and Jul iet were the major attractions, being performed on two-thirds of the nights of Kean's engagement. Ellen Tree played Juliet to Kean's Romeo in this Haymarket production, which was directed by Kean, "affording the first stamp of that rare combination of taste and judgment which he has since carried to such perfection in the Shakespearean revivals at the 2 Princess' s Theatre. " At the close of the 1841 Haymarket engagement, Kean resumed his provincial touring. During this season, on January 29, 1842, Charles Kean married Ellen Tree. The marriage, not immediately made public, 67

PAGE 75

68 had a strong affect on Kean's career through his wife's influence on the roles he subsequently played. The appeal of the two players seemed increased by their marriage; when the Keans first acted together after the announcement of their marriage, they averaged two-hundred pounds per night. When the Keans returned to the Haymarket for an engagement in May, 1842, the principal attractions revealed the influence of Mrs. Kean; As You Like It , The Gamester by Edward Moore, and The Lady of Lyons by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, were the most frequently played pieces. This first London engagement for the Keans was extended into fifty-two nights over three months. When the engagement ended, the Keans once again took to the provinces. Kean fulfilled his obligations under the Haymarket contract by acting twenty nights in the summer of 1843 without his wife, who was expecting their first child. Later in the 1843-44 season, Kean acted at Drury Lane, where he directed Richard III "in a style of unprecedented 4 magnificance, with historical costumes and appointments." During the summer of 1843, Kean received an offer from Ludlow and Smith to perform at those theatres in the mid-western and southern United States which they managed. Kean declined the offer, but promised that he and his wife would visit the United States before taking their 5 contemplated retirement from the stage. It was evident that Ellen Kean desired to return to the United States, for Kean wrote Sol Smith in April, 1845, that his attention had been increasingly directed toward America, "not on my own account, but on that of Mrs. Kean." The contemplated visit would be a farewell tour prior to Mrs. Kean's retirement from the stage, and would require a guarantee of one-half

PAGE 76

69 the gross receipts for every night on which they acted. Two recurrent themes were developed in this letter: retirement from the stage, a process which occupied twenty-two years, and the demand for "clear halves," an obsession with the Keans for the remainder of their careers. Ellen Kean made it clear to Sol Smith in the summer of 1845 that she had taken over negotiations for an American tour and that she was no less determined than her husband on the terms for their engagements—the Keans would accept no less than a full half of the gross receipts for each performance. "I was a Queen of Trumps when I was with you beforeo I am a better actress now, and I bring a King with me." Even though they had not come to terms with Ludlow and Smith, the Keans proceeded with arrangements for a visit to America, based primarily on an offer from Simpson, manager of the Park Theatre in New York. Appearances in other towns would be arranged after the Keans arrived in the United States. Charles Kean's third American theatrical tour was a period of transition in his repertory, preparation for forthcoming antiquarian productions, and accumulation of funds for the contemplated retirement. The roles Kean acted were changing, under his wife's influence, from the classical tragic roles he played early in his career to a mixture consisting of roles in comedy, more roles in melodrama, and some of the classical roles associated with his father. Kean also was busy preparing for the spectacularly historical productions which he was to do at the Princess's Theatre from 1850 to 1859. There was also a financial purpose to the tour; Kean had set a goal of ten-thousand pounds—fifty thousand dollars--prof it for this two-year trip to America. This third tour by Kean comprised two theatrical seasons, 1845-46 and 1846-47.

PAGE 77

70 During the first season, Kean played four major cities of the eastern United States— New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore— which had been on the two earlier tours. Also played were Charleston and New Orleans, both of which had been played by Kean previously; added were Mobile and St. Louis, towns in which Ludlow and Smith managed theatres. In this first season, Kean acted twenty-two roles in two-hundred-and-fourteen performances. Significant was the changing nature of Kean's roles as evidenced by the fact that eleven of these roles had not been acted before by Kean in America; of these, four roles—Adrastus in Ion by Thomas Noon Talfourd, Duke de Chartres in J. R. Planche's The Follies of a_ Night , Duke Orsino in Twel f th Night , and Sir Thomas Clifford in The Hunchback by Sheridan Knowles— were first acted by Kean during this 1845-46 season. Of the five most frequently acted roles of 1845-46, three had been adopted by Kean since the previous American tour; these were Beverley in Edward Moore's The Gamester , Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing , and Adrastus in Talfourd's Ion . Only Richard III and the Stranger had been acted previously by Kean in America. Also of significance during the first season was Kean's production of Richard III at the Park Theatre in New York. The production, which Kean had staged at Drury Lane in 1843, was mounted in that spectacular style of historical accuracy which was to become Kean's trademark at the Princess's Theatre. Richard III , which ran for three full weeks, was based on promptbooks sent him by George Ellis, the Drury Lane prompter who became Kean's stage manager at the Princess's Theatre. The production was planned as the first in a series of grand revivals of Shakespeare during this tour.

PAGE 78

71 During the second season in America, Kean played mostly in the eastern cities, adding Buffalo, which he had never played before; he ventured afield only to play Richmond and New Orleans. Kean acted three roles for the first time during the 1846-47 season; they were Sir Walter Amyot in The Wife' s Secret , written by George Lovell under commission from the Keans; Oakley in The Jealous Wife by George Colman; and Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona . These roles affected the composition of the most-frequently-acted list of roles: Sir Walter Amyot held first place; King John was next by virtue of Kean's "grand" production; Richard III was third; fourth position was still held by Beverley in The Gamester ; and Oakley took over fifth place. Kean continued to add new roles to his repertory. Kean also continued his plans for a series of "grand" revivals of Shakespeare; Two Gentlemen of Verona was given a limited run, and King John was staged as elaborately as Richard III had been. King John, however, did not receive as favorable a reception from the public. Kean, disappointed, abandoned his plans for further productions, which would have included Macbeth . Charles Kean's third American theatrical tour was reflective of the transitional period during which his career moved into the roles in which he developed his mature style of acting, and also moved more into the production style which became a principal part of his fame. Of the twenty-six roles acted by Kean during the two years of the third tour, fourteen had not been acted by him only five years earlier when he had last acted in the United States. Seven roles were acted for the first time during the 1845-47 seasons. The lists of most frequently acted roles illustrated the difference in Kean's repertory. On the 1830-33

PAGE 79

72 tour, the most frequently acted roles were Sir Giles, Richard III, Hamlet, Shylock, and Mortimer; all but Mortimer were closely identified with his father. On the truncated 1839-40 tour, the list changed little: Hamlet, Richard III, Melnotte, Macbeth, and Mortimer. The list now included two melodramatic roles and three of the great roles associated with Edmund Kean. On the 1845-47 tour, however, more change was obvious: Richard III, Beverley in The Gamester , Sir Walter Amyot in The Wife's Secret, the Stranger, and Don Felix in The Wonder. Melodrama and comedy were now firmly in Kean's repertory. While in many instances the new roles were added because they were in plays that offered good roles for his wife, each was also a character which Kean could play in the familiarized style he had developed to accompany his humanized conception of character. The third tour could also be seen as an out-of-town tryout of contemplated productions of Shakespeare in the historically accurate production style he used at the Princess's Theatre. Kean was sent a number of promptbooks of productions which had been staged at Drury Lane, along with watercolor designs for settings, by George Ellis. He had intended to produce Macbeth , also possibly The Merchant of Venice , Othello , and Cymbel ine ; after the failure of King John Kean abandoned those plans. Charles and Ellen Kean opened their first joint American tour at the Park Theatre in New York, playing Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in Edward Moore's The Gamester (9/1/45) before a "densely crowded audience" which gave a reception "enthusiastic in the extreme." The Spirit of the Times observed that "we have rarely witnessed a performance which gave such universal satisfaction." Kean was lauded for the care and attention he devoted to often neglected points of the role, and was said to have

PAGE 80

73 improved since his last visit to the United States. Still, the Spirit deemed the role of Beverley not "suited to the peculiarities in characteristics of his style." The Herald was pleased at the return of legitimate drama, but found Kean's performance uneven. Mr. Kean, from experience, has gained much ripeness. He is strong in conception, and, to a great degree, effective in delineation; but whether it be from lack of physique , or vocal compass, the climax of his point is frequently marred. There are flashes of fearful intensity, which expire almost as soon as kindled. . . .10 The Herald was reminded of Kean's father, especially in the third act, but did not think that Kean deliberately copied his father. When Kean acted Benedick to his wife's Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing , the Herald saw evidence of new ability. Kean not only "extended his sphere of versatility," but showed to "peculiar advantage" in genteel comedy, which he played with great sprightl iness. His iron vows of celibacy were recorded with a force which would render them apparently incapable of recantation, and his general aversion from the sex, but particularly from his 'evil genius,' was hit off with admirable lightness and much sincerity. His gradual disentanglement from the misanthropic vows he had imposed upon himself, and the dexterous sophistry whereby he seeks to justify their sudden violation, were given with great effect; and we have seldom seen more highly-finished by-play than in the scene where the bachelor is dying to avow his love, even trembling on his lip, yet is partially restrained by the ridicule to which vacallation exposes him, as well as the fear of Beatrice's pride and petulance. H The Stranger in Benjamin Thompson's adaptation of Kotzebue's play of that name was Kean's third role of the first week (9/3). The Herald found the play a powerful moral statement, but "in every point deficient as an acting play." The play, therefore, demanded that the actor bring more from himself, a challenge Kean met.

PAGE 81

74 The story of his domestic wrong was finely told, and when the tear started at their mimicry--the genius of the actor was untramelled--the sudden misanthrope was merged in the suffering and agonized husband, and nature rose, once again, from the tomb where treachery had laid her , ? to light, and animate the bosom she had so long abandoned. Kean could not, however, escape comparison to his father; the Herald reported that it would have had difficulty in distinguishing the young Kean from his father, "had our eyes been closed." Kean next acted Don Felix to his wife's Donna Viol ante in Mrs. Centlivre's comedy, The Wonder (9/4), followed by Jaques to his wife's Rosalind in As You Like It (9/5). The role of Jaques did not offer Kean, said the Herald , a character "congenial to his genius." Requiring "little beyond the capabilities of the reader," the role offered scant opportunity for the actor in whom "are united the higher endowments of the impulsive actor with the acquirements of a polished education." The first week at the Park closed with a repetition of Moore's The Gamester (9/6). The Herald found it redundant to repeat its comments, but did feel compelled to report on the "impressive terror" of the death scene, which was the most memorable that Kean had played thus far. The throes of agony as 'the potent poison o'erpowers the spirit,' struggling with the gradual rigidity of death--the locked and quivering hand, the attempted prayer recoiling on the crushed and guilty heart, as a mockery rather than attestation of repentance, were delineations as true to nature as they were evidences of study and genius. 15 When Kean repeated Benedick to open the second week in New York (9/8), the Herald reported that Kean could not rid himself of the "weight of tone and measured . . . gesture" of the practiced tragedian, even though he played genteel comedy "with all the ease of the gentleman and much of the vivacity of the actor." Still, the second performance of

PAGE 82

75 the role was better than the first, exhibiting "more of the mercurial, light-hearted bachelor." Kean and his wife next played Alfred Evelyn and Clara Douglas in Money by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (9/9). The Herald lauded the effect with which Kean delivered the "caustic sentiments of a wrung and trampled spirit." Especially powerful was the dinner scene in which Evelyn "probes the truth and honesty of his pretended friends." Kean repeated Jaques in As You Like It (9/10), then again acted Alfred Evelyn (9/11). The Herald declared that Evelyn, "from the strong intermixture of irony and bitterness, is a light-comedy part better adapted to Mr. Kean's powers than any we have seen him in." The scene 1 o in the gambling room was found to be particularly effective. On the final two nights of their Park engagement (9/12 & 9/13), the Keans acted the same double bill, appearing as the Stranger and Mrs. Haller in Thompson's The Stranger , and as Duke Aranza and Juliana in John Tobin's The Honeymoon . The Stranger was especially effective: We have seldom seen it more powerfully played; the keen and the harrowing repentance of the wife--the anguish and generous forgiveness of the injured husband carried (we may say) the feelings of the house. We literally seldom saw the powers of the actor or the delusion of the scene so generally responded to by the feelings of the audience. 19 The Honeymoon was performed with "great spirit." The Keans opened an engagement at the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia playing the Beverleys in The Gamester (9/15). This performance prompted Kean to write of the perils of having to rely on the local stock companies to fill supporting roles.

PAGE 83

76 We have been doing capital business here, but excellent as it is, it would have been still better, but for the failure of Mr. Fredericks, as Stukely, on our opening night, who did not [know] two lines of his part. The audience hissed him all through & at last laughed & yelled, so you may imagine that such an exhibition must have materially injured the impression we might otherwise have made. It is hard that we should be at the mercy of such acting. 20 To prevent such embarrassment in the future, Kean engaged John Dyott, a member of the company at the Park Theatre, to play supporting roles. Dyott, who debuted in September, 1844, at the Park, and who was a regular stock player for many years in New York, supported the Keans during the remainder of the Philadelphia engagement and a subsequent one in Baltimore. During the remainder of the first week at the Chestnut St. Theatre, the Keans acted Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (9/16), the Stranger and Mrs. Haller in The Stranger (9/17), Don Felix and Donna Violante in The Wonder (9/18), Jaques and Rosalind in As You Like It (9/19), and Shylock and Portia in The Merchant of Venice (9/20). The attendance was evidently good; Kean wrote that business was "great." Benedick and Beatrice opened the second week at the Chestnut St. Theatre (9/22), followed by Alfred Evelyn and Clara Douglas in BulwerLytton's Money (9/23), Jaques and Rosalind (9/24), Alfred and Clara again (9/25), Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in The Gamester (9/26), and the Stranger and Mrs. Haller (9/27), ending the engagement. The Keans next appeared in a limited engagement at the Front St. Theatre in Baltimore. The fact that prices had been raised to the level of the Chestnut St. Theatre by manager W. E. Burton, did not prevent a full house from attending the Keans 1 opening as the Beverleys

PAGE 84

77 in The Gamester (9/29). During the remainder of their brief engagement, the Keans acted Benedick and Beatrice (9/30), Don Felix and Donna Violante (10/1), Jaques and Rosalind (10/2), and played their benefit as the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, and Duke Aranza and Juliana (10/3). Upon their return to New York, the Keans received a hearty greeting in their opening roles of Benedick and Beatrice (10/6). The versatility of the talented couple, "who, from the deepest tragedy, the profoundest analysis of the human mind and passion, can slide with facility into the playful, sparkling, and humorous phases of character," was evidence, 22 averred the Herald , that it was genius, not craft which they displayed. Kean's second role, Hamlet (10/7), was his best character, and his conception of the part was "nearly perfect," said the Spirit . Especially commended were the scene of the mock tragedy, the closet scene with his mother, and the "nunnery" scene with Ophelia. By contrast, the 23 soliloquies were not equal to the rest of his acting. The Herald concurred with the Spirit in lauding the scenes that paper commended; but disagreed with the Spirit regarding the soliloquies, declaring that they "came alive" when Kean delivered them. Indeed, the whole of Kean's performance was lauded: Mr. Kean . . . makes a great Hamlet. . . . Like a great master, who, with a few bold strokes of his pencil--a scientific disposition of light and shade—produces an impressive painting, so does this gentleman, by strong contrasts in gesticulation, emphasis, and all the other graces of elocution, give a bold relief to his delineation, which falls upon the sight with unmatched effect. Hence those old, familiar, but dignified monitors and friends of our school-boy days--"Hamlet' s Soliloquies," come fresh with renewed youth, and even novelty. Strange that some dozen years have not proved sufficient for the discovery of the beauties in the soliloquies, until the magic sound of Mr. Kean's voice . . . have given it a new soul, and new graces altogether. 24

PAGE 85

78 In the view of the Herald , Kean's Hamlet "immensely raised" his reputation as an actor. Kean's acting of the part was characterized by "originality, dignity, force, and passion." Kean's quiet intensity was especially noted, and the "absolute identity and concentration" with which he played the role, stirred feelings similar to the anecdote about an audience member, who being asked after a performance by Garrick, who played the part, replied, "It wasn't played at all, the gentleman was there himself." When the Keans acted Jaques and Rosalind (10/8), the Herald judged all except their acting to be "mediocre" and "tame," and hoped that more nr worthy material would be forthcoming. ° The Keans continued the week by playing Romeo and Juliet for the first time on this tour (10/9). The Herald reported that no more accomplished or talented performance had been given during the current season than this by the Keans. 27 As the Stranger and Mrs. Haller (10/10), the Keans were, "if possible, still more meritorious" than the earlier presentations of the play. 28 The Keans closed the first week of their return engagement by playing Huon and the Countess in Sheridan Knowles' Love (10/11) for the first time on this tour. Romeo and Juliet was repeated to open the second week at the Park (10/13). The Herald judged Kean's Romeo to be "finely conceived" and "beautifully executed." His melancholy at his unrequited love--the breathings of his impassioned soul to Juliet--the absorbed, the musing, the abstracted Romeo, all was portrayed to the life; and the sentiments to which his passions gave vent, were given with deep and natural feeling and his readings were throughout admirable. In the most powerful scenes, he evinced his wonted energy. Nothing could be finer than his transition from the fanciful to the imaginative, and then impassioned Romeo--and at the close, when deep sorrow sits brooding at his heart, his performance assumed a higher degree of beauty--it could not be excelled. 29

PAGE 86

79 The Keans next acted Macbeth for the first time (10/14). Essential to the excellence of the production was the equally admirable representations of the two leading characters, a circumstance the Herald lauded because of its rarity. Kean's Macbeth was commended in detail: There are here the strongest workings of human passion--the most stormy conflicts of the human mind--superstition, ambition, weakness, guilt, remorse and desperation assail him by turns; and it is in portraying these varied passions by so life-like a representation, that the actor evinced his just and poetical conception of the character, and his extraordinary powers. Kean's performance was "chaste," "unique," and "energetic" throughout, but the passion exhibited in the last act was "truly terrific." The Herald called the "air of abstraction" which characterized Kean's Macbeth in the scenes following the first confrontation with the witches, "one of the most prominent beauties" of his performance. Ambition enveloped Macbeth completely, and in his total preoccupation with his destiny, all around him was ignored. Macbeth's displays of tenderness toward the dead Duncan were strongly natural as played by Kean, and were given with "touching effect." Also noted as exceptionally effective were the scenes with Lady Macbeth, the banquet scene, and the last act when Macbeth had lost all those on whom he had counted for support. With remorse and guilt threatening him with madness, 'tis here that Kean rises with the scene, and gives to it a terrific energy. ... In these high wrought stirring scenes, the transition to a contemplative melancholy was very touching and effective—and those passages, "Seyton! I am sick at heart," and "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow!" &c, were given with a pathos and beauty that could not be surpassed. 30 Hamlet and Ophelia followed Macbeth as the third performance of the week (10/15); the Herald was glowing in its praise:

PAGE 87

80 We see in his performance the embodiment of the great poet's conception, and his whole soul thrown into it— We perceive that it is the result of minute investigation and of deep study and thought, but there is nothing labored or artificialit is natural, easy and consistent. The scene with his father's ghost; the scene with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; and the scene with Ophelia, which was "wild, impassioned and abrupt, but tempered with great tenderness;" these were the most effective scenes, said the Herald . Kean "always excells in the contemplative and philosophical," and was effective in the soliloquies. His great scene, however, was that with his mother, in which the anger, the tenderness, the force of his appeals to his mother, the conflict of his deep emotions, the sudden and powerful transitions of feeling, the awe and solemnity at the sight of his father's spirit, . . . were all admirable, and the house showed their approbation of them by applause loud and long. 31 Shylock and Portia were next acted by the Keans (10/16), and they closed their New York engagement by playing the same double bill for their last two nights (10/17 & 10/18), appearing as Claude Melnotte and Pauline in Bulwer-Lytton' s The Lady of Lyons , and as the Duke and Duchess de Chartres in J. R. Planche's The Follies of a Night . Both plays were performed for the first time on this tour; the latter play was acted 32 for the first time ever at the Park. The house was so crowded that many in the pit doubled up, as did the second tier. The Herald judged such inconvenience to be justified, saying that The Lady of Lyons "was never presented to an American audience in such perfection, and was rapturously received . . . with unbounded applause." The afterpiece 33 was also well received. Closing in New York, the Keans moved on to Baltimore, playing there at the Front St. Theatre. The engagement lasted five nights, with the

PAGE 88

81 Keans acting The Lady of Lyons for their opener (10/20). During the remainder of the week, the Keans acted Hamlet and Ophelia (10/21), Alfred Evelyn and Clara Douglas in Money (10/22), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (10/23), and the dual roles of Romeo and Juliet, with the Duke and Duchess de Chartres in The Follies of a Night , for their benefit. Leaving Baltimore, the Keans were engaged once again at the Chestnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia. They played Claude Melnotte and Pauline to open a two-week engagement (10/27). The Lady of Lyons was succeeded by Hamlet and Ophelia (10/28), Othello and Desdemona (10/28), Huon and the Countess in Knowles 1 Love (10/30), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (10/31), and Benedick and Beatrice (11/1). The second week at the Chestnut St. Theatre had performances as Huon and the Countess (11/3), Romeo and Juliet (11/4), Hamlet and Ophelia (11/5), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (11/6), and, for the Keans' benefit, the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, with the Duke and Duchess de Chartres (11/7). The Herald and Spirit accounts differed as to the success of this engagement for the Keans: The Spirit reported that it was a "very miserable engagement—one night not more than a hundred dollars in the house," while the Herald reported "crowded houses," "golden opinions," and that the Keans were reengaged. Kean's correspondence, however, indicated a degree of success, since he reported having made a profit, after expenses, of one thousand pounds--$5000--during each of the first three months in America. In 1980 dollars, each month's profit would equal $40, 000. 35 Enroute to Boston for an engagement, the Keans acted for three nights at the Park Theatre, performing first in Hamlet (11/10).

PAGE 89

36 82 There is probably no character in the whole range of tragedy or comedy which Mr. Kean has more closely studied than that of Hamlet, and we consider it more admirably adapted to his peculiar powers than any other. . . . Truly it is singular. ... Mr. Kean depicts it with such a truthfulness as to carry the hearts, as well as the minds of the house, with him. When Macbeth was acted by Kean (11/11), the Herald found that it possessed the same excellence as his Hamlet. 37 The double bill of The Stranger and The Follies of a Night closed this brief engagement (11/12). Although performed with his "usual neat, and when necessary, powerful style," the Herald judged the Stranger "not at all suited to Mr. Kean's peculiar style." The Keans were credited with making a defective play all that it could be. 38 The Keans opened a Boston engagement at the Howard Atheneum with The Stranger , and the Post , believing that it took "transcendent talents to render it tolerable," thought that Kean performed the lead role as "well as a just conception and appropriate action could enable any one 39 to do it." The Keans then played Benedick and Beatrice (11/18), followed by Hamlet and Ophelia (11/19). The Keans ended their first week in Boston with performances as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in The Gamester , and Duke Aranza and Juliana in The Honeymoon (11/21). During their second week at the Atheneum, the Keans acted Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (11/24), and Don Felix and Donna Violante (11/27). For Mrs. Kean's benefit (11/28), a crowded house provided receipts of "about $1600" from an audience of over seventeen hundred persons. At the close of this second week, Kean wrote that the success of the tour was "as great as ever." Kean had sent to his bankers a sum representing more than two-hundred dollars profit, after tour expenses, for each of the seventy performances played thus far. Such profits prompted Kean to

PAGE 90

83 declare that there was "little probability of our returning . . . before the spring of 1847, as two years will pay well here & Home will wait." Kean admitted that the motivation for the tour was money, and anticipated that he would send home ten-thousand pounds--almost $50,000. Such a sum would equal at least $400,000 in 1980 dollars. Kean spent the weekend prior to the third week in Boston studying for new roles to be acted in support of Ellen Kean's "most successful, 4? most attractive parts when last in this country." During the third week at the Atheneum, Kean acted for the first time the roles of Adrastus in support of his wife's Ion in Thomas Noon Talfourd's Jon (12/1), Duke Orsino in support of his wife's Viola in Twelfth Night , and Sir Thomas Clifford in support of his wife's Julia in The Hunchback by Sheridan Knowles. On the last night of their engagement (12/5), it was reported that two thousand patrons crowded into the Atheneum. Returning to New York, the Keans began a fourth engagement at the Park Theatre with performances as Adrastus and Ion (12/8). The desire to see Ion was strong enough to fill the house. Although the primary appeal was clearly Ellen Kean's Ion, the Herald observed that Kean's Adrastus was "characterized by the usual fine conception, reading, and power, which distinguish him as an actor--and the character of the tyrant of Argos was given with great truthfulness and beauty." When the Keans acted in The Stranger for their second night (12/9), once again 45 they were credited with making the play all that it could be. Kean's first performance of Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night made the role "strikingly prominent and interesting, by his beautiful delivery of the

PAGE 91

84 poetic gems," said the Albion . The Herald reported that the role was "Characterized by its energy and firmness, and though the character does not permit a thorough display of his genius and unrivalled excellence as a tragedian, the conception and delineation will add to his present 48 reputation as an artiste ." Kean played Duke Orsino (12/12) and Shylock (12/13) to end the first week in New York. Kean's Shylock impressed the Herald : it was a deep, powerful and terrible performance. He became for the time the wery impersonation of unrelenting selfishness, and exhibited in a powerful and truthful light the repulsive but faithful conception of Shakespeare. 49 The Keans repeated Adrastus and Ion to open the second week at the Park (12/15), succeeded by Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia in The Hunchback and the Duke and Duchess de Chartres in The Follies of a Night for Kean's benefit (12/16). Calling the performances the most successful of all those the Keans had played, the Herald lauded Kean's Sir Thomas Clifford as "an admirable piece of acting." Particularly commended was "his description of his love for Julia, in the third scene--his enthusiasm when asserting the charms which the country had for him in summer, winter, and in winter's night, ending with a declaration, and an offer of his 50 hand." The Spirit declared that it had "seldom seen even at the Park, any piece better put upon the stage, better cast, or better played, than 51 was the 'Hunchback.'" The Keans played repetitions of Twelfth Night (12/17) and The Hunchback (12/18), before acting in The Iron Chest by George Colman as Sir Edward Mortimer and Wilford, and in Don Caesar de Bazan by Gilbert Abbott & Beckett as the Don and Maritana (12/19 & 12/20). As Sir Edward Mortimer, Kean

PAGE 92

85 achieved one of the greatest triumphs we have had the pleasure of recording for a long time. His delineation of the disappointed, conscience-stricken, misanthropic Mortimer, betrayed an intimate knowledge of the workings of human nature, and the secret springs which incite men to action—it was marked by great power and deep feeling—it was something more than a mere artistical performance— it was the effort of true genius. His soliloquies were listened to with breathless interest by the enthusiastic and excited auditors, and the last scene of the fifth act was thrilling, grand and startling. 52 The Keans 1 New York engagement ended with this performance. Kean and his wife did not act during Christmas week, but journeyed to Philadelphia to open at the Chestnut St. Theatre as Adrastus and Ion (12/29). They acted Duke Orsino and Viola (12/30), and followed with Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (12/31) to end 1845. The Keans acted Benedick and Beatrice (1/1/46), repeated Duke Orsino and Viola (1/2), and ended the Chestnut St. Theatre engagement as Adrastus and Ion (1/3). The Keans then returned to New York to complete preparations for the opening of Richard III , which Kean had promised would be staged in 53 a style "of unparallel splendor and magnificence." The cost of the production was given as ten-thousand dollars— at least $80,000 in 1980— with Kean bearing six-thousand dollars of that expense by 54 furnishing "the proper costumes for every character in the play." The premiere took place before a capacity audience at the Park Theatre (1/7). The production featured twentytwo scenes newly painted by Hillyard and his associates; quantities of costumes, armour, banners, and other dressings, imported from London by Kean; numerous other costumes and appointments made by Dejonge of the Park; and stage machinery built by Speyer. In addition to the speaking roles, Kean employed one-hundred-and-fifty supernumeraries; the total cast numbered one-hundred-and-eighty, most of whom were on stage for the Coronation Scene.

