American Theatre Companies, 1888-1930

By Weldon B. Durham | Go to book overview

H

[WALTER] HAMPDEN'S COMPANY. In the winter of 1918-19, popular actor Walter Hampden took over a failing company, the Shakespeare Playhouse (originally organized by Frank McEntee), and opened in the title role of his own production of Hamlet on November 22, 1918, at the Plymouth Theatre in New York, New York. During the run of the play, several of Hampden's wealthy admirers, such as Mrs. Edward Harriman and Mrs. Gordon Abbott, joined under Delaware law to form the company Walter Hampden, Incorporated, in an attempt to reawaken public interest in Shakespeare and romantic drama.

Walter Hampden had the misfortune of being a twentieth-century actor and director with his soul planted firmly in nineteenth-century romanticism. He was certain that an audience for romantic plays existed, and he set out with inflexible optimism to find or develop such an audience. Born Walter Hampden Dougherty in 1879, he grew up in a cultured environment and determined from his youth to pursue a career in the theatre. He studied acting in both France and England, choosing as his idols famous nineteenth-century actor-managers, such as Henry Irving, despite the fact that his plan to follow in their footsteps and present romantic drama in repertory was outmoded in the United States, where audiences wanted to see either realistic dramas or light entertainment such as vaudeville. Nevertheless, Hampden persisted in the teeth of the evidence for eleven seasons, though he certainly could have gained more fame and fortune as a touring actor starring in ordinary commercial productions. The fact that he succeeded for so long as a manager was probably due more to his popularity as an actor and his skill as a director than to his choice of plays.

The Hampden company began cautiously, playing first at the Plymouth Theatre, then at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, followed by appearances at other theatres on the New York "Subway Circuit" and gradually extending its performances to theatres within commuting distance of New York. In order to do any extensive touring, Hampden was forced to deal with the infamous

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American Theatre Companies, 1888-1930
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • A 1
  • Bibliography 4
  • Bibliography 8
  • Bibliography 13
  • Bibliography 22
  • Bibliography 24
  • Bibliography 27
  • Bibliography 31
  • Bibliography 36
  • Bibliography 38
  • Bibliography 40
  • B 41
  • Bibliography 51
  • Bibliography 55
  • Bibliography 61
  • Bibliography 63
  • Bibliography 68
  • Bibliography 72
  • C 73
  • Bibliography 80
  • Bibliography 86
  • Bibliography 90
  • Bibliography 94
  • Bibliography 97
  • D 99
  • Bibliography 103
  • Bibliography 111
  • Bibliography 118
  • Bibliography 126
  • Bibliography 134
  • Bibliography 140
  • Bibliography 145
  • Bibliography 150
  • Bibliography 152
  • Bibliography 158
  • E 159
  • F 165
  • Bibliography 168
  • Bibliography 171
  • Bibliography 177
  • G 179
  • Bibliography 181
  • Bibliography 183
  • Bibliography 188
  • Bibliography 190
  • Bibliography 194
  • Bibliography 197
  • Bibliography 203
  • H 205
  • Bibliography 208
  • Bibliography 210
  • Bibliography 212
  • Bibliography 220
  • Bibliography 225
  • Bibliography 227
  • Bibliography 231
  • I 233
  • PERSONNEL 237
  • J 239
  • Bibliography 241
  • Bibliography 243
  • K 245
  • Bibliography 247
  • L 249
  • Bibliography 253
  • Bibliography 260
  • Bibliography 262
  • Bibliography 268
  • Bibliography 276
  • M 277
  • Bibliography 280
  • Bibliography 283
  • Bibliography 284
  • Bibliography 289
  • Bibliography 293
  • Bibliography 297
  • Bibliography 300
  • Bibliography 306
  • Bibliography 309
  • N 311
  • Bibliography 317
  • Bibliography 322
  • Bibliography 325
  • Bibliography 329
  • Bibliography 332
  • Bibliography 338
  • O 341
  • Bibliography 346
  • Bibliography 348
  • P 349
  • Bibliography 353
  • Bibliography 358
  • Bibliography 363
  • Bibliography 367
  • Bibliography 370
  • Bibliography 377
  • Bibliography 388
  • Q 391
  • R 393
  • Bibliography 396
  • Bibliography 399
  • Bibliography 402
  • Bibliography 404
  • S 405
  • Bibliography 407
  • Bibliography 411
  • Bibliography 413
  • Bibliography 416
  • Bibliography 424
  • Bibliography 428
  • Bibliography 432
  • T 433
  • Bibliography 442
  • U 443
  • Bibliography 447
  • V 449
  • Bibliography 453
  • W 455
  • Bibliography 460
  • Bibliography 463
  • Bibliography 470
  • Bibliography 472
  • Bibliography 478
  • Bibliography 482
  • Bibliography 485
  • Bibliography 488
  • Y 489
  • Bibliography 492
  • APPENDIX I CHRONOLOGY OF THEATRE COMPANIES 493
  • APPENDIX II THEATRE COMPANIES BY STATE 497
  • Index of Personal Names and Play Titles 501
  • About the Contributors 535
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