[CARRIE] RADCLIFFE'S OWN STOCK COMPANY. Actress Carrie Radcliffe had been the popular leading lady of Philadelphia's renowned Forepaugh Stock Company* for four years when she decided to enter the field of stock-company management. Radcliffe (variously spelled Radcliff) leased Philadelphia's Star Theatre and assembled a stock company of actors in the summer of 1901. Radcliffe relied on her proven popularity with Philadelphia audiences at the Forepaugh and, earlier, as a member of the Girard Avenue Stock Company* to attract a steady clientele for her new group. Carrie Radcliffe's Own Stock Company opened on August 26, 1901, with a production of the perennial favorite Camille by Alexandre Dumas, fils.
The Star Theatre was located on North Eighth Street between Race and Vine streets. The block was a major entertainment district and the home of Keith's Bijou Theatre and the Bon Ton Theatre, both of which offered vaudeville in 1901. More importantly, however, the Forepaugh Theatre was situated on the very same block. Two resident theatre companies competing alongside each other was unheard of at that time in Philadelphia. Within Philadelphia's theatrical circles, Radcliffe's venture seemed a bold, even rash, undertaking.
Carrie Radcliffe's Own Stock Company overtly set out to capture the Forepaugh's well-established clientele. Radcliffe lured several of the Forepaugh Stock Company's favored actors into her new troupe. These included William C. Carr; Carr's wife, ingenue Mary R. Kennevan; and the extremely popular character woman Henrietta Vaders. The Radcliffe troupe charged competitive prices of 10 to 75 cents and followed the traditional stock-company practice of presenting a new bill each week. Upon occasion, Radcliffe produced the same play as the Forepaugh, such as during the week of October 20, 1901, when both companies offered J. M. Barrie The Little Minister. The competition between the two companies was fierce, but the new Carrie Radcliffe stock company maintained good and steadily growing box-office receipts. Ironically, it was not
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Publication information: Book title: American Theatre Companies, 1888-1930. Contributors: Weldon B. Durham - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1987. Page number: 393.
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