PAGE 93

While the public flocked to see Richard III , the critical reaction was varied. The Albion described the spectacle, but had little commentary on the acting; Kean was reported to have looked "every inch" Shakespeare's Richard, and as having given "life-like illustration" in 55 his actions. The Herald reported that Richard III was the "most splendid, magnificent, and gorgeous spectacle" on record, but also appreciated Kean's acting. Mr. Kean's manner and style of reading the opening soliloquy is worthy of imitation. It showed that he fully appreciated the character Shakespeare had drawn with such skill. Mr. Kean did not make Gloster the melo-dramatic, vulgar, and morose villain so commonly represented on the stage, but the man of commanding intellect, sure of his object, which, however, he did not hesitate to achieve by the combined efforts of cunning, force, and wily dissimulation. Among the evidences of the excellence of Kean's performance were his playing with the hilt of his sword in the scene with King Henry, his reaction to the news that his brother had been taken ill, and the wooing scene with Lady Anne, which was a "rare exhibition of smooth, adroit, and smiling villany." Kean's entree in the bustling and more dramatic scenes showed powers of great strength and capability; and when he resolves upon immediate conquest, fearless of results, and with impetuous haste declares, "and dull delay leads impotence and fear,"r fi the supremacy of his intellect and talent became manifest. While the Herald labelled Richard III one of the "greatest dramatic triumphs" that writer had ever witnessed, Philip Hone recorded a less favorable impression of Kean's Richard : The scenery is beautiful, representing the actual places where the events took place; the costumes of all the characters, . . . the armor, standards, music all are strictly correct and derived with antiquarian diligence from the most authentic historical records. . . . Mrs. Kean

PAGE 94

87 gave great interest to the stupid part of the queen, but her husband cannot play Gloster. He does many things, especially his last fight and death, like his father, but he suffers exceedingly by the comparison. 5 ? The Spirit , like Hone, did not find Kean's acting of Richard impressive; in two separate commentaries, that publication offered only negative criticism. His acting of the part has long been the subject of argument, and his various merits and faults have been sufficiently exhibited heretofore; nor could we discover that this "dawning era in dramatic annals," had brought to light any hidden excellences or disguised any of the imperfections in the gentleman's style. ... His best acting was, in our opinion, in the wooing scene, and decidedly his worst in the closing ones of the fifth act, in which he ranted and threw himself into such unnatural attitudes as almost to make the piece ridiculous. Kean did, at least, receive favorable comment on the spectacular elements of the production, and was given credit for the "excellent training of that generally neglected class, the supernumeraries." In a subsequent review, the Spirit decried the production as a "botching up of a sort of melodramatic spectacle," dependent upon its appointments for effect, and "heightened by rant and noise upon the part of the performers." The production was not the tragedy of Richard III , but the "most perfect of melodramas," acted by the "most perfect of melodramatic actors, for we cannot, in candor, consider Mr. Kean's merits 59 as ranking higher." The Spirit's evaluation of Kean's Richard III was in sharp contrast to the laudatory review of his Macbeth in October. Whatever the merits of the production, and one feels that the accurate assessment was at neither extreme illustrated by the commentaries quoted above, the public thronged to see it. Richard III was planned for a two-week run, but the demand for seats exceeded the capacity of

PAGE 95

the Park Theatre, and it was announced that the run was extended for four additional performances, closing on January 24. This was a legitimate extension, since Kean wrote that he and his wife would open an engagement in Charleston on January 26; that opening was later changed to February 2. The extension made the run of Richard III into sixteen consecutive performances; the receipts for those performances were reported as $16,000. If the cost of $10,000 was accurate, the Park management and the Keans divided $6,000 for an average of about $200 profit each per night. The same report gave the Keans' profits for one-hundred-and-nine performances as $30,000, an average of close to $300 before their expenses. In five months, the Keans earned the equivalent of $240,000 in 1980 figures. Richard III was not as remunerative, then, as their average performance had been; considering, however, the extraordinary expense of its production, it provided a reasonable profit. The Keans opened their Charleston, South Carolina, engagement at manager W. C. Forbe's Charleston Theatre as the Stranger and Mrs. Haller (2/2). They subsequently acted Benedick and Beatrice (2/3), and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (2/4). The Charleston Courier characterized Kean's Macbeth as "great throughout," with "his last act, and dying scene . . . indeed a sublime and mighty effort." When Kean played Sir Thomas Clifford to his wife's Julia (2/5), the theatre held a "most attentive and delighted" audience, paying the "almost necessary and involuntary homage of a cultivated people to genius, talent and education," said the Courier . Kean was "perfect in grace, gesture, and manner . . . the very finest specimen of the victory ... of art over

PAGE 96

89 nature." The Keans acted Jaques and Rosalind (2/6), and Claude Melnotte and Pauline (2/7) to conclude their first week in Charleston. During the second week at the Charleston Theatre, Kean and his wife performed as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley, and the Duke and Duchess de Chartres for Kean's benefit performance (2/9); they subsequently acted Adrastus and Ion (2/10), Shylock and Portia (2/11), Duke Orsino and Viola (2/12), Benedick and Beatrice (2/13), and Romeo and Juliet (2/14). Hamlet and Ophelia were acted by the Keans at the opening of the third week (2/16), followed by the double bill of Adrastus and Ion, with Duke Aranza and Juliana, for Mrs. Kean's benefit (2/17). Don Felix and Violante (2/18) were succeeded by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (2/19), and Mr. and Mrs. Beverley with the Duke and Duchess de Chartres for the Keans' joint benefit and final Charleston performance (2/20). Both the Herald and 65 the Spirit reported that business was good for the Kean engagement. The engagement with Forbes in Charleston ended earlier than planned, and a Savannah engagement was dropped completely, so that the Keans could play an engagement with Ludlow and Smith in New Orleans, Mobile, and St. Louis. Although the frontier managers had made the initial offer which prompted the Keans to undertake this American tour, no agreement was reached before the Keans arrived in New York. Negotiations continued between the Keans and Ludlow and Smith, with neither party willing to compromise on the Keans' demand for a clear half of each night's receipts. Kean was adamant: "if Messrs. Smith and Ludlow would offer me half the receipts after one dollar per night !!! I would not accept them." Mrs. Kean reiterated the firmness of their terms: You say you would rather give thirds and halves to Mr. and Mrs. Kean separately. Mr. Kean himself alone does not act and has not for the last nine years acted

PAGE 97

90 anywhere under half the Houses —with the exception of Dublin which holds $1600 and there he shares after $100 --He made no addition to his terms when I accompanied him as his wife--Why should he then in this country act on smaller terms than he can get at Home ? business is business and you know \ery well people do not cross the Atlantic—leave parents and child at such a sacrifice! ... I do not boast when I say proudly we draw the money we receive everywhere and leave as much behind. 67 By the time Ludlow and Smith agreed to the terms demanded by the Keans, they were told they were too late; bookings were set for the winter and spring, precluding a southern engagement. Perhaps because of their friendship with the managers, perhaps because of their recollection of previous receptions in the southern cities and a desire to play those same cities jointly, the Keans reopened negotiations with Ludlow and Smith in October and reached agreement on terms in November. The Keans were to shorten their Charleston engagement, cancel the Savannah engagement, and come to New Orleans by the first of March. Their engagement was to comprise forty nights in New Orleans, Mobile, and St. Louis; the Keans actually played fifty-two nights in these three ... 69 cities. The Keans 1 opening roles at the St. Charles Theatre in New Orleans were Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in The Gamester (3/2). The Picayune "had no expectation of witnessing the effect he produced in that character," and was astonished at the "power with which he sustained it." Kean's Beverley was "good throughout, but his death scene was wonderful." Actors for the most part die so hard upon the stage, they make such ugly faces and are so grotesque in the agonies of dissolution, they kick and groan, fall down and get up so often, gasp away and come to life again so pertinaciously, that the histrionic "grim King of Terrors" exacts as little reverence as a clown, and the sexton no more gravity than Pantaloon. . . . Mr. Kean, in the last act of Beverley , died like a gentleman. The

PAGE 98

91 solemnity of the scene was not marred by a single effort to impart extra honor to a terrible catastrophe. Good taste was not startled by sudden convulsions; but from the moment of swallowing the poison to the close of the play, he sank so naturally into the grave that the emotion of the audience, under the influences of a pure and perfect sympathy, were oppressed with gloom and awe. 70 The Picayune perceived Kean's acting as natural and underplayed, at least in comparison with the point-making of the romanticists, such as his father. The audience was overwhelmed, as well, by the last act and "paid as rich a tribute of tears as dramatic talent ever levied upon the gentler sensibilities of woman or the stubborn heart of man." The Commercial Bulletin , agreeing that the last act "was an exhibition of the highest tragic powers," was especially impressed by the sense of involvement and identification shown by the Keans, who appeared lost to themselves and the audience. It was particularly commendable, said the Commercial Bulletin , that the Keans took a tragedy "of no marked popularity or celebrity, and by no means perfect in language or poetry," and, by a "united effort of art, genius and nature ," imparted "an 72 interest which we have seldom seen surpassed." The Keans followed the Beverleys with Benedick and Beatrice (3/3). Kean, said the Picayune , was not as effective in Benedick as in Beverley; he was "better qualified for tragic effects than the higher 73 grades of comedy." Macbeth and Lady Macbeth drew the "fullest house of the season," (3/4) reported the Bulletin , which gave Kean his harshest review of the tour. We say Mrs. Kean carried the whole play, for there was no other actor beyond mediocrity that took part in it. Mr. Kean has no figure, countenance or voice for the stage, and though he has evidently reduced his characters with commendable labor and diligence, no pains that he

PAGE 99

92 can bestow can compensate or overcome the difficulties presented by nature. Adapting himself, however, to the manner of his gifted wife, and playing always with her, the pieces in which they engage have no appearance of lameness, which might otherwise be expected. ?4 Such sentiments are difficult to reconcile with the commendation accorded Kean's Beverley by this same publication. The week continued with Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (3/5), "given with an effect that we 75 did not suppose the piece capable of," said the Bulletin ; Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were repeated (3/6), followed by Shylock and Portia (3/7). A benefit performance of The Gamester opened the second week (3/9); it was played with "such a thrilling effect that ... it left scarcely a dry eye in the audience." During the remainder of the week, the Keans acted Jaques and Rosalind (3/10), Romeo and Juliet (3/11), Claude Melnotte and Pauline (3/12), Don Felix and Violante (3/13), and Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (3/14). Charles Kean's benefit performance at the start of the third week was a double bill; the Keans played the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, and Duke Aranza and Juliana (3/16). Although Kean's correspondence with Ludlow and Smith indicated that a three-week engagement was planned for the St. Charles Theatre before the Keans played Mobile, all advertisements for March 17 announced that "in consequence of the extraordinary success which had attended upon the performances of Mr. and Mrs. Kean, an arrangement has been made to postpone their appearance in Mobile for a few nights," enabling the management to satisfy the demand for a production of Ion . Whether publicity hyperbole or fact, the extension of the engagement and the appearance of the Keans as Adrastus and Ion was greeted by a "densely crowded" audience (3/17).

PAGE 100

93 When Hamlet was announced, the Bulletin resumed its attacks upon Kean's ability even before having seen him act the role. No doubt Mr. Kean will play it very well, though it is impossible he should look it. . . . But it is nevertheless a character that requires genius of a high order, and we wish, therefore, we had the power to consign it to the hands of Mrs. Kean. 78 Kean's Hamlet (3/18) was reported by the Commercial Times to be "particularly fine--neither exaggerated in the outline, nor overcharged in the coloring--but chaste, classical, and true to the admirable text." The final week of the initial New Orleans engagement ended with Adrastus and Ion (3/19), Jaques and Rosalind (3/20), and Adrastus and Ion once again, paired with Don Felix and Violante (3/21). Steaming the short distance along the Gulf coast to Mobile, the Keans opened at the Mobile Theatre as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley (3/23). The Register and Journal reported that a crowded house attended the Keans 1 debut, "notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather"; the Keans acted the Beverleys "as they were never played before . . . nobly and fin impressively done." An incident which occurred at the conclusion of this opening performance revealed both Kean's temper and the total control in preparation and execution he considered necessary for the unified effect he wished to achieve on stage. As Ludlow related it, an inexperienced orchestra leader decided to assist Kean's death scene by playing a "solemn, dirge-like" musical accompaniment to the last act curtain's slow descent. Kean, unaware of the orchestra leader's intention, held his place until the curtain hit the floor, but sprang to his feet and began a verbal tirade as soon as the curtain struck the stage. Once again the local company had not met Kean's standards.

PAGE 101

94 The house was equally crowded when the Keans acted Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (3/24). Macbeth and Lady Macbeth followed (3/25), succeeded by Benedick and Beatrice (3/26), and Shylock and Portia (3/27); the week concluded with Mr. and Mrs. Beverley, and the Duke and Duchess de Chartres (3/28). Despite the poor performance of both supporting and minor characters, The Gamester was effective, "the greater portion, if not jfM the credit" being due to the Keans. Kean's acting of the role of Beverley made an impression upon the Register and Journal : And what shall I say of Mr. K. as Mr. Beverley. Will not all who were present join in saying that his personation was perfect? The extent to which the baneful passion of gambling had taken possession of him, its influence upon his mind, his consciousness of the misery and privation which his conduct had brought upon his family, and of the decay of his character and standing, was in the wild and maniac appearance of the actor peculiarly expressive and effective. The unconscious manner to with which he yielded to the devices of Stukely, and the sudden beaming of suspicion which desperation occasionally engendered, was executed to the life. . . . his master effort was in the tableau of the last scene. Then true genius developed itself. Never before have I witnessed such acting. His pale and ghastly expression of countenance, his trembling limbs, his humble prayer, his sinking voice were perfectly typical of the dying man. Had death itself seized him it could not have produced a more appalling effect than did his personation of it." 2 The second week in Mobile opened with the Keans acting Jaques and Rosalind (3/30), followed by the Stranger and Mrs. Haller with Don Felix and Violante (3/31). When the Keans performed Ion (4/1) the Register and Journal criticized the play as "the production of talent , not of genius , of the head , not of the heart . . . . but a melodrama, affording the performer one continued opportunity for the display of graceful declamation, but not one chance to touch the heart." It was for this reason that

PAGE 102

95 Mr. Kean never appeared to greater advantage. . . . The ornate diction, the well turned period, the smoothly flowing line, are perfectly adapted to his highly cultivated powers, and afford an ample opportunity for that dramatic display to which he rather too much inclines. 83 Even Macready and Forrest must bow to Kean in the ability to touch the emotions of the audience. During the remainder of the week, the Keans acted Hamlet and Ophelia on the occasion of manager Ludlow's benefit (4/2), Claude Melnotte and Pauline (4/3), and Adrastus and Ion with Duke Aranza and Juliana (4/4) on their benefit night. Of this final performance in Mobile, the Register and Journal reported that it "never saw an audience more enrapt — nor indeed a greater occasion for it. The representation throughout was one of the finest exhibitions of artistic 84 skill that we ever witnessed." Upon their return to New Orleans, the Keans played the final week of the season at the St. Charles Theatre. During that week, they acted Jaques and Rosalind (4/6), Adrastus and Ion (4/7), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (4/8), Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (4/9), Benedick and Beatrice (4/10), and Shylock and Portia (4/11) to end their engagement. There remained two additional performances before the Keans steamed upriver to St. Louis. They played their benefit performance in the roles of Sir Edward Mortimer and Wilford, and Don Felix and Violante (4/13). The night following, the Keans volunteered their services for the benefit of managers Ludlow and Smith, acting Mr. and Mrs. Beverley, and Duke Aranza and Juliana (4/14). The receipts for that performance were "over $1100." The St. Louis summer season opened with the Keans as the stars of the Ludlow and Smith theatre (4/25); the prices were raised during

PAGE 103

96 their engagement to $1.00 for the dress circle and parquette, and 50<£ for the second and third tiers. On the day that the Keans acted Benedick and Beatrice (4/27), the Missouri Republican urged "prompt attendance at the box-office" as the "only sure guarantee of obtaining seats for this, or, indeed, any evening this week." Clearly, the demand for seats was strong. The Keans subsequently acted Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (4/28), Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (4/29), Shylock and Portia (4/30), Jaques and Rosalind (5/1), and the Stranger and Mrs. Haller (5/2). The demand for the better seats continued as indicated by the advertisements during the week: The Dress Circle and Parquette having been found inadequate to the accommodation of the number of persons who purchased tickets at one dollar each, on Saturday night, while a large portion of the second and third tier Boxes remained unoccupied, a part of the second tier has been partitioned off and connected with the Dress Circle, in compliance with the wishes of the public. ^7 During the second week of their St. Louis engagement, the Keans acted Hamlet and Ophelia (5/4), Sir Edward Mortimer and Wilford, with Duke Aranza and Juliana (5/5), Adrastus and Ion (5/6), Claude Melnotte and Pauline (5/7), Romeo and Juliet (5/8), and Adrastus and Ion once more (5/9). "The succession of crowded audiences which have nightly assembled" indicated that the appeal of the Keans did not diminish as 88 their performances continued. On the occasion of their farewell benefit, the Keans acted Shylock and Portia, and Don Felix and Violante (5/11). The St. Louis engagement, indeed all the engagements under Ludlow and Smith management, proved to be quite remunerative for all parties.

PAGE 104

97 Sol Smith related how Kean profited more than he had been willing to take as a guarantee for the New Orleans, Mobile, and St. Louis engagements: His expectation of profit was very moderate--so moderate, indeed, that he offered to sell me his share of their forty nights for $8000, which would be $200 per night. I had such confidence in the change for the better which had set in, that I was in favor of taking this risk, and I wrote my partner in Mobile for his consent to the acceptance of the offer, which he refused. I then wrote that I wished to take the speculation on myself. . . . This my partner objected to ... on the ground ... we should have no separate theatrical interests. ... The result was this: I was deprived of the opportunity of making $4000 clear money either for the firm or myself, while Kean pocketed that sum in addition to the amount he was willing to take as a certainty. 89 The Keans, then, profited half again as much as Kean had expected, a total of $12,000--almost $100,000 in 1980 dol lars--over two-and-a-half months. Though not making the profit he attempted, Smith admitted that "the profits of the season were considerable and our debts began to 90 melt away. " The Keans' return trip to the East did not go as smoothly as did their Southern tour; the side-wheeler steamer on which they traveled broke its wheel three times enroute, and finally limped into Cincinnati with one wheel, where the passengers were delayed for two days while repairs were made. Ellen Kean wrote that they were "very unfortunate" in their fellow passengers; with few exceptions, they were "like a set 91 of very dirty emigrants." The Keans commenced an engagement at the Park Theatre in New York as Adrastus and Ion (5/25). When they acted in Twelfth Night (5/26), the Herald reported that "Mr. Kean's Duke Orsino, was of course, a highly wrought, and most finished piece of acting, worthy of his fame

PAGE 105

98 92 and name," and received "unbounded applause." As Beverley (5/27), 93 Kean's death scene was "painfully effective." The Spirit echoed that sentiment, reporting that in the last scene the house was so hushed, that the flickering sound of the gas jets struck painfully upon the ear, while upon the cheeks, not only of delicate ladies and theatrical novices, but of old habitues of the play house, stood tears of sympathy and compassion, so powerful was the effect of the life-like acting. For a moment after the fall of the curtain the house remained silent--then the pent up feeling burst forth, and we came away during one of the most thundering peals of applause that we have ever heard within the walls of a theatre. 54 The Keans completed their first week at the Park with performances of Adrastus and Ion (5/28); the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, with the Duke and Duchess de Chartres (5/29); and Duke Orsino and Viola, with the Duke and Duchess de Chartres (5/30). Richard III opened the second week in New York; a crowded theatre saw a performance that the Herald was not surprised to find well done. Mr. Charles Kean's personation of the hump-backed tyrant has been so often criticised, that it would be superfluous for us to dilate either on its beauties or its faults; all the world knows that the mantle of the elder Kean has descended upon the younger, and that it is nobly worn. No one could complain of a want of passion in Mr. Kean's Richard last night. The tent scene was really sublime, and throughout he manifested greater energy and feeling than he is usually given credit for. 95 When the Keans acted Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (5/2), the Herald 96 found it to be "fully equal to any of their previous efforts." The repetition of Richard III (6/3) brought more plaudits from the Herald , both for its production--"we do not believe the play has ever been produced better at the Park"--and for Kean's acting--"we certainly think that Mr. Kean's fame will rest on his Gloster. It is evidently his

PAGE 106

99 masterpiece." The Herald further reported that it saw evidence of work by Kean to improve his Richard III, which was thought to be less masterly than his Sir Giles Overreach, and would like a chance to 97 compare the two roles. Such an opportunity did not present itself; Sir Giles was no longer in Kean's repertory. The Keans ended the week by acting Duke Orsino and Viola (6/4), and Richard III and Lady Anne (6/5 & 6/6). Richard III was performed once more (6/8), before the Keans ended their engagement by acting Mr. and Mrs. Beverley, and the Don and Man tana in Beckett's Don Caesar de Bazan (6/9). The Herald declared that "in no former instance did the Keans appear to better advantage . . they appeared to excel 1 even themselves." They acted twice more in benefits for others before quitting New York for a period of rest and study for the next season. For the benefit of Barry, the stage manager at the Park Theatre, the Keans acted Reuben Glenroy and Rosalie in Morton's Town and Country , and the Don and Maritana (6/12). For the benefit of manager Simpson, they acted Benedick and Beatrice, and the Duke and Duchess de Chartres (6/15). The Keans then retired to a vacation spot, quite likely Saratoga Springs or Niagara for a period of vacation. All was not leisure, however, for in mid-July, Kean wrote that he and his wife were "away from all society, and hard at work QQ studying for our next campaign." Charles and Ellen Kean commenced their 1846-47 season at the Buffalo Theatre, in that town so near Niagara Falls, where they spent at least part of early August. Their first roles were Mr. and Mrs. Beverley (8/13). The Keans acted Shylock and Portia (8/14), followed

PAGE 107

100 by Adrastus and Ion (8/15). This brief Buffalo engagement terminated with performances as the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, and Duke Aranza and Juliana for their benefit (8/17). The Keans opened their first New York engagement of the season at the Park Theatre as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley (8/31). When the Keans acted Adrastus and Ion, the Herald reported that, "notwithstanding the heat of the weather, every part of the house was filled, and the thrilling interest excited by Mr. Kean's Adrastus and Mrs. Kean's Ion, served to throw one from the present into the past." The Keans continued with performances of their standard roles from the tour's first season: Benedick and Beatrice (9/2), Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (9/3), Jaques and Rosalind (9/4), and Duke Orsino and Viola (9/5). The Herald reported that Benedick "was the brilliant, dashing thing it always is. It is one of his most effective parts. The alcove scene, and the after soliloquy, were indescribably rich." "Jaques . . . was made both 102 103 graceful and effective." "Mr. Kean's Duke was quiet and truthful." Richard III and Lady Anne began the second week of the Park engagement (9/7). The Herald reported that the Keans "received a most flattering testimony of the appreciation in which they are held" from a large audience which braved "the almost intolerable heat of the atmosphere within and without ... to witness their unapproachable performance." We doubt if there be any other actor, either in this country or anywhere else, who could have drawn such a house on such a night. The play of "Richard III" went off in the usual brilliant and effective style, the ,q, part of Gloster being played as Mr. Kean only can play it.

