CASTLE SQUARE THEATRE STOCK COMPANY. The Castle Square Theatre, a costly and ornate structure seating 1887, opened its doors November 12, 1894, but touring attractions could not draw a profitable volume of customers to its unfashionable address in South Boston. In 1897 manager Tony Cummings established a resident stock company. He engaged Lillian Lawrence and J. H. Gilmour in leads, and, on May 3, presented his first bill, the David Belasco and H. C. DeMille comedy drama The Wife. In succeeding weeks he presented a series of old favorites: Augustin Daly The Lottery of Love, Bronson Howard The Banker's Daughter, Lester Wallack Rosedale, Augustus Thomas' Alabama, Tom Robertson Caste, and so on, spicing the diet of comedy, romance, and high melodrama with a few farces, such as Hamilton Aide Dr. Bill and Brandon Thomas' Charley's Aunt, and a few sensational and emotional melodramas, such as Bartley Campbell The Galley Slave and Paul Potter Trilby. The combination seemed to please, for the Castle Square became known as a modest but attractive establishment to which one could take one's family.
Leading ladies over the next six years included Lawrence, Leonora Bradley, Mary Hall, and Eva Taylor. Cummings engaged leading men such as J. H. Gilmour and William Courtleigh. Cummings' successor, J. H. Emery, hired Franklyn Ritchie to stand in during the summer of 1900 for the company's most durable and popular leading man, John Craig. Craig had joined the company on September 18, 1899, after seven seasons with Augustin Daly's company, a short stint with a stock company in Philadelphia in 1898, then one season in support of Minnie Maddern Fiske. Craig was reputedly a good Shakespearean actor, but he turned in his best work on parts in modern comedy.
In the six years of its first incarnation, the Castle Square Theatre Stock Company operated 312 weeks and presented 212 plays, playing 46 of them more than one week. Lists of the company's repertory and personnel in Charles E. French's Six Years of Drama at the Castle Square Theatre ( 1903) reveal that