DARCY AND SPECK STOCK COMPANY. Theatrical manager Frederick Darcy and his partner, businessman Samuel H. Speck, assumed management of Philadelphia's Standard Theatre in the late summer of 1900. They organized a resident stock company to fill the theatre's roster for their first season and opened on September 8, 1900, with a production of the melodrama The Great Northwest by Herbert Hall Winslow and Will R. Wilson. Darcy and Speck followed the policy established by the theatre's previous resident company, the Standard Theatre Stock Company*, and limited their repertory to melodrama. This practice was rare among stock companies where comedies and farces were thought to be essential to box-office success.
The Standard Theatre was located on South Street between Eleventh and Twelfth streets in the Moyamensing section of Philadelphia. This area and the adjacent Southwark region were considered the city's most notorious slums during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The area was comprised predominantly of the Irish and British stock working-class: shop girls, dock laborers, textile workers, cigar makers. The Darcy and Speck Stock Company appealed directly to this populace with low admission prices and a repertory tailored to their special interests. Plays concerning the plight of the working class prevailed, such as A Working Girl's Wrongs, A Slave of the Mills, and Bertha, the Sewing Machine Girl. Another popular genre was romantic Irish- American drama glorifying the fighting spirit and sentimentality of the majority audience. These plays included Shamus O'Brien (probably by F. Maeder and C. Vernon), The Wicklow Postman, John O'Keeffe The Shamrock, and True Irish Hearts. Most prevalent of all were lurid melodramas dealing with the evils of city life: Wicked London ( F. Harvey Cruel London), The Bowery After Dark, The Crimes of New York, The Dangers of Paris, and Child Slaves of New York. To the first- and second-generation Irish-American audience whose rural roots