PAGE 108

101 The heat once more failed to discourage those who wanted to see the Keans act the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, and Duke Aranza and Juliana (9/8) for Kean 1 s benefit. Richard III was repeated for two nights (9/9 & 9/10), succeeded by the Keans' performances of Shylock and Portia (9/11). The Herald lauded Kean's performance of Shylock. Mr. Kean played Shylock as no living actor can play it. This part, which was the masterpiece of Edmund Kean, is one which fills the entire stage, and takes all eyes from the subordinate characters by its great breadth and power. Of all Mr. Kean's parts, it may be said that not a single point escapes him. Other actors may be greater in certain particulars—for instance, in the part of Shylock, we think that Anderson surpasses him in the frenzied expression of his anguish for the abduction of his ducats and his daughter; but the truthfulness of his reading, and the effectiveness of his points, are not equalled by any living actor. He is more even and correct than Macready.105 Richard III was played once again (9/12) to close the Keans' New York engagement. The Keans opened an engagement at the Walnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley (9/14). During the balance of their first week, they acted Benedick and Beatrice (9/15), Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (9/16), the Beverleys once more (9/17), and the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, with Duke Aranza and Juliana for two nights (9/18 & 9/19). The Gazette called the engagement "a week of the most extraordinary success," while the Herald reported that the Keans were received with the "same enthusiasm ... as when they were among us." The second week began with performances of Jaques and Rosalind (9/21), followed by Shylock and Portia, with Don Felix and Violante for Kean's benefit (9/22). The Keans next acted Mr. and Mrs. Oakley in

PAGE 109

102 The Jealous Wife by George Colman; this occasion marked the first appearance in these roles by the Keans in the United States (9/23). Adrastus and Ion (9/24) were followed by Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia, with the Duke and Duchess de Chartres for the Keans 1 joint benefit and announced last performance (9/25). Evidently the Philadelphia audience was not satiated; the Keans acted Adrastus and Ion, with the Duke and Duchess de Chartres, for "positively the last appearance" (9/26). The Gazette declared the Keans "eminently successful during the two weeks in which they played." 108 The Holliday St. Theatre in Baltimore was the site for a five-day engagement which commenced with the Keans playing Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia (9/28). The Keans subsequently acted the Beverleys (9/29), Adrastus and Ion (9/30), Mr. and Mrs. Oakley (10/1), and the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, with Duke Aranza and Juliana (10/2) to close their brief stay in Baltimore. The engagement of the Keans during the past week, has been one of the most successful ever made at this theatre. On every night of their appearance they have been greeted with the greatest enthusiasm by houses crowded to their utmost capacity. ^ The Keans returned to New York for a second engagement, opening at the Park with their first New York performances of Mr. and Mrs. Oakley in Colman' s The Jealous Wife (10/5). In a more complimentary vein than usual, the Spirit wished for more space to devote to the "beautiful personation" of the Keans as Mr. and Mrs. Oakley; the occasion was a "thrilling performance from the beginning ... to the falling of the curtain." The Herald called Kean's Oakley "one of his happiest efforts, and perhaps of all his parts in comedy, the one in which he

PAGE 110

103 has shown the highest excellence." After witnessing a subsequent performance, the Herald , noting that the role called for "that delicate refinement of acting" which enabled the actor to show the change from the "weak, vacillating, timid" character of the early scenes to the "firmness and resolution" of the husband in the later scenes, called Kean's acting "as nearly as may be faultless." The Keans' second performance was the New York premiere of Two Gentlemen of Verona , in which they acted Valentine and Julia (10/6). The Herald declared Kean's Valentine "one of the best representations 113 of character we have ever seen." Describing the play as one of Shakespeare's weakest, the Herald said that Kean, "by his consummate skill, and by the delicate and quiet grace of his acting, does a great deal more for the part than the author has done for it." In particular, the Herald noted that "the quiet and saddened repose of his demeanor, during the scenes of his capture and forcible election to the office of chief by the outlaws, was the very perfection of acting." But, the Herald continued, "it is needless to point out particular beauties in Mr. Kean's acting, where all was so excellent." The week was filled out with repetitions of The Jealous Wife (10/7 & 10/9) and Two Gentlemen of Verona (10/8 & 10/10). For the second week of their Park engagement, the Keans acted for the first time on any stage The Wife's Secret , a new play by George Lovell which had been commissioned by the Keans. The Keans acted Sir Walter Amyot and Lady Eveline Amyot throughout the week (10/12-10/16). The Spirit was unstinting in its praise: When we say that to our taste Mr. Kean never gave a reading of any part, in any play, more true to nature,

PAGE 111

104 and of course to the author, we can say no more, and the public, we are happy to perceive, endorse our private opinion, in a manner not to be mistaken. 115 The Herald seconded the evaluation of the Spirit : We cannot but regard the part of Sir Walter as one of Mr. Kean's happiest efforts. He read the passages beautifully. He was tender, reproachful, confiding and jealous by turns. When wrought to phrenzy at the last, nothing could be finer or given with more power. In another review, the Herald said that Amyot was "powerfully played by Kean--the passion was marked by a powerful energy--the transitions . . . 117 were in his best manner, and admirable throughout." For the final performance of The Wife's Secret , the occasion of Mrs. Kean's benefit, the Keans also played the Duke and Duchess de Chartres (10/16). Travelling to Boston, the Keans began a three-week engagement at the Federal St. Theatre as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley (10/19). Over the course of the engagement, the Keans acted Sir Walter Amyot and Lady Eveline Amyot on two occasions (10/23 & 11/6), along with their standard roles. The demand for seats was strong enough that it is reported that 1 in tickets for the final two performances were auctioned off to patrons. From New York, the Spirit described the engagement as "one of the most 119 brilliant of the season, playing nightly to immense audiences." The Keans returned to New York for a week of performances prior to the premiere of the second of Kean's planned series of historically accurate and spectacular productions of Shakespearean plays. The Keans acted Sir Walter Amyot and Lady Eveline Amyot for four nights (11/9-11/12), and then played Mr. and Mrs. Beverley, and Don Felix and Violante on the last night before the theatre was closed to prepare for the next production (11/13).

PAGE 112

105 The Kean production of Richard III during the 1845-46 season at the Park Theatre had been intended as the first in a series of grand Shakespearean productions during the Keans' American tour. George Cressall Ellis, prompter at Drury Lane Theatre, transcribed the promptbooks of the Macready productions at Drury Lane, and sent them, along with available costume and scenic designs from those productions, to Kean in the United States. Ellis, later Kean's stage manager at the Princess's Theatre, sent Two Gentlemen of Verona in December, 1845, and Kean staged it in October, 1846; King John was sent in March, 1846, and was the current production; Macbeth was sent in July, 1846, and was 120 planned for the next revival. Kean later received The Merchant of Venice , Othello , and C ymbeline from Ellis; but, as we shall see, Kean produced no more grand Shakespearean productions after King John . Using the Macready promptbook prepared by Ellis, together with fourteen watercolor designs by William Telbin--also sent by Ellis--Kean prepared King John as the second major Shakespearean spectacle of this American tour. King John was even costlier than Richard III ; the Spirit reported that the production expenses exceeded $12,000, a sum which would approximate $100,000 in 1980 dollars. Kean wrote that he had "expended $8,000 out of my own purse upon this revival." Kean also invested much time in preparation for King John; he said that he spent 121 ten years in study and six months in preparation for acting the role. The scale of the production may be illustrated by some statistics: 15,000 square feet of canvas used for the various scenes; one-hundred122 seventy-six costumes with appropriate armor, all of which was new; one-hundred-fifty actors on stage in one scene. As part of his desire for a unified, carefully crafted production, Kean rehearsed the

PAGE 113

106 123 supernumeraries for six weeks. Yet, despite these attempts to provide a Grand Shakespearean Revival exceeding even Richard III , Kean was disappointed that the show opened to "a House very much below the mark 124 I calculated upon." Despite the support of the press, especially the Herald , Spirit , and Albion , the play failed to attract an audience. The receipts for the opening night (11/16) were just $865, and on the second night receipts dropped to $600, a situation which disgusted Kean, "for such ,125 an exhibition was never witnessed before on an American stage." Clearly, such reception did not bode well for the planned staging of Macbeth . Kean believed that the production would repay his investment if it ran for enough nights; Simpson disagreed, thinking that three weeks was long enough. Kean, angered, resolved to quit the North, and to go to Ludlow and Smith for engagements in their Southern and Western 1 nc theatres. King John closed after a run of eighteen performances, three full weeks, and was succeeded by the Danseuses Viennoises, a troupe of forty children, which to Kean's "great mortification and disgust . . . crammed the house to suffocation for the following 127 month!" One can easily comprehend the sensitive Kean's vow that 128 "for two pins I would be off to England by the December packet." Kean remained, however, although he and his wife did not act for some time. In late December, the Keans played a brief engagement at the Walnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia; they were enroute to Baltimore. Their roles were Adrastus and Ion (12/29), King John and Constance (12/30), and Claude Melnotte and Pauline (12/31).

PAGE 114

107 The Keans opened a one-week engagement at the Hoi li day St. Theatre in Baltimore in the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Oakley in The Jealous Wife (1/11); the "well -filled house" welcomed the Keans warmly, awarding 1 on "loud and continuous applause" for their acting. The Keans acted Adrastus and Ion (1/12), followed by Sir Walter Amyot and Lady Eveline Amyot (1/13), Shylock and Portia (1/14), and Sir Walter and Lady Eveline, with Don Felix and Violante, for their benefit and last performance in Baltimore (1/15). Returning to Philadelphia, the Keans began a two-week engagement at the Walnut St. Theatre, acting on that occasion Adrastus and Ion (1/18). The Keans acted the Oakleys in The Jealous Wife for one night (1/19), then played Sir Walter and Lady Eveline for the rest of the week (1/20-1/23), adding the roles of the Duke and Duchess de Chartres for the final performance (1/23). Both Oakley and Amyot were said to have played "deeply upon the sympathies of the audience"; the Keans "have been delighting playgoers for the past week with their impersonation of characters." Still drawing, Sir Walter and Lady Eveline held the stage for three nights during the second week (1/25, 1/26, & 1/28), with Sir Thomas Clifford and Julia being acted on one intervening night (1/27). For the final two nights of the engagement, the Keans acted Mr. and Mrs. Beverley, with Don Felix and Violante (1/29), and Shylock and Portia, with Don Felix and Violante (1/30). Apparently having lost the intensity of animosity which permeated the closing of King John , Kean and his wife returned to the Park Theatre for an engagement. They acted Richard III for three nights (2/8-2/10),

PAGE 115

108 performing to "indifferent houses." Their performances as Sir Walter and Lady Eveline, however, drew far better (2/11). When the Keans acted the Beverleys (2/12), the Herald wrote that, although it could not be denied that Kean's acting was "natural and unaffected," still "we cannot divest ourselves of the impression that it is . . . the actor 131 we behold." The Keans next acted Mr. and Mrs. Oakley (2/13), and then closed their engagement with performances as Sir Walter and Lady Eveline, with Don Felix and Violante, for their benefit (2/15). A return engagement at the Walnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia opened with a week's run of Richard III (2/22-2/27), broken only by one night of The Jealous Wife (2/25). The Keans acted three nights of the next week, playing Richard III and Lady Anne on two nights (3/1 & 3/3), and acting Sir Walter and Lady Eveline, with Don Felix and Violante for their benefit performance (3/2). The Keans were one of the chief attractions of the initial season of W. R. Blake, formerly stage manager of the Walnut St. Theatre, now manager of the Richmond Theatre, where they acted a brief engagement. Blake's debut season was described as "the best Theatre that has been opened in Richmond for some time past, and we have been told by those 132 who ought to know, that it is the best since 1812." Opening as the Beverleys (3/8), the Keans also acted the Oakleys (3/9), and the Stranger and Mrs. Haller, with Don Felix and Violante, for their benefit and last performance (3/10). After this brief stop in Richmond, the Keans travelled to New Orleans, where they opened an engagement at the St. Charles Theatre as Mr. and Mrs. Oakley in The Jealous Wife (3/22). Sol Smith recorded his

PAGE 116

109 concern with their opening night's receipts: "Anderson played last night to a house of $510.50. The Keans opened this night--Receipts only $408.25. Profits to L & S $4 12/100' s. " 133 Clearly, the Keans were taking half the gross receipts, and also clearly, Smith put his expenses at $200 per night. Financial matters did not improve when the Keans acted Sir Walter and Lady Eveline (3/23), the first performance ever in New Orleans of The Wife's Secret . Novelty notwithstanding, the receipts dipped below $400; the play was not the attraction it had been in New York. The Keans' performances of Mr. and Mrs. Beverley (3/24) drew only slightly better receipts of $426. A repeat performance as Sir Walter and Lady Eveline (3/25) was adversely affected by rain, and the receipts hit their low point of the week, $209. The management lost $86.50, and the Keans made $104.50. The Stranger and Mrs. Haller (3/26) had receipts of $390.25, while the third repetition of Sir Walter and Lady Eveline (3/27) drew $340. A frustrated Smith exclaimed: "This 1 ?4 won't do!--A loss tonight of $30--while they make $170." On Sunday, when the Keans did not perform, the receipts for the Ravel Family, acrobats and pantomimists, provided marked contrast to those of the Keans, drawing $553.25. When Mrs. Kean played her benefit performance as Ion to her husband's Adrastus (3/29), Smith reported that the receipts were $481.25, and that the engagement had thus far provided the Keans with $1406, 135 while Ludlow and Smith received above their expenses only $6. The same performance was repeated the next night (3/30), although Mrs. Kean was ill, and had receipts of $403. After this performance, Mrs. Kean was advised by her doctor not to act again for some time. When Charles

PAGE 117

110 Kean acted his benefit without his wife, playing Richard III (3/31), the receipts dropped to $195.75. Kean, because his wife's illness had injured the engagement's appeal, offered to reimburse the management; the offer was refused. Kean, nonetheless, left $100 from the abbreviated receipts of his benefit in the treasury of the theatre. 136 Kean also volunteered his services as Felix when The Wonder was acted for Mrs. Farren's benefit at the St. Charles Theatre (4/3). Charles Kean's performance on April 3 was the last by either Kean in New Orleans, although the couple remained there for some time. After a recuperative period of three weeks, Mrs. Kean attempted to resume her engagement; she suffered a relapse, however, and was not able to 137 perform. With this latest setback, the Keans abandoned any plans for further performances in America and sailed directly home from New Orleans. Thus ended Charles Kean's third American theatrical tour, one during which he added new roles to his repertory, prepared productions based on the promptbooks Ellis sent him, and, not coincidentally, accumulated funds which aided in the production of those expensively mounted "revivals" of Shakespeare done at the Princess's Theatre between 1850 and 1859.

PAGE 118

Ill Notes 1 Cole, I, 318. 2 Cole, I, 318. 3 Cole, I, 334. 4 Cole, I, 340. 5 "To Ludlow and Smith," 26 July 1843, Letter XIV, Carson, p. 54. 6 "To Sol Smith," 1 April 1845, Letter XV, Carson, p. 54. 7 "To Sol Smith," 1 April 1845, Letter XV, Carson, p. 55. 8 "To Sol Smith," 13 June 1845, Letter XVI, Carson, p. 56. q Spirit , 6 September 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 10 New York Herald , 2 September 1845, p. 3, col. 1. New York Herald , 3 September 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 12 New York Herald , 4 September 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 13 New York Herald , 4 September 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 14 New York Herald , 6 September 1845, p. 3, col. 3. 15 New York Herald , 7 September 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 16 New York Herald , 9 September 1845, p. 3, col. 4. New York Herald , 10 September, p. 3, col. 2. I o New York Herald , 12 September, p. 3, col. 3. 19 New York Herald , 13 September, p. 3, col. 1. 20 Charles Kean, Letter to General Morris, 25 September 1845, Folder Y.c. 393 (166), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 21 "To W. H. Chippendale," 19 September 1845, Letter XIX, Carson, p. 58. 22 New York Herald , 7 October 1845, p. 3, col. 1. 23 Spirit , 11 October 1845, p. 3, col. 4.

PAGE 119

112 24 New York Herald , 8 October 1845, p. 3, col. 3. 25 New York Herald , 13 October 1845, p. 3, col. 2. New York Herald , 9 October 1845, p. 3, col. 4. 27 New York Herald , 10 October 1845, p. 3, col. 1. 28 New York Herald , 11 October 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 29 New York Herald , 14 October 1845, p. 3, col. 4. 30 New York Herald , 16 October 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 31 New York Herald , 17 October 1845, p. 3, col. 4. 32 Odell, V, 168. 33 New York Herald , 18 October 1845, p. 3, col. 1. 34 New York Herald , 29 October 1845, p. 3, col. 2; 6 November 1845, p. 3, col. 3; 8 November 1845, p. 3, col. 2; and Spirit, 15 November 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 35 Charles Kean, Letter to David Buchanan, 30 November 1845, Folder Y.c. 393 (21), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.; 1980 Equivalences based on George G. Kaufman, Money , the Financial S ystem , and the Economy , 3rd ed. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Company, 1981). New York Herald , 11 November 1845, p. 3, col. 4. 37 New York Herald , 12 November 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 38 New York Herald , 13 November 1845, p. 3, col. 1. 39 Boston Post , quoted in New York Herald , 19 November 1845, p. 3, col . 4. 40 New York Herald , 2 December 1845, p. 3, col. 2. Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (21). 42 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (21). 43 New York Herald , 9 December 1845, p. 3, col. 4. 44 New York Herald , 9 December 1845, p. 3, col. 4. 45 New York Herald , 10 December 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 46 Odell, V, 171.

PAGE 120

113 47 New York Herald , 11 December 1845, p. 3, col. 3. 48 New York Herald , 12 December 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 4Q New York Herald , 14 December 1845, p. 3, col. 3. 50 New York Herald , 17 December 1845, p. 3, col. 4. 51 Spirit , 20 December 1845, p. 3, col. 2. 52 New York Herald , 20 December 1845, p. 3, col. 3. 53 New York Herald , 20 December 1845, p. 3, col. 1. 54 New York Herald , 20 December 1845, p. 3, col. 1. 55 Odell, V, 174. 56 New York Herald , 8 January 1845, p. 3, col. 3. 57 Hone, pp. 752-53. Spirit , 10 January 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 59 Spirit , 17 January 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 60 "To Sol Smith," 3 January 1846, Letter XXII, Carson, p. 61. Charles Kean, Letter to David Buchanan, 27 January 1846, Folder Y.c. 393 (22), MS, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 62 New York Herald , 25 January 1846, p. 3, col. 4. CO Charleston Courier , 12 February 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 64 Charleston Courier , 12 February 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 65 New York Herald , 9 February 1846, p. 3, col. 4, and Spirit , 24 February 1846, p. 3, col. 4. 66 "To W. H. Chippendale, n.d., Letter XVIII, Carson, p. 58. 67 "To Sol Smith," 20 September 1845, Letter XX, Carson, p. 59. 68 "To W. H. Chippendale," 19 September 1845, Letter XIX, Carson, p. 58. 69 Charles Kean, Y.c. 393 (22). New Orleans Daily Picayune , 5 March 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 71 Picayune , 5 March 1846, p. 3, col. 2.

PAGE 121

114 72 New Orleans Commercial Bulletin , 3 March 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 73 Picayune , 5 March 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 74 Bulletin , 6 March 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 75 Bulletin , 7 March 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 76 Bulletin , 10 March 1846, p. 3, col. 2. Picayune , 17 March 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 70 Bulletin , 18 March 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 79 New York Herald , 29 March 1846, p. 3, col. 4. on Mobile Register and Journal , 25 March 1846, p. 3, col. 1. Ludlow, p. 630. op Register , 31 March 1846, p. 3, col. 2. Register , 3 April 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 84 Register , 6 April 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 85 New York Herald , 26 April 1846, p. 3, col. 4. Daily Missouri Republican , 27 April 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 87 Republican , 1 May 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 88 Republican , 11 May 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 89 Solomon Franklin Smith, Theatrical Management in the West and South for Thirty Years (1868; rpt. New York: Benjamin Blom, 1968), p. 199. 90 Smith, p. 199. 91 "To Sol Smith," 18 May 1846, Letter XXIII, Carson, pp. 61-62. 9? " New York Herald , 27 May 1846, p. 3, col. 4. 93 ° New York Herald, 28 May 1846, p. 3, col . 2. 94 Spirit , 30 May 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 95 J New York Herald , 2 June 1846, p. 3, col . 1. 96 New York Herald , 3 June 1846, p. 3, col . 1.

PAGE 122

115 97 New York Herald , 4 June 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 98 New York Herald , 10 June 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 99 "To Sol Smith," 15 July 1846, Letter XXIV, Carson, p. 63. New York Herald , 2 September 1846, p. 3, col. 1. New York Herald , 3 September 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 102 New York Herald , 5 September 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 103 New York Herald , 6 September 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 104 New York Herald , 8 September 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 105 New York Herald , 12 September 1846, p. 3, col. 1. U.S. Gazette , 21 September 1846, p. 3, col. 2. New York Herald , 21 September 1846, p. 3, col. 4. ] OR U.S. Gazette , 27 September 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 109 Baltimore American and Commercia l Daily Advertiser, 2 October 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 110 Spirit , 10 October 1846, p. 3, col. 1. New York Herald , 6 October 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 112 New York Herald , 8 October 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 113 New York Herald , 7 October 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 114 New York Herald , 9 October 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 115 Spirit , 17 October 1846, p. 3, col. 2. New York Herald , 14 October 1846, p. 3, col. 1. New York Herald , 13 October 1846, p. 3, col. 3. 118 New York Herald, 7 October 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 119 Spirit , 14 October 1846, p. 3, col. 1. 120 Charles H. Shattuck, Shakespeare on the American Stage (Washington, D.C.: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1976), p. 108. 121 "To Sol Smith," 18 November 1846, Letter XXVI, Carson, p. 66.

PAGE 123

116 122 George Vandenhoff, Leaves From an Actors Notebook (New York: Appleton, 1860), pp. 237-38. 123 New York Herald , 16 November 1846, p. 3, col. 2. 124 "To Sol Smith," 18 November 1846, Letter XXVI, Carson, p. 66. 125 "To Sol Smith," 18 November 1846, Letter XXVI, Carson, p. 66. 1 6 "To Sol Smith," 23 November 1846, Letter XXVII, Carson, p. 67. 127 Vandenhoff, pp. 239-40. 1 28 "To Sol Smith," 18 November 1846, Letter XXVI, Carson, p. 66. 129 Baltimore American , 13 January 1847, p. 3, col. 1. 130 U.S. Gazette , 22 January 1847, p. 3, col. 2. 131 New York Herald , 13 February 1847, p. 3, col. 3. 132 James H. Dorman, Jr. , Theatre in the Ante Bell urn South (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 19677, p. 156. 133 Diary of Sol Smith, 22 March 1847, as quoted in William G. B. Carson, Letters of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean Relating to Their American Tours (St. Louis: Washington Univ., 1945), p. 16. 134 Diary of Sol Smith, 27 March 1847, Carson, p. 17. 135 Diary of Sol Smith, 29 March 1847, Carson, p. 17. 136 Smith, p. 202. 137 New York Herald , 6 May 1847, p. 3, col. 4.

PAGE 124

CHAPTER VI THE FOURTH TOUR, 1864-66 Upon their return from the United States in the early summer of 1847, Charles and Ellen Kean resumed their usual practice of alternating provincial tours with periodic London engagements. Their continued popularity with London audiences influenced Kean's decision to abandon this practice and accept a permanent position at the Haymarket Theatre for the 1848-49 and 1849-50 seasons. In August of 1850, Kean embarked upon an undertaking which was to be that for which he is best remembered. In partnership with Robert Keeley, Kean took a two-year lease on the Princess's Theatre in London and entered upon a period of theatrical management during which his directorial and production skills reached their peak. Keeley left the partnership after the first season; for the next eight years, Charles Kean was in total managerial control of the Princess's Theatre. During these nine seasons at the helm of the Princess's Theatre, Kean staged those antiquarian productions of Shakespeare for which he is known. As his tenure progressed at the Princess's Theatre, Kean concentrated more on carefully researched, spectacularly historical productions of Shakespeare and less on new or recent plays. The emphasis also shifted to long runs for productions rather than the frequent changes of productions which had been the standard practice. Kean also rehearsed his plays for longer periods than was usual, and devoted more attention to the preparation of crowd scenes. 117

PAGE 125

118 During the first four years of his management of the Princess's Theatre, Kean staged a variety of pieces, new and old, Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean. His first spectacular Shakespearean production was King John , which was far more successful with London audiences than it had been in New York. In these early seasons, Kean also staged Macbeth -planned but not staged in New York--and Richard III. Other notable productions during this period were Byron's Sardanapalus and Boucicault's dramatization of The Corsican Brothers . The fifth through ninth seasons saw Kean's historical productions of Shakespeare dominant; over these seasons, the mixture of plays changed from less than fifty percent Shakespeare to almost eighty-five percent Shakespeare. Henry VIII was performed for one-hundred consecutive nights during the fifth season, during which the nonShakespearean Louis XI was also staged; The Winter's Tale ran for onehundred-two performances during the sixth season; Richard II and The Tempest were performed nearly one-hundred times each during the seventh season; and The Merchant of Venice received more than seventy performances during the eighth season. Kean devoted the final season of his management to encore performances of productions from earlier seasons, but did stage one final production, Henry V, which was performed for eighty-four nights. For the first time in nearly a decade, Kean was not permanently based in London. He and his wife resumed their earlier pattern of provincial touring mixed with spaced appearances in London. Even as they resumed this schedule, Kean began to plan for a farewell American tour prior to retirement from the stage. Long absent from stages in

PAGE 126

119 America, the Keans did not seem major attractions to the managers now in charge, and a year later nothing had been arranged for the autumn, 1861, beginning date that Kean envisioned. Kean's anticipated retirement demanded funds from some source, however, and the engagements the Keans played in the United Kingdom did not appear to be remunerative enough to prepare for retirement and maintain the lifestyle the Keans enjoyed. The period of the grand productions at the Princess's Theatre had been financially draining for Kean; successful as they had been, such expensively mounted spectacles had cost Kean much of his financial cushion. With this need to recoup his savings ever on his mind, and America out as a means to that end, at least for the present, Kean looked to other fronts. In the summer of 1863, Charles and Ellen Kean set sail for Australia. The time the Keans spent in Australia was not as profitable as they wished, and Charles Kean's memories of success in America once more turned his thoughts to that country. On July 9, 1864, the Keans sailed from Sydney harbor, beginning a voyage of eighty-four days enroute to San Francisco. Charles Kean's final American theatrical tour comprised two seasons--1864-65 and 1865-66--with the first season being divided into two distinct performance periods. For four months during the fall and winter of 1864-65, the Keans acted on the Pacific coast of America. They performed in San Francisco and Sacramento, California; Portland, Oregon; and Victoria, Vancouver's Island, a British territory. Kean played nineteen roles for eighty-two performances in these Pacific coast cities. The most frequently acted roles were Cardinal Wolsey in

PAGE 127

120 Henry VIII, Oakley in The Jealous Wife, Hamlet, Shylock, and Don Felix in The Wonder . Wolsey was a new role for Kean's American tour, having been added to his repertory during the 1854-55 Princess's Theatre season. The other roles were among Kean's most popular performances of earlier tours. In addition to the roles acted, Kean gave "Dramatic Readings" on three occasions in the Pacific cities, and on four occasions enroute to the East coast of America. The second performance period of the first season included the late spring and summer of 1865. During this period the Keans performed in ten Eastern and Midwestern cities, giving seventy-five performances. Kean acted eighteen roles, with the most popular being Oakley, Wolsey, the title role in Louis XI, Hamlet and Shylock. Louis XI, like Wolsey, was new to Kean's American audiences. During the 1865-66 season, the Keans gave 163 performances in seventeen cities of the Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern United States. Kean acted eighteen roles; the most frequently acted roles remained the same, although the ranking of them was slightly altered. Louis XI was acted most often, followed by Shylock, Oakley, Wolsey, and Hamlet. The roles acted over the two seasons of this final American theatrical tour by Charles Kean reflect the pecuniary orientation of the tour. Of the five most frequently acted roles, three were among the most frequently acted roles on at least one earlier tour; Shylock was among the most frequently acted roles of both the 1830-33 and the 1839-40 tours. Shylock and Hamlet were acted by Kean on all four American tours; Oakley was added to Kean's repertory during the 1845-47 tour, and remained popular on the final tour. The two remaining most

PAGE 128

121 frequently acted roles, Louis XI and Wolsey, were among Kean's most popular roles at the Princess's Theatre. Thirteen of the nineteen roles acted on this final tour were among the most popular of at least one earlier tour. The conclusion seems inescapable that the roles Kean chose to act were those which, by their previous popularity, seemed most likely to attract audiences and, thus, achieve the stated financial purpose for which the tour was made. One further observation emerges from analysis of the roles acted: on this final tour, Kean dropped most of the melodramatic and comic roles added, under his wife's influence, during the 1845-47 tour, and returned to the great roles of earlier tours. Of the fourteen roles first acted on the 1845-47 tour, nine were dropped completely on this final tour; only one, Oakley, remained among the most frequently acted roles. The performance schedule of the Keans also supports the financial orientation of this tour. Previously, the summer months were devoted primarily to vacation and preparation for the ensuing season; few performances were given on earlier tours during June, July, or August. On this final tour, however, the Keans performed virtually non-stop throughout the summer; Sundays and travel days were the only days on which they did not perform, health permitting. Another feature of the fourth tour that distinguished it from the earlier ones, was the company of actors which accompanied the Keans. Having often rued the necessity of relying upon the support of the local acting companies in towns in which he performed, Kean brought with him two actors to play supporting roles and his wife's niece to

PAGE 129

122 act ingenue parts; with the addition of his wife in the mature female roles, Kean was confident of adequate support. The final American tour, then, was a sampler of Kean's most popular roles, and was planned to provide sufficient funds to allow Kean to retire from the stage while maintaining the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed. Arriving in San Francisco on October 1, 1864, the Keans rested from the rigors of their long sea voyage until their debut night at Maguire's Opera House. For their opening performance, they chose the double bill of Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (10/8), playing Cardinal Wolsey and Catherine in the first piece, and the Oakleys in the second. The occasion of the first performance ever given by these distinguished actors in the western United States was greeted by a crowded theatre, with "hundreds being unable to find even standing room." The San Francisco Bulletin acknowledged the effects of age upon the Keans--she had "grown stout and full-faced," he lacked the "elasticity of step and manner of former years"--but age could not deny that Kean was still a "great actor--with a sense of truth and force" in his acting. Kean's naturalness and byplay were especially noteworthy, said the Bulletin ; "every little gesture, every look is full of meaning. There is no rant; all is quiet and concentrated power." The San Francisco Sunday Mercury questioned whether Kean had a "living equal" as Cardinal Wolsey, a part which allowed his best qualities as an actor to come into full play--"a character to which his education and intellectual culture lend a peculiar force and charm." Kean was "without a peer" in roles of "impressive action and subdued declamation," continued the

PAGE 130

123 3 Mercury , but "his attempts at heroic rant" were decried. Whatever the critical reaction to the Kean debut performance, the crowded house brought receipts of $1565, which pleased Ellen Kean since it was profit that brought the Keans to America. "The Jealous Wife— was the great hit. It is no matter what. We are here for money not fun and it little matters what brings them." With their first performance of the following week, the Keans established their pattern for the San Francisco engagement: they acted on Monday through Thursday and Saturday nights, resting on Fridays and Sundays. Their second San Francisco performance was in Louis XI (10/10). The Pacific Mining Journal called Louis XI Kean's "greatest character." 5 Kean's "conception of the wily, hypocritical old king is perfect." The Golden Era agreed: Mr. Kean's impersonation of the king, taken as a whole, is unequalled by any histrionic effort ever witnessed in San Francisco. . . . identity was merged in the character. The play of his features, the wonderful expression of his eye, the quick transitions of feeling, the inflections of his voice, threw a subtle brilliancy over the whole performance. o After enumerating several scenes worthy of mention, the Era called the death scene "the crowning triumph of this masterly representation." For the remainder of their first full week, the Keans alternated performances of the double bill of Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (10/11 & 10/13) with Louis XI (10/12 & 10/14) until Saturday, when they acted Sir Walter Amyot and Lady Eveline Amyot in George Lovell's The Wife's Secret (10/15). The Keans opened the second week of their engagement as Shylock and Portia in The Merchant of Venice (10/17). An unidentified clipping

PAGE 131

124 in a scrapbook of the period lauded Kean's Shylock, calling it the greatest performance of the second week. Kean's study of the part and his research of the historical period had made his production of The Merchant of Venice the standard by which others were measured, said the writer. The trial scene was especially effective: "The near approach of his hour of triumph seemed to warm the Jew into extraordinary demonstrations of hatred, which in turn rendered the effect of his final Q defeat more striking by contrast." A different publication said Kean "has achieved nothing more clever and artistic" than his performance of Shylock. "His acting was original, and stamped his individuality so firmly on the character that few of his audience could hereafter read the play without recalling his look and gesture." The writer concluded g that Kean was, indeed, the "Jew that Shakespeare drew." The Keans acted the Amyots in The Wife's Secret for a second time (10/18), followed by the initial performance of Edward Moore's The Gamester (10/19), with the Keans acting Mr. and Mrs. Beverley. The week continued with a repetition of Wolsey and Catherine, with the Oakleys (10/20), and ended with the Keans repeating Shylock and Portia (10/22). The Neville scrapbook preserved the editorial observation that "the immense audience, not less critical than the first, was better prepared by acquaintance to approve, and some of the finest scenes elicited spirited and prolonged applause." The same publication reported that receipts for the Kean engagement thus far averaged about one-thousand dollars per night. King John , in its initial production of the engagement, opened the third week (10/24). The title role was seen as one which "affords

PAGE 132

125 Mr. Kean ample scope for the exercise of his extraordinary power of individualization." Noting that King John is similar in some respects to Louis XI, the writer declared that Kean made the role "distinct and almost equally great." The third act scene between King John and Herbert was "one of the very finest displays of histrionic art ever exhibited on any stage." One could not imagine any facial expression which would reveal "more truthfully the varied emotions and passions that must have filled the heart of the cruel and crafty monarch." So striking was Kean's acting in that scene, that the writer declared "that scene alone would stamp an actor as great, if the curtain never rose upon him again." Admitting that many considered King John "heavy and unadapted for the stage," The Gleaner characterized Kean's performance 12 as perfection ... in ewery point of view." Following King John , the Keans repeated their performances of the Beverleys (10/25). The first performance of Hamlet (10/26) "called forth an audience limited in number only by the capacity of the building." Especially noted was Kean's subduing of some of the traditional points of the role in order to give added emphasis to the over-riding passion of "the 13 desire of the Prince to discover the murderer and to avenge his death." The Gleaner asserted that "never till that night" had Hamlet been seen in California; earlier representations had been but ghosts in comparison with Kean's acting of the role. Declaring itself incompetent to criticize the performance, The Gleaner had "never had a finer dramatic treat than the performance of which we now write." In Mr. Kean it was an embodiment of art, and must maintain a place in the remembrance of even the duller sort of men

PAGE 133

126 who, ignorant of the text, or the hundreds of subtle disquisitions that have arisen from it, were entranced by the "magic of the scene" alone. ^ The third week was completed with repetitions of King John (10/27) and Hamlet (10/29). As was revealed earlier, the Keans' engagement had been averaging $1000 per night. These receipts were in gold, making them worth twice as much as the same sum in "greenbacks," a situation which pleased Kean in the West, but one which he decried on the eastern portion of his tour. Since the Keans received half of the gross receipts as their fee, they averaged $500 in gold per night, approximately $2250.00 in 1980 dollars. Kean gave his first performance as Macbeth to open the fourth week in San Francisco (10/31). The audience was "engrossed" by the fine acting. It was reported that Kean's dagger scene was "indelibly 15 impressed upon the memory of every beholder." The Keans then repeated Shylock and Portia (11/1), followed by Wolsey and Catherine, with the Oakleys (11/2). The Keans acted Benedick and Beatrice when Much Ado About Nothing was performed for the first time (11/3). Kean's Benedick was declared without equal, "retaining all the freshness and buoyancy of his youthful days." His facial expression of the conflicting thoughts and suggestions that flashed through his mind after listening in secret to the pretended revelations of Beatrice's love, challenged special rounds of applause before he had spoken a word. 16 The fourth week of the Keans' engagement closed with their second performance as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (11/5). The physically taxing nature of the role of Macbeth was blamed for a tendency "to hurry over

PAGE 134

127 the less dramatic portions of the text, and husband his powers for the usual 'points' and passages requiring action." Even this shortcoming, however, did not prevent the reviewer's recognition of the excellence of Kean's acting. The usual characteristic and familiar soliloquies were artistically wrought. His dialogue with "Lady Macbeth," . . . after the murder of Duncan, beginning "Did you not speak?" in look, gesture, feverish anxiety, and quick transition from extreme nervous excitement to the almost imbecile stupefaction of guilt, and the heart-broken hopelessness of the line, "This is a sorry sight!" were wonderful in naturalness and power. 17 Othello opened the fifth week, with Kean playing the Moor for the first time during the engagement (11/7). The critical reaction was divided. The Gleaner reported that such a dramatic treat had not been enjoyed for many years. The writer, having seen Edmund Kean play the role, declared that Kean's Othello was marked by the same excellence. "He has the same powers of rivetting attention, the same picturesque attitudes--a marvel of elegance, and that delicate perception of the 1 Q poet's beauties. ..." Another writer disagreed, reporting that Kean did not appear "to advantage." His specialty for quiet, subtle and refined glimpses of nature, his careful emphasis and elegant elocution, which belonged rather to the role of "Iago," which he could have adorned, were not called into action--he had to thunder instead of lightning, and was obliged to rave and shout in a way not becoming to a gentleman of his years and discretion. 19 The same writer declared that the role of Othello, regardless of the actor, seemed to require "little else than a good pair of lungs, a fine animal physique, and a general disposition to incoherency and • n „20 violence.

PAGE 135

128 The fifth week continued with repetitions of King John (11/8), and Hamlet (11/9). His first performance in Richard II (11/10) was reported by the Bulletin as one that would "be regarded by many as the greatest triumph of his genius." Especially appreciated were his reading of the numerous beautiful passages in the play, including "Let's talk of graves, of worms, of epitaphs. . . . ," which Kean delivered without 21 rival among the actors of his time. The Keans acted in an unusual Friday performance, filling in for an ailing George Coppin, who accompanied them from Australia and served as their manager for a time. They acted Benedick and Beatrice (11/11). The week ended with the Keans' performance of Othello and Emilia (11/12). The Keans opened the sixth week in San Francisco as Richard and Queen Elizabeth in Richard III (11/14). In a theatre filled to "overflowing," Kean acted one of his "greatest conceptions," one which was "vivid and vigorous" and "doubtless realizes the traditional glory 22 that his father achieved." Kean's performance as Louis XI was then repeated (11/15), followed by Shylock (11/16). For Miss Chapman's benefit, Kean acted Lear to her Cordelia (11/17); Kean's Lear was the "consummation of histrionic art." The week ended with Kean's performance as Richard III (11/19). The final week of the Keans" San Francisco engagement began with Kean's acting of Hamlet (11/21), and was continued with performances as Lear (11/22), Othello (11/23), and Wolsey and Oakley (11/24). For Coppin's benefit on Friday, the Keans volunteered their services as Duke Aranza and Juliana in John Tobin's The Honeymoon , their first appearance in these roles in San Francisco (11/25). The week and the

PAGE 136

129 engagement ended with the benefit performance of the Keans in a double bill , playing in Richard U and The Wonder (11/26). In the latter piece, the Keans "afforded unbounded delight in their brilliant on personations of Don Felix and Donna Violante," to a theatre crowded despite a severe rainstorm. Before leaving for the northern reaches of the Pacific Coast, the Keans were reengaged for a period to begin on January 9, 1865. Although Kean brought supporting actors with him as a means of coping with the unreliable support available from local theatre companies, he encountered problems with his own troupe. One of his party, J. F. Cathcart, became, according to Kean, "inflated with the praises he received in Australia and San Francisco and—offensive and 25 rebellious." In addition to excessive drinking, which offended the proper Kean, he presumed to request a benefit performance for himself at the conclusion of the San Francisco engagement. Kean emphatically informed Cathcart that he did not "recognize your right to announce a Benefit in any Town while forming one of my company and receiving a oc salary from me. " During this initial San Francisco engagement of forty performances, the Keans made a profit of nearly twenty-thousand dollars in gold-$90,000 in 1980 terms; their terms of "clear halves" yielded an average 27 profit of five-hundred dollars in gold per night. Kean earned in less than two months almost half the sum he said he must have for a tenmonth tour; Kean had written Sol Smith that the minimum sum that would repay his expenses and effort in making an American tour would be $50,000. 28

PAGE 137

130 After a few days rest at the conclusion of their engagement with Maguire in San Francisco, the Keans sailed aboard a coastal packet, the Brother Jonathon, for Victoria, Vancouver's Island, in what is now British Columbia. They were engaged to perform there by manager Thomas Ward, the engagement being underwritten by one-hundred citizens of that city who pledged thirty dollars each to sponsor six performances by the Keans. No doubt the residents of that British outpost were eager to be entertained by such renowned British actors as the Keans, but just as certainly the Keans welcomed a taste, however slight, of their homeland after such a lengthy time away. When the ship by which the Keans traveled made its regular stop in Portland, Oregon, the theatre manager, J. S. Potter, arranged a single night's engagement with the English stars. Charles and Ellen Kean acted Shylock and Portia at the Willamette Theatre (12/6), where the price of admission was raised to three dollars for every seat in the house, and 29 the choice of seats was determined by lottery. The Daily Oregonian of December 8 professed an unworthiness to criticize Kean's performance, but did suggest that the impersonation must have been "such as 'Sweet 30 Will 1 himself would have accorded to the character." Although the house was small, the increased admission resulted in receipts of $795, which indicated sufficient appeal that the manager engaged the Keans for 31 two nights upon their return from Victoria. The following afternoon, the Keans continued their journey to Victoria. Following a cold and rough two-day voyage, the Keans arrived in Victoria, Vancouver's Island. Ellen Kean was pleased: "We are very happy and comfortable in this 'bright little isle of our own.' It is a

PAGE 138

131 pretty island, and the people are th^rou£hli English ," l Both Keans were relieved to be removed from "those dreadful snuffling, spitting, „33 chewing Yankees, with their boasting impudence." The first performance of the Keans' engagement in Victoria took place the following Monday in the double bill of Henry VI_n and The Jealous Wife (12/12). The most expensive tickets sold for five-dollars each to the guarantors of the engagement, the least expensive were one34 dollar-and-a-quarter, giving receipts of $1070 for the Keans opening. Although Vancouver's Island was a British colony, the American dollar was in common use. The Daily Chronicle called Kean's conception of Wolsey, "the most truthful we have yet seen presented," causing the spectator to find "the mysteries of the dissolute Court . . . revealed before him." Reported The British Col°Oi§l» "There is intense meaning in every glance, every intonation, every movement." Kean, said the Vancouver Times, "makes every chord in Wolsey's heart familiar to his audience. ... Age has matured his Wolsey, and years have increased his experiences and added beauties to his mode of delivery." Particularly effective was Wolsey's speech in the last scene which begins "0 Cromwell, Cromwell!" Kean's delivery of that passage "was one of the most affecting utterances of which the human tongue is capable, or the human heart of echoing." 36 The Keans as the Oakleys were "irresistable," keeping the house "immensely amused," exhibiting "that wonderful versatility for which they have justly become worldrenowned. The engagement continued with Louis XI (12/13), which the limes called "one of the greatest efforts of histrionic genius ever put forth."

PAGE 139

132 The abject terror, the tears and entreaties for mercy and the despair which comes over him when he is reminded by DeNemours that to the same prayers, to the same tender pleas, he himself, the King, had ever turned a deaf ear, are pourtrayed with unrivalled truth and force. ... The closing scene surpassed all that went before it. ... The failing pupil, the trembling cheek, the languid tongue, the collapsing muscle, the drawn mouth and the convulsions of the frame, have never been surpassed in their life (or rather death) like fidelity. 38 Kean's Louis XI had "never been equalled" continued the Times , and when he no longer played it, there would be no "worthy successor." Louis XI brought receipts of &nnn >:J Kean next acted Hamlet (12/14). The Daily Chronicle called his conception of the role, "chaste and beautiful." Without resorting to the rant which seemed the style of the actors of the present day, Kean still gave the role "the full benefit of all the noble sentiments which the Immortal Bard attributes to him without once losing sight of the fact that Hamlet was a Prince and a gentleman." 40 The Times called Kean's acting "a masterpiece, when compared with that of any actor living or dead." Age may have dimmed the fire of the tragedian's eye somewhat, or slackened his movements in some of the business of the stage, but if the spectators did not expect it and watch for it, they would never see it, and when they looked most narrowly for it they are not quite sure it is there. In some passages time has actually improved him. . . . Who ever heard the lines to the players so spoken before, and who ever saw such a magnificent representation of the scene with Ophelia . . . before last evening even from Mr. Kean himself. 41 Such a powerful portrayal did Kean give, that the audience was "wrapped in the most profound silence" as they witnessed it, bursting into "thunders of applause" when he paused. The Times admitted to an unwillingness to analyze and compare Kean's performance of the role,

PAGE 140

133 being content, in "this extreme verge of western civilization . . . rather to drink in with silent pleasure and thankfulness" such a pleasure 42 as Kean's performance. The Merchant of Venice was the Keans' next play (12/15). The British Colonist reported that Kean's performance of Shylock "not only raises the expectation to the highest," but riveted the attention on "every glance of his malicious eye, and every utterance of his inhuman tongue until the close of the trial scene," which was "almost intolerably effective." There was such a devilish malignity in the eye, in the posture, and in the action of Shylock when he scraped his murderous looking knife along the floor, that the noise seemed to create a shudder in the breasts of the audience. . . . when Portia turns the tables on the Jew . . . and we look upon Shylock . . . with his countenance which wore just previously the air of exulting malice and demoniacal success, blanched and vacant, his muscles relaxed, and his scales dropped upon the floor, we see one of the most telling pictures of sanquine villany foiled and turned against itself. 43 Kean's Shylock was considered by the Colonist to be the equal of his Louis XI. When the Keans acted Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (12/16), the management had to refund money to some who had purchased tickets because of the impossibility of crowding more patrons into the house. The Times assured those who were unable to gain admittance that "we are using no hyperbole when we say that the greatest triumph of the engagement, and the most glorious performance ever to be witnessed ... in the colony, was the Macbeth of last evening." Kean "drew with fidelity the reckless 44 descent of the murderer step by step in a course of bloody crime."

PAGE 141

134 For the Keans' final scheduled performance of the six-night engagement, Kean acted Othello (12/17). The Vancouver Times commended Kean's conception of the role; he was exactly right, said the writer, in not playing Othello as an innately jealous man, but one whose jealousy was the result of Iago's cunning. Also approved was Kean's "divesting the character of the ferocity which is sometimes given to it." Mr. Kean in action and dress looked the noble Moor, and was especially admirable, if any discrimination is permissible, in the quieter passages of the part. 45 A full week of performances did not satisfy the Victoria patrons as evidenced by the announcement that the Kean Committee resolved to request that the Keans play three additional nights, which they agreed to do. The first of these additional performances was King Lear (12/19), with the Keans acting Lear and the Fool. Kean's Lear, said the Times , was "conceived in the loftiest spirit of tragedy," and combined "all the dignified grandeur, . . . majestic suffering, . . . intensity of passion, and . . . fidelity to living nature" of his other roles. Kean's Lear united "the elaborate finish of Louis XI with the deep pathos of Wolsey." The final scenes were especially effective, being "full of beauty, tenderness, and solemnity, worked with unrivalled skill into an harmonious picture." Kean's performance had "a stateliness in its melancholy" which gave it "a sublimity of its own." Although the writer professed difficulty in singling out any particular passage for quotation when so many were excellent, nothing in King Lear or in any of his Shakespearian characters showed the greatness of the actor more than when Lear's wasting form and wandering mind are by a sudden flash of intelligence recalled to their former health, and raising himself with almost more than mortal dignity he answers Gloucester, "Ay, every inch a King. "46

PAGE 142

135 Lear was succeeded by the double bill in which Kean acted Sir Edward Mortimer in The Iron Chest and Don Felix in The Wonder (12/20). The Times reported that the audience "thoroughly enjoyed" the performance and seemed glad of some variation from the Shakespearean tragedy of the past week. The Wond er, with its "spirited acting," was called "one of the most sparkling comedies we have ever seen." For their final performance in Victoria, the Keans played dual roles: Richard and the Queen in Richard II, and Mr. and Mrs. Oakley in The Jealous Wife (12/21). A comparison of the prices charged for the Kean engagement with those for George Coppin's benefit, yields an indication of the appeal of the Keans: for the Keans, the prices ranged from $5.00 for boxes to $1.25 for the pit; for Coppin, the prices ranged from $1.50 to 50<£. The Keans were engaged for two nights in Portland upon their return from Victoria. When Kean acted Hamlet on the first night (12/26), the performance was not as well reviewed as his earlier Shylock. Hamlet naturally requires a younger man than Kean . . . and while all were delighted, few were so electrified and thrilled ... as when . . . Kean . . . gave us Shakespeare as the author . . . intended Shylock . . . should be conceived and rendered. 48 The next night the Keans acted Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (12/27), and then sailed for San Francisco. Before resuming their engagement at Maguire's Opera House in San Francisco, the Keans gave two performances in Sacramento. The first consisted of readings of select scenes from King John , followed by poetry (1/5). The second night's entertainment offered readings of select scenes from Henry VIII , followed by poetry (1/6). The Sacramento 49 Union called these entertainments "triumphs of elocutionary art."

PAGE 143

136 When the Keans opened their reengagement at Maguire's Opera House in The Merchant of Venice (1/9), Portia was "scarcely suitable to the years and figure of Mrs. Kean," and Shylock was not Kean's "best 50 impersonation." On the next night, Kean's Louis XI was called his best character; "as the peevish, suspicious, cowardly and treacherous old King, clinging to life by a thread and dreading its severance, he holds the very mirror up to nature." Although the writer commended Kean for excellent reading in all his Shakespearean roles, as well as thorough conceptions, it was regretted that Kean reminded "one by every tone and gesture that Kean is before us and not the creation of the dramatist." Still, "the earnestness which he breathes into all his impersonations is wonderful, and the studied care with which even the smallest detail is 51 filled up should stand as a pattern for actors of all time." The Keans continued the week with King Lear (1/11), The Stranger (1/12), and Richard III (1/14). The Golden Era reported that the first week of their return engagement in San Francisco averaged receipts of $1250 per 52 night in gold, more than $2700 in greenbacks. The largest audience since the Keans 1 October opening night saw their performances as the Stranger and Mrs. Haller. The second week of the Keans' farewell engagement began with their performances of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (1/16). "It is in this play that the genius of Mr. Kean most fully vindicates itself," wrote a reviewer. . . . small in stature and possessed of at least an unimposing presence, the very opposite of the stalwart figure which rises in our minds as the true presentment of "Macbeth," speaking in querulous tones instead of a warrior's voice and rolling his r's further than Dunsinane Wood was supposed to have travelled in a day,

PAGE 144

137 he still delights his audience so that they hang upon his slightest syllables, and bend forward with eager delight over every gesture, almost afraid to applaud lest they break the spell. "If this be not a triumph," concluded the writer, "show us its equal in 53 the annals of the stage." The Keans next acted The Corsican Brothers for the first time in San Francisco, with The Wonder as the afterpiece, for a run of three nights (1/17-1/19). Playing Fabien and Louis, Kean was "earnest and impressive," but, once again, was criticized for "his total incapacity for individualizing or clothing a character with anything other than his own physical peculiarities and vocal habits." Kean's Don Felix, on the other hand, was commended for making "some of those subtle points which 54 galleries seldom detect and applaud, but which stamp the artist." Following the three night run of The Corsican Brothers and The Wonder , the week ended with Kean playing Hamlet (1/21). For the final full week of their sojourn in San Francisco, the Keans acted in Othello (1/23), Richard U (1/24), King John (1/25), and The Stranger and The Wonder (1/26) for Mrs. Kean's farewell benefit. They ended the week with both matinee and evening performances on Saturday. In the afternoon, the Keans presented "Readings and Recitations from Shakespeare and other Poets" (1/28) for the benefit of the charitable institutions of San Francisco. In the evening, the Keans acted Louis XT (1/28). The last three days of performance by the Keans were filled with a variety of roles. The first evening's entertainment was a Grand Shakespearean Festival consisting of one act of As You Like It , one act of Romeo and Juliet, one act of The Merchant of Venice , and the

PAGE 145

138 complete Much Ado About Nothing (1/30). For Kean's farewell benefit, he acted Sir Edward Mortimer in The Iron Chest, and Duke Aranza in The Honeymoon (1/31). It was reported that his portrayal of Sir Edward Mortimer would be "remembered by many as the most thrilling, fascinating EC and impressive performance of the great tragedian on our boards. Kean "held the audience entranced," another wrote, so that "at times a stitch in knitting might almost have been heard to drop--let alone a pin." Especially effective was Kean's facial expression: "Mr. Kean's most ardent admirer could scarcely call him handsome, but his face is an eminently expressive one, his play of features at times is surprising, and he is possessed of eloquent speaking eyes." The final appearance of the Keans in San Francisco featured their performances of Wolsey and Catherine in Henry VIII , and the Oakleys in The Jealous Wife (2/1). Even the standing room was filled, and it was reported that the Keans were "seemingly inspired by the crowded audience which assembled to witness their last effort, and determined to leave behind them an impression which time could not very well efface." The result produced performances which were exceptional. "As the 'Cardinal,' Mr. Kean gave full play to his expressive features, and his voice, less tremulous 57 than usual, was at times sublime in its pathos." In The Jealous Wife, the Chronicle reported that the Keans "shone with even more than usual brilliancy." In his curtain speech, Kean revealed that manager Maguire had offered very liberal terms to entice the Keans to delay their departure and to continue their engagement, but that he declined since their passage was already booked. In their two San Francisco engagements, the Keans played almost sixty nights and profited almost thirty-thousand dollars.

PAGE 146

139 The Keans, Miss Chapman, and Everett left San Francisco enroute for New York, with stops in Panama and Kingston, Jamaica; Coppin, acting as Kean's agent, and Cathcart proceeded directly to New York. Kean remained pessimistic regarding the profitability of engagements in the Atlantic cities, and gave Coppin specific conditions to be met in securing any engagements. The devalued state of the "greenback" created concern that any engagement would yield sufficient profit to justify the delay in returning to England. Accordingly, Kean specified that he would "make no sacrifices either as to terms or prices ." The prices must be at least one dollar for boxes with an additional charge for reserved seats, and the Keans must receive a clear half of the nightly receipts, payable the next morning. If a minimum number of engagements to include New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, could not be arranged, Kean would play nowhere. Kean stipulated that there must be sufficient time between engagements for the transport of the wardrobe and for rehearsals with the local companies. A tour of three or four months including all the towns named must be set, said Kean, "or it would not be worth my consideration to stop." My time is too valuable to be frittered away for small sums in petty engagements, and if you are unable to make arrangements with Managers on the stipulations I have named, I shall proceed to England without unnecessary delay. 59 The Keans took advantage of necessary stops enroute to New York; though full performances were not possible, they gave several evenings of "Dramatic Readings." The first of these was in Panama at the Cabildo (2/20). The Panama Star and Herald was gratified that the Keans "executed their parts before our little Panama audience with as much spirit as if they were on a London or New York stage." Another

PAGE 147

140 writer reported that "the feast afforded us on Monday night will long live in our memories," and thought that their appearance before a couple of hundred people in the "out of the way and ancient city of Panama" would be among the Keans 1 more agreeable recollections of their world tour. The Keans also gave readings in Kingston, Jamaica, during their stop in that city. The first two of three performances of readings in Kingston were similar to command performances, being under the patronage of the Governor of Jamaica, the Bishop of Kingston, and the Commander of the British forces. The Keans first presented a program of "Readings and Recitations" from King John and English poets (3/2); their second evening presented selections from Henr y VIII and poetry (3/4). A public performance was given at the local Theatre just prior to the Keans' departure from Jamaica; that program featured the third act of Hamlet and poetry selections (3/9). The Jamaica Guardian reported that it was "impossible for us in criticising to do justice to the exquisite manner in which the various recitations and readings were given." In the selections from Shakespeare, the true genius of the Keans "shone out, the effect being at times overpoweringly grand." The poetry readings "created a most extraordinary sensation, the great Tragedian being, as it were inspired, and abandoning himself to every passion and emotion CO of the personages introduced." Following these performances, the Keans sailed for Havana enroute to New York, arriving there near the end of March, 1865. Shortly after the Keans' arrival in New York, while arrangements were being completed for their opening on April 17 at the Broadway Theatre in New York, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

PAGE 148

141 During the period of mourning, the theatres were closed and the Kean engagement was consequently delayed. Several of the Keans 1 other engagements were altered, since several were to have taken place in theatres owned by John T. Ford, who was detained by police after Lincoln's assassination in his Washington theatre. On the day after Lincoln's funeral, the theatres reopened and the Keans commenced acting at the Broadway. Their first performances were as Wolsey and Catherine in Henry VIII , and the Oakleys in The Jealous Wife (4/26). Odell related that Mrs. Kean had lost much of her appeal, but that Kean, who had labored all his life under comparison to his famous father, "was received with wholehearted admiration and universally proclaimed . . . the great exemplar of a bygone glorious school, and the finest of living tragedians." The Herald declared that Kean's Wolsey was "some of the most finished and perfect acting that has ever been witnessed on any stage." In a style that was "vigorous and intellectual, as well as chaste and polished," Kean made some of the passages of the play en "transcendently grand." The Spirit was even more laudatory, calling Kean's Wolsey "the most perfect specimen of truly legitimate, highly artistic, and earnestly natural acting that has ever been witnessed on the modern stage." Agreeing with the Herald , the Spirit said Kean's acting was "vigorous and classically intellectual," and "so natural that the actor was forgotten in the part, which, after all, is the true test of excellence." The performance appeared to be effortless, with its byplay a marvel of understatement with no attempt at point making. "He was superb--no other word can describe the touching majesty of his 65 delineation of the part."

PAGE 149

142 The Keans completed their shortened first week with performances as Louis XI and Marthe (4/27 & 4/29), and Shylock and Portia (4/28). The Spirit declared Kean's Louis XI "the most masterly rendition of craft, cunning, cruelty, hypocrisy and quasi religious fervor ever perhaps presented on the stage." The first four nights of their engagement yielded profits of approximately $3350. The Keans commenced their second week as VJolsey and Catherine, and the Oakleys (5/1), followed by performances in Louis XI (5/2), King John (5/3), Much Ado About Nothing (5/4), Hamlet (5/5), and a repeat of King John (5/6). King John was called the least effective of the week's performances by the Spirit , because of the need for a large stage, elaborate scenery, and strong supporting actors. Kean's Benedick was lauded by the same writer: "Graceful, well-preserved, astute, . . . such a Benedick would have loved such a Beatrice." Their bye-play was superb, and from the commencement of their quips, quirks, and love passages, in badinage, to the matrimonial culmination, their acting was a continuous triumph, eliciting successive ovations of applause, and numberless recalls. 67 When the Keans played their farewell benefit performance of the New York engagement (5/8), the Herald reported that hundreds were turned away from the doors because even standing room was filled. As Wolsey and Catherine, and as the Oakleys, the Keans "performed with more spirit than on any other evening of their engagement." The Spirit took the occasion of the Keans' farewell as an opportunity to expound on the relative merits of their acting style and that of the modern school. The Keans were the "greatest and last" of that long tradition

PAGE 150

143 of English acting which included Garrick, the Kembles, Mrs. Siddons, and Edmund Kean. The Keans' performances were all "classical elegance, polished ease, grace and naturalness--" Art so near akin to Nature that it takes its very resemblance; quiet and repose in place of rant and sickly sentimentality, and truthfulness instead of sensational gaspings, which are a burlesque on nature, and have nothing in common with her. 69 The eleven nights of the Keans 1 Broadway Theatre engagement had total receipts of $17,554.39, yielding the Keans a profit of $8,777.20. Kean was evidently pleased, for he wrote his daughter that they "closed here last night most brilliantly . . . ." Kean also relished the few days rest that were available before their next engagement. After almost a week's rest, the Keans opened an engagement at the Holliday St. Theatre in Baltimore in Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (5/15). The Baltimore American reported that Kean's "conception of Wolsey is as grand and powerful as his acting is truthful and impressive." The performance was an effective example of underplaying: "his features placid, and their expression always calm; his mien dignified and reserved. ... he counterfeited to perfection" the manner of the Cardinal. The American commended Kean's third act soliloquies, in which he was, by turns, "pathetic, forcible, calm and impassioned." Wolsey and Oakley were succeeded by Louis XI (5/16). The American lauded Kean's conception which pulled together a diversity of characteristics into a performance of "living and organic unity." Kean placed before the audience a dramatic work of art, said the American ; "the moral meanness, the grovelling superstition, the physical cowardice, the shrewd cunning," were all played with "discrimination and sound 72 judgement."

PAGE 151

144 Kean's Shylock (5/17) was played with "a power and skill that secured the hushed attention" of the crowded audience. All of the passions demanded by the role were offered by Kean with "impressive energy and expression;" included among the moments causing note were the "demoniac rubbing" of his hands when he thought his adversary was ruined; the brief displays of "domestic affection" for his daughter; 73 and his final "dismay . . . when he is foiled." The American was appreciative of the versatility Kean showed when he acted Benedick (5/18). In Kean's "easy, unlabored humor," created by his skillful use of "a single glance of the eye, a turn of expression in the features, or a change of intonation," the American had great difficulty in identifying the man who had acted such tragic features as Louis XI and Shylock. The Keans ended their five-night week with performances as Hamlet and Gertrude (5/19). The American called Hamlet Kean's greatest performance, adding that all that was said of his excellence in this role years before was still valid: His energy is undiminished; the quiet earnestness and distinctness in which he gives the most subdued passages is as telling as of old; his soliloques are the same masterpieces of elocution, his expressions of passion have lost none of their power; and his use of the foil is as vigorous and elegant as ever.?5 During his weekend of rest, Kean wrote to his old friend, Sol Smith, regarding the Midwest and South. Stating that "I want to make all the money I can for our retiring pension ," Kean expressed a desire to play performances in the South — New Orleans and, perhaps, Mobile, if that city was sufficiently recovered from the war to support an engagement — in early 1866. Kean hoped that the return from New Orleans could include an engagement in Louisville. The Southern engagements

PAGE 152

145 must be settled quickly, Kean said, because manager Vining of the Princess's Theatre in London awaited his reply regarding the date of 7fi Kean's return to London. For the Keans 1 benefit and scheduled final performance of the Baltimore engagement they acted the roles of Richard II and the Queen, and Don Felix and Violante (5/22). Kean was lauded for the unity and completeness of his performance by the American . "There is no occasional burst of unwonted brilliancy, followed by a long interval of dullness. There is neither dross nor alloy—all is pure gold." The performance of The Wonder that followed offered another opportunity to appreciate the Keans' versatility. The Keans were persuaded to delay their departure for Pittsburgh, and gave a final performance in Baltimore two nights later, acting in The Stranger and The Jealous Wife (5/24). An unprecedented advance sale of tickets for the Keans' Pittsburgh engagement indicated anticipation for the Keans' first performance in that city. It was reported that "more than three thousand dollars" 7R worth of tickets were sold before the engagement began. ' Ellen Kean wrote on the afternoon of their opening that "all the places are gone for 79 tonight," although the town was filled with a convention of clergy. The day after the Keans opened as Wolsey and the Queen, and Mr. and Mrs. Oakley (5/29), Ellen Kean wrote that "a very fine house" brought in receipts of $800, "which in this little house is wonderful." Furthermore, the audience was "agreeable" with "none of the usual rowdies." Mrs. Kean reported that the "prices were too high and our play too good to attract the loose gentry of this little Birmingham."

PAGE 153

146 This same letter revealed the Keans' strategy in opening most engagements, especially those in theatres unfamiliar to them, with the double feature of Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife. We do this as precautionary so that if we should be completely cut up by a bad company or an imperfect actor in the play, we hit them very hard in the comedy and send people home contented. 80 Over the course of their brief engagement, the Keans acted Louis XI (5/30), Hamlet (5/31), and The Merchant of Venice (6/2). The Pittsburgh Theatre was closed on June 1, 1865, in accordance with the decree by President Johnson that that date be observed as a national day of humiliation and prayer. The local press judged Kean's Shylock as having too much ranting, and his Hamlet as having too little youthful vigor. The Chronicle , however, defended Kean against the assertion that he was too mechanical as Louis XI. We are willing to admit that every sigh, gesture, frown and pose of last night was deliberately planned beforehand, but hypercritical must be he who carps at this, when each and everyone gave strength and nature to the old monarch whom he represented. °* The attendance for the Kean engagement evidently held at the level of their opening; Kean wrote that the engagement at the Pittsburgh Theatre averaged $800. 82 The Keans' Cincinnati engagement at Pike's Opera House was hindered by the heat and some negative press comments. Before the opening of their performances, Kean wrote of a disagreement between the theatre manager and the Gazette prompted by the abusive articles that publication had reprinted from the New York Tribune . A small house witnessed the Keans 1 standard opening bill of Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (6/5). Kean's Wolsey was studious and calculated in the views of

PAGE 154

147 the Daily Programme and the Commercial ; their comments were similar to those made about Louis XI in Pittsburgh, not denying the premeditation of ewery move, gesture and inflection, but appreciating the effectives'? ness of the performances that resulted. The Enquirer went further in stating that "it is evident that art and study alone" had been responsible for Kean's success as an actor. He is a careful and conscientious actor, classic and, perhaps, too cold to enthuse the ardent temperament of this Western hemisphere, although, at times, there were bursts of passion, as in his soliloquy, which bore the impress of nature, and were duly reciprocated by congratulatory applause. °^ The next day, Kean wrote that this engagement would not pay for the necklace he planned as an anniversary present for his wife; the extreme heat and the double prices combining to attract only a fair house at the 85 opening. Kean earlier expressed pessimism about the prospects of the Cincinnati engagement when he wrote that "the city ... is very holy and sermons are more the fashion than Shakespeare." Kean's second performance was as Shylock (6/6). The Daily Programme was impressed with the "artistic, faithful, and at times startling" conception of the role. 87 When Kean acted Louis XI (6/7), the Commercial was defensive in its appraisal. After anticipating the negative evaluations of "some of our contemporaries," the Commercial stated that "we left the Opera House last evening sincerely impressed that we had just witnessed the most elaborate historical delineation on the stage." Louis XI, with his contradictions, was "vividly portrayed." No actor but one who had for many years been true to the highest aspirations of the drama, could so counterfeit a character of such perplexing composition, and make it stand forth with the purest fidelity to nature, and wonderful individuality. 88

PAGE 155

148 During the remainder of this first week in Cincinnati, the Keans acted in Hamlet (6/8), which was excellent and "scholarlike" in its conception; Much Ado About Nothing (6/9); and The Gamester (6/10). The engagement was planned to comprise two weeks, but after the first, Kean wrote that the extreme heat had injured their business so much that he had asked the manager to cancel the second week. The manager agreed, and the Keans left earlier than planned for St. Louis, the next stop on their itinerary. At the same time that Kean cancelled the second week of the Cincinnati engagement, he wrote Ben DeBar, the St. Louis manager, offering to open early with him, as well as playing the five-night week 91 originally agreed upon. DeBar appears not to have agreed to an early start; the Keans opened as scheduled on June 19. The inflated dollar had caused Kean concern earlier on the Eastern tour, but shortly after his arrival in St. Louis, he wrote his dismay at the cost of ewery thing. He wrote that their travel from Cincinnati had been more comfortable than the trip to Cincinnati, but that the cost had been a third greater; the cost of items from gloves to champagne to hotel accommodations shocked him, and at the same time, the inflation that created such prices reduced the sums he could send home. The attitudes of sales clerks and others in positions of service so dismayed the aristocratic Kean that he declared that "nothing but money could reconcile me to remaining" in the United States any longer, and that 9? even money could not tempt him to live there. Three days later, the gold market had deteriorated further, prompting Kean to write his daughter that he would send no more money to England until the price of

PAGE 156

149 gold improved; at the current price, every one-hundred pounds sent to England cost one-hundred-fifty pounds. One bright spot emerged, however; Kean wrote that the "promise of business is \/ery excellent in this Town." With three days remaining until their opening, "two rows round the Dress Circle for the entire engagement of five nights" had already been sold. The five days of the Keans' St. Louis engagement opened with the Keans' standard, Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (6/19). The Missouri Republican reported that Kean played Wolsey with "wonderful power," and that the afterpiece was received enthusiastically. 94 The remainder of the week featured performances of Louis XI (6/20), The Merchant of Venice (6/21), Hamlet (6/22), and The Stranger and The Wonder (6/23) for the Keans' benefit. By the end of the St. Louis engagement, tentative plans had been reached for a Southern tour during the coming winter; the Keans 1 return to England and their daughter was, thus, delayed until April, 1866. As Ellen Kean explained, the end of the war opened the Southern towns to engagements, and since this was to be their final visit to America, "Mr. Kean does not like to leave a certain large sum of money behind him that cannot be got hereafter. And having made such sacrifices he feels it unwise to leave anything undone for the sake of a few more months." 95 Kean anticipated cooler weather when they reached Chicago, where the opening performance of the engagement at McVickers Theatre was the usual Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (6/26). The Tribune called Kean's Wolsey "true to nature." Such a naturalness in acting the role was a disappointment, the writer was sure, to those who expected "lung

PAGE 157

150 power and vocal gymnastics, ranting and roaring . . . a la Forrest" and others of his school. In contrast, Kean's acting was "quiet, elegant and dignified." The Tribune reported that in addition to his insight in the conception of the character, Kean brought "the most wonderful powers" to the playing of the role; such powers included a face full of intellect and thought, an eye which can beam gentleness and flash fire, a mouth flexible and capable of photographing passion, a voice fresh in spite of age, round, rich, full of power and yet capable of making the whisper audible in the most distant part of the house. 9° Kean's Wolsey, reported the Times , was "throughout the perfect expression of warm, refined, and discriminating artistic feeling." Although the performance of the two pieces lasted three-and-a-half hours, the audience exhibited little but "profound and pleased attention." Kean's acting, said the Times in agreement with the Tribune , was an "art which was properly content to forego all factitious aids, and all strivings 97 after vulgar effect." Kean was pleased that the opening night 98 brought receipts of $1430. Kean's Shylock (6/27) was played with "studied art and fierce passion," wrote the Times , bearing throughout "marks of the most intelligent and earnest care." Especially effective was the trial scene. His eye fairly devoured the hapless wretch before him; his words went forth as if they were living scorpions to fasten and feed upon his devoted flesh; and the sharp whistle of the knife, as drawn on the floor, it broke the stillness of the court, and its sudden gleam seemed but part of Shylock' s own dreadful utterances. 99 When Kean acted Louis XI (6/28), the Times observed that he enjoyed one distinct advantage; he created the role, and was not restricted by tradition or criticism in his playing of it. The rapid transitions of

PAGE 158

151 the emotions necessary for the role were made, if not harmonious, at least realistic in their juxtaposition. There were many unforgettable scenes, wrote the Times , all receiving the "highest praise that they were made, and still seem real." The audience saw not Kean, but Louis XI. "It was Louis XI, and no other . . . who planned, triumphed, and tyrannized, and trembled, and died," and the audience would never see its like again, "for there was but one Louis XI, and there is but one Charles Kean." 100 Of Kean's Hamlet (6/29), the Times wrote, that there were some actors, even American, who excelled him in some parts, but that in many passages, "in those of energy and of irony and wit especial ly, --he is unapproachable." Kean's naturalness was especially effective in the scenes with Polonius and the players. Among his soliloquies, all of which were effective, that beginning "Oh, what a base and peasant slave am I!" was "admirable for its transition from all devouring rage to the subtle craft by which he plans to catch the conscience of the King." Kean's performance was "full, equable, intelligent, scholarly and satisfying," and the "entire play has never been so well presented here." For their benefit performance the Keans acted dual roles, Richard II and Catherine and Mr. and Mrs. Oakley (6/30). Effective in all of the play, Kean exhibited "the full power of his art" in the third act passages of "irony, bitterness, and invective," and reached heights of power seen elsewhere only in his Louis XI, when he played the 102 deposition scene. The Keans closed their Chicago week with an unusual two-performance day, playing the Stranger and Mrs. Haller in a matinee performance, and Louis XI and Catherine in an evening

PAGE 159

152 performance (7/1). Kean happily reported that "we finished last night to a crowded house," and that the entire Chicago engagement averaged $1200 per night, which "outside of London it would be impossible to 103 draw ... at home. " From Chicago, the Keans went to Milwaukee for a week's engagement. The opening performance was their standard, Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (7/3). They did not act the next night, Independence Day, but resumed the following night with Louis XI (7/5). Kean ' s Louis XI was played "so effectively," said the Daily Wisconsin , "that we doubt not many went to their homes feeling a Keen repulsion towards him." A crowded house witnessed Kean's "Admirably rendered" Hamlet (7/6) despite 105 the "intolerable" heat. The Keans" final Milwaukee performance in the double bill of The Stranger and The Wonder (7/7) met varying press reaction; the Daily Wisconsin thought that The Stranger was an "incomparable play;" the Milwaukee News declared that "the play last evening was none of the best, but each character was well sustained." Whatever the media evaluation, the public response was such that the Kean engagement attracted the largest houses since the Academy of Music was opened. Kean wrote that the Milwaukee engagement "will turn out $500 per night." In this same letter Kean wrote that all of his party were well, but wanting rest. Rest they did not get. They arose at 5:30 A.M. the day after their final Milwaukee performance, boarded a train to Chicago, arrived there at noon, and acted that same night. The Keans played two nights in Chicago at the Crosby Opera House upon their return from Milwaukee. Kean wrote that the size of the theatre increased his fatigue and aggravated his illness. When the

PAGE 160

153 Keans acted Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in The Gamester (7/8), the Times reported that they performed in "that thoroughly artistic manner" for which they were celebrated, saving displays of energy and power "for the moments when the impressiveness of incident or the depth of passion required it." Kean's illness and fatigue no doubt contributed to that conserving of strength. The last act, said the Times, was "artistic perfection," being played with a sense of reality which had rarely, if ever, been seen on the Chicago stage. Every element was commended: "the groupings, the attitudes, the action, the utterances of despair, grief and rage, ... the full conception of a perfect performance." The Keans' second performance was as Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (7/10). The Times judged that their performance was given with "a verve , facility and naturalness which it is doubtful . . . real life . . . could equal." 109 Throughout the several days surrounding the two final Chicago appearances, Kean was ill, able to eat little and confined to bed except to perform. During the remainder of his time in the United States, his health caused increasing interference with his performance. His resolve to remain until the Spring was strong, however, as he revealed in a letter to his daughter. I believe I have done right in determining to stop till the Spring. I shall certainly provided we are blessed with health, be a couple of thousand pounds ,, n richer by stopping six months longer in the States . . . Kean's thoughts were never far from money. This same letter revealed that the just completed performances had receipts of $1536 and $1486, "which would have been $300 more but for the incessant rain."

PAGE 161

154 Although ill, Kean continued the pace he had set for his engagements, traveling overnight by rail to reach Cleveland by midday, and then acting both Wolsey and Oakley that night (7/12). The Leader commended Kean's portrayal of Wolsey, especially the third act, when Kean "first revealed what stuff he is made of," in a performance that "was above criticism." At the same time it was regretted that the play had been cut as it was, which offered little opportunity to display his talents. The Herald disagreed with its colleague, writing that Kean's Wolsey "was a perfect impersonation of that splendid creation of the immortal dramatist." Again it was reported that Kean reached his 1 1 7 peak in the third act, when "the rendition was magnificent." When Kean acted Hamlet (7/13), the Herald reported that any fear that Kean's age might hinder his performance as the young Prince was "speedily put down, for it was quickly seen that his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated." Throughout the performance, the acting was so natural that the Herald had difficulty in remembering that the 113 Keans were "mere persons acting a part." Kean's Shylock (7/14) was "animated ... in a manner which we have never seen approached," said the Leader . On the occasion of the Keans' final night in Cleveland (7/15), the Herald declared that their performances were a welcomed change from the "monotony and hackneyed repetitions ... of actors of the present day." Kean's Stranger was "an exquisite portrait of domestic affliction," and strongly appealed to the "sympathetic side of human nature." The writer expressed wonder that such a weak play should be selected by such great artists for inclusion in their repertory.

PAGE 162

155 The Keans' performance as Don Felix and Donna Violante "gave the audience another taste of that natural and elegant type of legitimate comedy acting that has now almost departed from the stage." 115 Following their Cleveland engagement, the Keans took an eagerly anticipated rest at British Niagara Falls. Both Keans had looked forward to this respite for some time, for the opportunity of being in British territory as well as the cessation of labor. Ellen Kean seemed to enjoy the week particularly, writing that she was tempted by the Indian beadwork in the shops, and was awed by the beauty of the falls. Even so, she yearned for home. After a week's rest, the Keans performed engagements in the nearby towns of Buffalo and Rochester, then returned to Niagara for several days before traveling to Montreal. The Buffalo engagement opened with the standard Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (7/24) to receipts of $1000. 117 A crowded audience paid the increased prices to witness what the Courier called a "most grateful change" from the acting of the modern school. Kean's Wolsey was "rendered in a manner quite at variance with the style of those who practice vocal gymnastics on the stage." Kean's performance was given with the "naturalness of real life," said the Courier. The Keans 1 engagement continued with performances of The Merchant of Venice (7/25); Louis XI (7/26), which the Post said "required the genius of Charles Kean to interpret, and well indeed did he portray it" ; Hamlet (7/27); Richard U and The Wonder (7/28) for their benefit; and The Gamester (7/29). The Courier declared that the visiting stars had a right to be proud of the response to their benefit, indeed the whole engagement, because "Buffalo is not unnecessarily enthusiastic." Those of the

PAGE 163

156 audience who had been present each night "had as good reason for mutual congratulation over their individual intelligence and appreciation." 120 Kean wrote that they were doing "fine business" in Buffalo, but he complained of the coldness of the audiences. "They neither applaud or laugh at a joke." That quality was not unique to Buffalo; nowhere outside New York did Kean find audiences he judged to be knowledgeable and responsive. As for the local actors, Kean found them "astonished how we are able to bear the fatigue we do of performing and travelling." Kean reported that he was very weak, Mrs. Kean was better, and that Patty "thrives on her intense Anti-American feeling." 121 The Keans' single performance in Rochester was as Shylock and Portia (7/31). The largest audience for many years assembled at the Metropolitan Theatre to witness the Keans 1 performance. The Democrat reported that "better Shylocks than Mr. Kean, and Portias little if any inferior to Mrs. Kean," had appeared in Rochester, but as a whole the play had never been "rendered with equal power." Kean "in some respects ... was grand, in others he was commonplace." The performance, nontheless, was "highly satisfactory" and the Democrat 1 77 regretted that the Keans could remain no longer. The Keans returned to Niagara for several more days of rest before departing for Montreal. Ellen Kean wrote that Kean was getting restless for home, and that Patty had begun to whine, but that "I am 123 'patience on a monument." 1 After several days of relaxation on the British side of the falls, the Keans began their journey to Montreal. Kean's appearances in Montreal were his first in thirty-four years; he had not played there since 1831. During the five nights of the

PAGE 164

157 Keans' engagement at the Theatre Royal, they acted Wolsey and Catherine (8/14), Shylock and Portia (8/15), Hamlet and Gertrude (8/16), Benedick and Beatrice (8/17), and Richard II and the Queen (8/18). The crowds were large at each performance, and it was reported that as many as 1400 124 soldiers crowded into the pit. The reports of crowded houses are the only indication given by Montreal papers of the success of the Keans' engagement. The Keans 1 scrapbook for the final American tour contains only one clipping which quotes Kean's curtain speech on the night of their closing performance. Kean had been ill during the journey to Montreal, and apparently continued so. He wrote that he had got "the three warnings-Lame , Deaf , and Blind." He wished that he were home, but "the thought of an extra 12000 to my fortune reconciles me to the 125 delay." An actor engaged to support the Keans and their company during the Montreal engagement, Barton Hill, wrote that not only was Kean in ill health, but that his memory was failing, forcing him to rely on Cathcart and Everett, "who understood his business thoroughly." After closing this one-week stand in Montreal, the Keans traveled to New York to begin an engagement. The journey was primarily by steamer via Lake Champlain, Lake George, and then down the Hudson River to New York. For the Keans' four-week engagement at the Broadway Theatre in New York, the prices were lowered to the level charged by other comparable theatres. The reason given was that the elevated prices of 127 their previous engagement prevented many from seeing them. One may be sure that Kean would not have agreed to such a reduction without a guarantee from the management. For this engagement, rather than receiving a clear half of the gross receipts, his normal demand, Kean

PAGE 165

158 1 no accepted one-hundred pounds per night from manager Wood. Kean believed that such an arrangement would provide more profit than receiving American money which must then be converted at an unfavorable exchange rate. Kean expressed anxiety about the prospects of the engagement, since the residents of New York were still at the "watering 129 holes," and the town was filled with visitors. The Keans' engagement began as usual with their performances of Wolsey and Catherine, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Oakley (8/28). The Spirit called Kean's Wolsey an "unsatisfactory" performance. In some scenes, such as the triumph over Norfolk, and the trial scene, Kean was "all that ion could be desired," but in others, he was "not so good.' In Louis XI (8/29), however, Kean had a character "that suits him completely." The complexity of the character was played with "truthfulness and power." The Spirit called the performance "as fine a piece of acting as has been 131 seen upon our boards this many a day." During the remainder of the first week, the Keans acted Shylock and Portia (8/30), Hamlet and Gertrude (8/31), Louis XI and Marthe (9/1), and Hamlet and Gertrude in a matinee performance (9/2). The second week of the Keans 1 Broadway tenure began with their performances of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (9/4); there followed Shylock and Portia (9/5), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth again (9/6), the Stranger and Mrs. Haller (9/7), and Lear and the Fool (9/8 & 9/9). Early in the third week in New York, Kean wrote his daughter that he was not well. He suffered from "hints of gout," which he ascribed to worry and annoyance caused by Cathcart's behavior. Cathcart's drinking had begun again, and his encouragement of his friends' interruption of 132 performances with calls for him made him a nuisance to Kean. Even

PAGE 166

159 before the New York engagement began, Kean had suffered an attack of heart palpitations, which sent his pulse over one-hundred-fifty. The intense heat of the past three months had added to the stress of his 133 acting and traveling, Kean wrote, and he longed for the relief of fall. Ill or not, Kean acted well enough as Othello (9/11), Louis XI (9/12), and Othello again (9/13) to gain the plaudit of the Tribune. In all these roles, the Tribune wrote, Kean lifted one "out of common life," made one "forget that we are looking upon mimic scenes, and convulses our nature with the passion and pathos of reality." In each of these roles, Kean was impressive, but "his Lear is a perfect effort in dramatic art." Having observed all the best actors who appeared over the past ten years in New York, the Tribune averred that Kean's equal had never yet been seen: His Lear is his best personation--not even excepting his Louis XI. . . . But to be great in Lear is more than to be great in Louis XI, because the part itself is greater. . . . One feature . . . may properly be noted, since it is a distinguishing exponent of Mr. Kean's art. That feature is its simplicity—its utter disregard for what are technically called "points." The Tribune continued that Kean was not an elocutionist, that the delivery of language was always secondary to the meaning, and that Kean's dialogue 134 was always "spoken as natural to the speaker." The same excellence was present in Kean's Othello, said the Tribune . Kean's Moor was a man "whose heart speaks in his voice, and not an elocutionist striving after an effect," and his performance should be seen "by every student of dramatic art." In summary, the Tribune declared that the present generation had "welcomed and applauded and honored several actors that are good, and a few that are great; but it has not seen, and

PAGE 167

160 probably will not see, a greater actor than Charles Kean." 135 The Keans completed the third week acting Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (9/14), Richard II and the Queen, with Don Felix and Violante (9/15), the Stranger and Mrs. Haller at the Saturday matinee (9/16), and an unusual second performance as Shylock and Portia in the evening (9/16). Kean wrote that the heat continued: "Fancy acting Macbeth last night with the thermometer at 100!!!" Still, the house brought receipts of $1200, which Kean said could not have been drawn under such conditions in England by the ghost of Garrick. The final week of the Broadway engagement had performances by the Keans as Richard III and the Queen (9/18), Louis XI and Marthe (9/19), Sir Walter Amyot and Lady Eveline Amyot in The Wife's S ecret (9/20), Wolsey and Catherine, with the Oakleys (9/21), and Richard III and the Queen again to close the engagement (9/22). The Keans 1 next engagements were under an arrangement with Henry C. Jarrett, manager of the Boston Theatre, who booked them for a series of performances in Boston, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. The agreement was reported to be for twenty-five performances at a fee of twenty-thousand 137 dollars. Evidently Kean negotiated for a guaranteed sum rather than his usual half of the receipts, perhaps because he doubted the success of the engagements. The first performances under this contract were given over a two-week period at the Boston Theatre, the prices raised for the occasion. Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife were the opening performances of the first week (9/25). The Transcript reported that Kean "still possesses that quiet energy, immense latent dramatic power, and remarkable stage

PAGE 168

161 presence" which were characteristic of his style. The writer could find little to criticize, "except in the matter of enunciation," of Kean's Wolsey. The Transcript reported that The Jealous Wife "kept the audience 1 3ft in a state of good humor." Of the same performance, the Journal said, "Mr. Kean wears well; and . . . the main features of his acting . . . were as vigorous and as nearly true to nature as it is possible for a copy to 139 be made." The Post was more laudatory than its colleagues, reporting that Kean gave a "truly fine impersonation" of Wolsey, especially in the third act. Wolsey 's downfall was "worked up with . . . intensity of dramatic skill, and . . . given with a tenderness and a pathos that touched all hearts." The Post concluded that "the entire performance was indeed one of rare excellence." When Kean acted Macbeth (9/26), the Transcript again made reference to his "peculiarities of enunciation" which hindered some of his readings. Still, the performance was "excellent," particularly Kean's "startling vividness" in portraying the changeable nature of Macbeth' s character. Especially effective, wrote the Transcript , was the "blending of terror, anguish and remorse which characterized the agonized response to the knocking at the castle gates, when Macbeth, stung by conscience . . . 141 exclaims: 'Wake Duncan with thy knocking; Ay, 'would thou couldst!'" Kean's Louis XI (9/27) was played with such "quickness of transitions" that the audience "had hardly time to applaud," and their attention was kept "perpetually awake." The Transcript wrote that the confession scene "was the most powerful of all, both in the twinges of agony and flashes of craft and hatred." The Journal judged that the "lights and shades" of character "were embodied in a most masterly manner" by Kean.

PAGE 169

162 The craftiness, the temporizing policy which he displayed . . . was one of the finest pieces of acting that has been seen here. . . . The study for this display has evidently been severe, so perfect is it in all its details. In its delineation Mr. Kean is at once the wit, the politician, the unmeaning bigot, and the most accomplished and far-seeing statesman of his age. -^3 The Keans completed the first week as Wolsey and Catherine, with Mr. and Mrs. Oakley (9/28), Shylock and Portia (9/29), and Louis XI and Marthe (9/30). The second week at the Boston Theatre opened with the Keans acting Lear and the Fool (10/2). The Journal called Kean's Lear "truthful and powerful." The Transcript concurred, saying that the performance "must have impressed every student of Shakespeare present as a truthful picture of the lonely and erased old king." The performance was a quiet one, leading to the observation that some of the "most effective lines . . . fell short of their true meaning and lost their force by too tame delivery." Kean's performance was devoid of points, and the language 145 was made "always subservient to the meaning." Kean's Louis XI (10/3) was the "marked success of the engagement." The Keans played out their second week as Shylock and Portia (10/4), Louis XI and Marthe (10/5), Hamlet and Gertrude (10/6), and a matinee performance as Don Felix and Violante (10/7). Kean wrote later that the twelve nights of 147 the Boston engagement averaged receipts of $1430. If his figures were accurate, the contract with Jarrett gave Kean better than half the receipts, since twenty-five nights for twenty-thousand dollars gave nightly shares of $800. The second engagement of the contract with Jarrett took place at the Academy of Music in Brooklyn. The Keans acted their standard roles,

PAGE 170

163 Wolsey and Catherine, with the Oakleys (10/9) for their opening, and followed with Shylock and Portia (10/10), and Louis XI and Marthe (10/11), to end the brief stand. Kean wrote that the three nights in Brooklyn had I ft Q average receipts of $1550. Still playing under the contract with Jarrett, the Keans acted for five nights at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The opening performance was their standard, Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (10/12). "Tone, gesture, and mien" were used by Kean in creating the effects by which he "moulds his characters into life-like proportions, and makes them walk and act, and talk as living men." Kean's performance as Wolsey "gave great satisfaction to an audience eminently well qualified to judge of the merits of acting." In the afterpiece, the Keans acted their comedy roles with "spirit and animation." The writer commended the 149 "quiet ease with which these artists present the points in comedy." Also performed during this five-day engagement were Shylock and Portia (10/13), and Louis XI and Marthe (10/14). The Keans closed their engagement with two additional performances (10/16 & 10/17), and started for Chicago. The five nights of the Philadelphia engagement averaged receipts of $1680. Ellen Kean wrote from Philadelphia that she dreaded the "long journey to Chicago." She anticipated that Kean and Miss Chapman would be "like 151 two tired spoilt children—and I shall be the worse for the shaking." As it turned out, she had cause to dread the trip, but not for the reasons she anticipated. In order to hire a replacement for their ailing maid, Mrs. Kean departed Philadelphia by a later train than the rest of the party. On the second day of travel, Kean and Miss Chapman were involved

PAGE 171

164 in a wreck when their train ran into one stalled on the tracks after dark. No one was seriously injured, but Mrs. Kean, whose train arrived moments after the incident, was distraught until Kean was located and brought to her. In addition, upon the Keans' arrival in Chicago, it was discovered that the costumes for Richard III were missing. Although these items were located and forwarded to Chicago, the incident provided the Keans with yet another reason to dislike train travel. The Keans 1 engagement at McVicker's Theatre in Chicago began with King John (10/23). The Keans next acted in The Merchant of Venice (10/24), which the Times called Kean's greatest triumph next to Louis XI . Shylock had been a "buried mummy until disentombed by the patient Kean." Kean had discovered the true intentions of Shakespeare for the character, had removed the role from all the "disguises in which it had been hidden by predecessors and contemporaries," and had placed before the world "the highest possible embodiment of those powerful passions, revenge and avarice, attended, withal, by some lesser but more human traits." Having resurrected Shylock and brought life to him from his own genius, said the Times , Kean presented Shylock as "one of the grandest and most 152 interesting" of stage characters. Louis XI (10/25) gave the audience evidence of Kean's "facility in adapting himself accurately and instantly to a score of diversified passions." The Times reported that "the changes of predominating traits in the passions, or humours of the contradictory Louis, were given with a rapidity that almost defied comprehension." At the same time, said the Times , there was evidence 153 that each was thoroughly understood by Kean.

PAGE 172

165 On the night that Macbeth was scheduled (10/26), Mrs. Kean was too ill to act, and Kean played opposite a substitute, certainly a disconcerting situation for Kean who had seen no other Lady Macbeth for so many years. The Times observed that Kean was "visibly affected . . . but nonetheless entered very fully into the role." Particularly noted by the writer was Kean's "use of dramatic contrasts," apparently in reference to Kean's pacing himself in order to have a reserve of energy for "the arduous work of mounting and storming the heights and battlements of passion." Noting that Kean's efforts were sometimes deemed "unequal" in lesser scenes, the Times said that "he never fails of signal success in 154 the principal ones." Mrs. Kean remained ill, and Kean played the remainder of the week without her in Hamlet (10/27) and Richard III (10/28). Kean acted throughout most of the second week without his wife; she returned in time to play their farewell benefit performance as Catherine to Kean's Wolsey and Mrs. Oakley to his Oakley (11/3). Since she was ill when Macbeth was first acted during the engagement, the Keans performed Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (11/4) before departing Chicago for the last time. Kean wrote that the engagement followed too closely upon their last trip to Chicago, and that the competition of Pareppa's concerts hurt their business. The engagement played to an average of $800 per night. Kean also reported an incident which he felt may have hindered their attractiveness: An editor answered a friend of mine who asked him if he did not think I was a great actor, "Yes, but d — the fellow he is an Engl ishman. "155 The Keans were engaged for five nights in Detroit, playing at Young Men's Hall. Their opening roles were Shylock and Portia (11/8). The Free Press

PAGE 173

166 thought that the character was one of the least impressive to begin an engagement, but that "as represented by Mr. Kean last evening it was a perfect embodiment of . . . the implacable Jew." Kean's acting was "graceful and natural," his voice "capable of astonishing modulation," his facial expression "conveys the true meaning even though not a word is 156 uttered," and Kean s gesticulation was "truly admirable." The Advertiser and Tribune concurred with the view of the Press , saying that Kean was "the very creation of the poet," and that there was no question 157 that Kean's Shylock was a great performance. Kean was pleased with the opening night receipts of $1000, but not with the local actors. The member of the Detroit company who was assigned the role of Antonio was drunk and did not know his lines. Kean wrote that Cathcart stayed by the actor's side and whispered lines to him, yet a local paper praised the actor, saying he played the part with great feeling. Kean agreed that "he certainly threw 'spirit' into it." 158 Kean's Louis XI (11/9) "astonished and delighted" the audience, being a "superb rendering of the part which is eminently his own." Kean's "transformations from one 159 passion to another were as wonderful as they were varied. When Kean acted Hamlet (11/10), the Tribune reported that when Kean entered, "his face did not appear to represent the usual Hamlet, and his voice had an apparent harshness," but whatever misgivings the audience may have entertained were swept away by "his profound conception of the part, his splendid action, and his thrilling readings." The Press called Kean's Hamlet a "sublime effort" and said that "few living actors can equal it." It was observed that "the weight of Years" had "impaired his activity in the soliloquies."

PAGE 174

167 The Keans' performance of Macbeth (11/11) was called the "greatest dramatic triumph in the theatrical history of our city." Kean's Macbeth was original, said the Tribune , and was remarkable for "the laborious study that has evidently been lavished upon it, for the vigor that characterizes his conception, and for that scrupulous care concerning the more delicate points of the character," which were crucial to its unity, but were often ignored by actors. Other actors might surpass Kean in some aspects of the part, but none in the totality of his portrayal and involvement in the character. The dagger scene was acted with "thrilling power," but "was surpassed by the scene after the murder when the first burden of terrible remorse falls with its crushing weight upon the assassins." Kean's acting in this scene was "indescribably grand." The Kean's final performance in Detroit was in Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (11/13). The house was crowded with seats added in the aisles in order to accommodate more patrons. Kean's Wolsey was "truly grand, amounting at times to the sublime." The soliloquies were especially effective, wrote the Press , "masterpieces of fervor and expression." In the afterpiece, Kean's portrayal of the "grotesque half-subdued, half1 CO defiant attitude of the much abused husband," Oakley, was vivid. The Tribune reported Kean's power and effectiveness in the third act, especially the farewell soliloquy, which was "given with earnest pathos," and the closing interview with Cromwell, which was "eloquent and touching." Kean's Oakley showed that "he could pass from tragedy to 164 comedy with wonderful facility." The five nights of the Keans' Detroit engagement averaged receipts of $700. The Keans moved on to Cleveland for a three-night engagement at the Academy of Music. Their reception by the audiences there was favorable,

PAGE 175

168 as evidenced by the receipts which averaged more than $800 per night. One paper, however, gave Kean a less than warm reception with the most scathing reviews of the tour. On the Keans' opening night (11/16), when they acted Shylock and Portia, and the Oakleys, the Leader was noncommittal, reporting only that the audience found nothing lacking from Kean's performance. The writer did not, however, "wish to be understood 16^ as expressing our own opinion." ° When Kean acted Macbeth (11/17), the Leader published a review that could be labelled little other than vitriolic. After observing that Macbeth was "perhaps the most striking in its dramatic effects and tragic power" of all of Shakespeare's plays, and was dependent upon the portrayal of the role of Macbeth for its effectiveness, the Leader launched its attack: Power, force, dignity, are the characteristics of the part, and no actor who is not able to supply in the fullest extent these requisites, can give a proper impersonation of this great creation. Mr. Kean, we feel bound to say, does not possess this ability, and as a consequence his rendition last night was, to use no stronger term, a failure. We watched attentively, from the opening to the close of the play, the performance of the character of "Macbeth," torture though it was, and we are compelled to say that a more thorough misrepresentation could not have been exhibited by the veriest amateur. Schoolboy declamation, passion wasted in whisper, inspiring sentences mouthed off with utter puerility, misapplied action, and stale mannerisms innumerable . . . transformed "Macbeth" into a burlesque. . . . There was no power and no effect in the "Macbeth" of Mr. Kean. ... We know, in thus writing, that we question the ability of a man who has a wide reputation in his profession; but we are free to say that in whatever way he obtained it--whether upon his past merits or those of his really great father--there is nothing in his present acting that in the remotest degree justifies it, and if he desires to maintain his fame the sooner he makes his farewell to the stage the better. 166 The Leader closed with the statement that the play was satisfactory so far as it did not depend upon Kean's acting.

PAGE 176

169 The Leader continued in the same vein, with only slight tempering, when the Keans acted their final roles of Louis XI and Marthe (11/18). Noting that Kean informed the public through the playbill that Louis XI was his masterpiece, the Leader agreed that, "as compared with his previous renditions and more particularly his 'Macbeth,'" it was entitled to that rank. "But we do not wish to be thought as flattering Mr. Kean," said the Leader , for "our own opinion ... is that it was a very tame, weak and cold characterization . . . lacking in that fervor and warmth of action" which left indelible impressions. Nonetheless, the Leader expressed gratitude that the Keans had visited Cleveland, and "had we not been forced to regard them upon the ground of their pretentions," would have joyfully thrown over them "the mantle of charity," and said that old age excused their "shortcomings." The Keans were a little comforted, one is sure, by their three-night profit of $1250. The Keans traveled eight hours by train to Columbus, Ohio, the day after their Cleveland closing, and opened at Ellsler's Atheneum the same night. The Keans' opening roles were Shylock and Portia (11/20). The Journal reported "that the house was crowded was expected; that the people looked for much everybody knew; that their expectations were met, let all confess." So completely did Kean immerse himself in the role, said the Journal , that "we thought not of Charles Kean the actor, but of the 'Shylock' of Shakespeare, perfect in his tauntings, expressions of hatred, and in his demon-like exultation." Kean next acted Hamlet (11/21), and the Journal judged him successful. There were many who played well in every other role, and failed in Hamlet, said the Journal ,

PAGE 177

170 "and very few . . . who succeed." Kean was among that group. "There are defects among his enunciations at times, but the real acting of the part crowns the whole as masterly." 169 Kean's Louis XI (11/22) was full of "novel and startling" effects, which were not "stage-like, but unusually true to nature." The death scene was especially commended: "We have never witnessed anything finer in its way. ... The old man died inch by inch, and yet there was nothing repulsive in the exhibition." 170 The Keans 1 final performance in Columbus was in Henry VIII and The Jealous Hife (H/23). Kean's Wolsey was not impressive at first, said the Journal , but as the play proceeded the character grew, and "the artist stands forth more prominent by contrast with the want of power displayed in the opening scenes." Kean's soliloquies were "finely rendered," and the last act was "really a master stroke of intellectual acting." As Don Felix, Kean "seemed as much at home as when acting the 'Cardinal,' and the character was better appreciated and more wonderful by the contrast." 171 Although the reviews were generally laudatory, the engagement was less than pleasing to Kean for its financial return. On the day after the Columbus opening, Kean wrote that the theatre was a small one and the receipts only $500 for their first performance. 172 The situation did not improve; after the final performance, Kean wrote that "Columbus turned out the worst engagement we have yet played in the United States." The average receipts were just over $400 per night, leaving very little profit after Kean paid salaries and travel expenses. The occasion of the Keans' St. Louis debut in Hamlet (11/27) was greeted by the Republican as a return to better times, "a brief abandonment of the brazen for the golden age of the drama," and "an opportunity

PAGE 178

171 to be convulsively clutched." The Keans' appearance filled the seats with a "discriminating and observant old set" of theatregoers, said the Republican , a set with "faces of intellectual mould." Kean's Hamlet, with its stress on the philosophical nature of the play, was effective despite the disadvantages of age. The gravedigging scene was especially lauded, as was the scene with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. It was in the bringing together of the contradictory elements of passion and philosophy in Hamlet's nature, wrote the Republican , that Kean showed he was a "true 174 actor." During the remainder of their five-night engagement at DeBar's Opera House, the Keans acted Benedick and Beatrice (11/28), Lear and the Fool (11/29), Richard III and the Queen (11/30), and Shylock and Portia, with Don Felix and Violante, for their benefit and final appearance (12/1). That benefit performance provided a "brilliant" finish to the St. Louis engagement with receipts of $1400. The success of the engagement was tempered somewhat by the expensive accommodations; Kean wrote that his hotel bill was "enough to take the scalp off my head." The Keans endured an eighteen-hour trip on trains, omnibusses, and barges to reach Louisville, where they were engaged for five nights. Kean was pleased to learn that in two days of ticket sales, more than $1000 had been sold. After their opening night performances as Shylock and Portia (12/4), Ellen Kean wrote that the rain hindered the attendance a little, but that receipts of more than $700 and a " rowdy audience with some nice people" gave prospects for a good week. The Keans next acted Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (12/5). The Louisville Daily Journal judged Kean "a good, if not a great, actor," falling short of the writer's expectation. Kean's performance lacked vigor and suffered from

PAGE 179

172 1 78 problems of articulation. When Kean acted Hamlet (12/6), the Journal called it a good piece of acting, but said that Kean's performance did 179 not compare favorably with that of Murdock or Edwin Booth. Kean's Richard III (12/7) was a "masterly" performance which provided "a noted and happy contradistinction to his Shylock, Macbeth and Hamlet." The Journal accorded Kean "the first position as a delineator of Richard III," and was pleased to recognize in him "that rarest of acquisitive 1 80 faculties—the concealment of art." For their final performance and benefit, the Keans acted in Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (12/8). The Journal called Kean's Wolsey "the very sublimation of art," leaving a 1 81 "happy and ineradicable impression." Kean wrote that the engagement closed "most brilliantly," with hundreds not being able to gain admittance, and both pieces being received well. "The audience shrieked 1 op with laughter at the last play." Though the audience evidently pleased Kean, the actors were another matter. As an example of the quality of the company, Kean wrote that the Birnam Wood messenger in Macbeth spoke not a line and left the stage amidst laughter and hisses 183 without telling Macbeth what marvelous sight he had beheld. The Keans did not relish their trip to Nashville, writing that it was a "horrid place" where "murders, treasons and detested sins" were the 1 QA order of the day. After arriving in Nashville, Kean discovered that what he had heard of Nashville's dangers was true, and he wrote that citizen patrols were on armed duty day and night. Kean exclaimed: "Oh, what a nice land of freedom where one man can kill his neighbour with impunity." The Keans would have liked to visit such spots as the Mammoth Caves and the Hermitage, but had been warned about trips outside the

PAGE 180

173 city. In addition to the dangers of the city, Kean was concerned about the prospects of the engagement: "I don't know what we are going to do here. An opera troupe occupied the theatre last week and did very well indeed. It looks a poor place and I hope the singers have not swept up all the dollars.*' 185 The Keans opened their Nashville performances as Shylock and Portia (12/11). The Gazette reported that Kean's Shylock was "admirably represented." Especially effective was the third act, in which Shylock discovered that his daughter had eloped with a Christian, and the fourth act trial scene. When the Keans acted Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (12/12), the Union declared that age had made no change in the Keans; they were "as fresh and as juvenile as ever," and deserving of all the praise heaped 1 87 on them since their return to America. The Union was pleased that Macbeth demonstrated that the "legitimate drama has yet a few representatives left." The Keans' performances of Hamlet and Gertrude (12/13) presented a real treat for the Gazette , which was "not astonished 189 to see an audience so large and appreciative." The Keans subsequently acted Richard III and the Queen (12/14), Wolsey and Catherine (12/15), and Mr. and Mrs. Beverley in The Gamester (12/16). The Keans were scheduled to act Shylock and Portia, with Don Felix and Violante, in a final performance (12/18), but as Kean wrote, Mrs. Kean had been ill earlier in the week and it became apparent early in The Merchant of Venice that she would not be able to play two pieces. Apologies were made, a different afterpiece was substituted for The 190 Wonder , and the Keans retired to their hotel. The intensely cold weather that precipitated Mrs. Kean's illness also hindered the receipts

PAGE 181

174 for the Keans' engagement. Kean wrote that their best house was only 191 $600, and the worst was $350. The company of actors in Nashville seemed on a par with that of Louisville. Kean wrote: Oh! such a set of actors here. You could not believe anything so bad. The King in Macbeth told your Mama the other night to "go home and teach him (meaning Macbeth) and bid Heaven thank him!! The girl who came up through the cauldron to tell about "Birnam Wood" called it "Bernal Hall" and then suddenly disappeared downward without an allusion to "Dunsinane Hill." 192 After a railway journey of twenty-six hours over tracks still suffering the ravages of the just completed war, the Keans arrived in Memphis just before Christmas, 1865. On Christmas Day, the Keans opened a week's engagement in Macbeth (12/25) to what Kean called a "crammer" and the Appeal described as "the largest crowd ever seen at the New Memphis Theatre." Many were turned away for lack of space, evidently including the paper, as it reported that it must "forbear to speak, as we were unable to witness it." It was reported, however, that those "who were so fortunate as to obtain a view of the stage, are loud in their 194 praise." The Keans subsequently acted Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (12/26), Hamlet and Gertrude (12/27), Richard III and the Queen (12/28), Shylock and Portia (12/29), the Beverleys (12/30), and Wolsey and Catherine, with the Oakleys, for their benefit and last performance (1/1/66). The editor of the Appeal reported that those who decried the state of the drama should visit the theatre during the Keans' stay, for they put the drama upon the stage "truthfully and naturally," which was a "miracle of histrionic art which we may not, losing this opportunity, 195 ever see. On another occasion, the editor lamented that he was not

PAGE 182

175 among those whose daily toil ended at sunset, and could "abandon themselves to the enjoyment" of the Keans' performances. The Avalanche , meanwhile, wrote that Memphis theatregoers could "congratulate ourselves that we are of the number who have witnessed their fine renditions of the leading characters of Shakespeare." The financial receipts of the Memphis engagement are not known, but the Keans' impression of their stay in that city was unequi vocable. "Never did we spend such a miserable Xmas and never I hope may we be so wretched again at the same merry 198 time. Kean was no more impressed with the company of actors in Memphis than he had been in Louisville and Nashville; particularly disconcerting to a purist such as Kean was their complete disregard for the sense or accuracy of the lines of Shakespeare they spoke, substituting 199 words and destroying the language at will. The Keans were glad to leave "that horrid place Memphis" and steam for New Orleans. After four days travel by steamer down the Mississippi River from Memphis, the Keans arrived in New Orleans to begin an engagement at the St. Charles Theatre. Their first performances were as Shylock and Portia (1/8). The Picayune reported that it observed no decline in the powers of the couple. "It was delightful," said the Picayune , to see and hear genuine emotion "represented with such careful avoidance of rant, 2m with such ease of manner, simplicity and truthfulness of style." When the Keans acted Hamlet and Gertrude (1/9), the Picayune noted that both appeared to be suffering from colds on their opening night, but that 202 Kean was in much better voice as Hamlet. The Keans next acted Benedick and Beatrice (1/10), and then the Stranger and Mrs. Haller (1/11). "The deep silence throughout the vast theatre during the more painful scenes," said the Picayune , "was the most flattering proof of the

PAGE 183

176 truthfulness and pathos" of the acting. 203 Kean's Louis XI (1/12) was "a remarkable impersonation," reported the Picayune . Kean's peculiar physical characteristics were admirably suited to the character of Louis XI; such attributes as his "somewhat husky voice," his expressive features, his "great versatility of feeling and thought," and his "wonderful power of distinct whispering and low utterances" were well used in the performance. 04 The first week closed with the Keans repeating Shylock and Portia (1/13). Kean wrote that both he and his wife were ill during this first week; Mrs. Kean improved toward the end of the week, but Kean's voice remained hoarse. 205 The second week opened with the Keans acting Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (1/15). Kean was commended by the Picayune for not neglecting artistic details, which may seem of "trifling importance," but are essential for the completeness of a characterization. The contrast between Macbeth's "irresolution" and his wife's determination was "strikingly rendered," and the dagger scene was a "triumph of the dramatic one 'whisper.'" Kean's Louis XI (1/16) was "a life-like portraiture" which provided a "rare intellectual treat." 207 When Kean acted Lear (1/17), the Picayune was pleased that he remained true to Shakespeare's conception of Lear by playing him as an old man. Particularly effective were the "delicate touches of gesture, look, voice, which filled up the gradations between the more powerful passions of the character." 208 Kean wrote that he thought he played the part as well as he had ever played it. The week continued with the second performance of Hamlet (1/18). The Picayune echoed a frequently expressed concern of Kean, that of the quality of support available in the local theatre companies. It wrote that the local actor's "ignorance of the text of Shakespeare" and

PAGE 184

177 their "listless, awkward, tasteless style of performance" only served to put a "damper on the evening." Fortunately, said the Picayune , one 210 could forget them when the Keans and their company were dominant. When the Keans acted in Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (1/19) for Mrs. Kean's benefit, the Picayune called Kean's Wolsey a "scholarly and 211 delightful" performance. The final performance of the week presented Kean as Richard III (1/20), which the Picayune said he acted "to the very life." 212 During this second week in New Orleans, a dispute arose over the prices for the engagement. Apparently because of the increased prices demanded by the Keans, and the availability of J. H. Hackett for an engagement at a much cheaper rate, a partner in the St. Charles management with Ben DeBar, Edward Eddy, attempted to lower the prices, claiming that the theatre was losing money. Ellen Kean disputed that claim, writing that the engagement had averaged $900 in receipts per night. Over the Keans' protests that the prices were contracted, Eddy lowered the prices as soon as DeBar returned to St. Louis; as a result the receipts were . . . ,213 cut in half. The final week of the Keans' engagement at the St. Charles Theatre began with their performances as the Beverleys in The Gamester (1/22). The Picayune wrote that the "overpowering tragedy of the last scene, in 214 the prison, was rendered with most moving effect." The week continued with repetitions of Lear (1/23) and Macbeth (1/24). The Picayune declared that this performance of Macbeth was better than the first, revealing "many delicate bits of conception, reading, expression," which 215 passed without applause but gratified attentive listeners. Louis XI was Kean's next role (1/25), followed by the final performance of the

PAGE 185

178 engagement when the Keans acted in The Iron Chest and The Wonder (1/26). Kean's Sir Edward Mortimer "revived the recollections of the good old days of the English drama," and was performed in Kean's "best style," pi c producing a "marked sensation." Despite the lowering of the prices at the St. Charles and the subsequent drop in receipts from $900 to $500 per night, the Keans made a profit of about $6000 for the New Orleans engagement. Following their closing at the St. Charles, the Keans traveled to Mobile for a week's engagement. It seemed that Kean was destined to have problems with the management of both theatres in which he performed in the South. Before the Keans' departure from New Orleans, Mr. King of the Mobile management visited New Orleans and attempted to get Kean to agree to a lowering of the prices or the selling of the engagement; he said that he was pessimistic about the Keans' prospects in Mobile. Kean's agent could not find the contract for their appearances in Mobile, and Kean, too ill to argue, was convinced to take a lump sum payment of $1800 for the six nights in Mobile. Kean wrote that such an agreement cost him 217 $2000, since the receipts for the week averaged $1300 per night. The Keans opened their Mobile engagement as Wolsey and Catherine, and the Oakleys (1/29). Kean wrote that the Mobile opening fell on the Keans' wedding anniversary, which was made wretched by his illness. "I am ill and weary," he wrote, "in every way unfit for the labor before me and yet I have eleven weeks hard work in this country yet." Kean declared that "were it much longer I think I should leave my miserable bones in this land." The Register reported that for the first time since the end of the war, Mobile brought forth "the old regime of her best society to pay homage to genius and art." The editor was "too

PAGE 186

179 entirely given up to the enjoyment of the performance" to be able to offer criticism. Kean was credited with some good readings in Wolsey and commended for a different approach to Oakley, which the writer thought much better than that of most actors. 219 Kean's Louis XI (1/30) was "an admirable piece of acting," said the Register , which doubted that anything superior had ever been seen on the Mobile stage. "Perhaps the greatest triumph of Mr. Kean's genius was the breathless attention of the house in the death scene, so that his whispers could be heard throughout the 220 building." The Keans acted Shylock and Portia (1/31) "under the pressure of indisposition, but overcame it very bravely." 221 When Kean acted Hamlet (2/1), the Register reported that any who went to the theatre with apprehensions that Kean would fail in "so juvenile a part as Hamlet" were disappointed. Especially commended was the scene with Ophelia, which Kean acted in such a way as to remove the heartlessness with which most actors played the scene, causing the Register to see the character 222 "in a new light." The Register regarded the Keans' performances as Benedick and Beatrice (2/2) as their "most arduous," not just because of the youthfulness demanded, but because American audiences were less appreciative of wit than other evidences of genius. The Keans, however, "performed their parts with extraordinary vivacity and skill." 223 The Mobile engagement closed with a repetition of Louis XI (2/3). "When we say it was even better than before," wrote the Register , "we have well nigh exhausted praise." Kean's performance was a "magnificent piece of acting." 224 At the conclusion of their Mobile engagement, the Keans returned to New Orleans to book passage on a steamer for Cincinnati. The Keans left

PAGE 187

180 New Orleans with no positive engagements until March in Baltimore. There was arranged, however, a four-day engagement in Louisville when they stopped there enroute to the North. The Keans' performances at the Louisville Theatre were as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (2/21), Louis XI and Marthe (2/22), Benedick and Beatrice (2/23), and Shylock and Portia (2/24). The Keans were engaged for five nights at the Holliday St. Theatre in Baltimore beginning on March 5, but as Kean wrote, he was unable to fulfill that engagement: I am very ill. The fatigue of long journeys, six months starvation and worry at being "done" to the tune of five hundred pounds English money by the managers of N. Orleans and Mobile have acted upon my nervous system and rendered me quite incapable of performing my theatrical duties. 225 Later Kean wrote that he had improved and was hopeful that he would be able to perform as scheduled on March 12 at the Walnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia. The past week in Baltimore, during which Kean was "utterly incapable of going upon a stage," was a cause of distress for him; as he wrote, "it is a great pecuniary loss to me for money is going out in a stream and none is coming in!" This same letter revealed the state of Kean's mind as well as his debilitation: We have now only five weeks from next Wednesday before we sail and it is fortunate for me that time is getting so close for were I to be here six months longer, I am afraid I should not live to see England again. I am thoroughly worn out, but the sight of you my child will make me well and young again. 226 Kean "struggled through his nights in Philadelphia," wrote Ellen 227 Kean. Among other roles, Kean acted Beverley (3/15), and the Stranger and Don Felix (3/16). The Keans then proceeded to Washington where they opened at Grover's Opera House as Wolsey and Catherine, and the Oakleys

PAGE 188

181 (3/19). The National Intelligencer called Kean's Wolsey an " intellectual and artistic triumph." Kean's performance lacked only the "fire and vigor of youth," said the writer; "the outline was perfect--obscured, to be sure, by the mannerism of which he has never been able to divest himself, and which, perhaps, he cultivates." Kean's Shylock (3/20) was in the tradition of his father's acting of the role, lending a measure of sympathy to the character, said the Intelligencer . His Shylock was "a master-work of art; wholly wanting in fire and vehemence, still it is 229 a canvass painted by a workman's hand." "Wonderful" was the verdict when Kean acted Louis XI (3/21). Those who came expecting to see Louis XI played with ranting were disappointed, said the Intelligencer , but those who "could feel and appreciate the remarkable fidelity and power with which he marked the intricate and most difficult transitions in which the character abounds" were given a treat unlike any that had been on the 230 Washington stage in recent years. The Keans concluded their engagement in the nation's capitol with performances as Hamlet and Gertrude (3/22) and the Stranger and Mrs. Haller with Don Felix and Violante (3/23). Kean continued to suffer from physical ailments and homesickness. Near the conclusion of the Washington engagement he wrote his daughter: You have no notion my child how weak and low I am. . . . We have now only Albany and Boston to act before our farewell night in N. York on the 16th April. What a blessing. It sends a thrill of joy through me as I think of it. This last twelvemonth has been the most wretched I ever passed in the whole course of my life. Nothing but the "gain" could have reconciled me to bear with so much misery but my labour has been remunerative. ... My darling girl I do so long to see you and hug you in my arms."! The Keans had "a hard days travelling of 12 hours" to reach Albany where they played five nights at the Academy of Music. On the day of

PAGE 189

182 their opening, Kean wrote: "Oh Mary, I am thoroughly done up. I am but ?32 the shadow of my former self. My strength and nerve have left me. . . . In Albany the Keans acted in Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (3/26), The Merchant of Venice (3/27), Louis XI (3/28), The Gamester (3/29), and The Stranger and The Wonder (3/30). The engagement was not a financial success, bringing in total receipts of $1800; the opening night drew $450, 233 the closing, only $221. All the blame, perhaps, did not accrue to the Keans; their engagement fell during Holy Week, with their benefit and final performance actually falling on Good Friday. As Kean wrote, though he observed that the Americans usually had little religious sentiment, since Lincoln was shot in a theatre on Good Friday, "the clergy have taken advantage of the fact to preach against 'Lenten Entertainments. 1 " Kean predicted that the Albany engagement would be "the worst I have played in 234 America." Unfortunately, he was right. The Keans were engaged for ten nights in Boston with manager Henry C. Jarrett with whom they had a successful engagement in the fall. They commenced with Henry VIII and The Jealous Wife (4/2) , which the Transcript called the most entertaining bill in their repertory, with the possible exception of Louis XI . The Keans gave a performance of "energy and 235 refinement scarcely equalled during their last engagement here." They next acted Shylock and Portia (4/5), followed by Louis XI and Marthe (4/4), Richard III and the Queen (4/5), Hamlet and Gertrude (4/6), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (4/7), and the Beverleys (4/9) before Kean became too ill to perform. On the day he was scheduled to repeat Louis XI, Kean wrote that he was "very ill," and doubted whether he would be able to complete his engagement in Boston. Kean was "so depressed and weak"

PAGE 190

183 that his step had become unsteady. In addition, Cathcart was becoming a problem again. Kean declared that Were I compelled by circumstances to remain six months longer in the U. States you would never see your poor father again. I could not live. As it is I am much shaken and it will take months before I recover myself. ... I could hardly manage to get through the "Gamester" last night with credit. My face is swollen on one side and my gums, mouth, and teeth are all in pain. I have pains in my back and in my right knee, while my throat is in a state of fiery inflammation. ... I hope I may not break down for it would deprive me of a very large sum of money, but we are in the hands of Providence and He who has protected me so long will I hope spare me now. 236 Such was not to be the case, however, and the engagement was cancelled. Ellen Kean related an incident which she blamed for aggravating her husband's condition. Cathcart, she wrote, arranged for his friends to call "we want Cathcart" after one of his scenes as Macduff; the scene had already changed to Lady Macbeth' s chamber. When the calls continued, Mrs. Kean left the stage, told the prompter to call Mr. Cathcart, and then to change the scene, as she would not play the "great sleeping scene of Lady Macbeth" that night. Mrs. Kean maintained that Cathcart planned the insult, and that his actions worsened her husband's ill health and cost them $2000, which amount she anticipated from the cancelled nights 7X1 in Boston. The Keans' final performance in America took place at the Academy of Music in Brooklyn in Louis XI and The Jealous Wife (4/16). Mrs. Kean wrote that a wet night and no streetcars after nine o'clock did not prevent a large audience from attending, and the receipts were $3000. "Charles was very weak but he got through wonderfully," she wrote. The Keans sailed for England the next day. Kean had come to America for financial gain and a grand farewell. He made the profits he set out

PAGE 191

184 to acquire, but he left the United States a sick and tired old man. But even then he would not quit the stage; he acted on the English stage for another year before his health finally forced him from the stage in the spring of 1867. Kean died on January 22, 1868, just four days past his fifty-seventh birthday, having had little opportunity to reap the dividends of the retirement he had worked so hard to ensure.

PAGE 192

185 Notes Amelia Neville, Scrapbook of unidentified clippings, Theatre Collection, California Historical Society, San Francisco, n. pag. 2 Edmond M. Gagey, The San Francisco Stage (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1950), pp. 110-11. 3 Charles Kean, Scrapbook I, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., n. pag. 4 "To Mary Kean," 9 October 1864, Letter XLV, Carson, p. 98. 5 Kean, Scrapbook I. Kean, Scrapbook I. Kean, Scrapbook I.

PAGE 193

186 24 Neville. 25 "To Mary Kean," December 1864, Letter L, Carson, p. 105. "To James F. Cathcart," 10 November 1864, Letter XLVII, Carson, P. 101. Nevil le. 28 "To Sol Smith," 29 December 1859, Letter XXXI, Carson, p. 75. 29 Daily Oregonian , 6 December 1864, p. 2, col. 4. 30 Daily Oregonian , 8 December 1864, p. 2, col. 1. 31 "To Mary Kean," 6 December 1864, Emigrant in Motley : The Theatrical Journey of Charles and Ellen Kean in Quest of a_ Theatrical Fortune j_n Australia and America, As Told j_n Their Hitherto Unpubl ished Letters , ed. J. M. D. Hardwick (London: Rockliff, 1954), p. 202. 32 Ellen Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 16 December 1864, Folder W.b. 77 (1), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 33 "To Mary Kean," 14 December 1864, Hardwick, p. 205. 34 "To Mary Kean," 14 December 1864, Hardwick, p. 205. 35 Kean, Scrapbook I. or Vancouver Times, 13 December 1864, p. 3, col. 2. 37 Kean, Scrapbook I. 38 Vancouver Times , 14 December 1864, p. 3, col. 1. 39 "To Mary Kean," 14 December 1864, Hardwick, p. 205. 40 Kean, Scrapbook I. 41 Vancouver Times , 15 December 1864, p. 3, col. 3. 42 Vancouver Times , 15 December 1864, p. 3, col. 3. 43 Kean, Scrapbook I. 44 Vancouver Times , 17 December 1864, p. 3, col. 2. 45 Vancouver Times , 19 December 1864, p. 3, col. 1. 46 Vancouver Times , 20 December 1864, p. 3, col. 2. 47 Vancouver Times , 21 December 1864, p. 3, col. 2.

PAGE 194

187 48 Sacramento Daily Union , 5 January 1865, p. 2, col. 4. Neville. Neville. 51 Neville. 52 Kean, Scrapbook I. 53 Neville. 54 Neville. 55 Neville. 56 Neville. 57 Neville. Daily Dramatic Chronicle , 2 February 1865, p. 2, col. 4. 59 Charles Kean, Letter to George Coppin, 16 February 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (7), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Charles Kean, Scrapbook IV, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C, n. pag. Kean, Scrapbook IV. rn Kean, Scrapbook IV. 63 Odell, VII, 651. 64 New York Herald , 27 April 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 65 The Spirit of the Times , 6 May 1865, p. 3, col . 2. 66 Spirit , 6 May 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 67 Spirit , 13 May 1865, p. 2, col. 1. 68 New York Herald , 9 May 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 69 Spirit , 13 May 1865, p. 3, col. 4. 70 "To Mary Kean," 9 May 1865, Letter LVI, Carson, p. 114. Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser , 16 May 1865, p. 3, col. 4.

PAGE 195

188 72 American , 17 May 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 73 American , 18 May 1865, p. 3, col. 3. American , 19 May 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 75 American , 20 May 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 76 "To Sol Smith," 20 May 1865, Letter LVII, Carson, p. 115. 77 American , 23 May 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 78 James Allison Lowrie, A History of the Pittsburgh Stage , 1861-1891, Diss. Univ. of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh, 1943), p. 39. 79 Ellen Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 27 May 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (17), MS, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 80 Ellen Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 30 May 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (19), MS, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 81 Chronicle , quoted in Lowrie, p. 39. 82 "To Sol Smith," 4 June 1865, Letter LIX, Carson, p. 117. 83 Kean, Scrapbook I. 84 Cincinnati Daily Enquirer , 6 June 1865, p. 2, col. 2. QC Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 6 June 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (25), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. QC Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 3 June 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (23), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 87 Kean, Scrapbook I. 88 Kean, Scrapbook I. 89 Enquirer , 9 June 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 90 "To Sol Smith," 7 June 1865, Letter LX, Carson, p. 118. 91 "To Sol Smith," 7 June 1865, Letter LX, Carson, p. 118. 92 "To Mary Kean," 13 June 1865, Letter LXI, Carson, pp. 119-20. Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 16 June 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (27), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 94 Daily Missouri Republican , 20 June 1865, p. 3, col . 2.

PAGE 196

189 95 p. 133. 96 97 "To Miss Marianne Skerrett," 22 June 1865, Letter LXII, Carson, Kean, Scrapbook I. Chicago Times , 28 June 1865, p. 3, col. 2. Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 27 June 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (33), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 99 100 101 102 Chicago Times , 28 June 1865, p. 3, col. 2. Chicago Times, 29 June 1865, p. 3, col. 1. Chicago Times , 30 June 1865, p. 3, col. 3. Chicago Times , 1 July 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 103 i, M! 104 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 2 July 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (35), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 105 106 Daily Wisconsin , 6 July 1865, p. 2, col. 1. Daily Wisconsin , 7 July 1865, p. 2, col. 3. Daily Wisconsin , 8 July 1865, p. 2, col. 2. 107 i, M! 108 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 6 July 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (37), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 109 110 Chicago Times , 10 July 1865, p. 3, col. 3. Chicago Times , 11 July 1865, p. 3, col. 2. Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 11 July 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (39), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Ill 112 113 114 115 Cleveland Daily Leader, 13 July 1865, p. 2, col. 1. Cleveland Daily Herald , 13 July 1865, p. 3, col. 2. Cleveland Daily Herald , 14 July 1865, p. 3, col. 1. Cleveland Daily Leader , 15 July 1865, p. 2, col. 3. Cleveland Daily Herald , 17 July 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 116 i, M! 117 Ellen Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 23 July 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (43), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 27 July 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (47), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.

PAGE 197

190 118 Buffalo Courier , 25 July 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 119 Buffalo Post , 27 July 1865, p. 2, col. 3. 120 Buffalo Courier , 29 July 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 121 Charles Kean, W.b. 77 (47). 122 Rochester Democrat , 1 August 1865, p. 2, col. 1. 123 Ellen Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 5 August 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (53), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 124 Franklin Graham, Histrionic Montreal: Annals of the Montreal Stage with Biographical and Critical Notices of the P lays and Players , 2nd ed. (Montreal: John Lovell & Son, Publishers, 1902) , p. 147. 125 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 12 August 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (57), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Graham, p. 147. 127 Spirit , 2 September 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 128 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 1 September 1865, Folder W.b. 77(63), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 129 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 28 August 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (61), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 130 Spirit , 9 September 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 131 Spirit , 9 September 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 13? "To Mary Kean," 12 September 1865, Letter LXVI, Carson, p. 137. 133 Charles Kean, W.b. 77 (63). 1 34 New York Tribune , 14 September 1865, quoted in Odell, VIII, 30-31. 1 35 New York Tribune , 14 September 1865, quoted in Odell, VIII, 30-31. i *3fi Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 15 September 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (65), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 137 Spirit , 20 September 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 1 oo Boston Daily Evening Transcript , 26 September, 1865, p. 2, col. 1. 139 Boston Evening Journal , 26 September 1865, p. 3, col. 2.

PAGE 198

191 140 „ c . , T Kean, Scrapbook I. 141 Transcript , 27 September 1865, p. 2, col. 3. 142 Transcript , 28 September 1865, p. 2, col. 2. 143 Journal , 28 September 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 144 Journal , 3 October 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 145 Transcript , 3 October 1865, p. 2, col. 1. 146 Transcript , 4 October 1865, p. 2, col. 3. 147 "To Sol Smith," 3 November 1865, Letter LXIX, Carson, p. 142. 148 "To Sol Smith," 3 November 1865, Letter LXIX, Carson, p. 142. 149 Kean, Scrapbook I. 150 "To Sol Smith," 3 November 1865, Letter LXIX, Carson, p. 142. 151 "To Mary Kean," 15 October 1865, Letter LXVIII, Carson, pp. 139-40. 152 Chicago Times , 25 October 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 153 Chicago Times , 26 October 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 154 Chicago Times , 27 October 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 155 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 24 October 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (67), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 156 Detroit Free Press , 9 November 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 157 Detroit Advertiser and Tribune , 9 November 1865, p. 2, col. 3. Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 9 November 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (71), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 159 Advertiser and Tribune , 10 November 1865, p. 2, col. 2. 1 f\d Advertiser and Tribune , 11 November 1865, p. 2, col. 3. i f\ i Free Press , 11 November 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 1 rn Advertiser and Tribune , 13 November 1865, p. 2, col. 1. "I CO Free Press , 14 November 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 164 Advertiser and Tribune , 14 November 1865, p. 2, col. 3.

PAGE 199

192 Daily Leader , 17 November 1865, p. 2, col. 3. 166 Daily Leader , 18 November 1865, p. 2, col. 1. 167 D aily Leader , 20 November 1865, p. 2, col. 2. 1 CO Columbus Morning Journal , 21 November 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 169 Morning Journal , 22 November 1865, p. 3, col. 1. Morning Journal , 23 November 1865, p. 3, col. 2. Morning Journal , 24 November 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 1 7? Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 21 November 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (81), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 1 73 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 25 November 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (83), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 174 Republican , 28 November 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 175 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 3 December 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (87), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 176 Charles Kean, W.b. 77 (87). 177 Ellen Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 4 December 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (89), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 1 70 Louisville Daily Journal , 6 December 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 1 79 Daily Journal , 7 December 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 180 Daily Journal , 9 December 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 181 Daily Journal , 9 December 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 182 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 9 December 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (93), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 183 "To Sol Smith," 10 December 1865, Letter LXXIII, Carson, p. 146. 184 Charles Kean, W.b. 77 (93). 185 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 11 December 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (95), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.

PAGE 200

193 186 Nashville Daily Gazette , 12 December 1865, p. 3, col. 1. Nashville Daily Union , 12 December 1865, p. 2, col. 3. 188 Union , 13 December 1865, p. 2, col. 3. IRQ Gazette , 14 December 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 190 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 19 December 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (99), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 191 "To Sol Smith," 10 December 1865, Letter LXX1II, Carson, p. 146. 192 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 15 December 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (97), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 193 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 26 December 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (105), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 194 Memphis Appeal , 26 December 1865, p. 3, col. 3. 195 Appeal , 27 December 1865, p. 3, col. 1. 196 Appeal, 30 December 1865, p. 3, col. 2. 197 Daily Memphis Avalanche , 2 January 1866, p. 2, col. 2. 198 Charles Kean, W.b. 77 (105). 199 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 31 December 1865, Folder W.b. 77 (107), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 200 "To Mary Kean," 7 January 1866, Letter LXXIV, Carson, p. 147. 201 Picayune , 9 January 1866, p. 3, col. 2. 202 Picayune , 10 January 1866, p. 3, col. 1. 203 Picayune , 12 January 1866, p. 3, col. 3. Picayune , 13 January 1866, p. 3, col. 2. one Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 13 January 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (109), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Picayune , 16 January 1866, p. 3, col. 1. 207 Picayune , 17 January 1866, p. 3, col. 3.

PAGE 201

194 208 209 Picayune , 18 January 1866, p. 3, col. 1, Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 18 January 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (111), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 Picayune , 19 January 1866, p. 3, col. 3. Picayune, 20 January 1866, p. 3, col. 2. Picayune , 21 January 1866, p. 3, col. 1. "To Sol Smith," 20 January 1866, Letter LXXVII, Carson, p. 157. Picayune , 23 January 1866, p. 3, col. 3. Picayune , 25 January 1866, p. 3, col. 2. Picayune , 27 January 1866, p. 3, col. 1. Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 2 February 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (115), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 218 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 30 January 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (113), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 Mobile Daily Advertiser and Register , 30 January 1866, p. 3, col. 1. Register , 31 January 1866, p. 3, col. 2. Register , 1 February 1866, p. 3, col. 3. Register , 2 February 1866, p. 3, col. 3. Register , 3 February 1866, p. 3, col. 2. Register , 4 February 1866, p. 3, col. 2. Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 5 March 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (123), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 00 fi Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 9 March 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (127), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 227 228 229 "To Sol Smith," 9 April 1866, Letter LXXXIV, Carson, p. 170. Daily National Intelligencer , 20 March 1866, p. 2, col. 2. Intelligencer , 21 March 1866, p. 2, col. 3.

PAGE 202

195 230 Intelligencer , 22 March 1866, p. 2, col. 1. 231 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 22 March 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (133), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 232 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 22 March 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (139), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 233 Phelps, p. 351. 234 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 28 March 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (141), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 235 Transcript , 3 April 1866, p. 2, col. 3. 236 Charles Kean, Letter to Mary Kean, 10 April 1866, Folder W.b. 77 (147), MS, Charles Kean Papers, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. 237 "To Sol Smith," 9 April 1866, Letter LXXXIV, Carson, pp. 171-72. 238 "To Sol Smith," 9 April 1866, Letter LXXXIV, Carson, p. 172.

PAGE 203

CHAPTER VII CONCLUSION The American theatrical tours of Charles Kean occupied a significant portion of the forty years of Kean's activity and influence on the English-speaking stage. Of more interest, however, than the tours' comprising one-fifth of Kean's stage career, is the fact that each of these four tours presents in compact form the stages in the progression of Kean's acting and managerial development. Being positioned early, midway, and late in Kean's career, the American tours illustrate the principal phases of his career. The first tour--1830-33--began less than three years after Kean's unsatisfactory acting debut in London. Frustrated by his lack of success in London, as well as in the provinces to which he fled following his debut, and discouraged by the constant unfavorable comparison to his father in the English press, Kean was confronted with the necessity for acquiring those acting skills he had not attained prior to his embarking on an acting career. Needing a period for experimentation and practice away from the critical eyes of the English press, Kean settled on an American tour. Over the thirty months of his initial American theatrical tour, Kean performed a variety of roles. The diversity of characters he played allowed him to develop the theatrical skills that an extensive repertory demanded, and at the same time to determine the suitability of those roles for a continued place in his repertory. The experimental 196

PAGE 204

197 aspect of this tour was demonstrated by Kean's acting twelve roles for the first time in his career—almost sixty percent of the twenty-one roles played over the three seasons. Seven of those twelve roles acted by Kean for the first time during this first American tour remained active roles in his repertory. Those roles were Sir Giles Overreach in Massinger's A New Way to Pay Old Debts , Richard III, Shylock, Othello, the title role in The Stranger by Kotzebue, Duke Aranza in Tobin's The Honeymoon , and King John. The frequency with which the roles were performed indicated that Kean thought several of these new roles to be well suited for his repertory; of the seven most frequently acted roles, four--Sir Giles, Richard III, Shylock, and Othello—were added to Kean's repertory during the 1830-33 tour. Kean used the more than one-hundred-fifty performances of the first tour as a means of perfecting those roles he determined to be best suited for his abilities. The measure of his success may be seen by reference to Kean's first successful London engagement which took place at Drury Lane in 1838. During that engagement, which ran for twice as many performances as scheduled, Kean acted only three roles; two of these— Sir Giles and Richard III--had been acted by Kean for the first time during the 1830-33 tour and were the two most frequently acted roles of that tour; the third character—Hamlet— although acted earlier than the first tour, was the third most frequently performed role of that tour. The first tour, then, was a time in which Kean played a number of roles in order to select and polish those which he, and public and critical reaction, judged to be best fitted to his acting skills. The second American tour— 1839-40— came shortly after Kean's first successful London seasons. Kean had settled into a repertory which was

PAGE 205

198 a blend of classical and melodramatic roles; he performed that repertory during the single season of the second tour, acting no role for the first time. Eleven of the sixteen characters played by Kean on this tour had been acted on the first tour. Five of the seven most frequently acted roles were repeated from the first tour, three having been first acted by Kean during that tour. The settled nature of Kean's repertory at this phase of his career is shown by the fact that only three of the sixteen roles acted on the second tour were not frequently acted by Kean for major periods of his career. Kean acted more often on this second American tour, playing more than half as many performances in one season as he had during the three seasons of the first tour. Perhaps the most significant feature of the 1839-40 tour was Kean's relative success in a situation complicated by his personal illness and misfortune on the one hand, and the unsettled state of the American theatre and economy on the other. The second tour replaced the experimentation of the first with performance of a settled repertory. The third tour--1845-47--once again exhibited a period of change in Kean's career. That change was evident in several ways. After his marriage to Ellen Tree in 1842, Kean had begun to alter his repertory as a result of his wife's influence. The third tour was illustrative of that process. Of the twenty-six roles acted by Kean during the two seasons of the third tour, more than hal f--fourteen--had been added to his repertory since the 1839-40 tour. Half of those new roles were acted for the first time during the 1845-47 tour; those roles were Adrastus in Talfourd's Ion , Duke de Chartres in Planche's The Follies of a Night, Orsino in Twelfth Night , Sir Thomas Clifford in Knowles' The

PAGE 206

199 Hunchback , Sir Walter Amyot in Lovell's The Wife's Secret , Oakley in Colman's The Jealous Wife , and Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona . For each season, and for the tour as a whole, three of the five most frequently acted roles were first acted by Kean during this tour. Only Richard III and the Stranger remained among the most frequent roles. The Stranger fit the profile of Kean's new roles which were melodramatic or comic roles in plays which either featured or offered strong roles for Ellen Kean. With the exception of Richard III and King John, played by Kean in spectacularly historical productions at the Park Theatre, Shakespearean roles declined in frequency of performance during the 1845-47 tour. No other Shakespearean roles were among the nine most frequently acted roles. Richard III and King John were indicative of another significant change exhibited during the third American tour. During those two seasons in America, Kean produced his first efforts in that spectacular and antiquarian style which reached its peak during his years at the Princess's Theatre in London. While in America on this third tour, Kean received from George Ellis, the Drury Lane prompter, a number of promptbooks for Shakespearean productions staged at Drury Lane. Kean staged the first of those plays, Richard III , at the Park Theatre in January of 1846. The expensive production attracted as much commentary for its spectacle as for its acting. Kean followed in the 1846-47 season with a limited run of Two Gentlemen of Verona, and then mounted King John in November, 1846, as spectacularly as Richard III . King John was not, however, as much a popular success as Richard III had been, and Kean abandoned his plans for further elaborate productions of Shakespeare on this tour. The planned, but not staged, plays included Macbeth . These

PAGE 207

200 productions gave American audiences a preview of the work for which Kean was to be best known. The third tour, then, exhibited a change in Kean's repertory and previewed the spectacularly antiquarian productions he staged during the nine years at the Princess's Theatre. Kean's final American theatrical tour--1864-66--was undertaken for financial reasons. Kean hoped to accumulate sufficient profit from this farewell tour to establish his investments at a level that would generate ample income for retirement without altering the comfortable living standard to which the Keans had become accustomed. Both the roles performed and the schedule of performances seemed planned to achieve the goal of maximum profit in minimum time. Of the nineteen roles acted by Kean on the fourth tour, a list of characters shorter than all but the abbreviated second tour, sixteen roles had been acted on at least one previous American tour. Of these sixteen roles, thirteen were among the most frequently acted roles on at least one earlier tour. The three roles new to American audiences--the title role in The Corsican Brothers by Boucicault, the title role in Louis XI , and Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VII I --had been among Kean's most popular roles at the Princess's Theatre. The list of characters seemed chosen for the drawing power they had earlier exhibited. Additionally, Kean dropped from his repertory most of the fourteen roles which he acted for the first time in America during the 1845-47 tour; Oakley was the only role from that list which remained among the most frequently performed roles. Also in line with the financial orientation of the tour was the performance schedule. Whereas, on earlier tours few performances were

PAGE 208

201 given during the summer months, that time being devoted to rest and preparation for the next season's performances, on this final tour Kean acted on every possible day, excepting only Sundays, travel days, and days when he was too ill to perform. Kean also played in every town which offered three days booking; on the earlier tours, he had played primarily in the larger cities. The final tour presented Kean in those roles which had been his most popular characters on earlier tours, and in a performance schedule which aimed for as many performances in as short a time as possible; both the roles and the schedule lent themselves to Kean's stated purpose of profit. Less than two years after leaving the United States for the last time, Kean was dead. The grueling schedule of the retirement tour left him so ill that he did not live to reap the fruits of the profit he had worked so hard to gather. Kean's American theatrical tours presented compact illustrations of the struggling beginning of Kean's acting career, the attraction of his early success, the new repertory of his mature career, and the decline of his last years.

PAGE 209

APPENDIX A CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES FIRST TOUR, 1830-33

PAGE 210

SI re

PAGE 211

204 ra\ (51 a,\ a-\ 4-> i— l I II
PAGE 212

c

PAGE 213

206

PAGE 214

207 ro] (51 D-| Q.| E >1 I' ro

PAGE 215

rO 208 n 3| I Si CD

PAGE 216

209

PAGE 217

210 B o\ il 4-> l—l

PAGE 218

211

PAGE 219

212 i -C -r££

PAGE 220

APPENDIX B CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES SECOND TOUR, 1839-40

PAGE 221

n II n St I SI cu s: |
PAGE 222

215

PAGE 223

216 H II a I >1

PAGE 224

o +-> 217

PAGE 225

218

PAGE 226

219 TD

PAGE 227

APPENDIX C CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES THIRD TOUR, 1845-47

PAGE 229

222

PAGE 230

223 (IS | IB | T3

PAGE 231

224 JC

PAGE 232

225

PAGE 233

226 T3

PAGE 234

227 « | -a Sro JZ u

PAGE 235

228 o

PAGE 236

229 * | -]

PAGE 237

230 S-

PAGE 238

231 o

PAGE 239

232

PAGE 240

233

PAGE 241

234

PAGE 242

235

PAGE 243

236 4->

PAGE 244

237 rz

PAGE 245

238 +->

PAGE 246

239

PAGE 247

240

PAGE 248

APPENDIX D CHRONOLOGY OF PERFORMANCES FOURTH TOUR, 1864-66

PAGE 250

243 •r4->

PAGE 251

244

PAGE 252

I-iQJ 245 _c

PAGE 253

246 o

PAGE 254

247

PAGE 255

248

PAGE 256

249 S-

PAGE 257

250 S-

PAGE 258

251

PAGE 259

252

PAGE 260

253

PAGE 261

254 X

PAGE 262

M-

PAGE 263

256

PAGE 264

257 S-

PAGE 265

•iO r— 258 o

PAGE 267

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ball, Robert Hamilton. The Amazing Career of Sir Giles Overreach . 1939; rpt. New York: Octagon Books, Inc., 1968. Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser . 8 Nov. 1831; 2 Oct. 1846; 13 Jan. 1847; 16-23 May 1865. Baltimore Sun . 16 Oct. 1839. Booth, M. R. "Shakespeare as Spectacle and History: The Victorian Period." Theatre Research International . 1 (1976), 99-113. Borden, Marshall E. The Richard the Third of Charges Ke^, Edwjji Booth, and Alan Bates . A Stage Chronology and Collative Analysis of Production , Performance and Text. Diss. Wayne State University 1973. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1973. Boston Daily Evening Transcript . 22 Nov. 1832; 26 Sept. -4 Oct. 1865. 3 April 1866. Boston Evening Journal . 26 Sept. -3 Oct. 1865. Brocket, Oscar G. and Robert R. Findlay. Century of Innovation : A History of European and American Theatre and Drama Since 1870 . Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973. Buffalo Courier . 25-29 July 1865. Buffalo Post . 27 July 1865. Byrne, Muriel St. Claire. "Charles Kean and the Meininger Myth." Theatre Research . 6 (1964), 137-54. Carson, William G. B., ed. Letters of Mr. and Mrs . Charles Kean Relating to Their American Tours . Washington University Studies in Languages and Literature, No. 15. St. Louis: Washington University, 1945. Charleston Courier . 13 Feb. 1832; 12 Feb. 1846. Charleston Mercury . 13 Feb. 1840. Chicago Times . 28 June-11 July 1865; 25-27 Oct. 1865. Cincinnati Daily Enquir r. 6-9 June 1865. Cleveland Daily Leader . 17-20 Nov. 1865. 260

PAGE 268

261 Cole, John Will iam. The Life and T heatrical Times of Charles Kean , F.S.A . 2 vols. London: Richard Bentley, 1859. Columbus M orning Journal . 21-24 Nov. 1865. Daily Dramatic Chronicle . 2 Jan. 1865. Daily Memphis Avalanche . 2 Jan. 1866. Daily Milwaukee News . 4-8 July 1865. Daily Missouri Republica n. 27 April-May 1846; 20 June 1865; 28 Nov. 1865. Daily National I ntelligen cer. 13 Jan. 1840; 20-22 March 1866. Daily Oregonian . 5-8 Dec. 1864. Daily Wisconsin . 6-8 July 1865. Detroit Advertiser and Tribune. 9-14 Nov. 1865. Detro it Free Press . 9-14 Nov. 1865. Dormon, James H., Jr. Theatre in the Ante Bellum South . Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, 1967. Downer, Alan. "The Making of a Great Actor—William Charles Macready." Theatre Annual , 7 (1948-49), 60-67. Duerr, Edwin. The Length and Depth of Acting . New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962. Ellsler, John A. The Stage Memories of John A. Ellsler . Ed. Effie Ellsler Weston. Cleveland: The Rowfant Club, 1950. Francisco, Virginia R. Charles Kean's Acting Career , 1827-67 , and the Development of His Style . Diss. Indiana University 1974. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1974. Gagey, Edmond M. The San Francisco Stage . Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1950. Graham, Franklin. Histrionic Montreal : Annals of the Mo ntreal Stage With Biogrpahical and Critical Notices of the Plays and Players of a_ Century . 2nd ed. Montreal: John Lovell & Son, Publishers, 1902. Grimsted, David. Melodrama Unveiled : American Theatre and Culture , 1800-1850 . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968. Haas, Thomas Booth. Kean , Irving , Tree: Shakespearean Production Aesthetics . Diss. University of Wisconsin, 1965. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1965.

PAGE 269

262 Hardwick, J.M.D., Ed. Emigrant in Motley : The Journey of Charles and Ellen Kean in Quest of a Theatrical Fortune in Austral ia and A merica , As Told in Their Hitherto Unpublished Letter s. London: Rockliff, 1954. Hone, Philip. The Diary of Philip Hone . Introd. Allan Nevins. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1936. Hoole, William Stanley. The Antebellum Charles ton Theatre . Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1946. James, Reese D. Old Drury of Philadelphia: A His tory of the Philadelphia Stage , 1800-1835 . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1932. Kaufman, George G. Money , the Financial System , and the Economy . 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981. Kean, Charles. Letters to various correspondents, MS. Theatre Collection, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, N.Y. Kean, Charles. Scrapbook I. Charles Kean Papers. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Kean, Charles. Scrapbook IV. Charles Kean Papers. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Kean, Charles and Ellen Kean. Letters to various correspondents, MS. Folder W.b. 77. Charles Kean Papers. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C. Kean, Charles and Ellen Kean. Letters to various correspondents, MS. Folder Y.c. 393. Charles Kean Papers. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Kendall, John S. The Golden Age of the New Orleans Theatre . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1952. La Minerve . 28 Aug. 1831. Larkin, Oliver. "Charles Kean, Pedant Showman." Theatre Arts Monthly , 18 (1934), 933. Leman, Walter M. Memories of an Old Actor . San Francisco: A Roman Co., Publishers, 1886. Leonard, James E. "The Letters of William Duffy, Albany Theatre Manager, 1830-35." Thesis State University of New York at Albany 1971. Louisiana Courier . 29 Feb. -6 May 1831. Louisville Daily Journal. 25-28 May 1831; 6-9 Dec. 1865.

PAGE 270

263 Lowrie, James Allison. A History of the Pi ttsburgh Stage , 1861-91 . Diss. University of Pittsburgh 1943. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1943. Ludlow, Noah M. Dramatic Life As I Found It. 1880; rpt. New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1966. Memphis Appeal . 26-30 Dec. 1865; 1 Jan. 1866. Mobile Daily Advertiser and Register . 30 Jan. -4 Feb. 1866. Mobile Register and Journal . 25 March-6 April 1846. Moody, Richard. America Takes the Stage : Romanticism in American Drama and Theatre , 1750-1900 . Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1955. Murdoch, James E. The Stage. Philadelphia: J. M. Stoddart & Co., 1880. Nashville Daily Gazette . 12-14 Dec. 1865. Nashville Daily Union . 12-13 Dec. 1865. The Natchez . 9 April 1831. Neville, Amelia. Scrapbook of unidentified clippings. Theatre Collection, California Historical Society, San Francisco. New Orleans Bee . 1 Jan. -30 June 1846. New Orleans Commercial Bulletin . 3-18 March 1846. New Orleans Daily Picayune . 5-17 March 1846; 9-27 Jan. 1866. New York Herald . 10 Sept. 1839-17 Jan. 1840; 9 May 1840; 2 Sept. 1845-6 May 1847; 27 April-9 May 1865. Nicoll, Allardyce. English Drama : A Modern Viewpoint . New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1968. . A History of the English Drama 1600-1900 . 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966. Vols. IV and V. Ni 1 an, M. M. "Shakespeare Illustrated: Charles Kean's 1857 Production of The Tempest ." Shakespeare Quarterly , 26 (1975), 196-204. Odell, George Clinton Dinsmore. Annals of the New York Stage . 1928; rpt. New York: AMS Press, 1970. Vols. Ill, IV, and V. Phelps, Henry Pitt. Players of a Century : A Record of the Albany Stage . 2nd ed. Albany: Joseph McDonough, 1880. Richmond Compiler . 12-20 Oct. 1830.

PAGE 271

264 Rochester Democrat . 1 Aug. 1865. Sacramento Bee . 5-6 Jan. 1865. Seef , Adele F. Charles Kean's King Lear and the Aesthetics of Realism . Diss. University of Maryland 1979. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1979. Shattuck, Charles H. Shakespeare on the American Stage . Washington: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1976. Smith, Solomon Franklin. Theatrical Management in the West and South for Thirty Years . 1858; rpt. New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1968. Threlkeld, Budge. A Study of the Management of Charles Kean at the Princess's Theatre , 1850-59 . Diss. Ohio State University 1955. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1955. The Spirit of the Times . 14 Sept. 1839-25 Jan. 1840; 14 March 1840; 6 Sept. 1845-14 Oct. 1846; 6-13 May 1865; 2-20 Sept. 1865. United States Gazette . 21-27 Sept. 1846; 22 Jan. 1847. Vancouver Times . 13-21 Dec. 1864. Vandenhoff, George. Leaves From an Actor's Notebook . New York: Appleton, 1860. Vander Yacht, Douglas R. Queen Victoria's Patronage of Charles Kean . Diss. Ohio State University 1970. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1970. Wemyss, Francis C. Twenty-Six Years of the Life of an Actor and Manager . New York: Burgess, Stringer, 1847. Willard, George 0. History of the Providence Stage . Providence: The Rhode Island News Company, 1891. Wilson, Arthur Herman. A History of the Philadelphia Theatre , 1835-1855 . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1935. Wilson, M. Glen. "Charles Kean at the Haymarket, 1839-1850." Theatre Journal , 31 (1979), 329-42. "Charles Kean of the Princess's Theatre: A Financial Report." Educational Theatre Journal, 23 (1971), 51-61. "Charles Kean's Production of Richard II." Educational Theatre Journal , 19, No. 1 (1967), pp. 41-51.

PAGE 272

265 . "George Henry Lewes as Critic of Charles Kean's Acting." Educational Theatre Journal , 16, No. 4 (1964), pp. 360-367. Wood, William Burke. Personal Recollections of the Stage. Philadelphia; H. C. Baird, 1855.

PAGE 273

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Richard Denman Strahan was born in Crosby, Mississippi, on October 3, 1940. He attended the public schools of Mobile, Alabama, and graduated from Murphy High School, Mobile, Alabama, in 1959. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi, from which he received the Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre in 1963. From 1963 to 1965, he attended the University of Florida, and received the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching in 1967. In September, 1965, he accepted a position at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, which institution he still serves as Assistant Professor of Speech and Theatre. In 1974-75 he was granted sabbatical leave for a year of study toward the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with a concentration in theatre. He is a member and past president of the Mississippi Theatre Association, a member and past University/College Theatre Division Chairman of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and a member of the American Theatre Association. He is married to Rose Earnest Strahan of Slate Spring, Mississippi 266

PAGE 274

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Speech I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. /L^y^^ a .(2Jl^r^-^ Thomas B. Abbott Professor of Speech I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Sidney R. Homan, Jr. Associate Professor of English This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Speech in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. April , 1984 Dean for Graduate Studies and Research

PAGE 275

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 3 1262 08285 248 3


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EGN71SRVK_4DM0BN INGEST_TIME 2017-07-14T21:34:12Z PACKAGE UF00099597_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES