Preface

Picture for Preface
Quia ibi est

Dedicated to

Alfred L. Nelson


"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"

II Timothy 4:6-7

Acknowledgments

Without the dedication and expertise of our systems analyst, Theodore J. Seward, there would be no Adelphi Calendar. His selfless hours of brilliant labor have produced the computer programs that make it possible to generate calendars of any major nineteenth-century theatre in short order.

The completion of the task was made possible by a dedicated team of theatre historians. Franklin Case and Frank McHugh worked tirelessly as co-general editors, assisting the general editors with the hundreds of problems that arise in a project of this size and complexity. Alfrida Lee, our editor "across the water" assisted us on those innumerable occasions when we needed someone to look after our interests in England. Equally dedicated were Paul Buczkowski and Ambrose Wilbanks, Jr., associate general editors who assisted us on their own time. We express our thanks to Joseph Donohue and James Ellis of The London Stage 1800-1900 project. It was they who began the initial labors ultimately leading to this calendar and who wrote the invaluable "Handbook for Compilers."

The following libraries and museums have assisted us most generously: The Folger, New York Public, Lilly, Westminster Public, British, and, of course, Victoria and Albert--now the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. Our especial gratitude goes to the late George Nash who was particularly helpful in his role as Curator of the Enthoven Collection.

Four of our colleagues at Eastern Michigan University have supported us morally and financially throughout the years. To Ira Wheatley and the late Donald Drummond, Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, Ronald Collins, Provost of the University, and Gary Keller, former Dean of the Graduate School, our sincerest thanks.

We have been helped by many staff members of University Computing at Eastern Michigan University, especially its past director, E. Leon Daniel, Manuel J. Norman, senior systems programmer, and Bethann L. Welch, senior user consultant.

The American Philosophical Society and the American Council of Learned Societies gave us much-needed financial support in the lean years and made it possible to hire typists and purchase microfilms and other vital supplies.

We express our heartfelt thanks to senior editor Peggy Russo of the Pennsylvania State University at Mont Alto for making an annual pilgrimage to Ypsilanti to assist the general editors with the endless task of checking incoming data. She was assisted in her own research on the 1880s decade by two Penn State students: Ronald L. DeLauter and Jason Weller.

We are indebted to special consultants, Joan Reilly and Patricia Tatspaugh, for extensive assistance in checking details and compiling data.

Throughout the years numerous students, undergraduate and graduate, have worked with us. We are most grateful to those geniuses of the keyboard, Mary Fettes, Sharon Gleason, Jerry Montague, and Melissa Watkins, as we are to: Mary Beth Kukucka, Pietra Abbulone, Nina Bernier, John Grose, Dale Detroit, Francene Harris, Keri Krick, Sandy Mathews, Andrea Shaw, and last, but certainly not least, Scott Harrison, who supplied a final push. To these and all who supported this project, we offer our heartfelt thanks.

The data entry and checking for the period 1806-1900 and the seasonal chronologies were divided among a team of editors (see next page). These scholars worked tirelessly to produce close to one hundred daily calendars. The results speak for themselves.

The Adelphi Calendar Project: Editors

General Editors: Alfred L. Nelson
Gilbert B. Cross
System Analyst: Theodore Seward, Jr.
Co-General Editors: Franklin Case
Frank McHugh
Associate General Editors: Paul Buczkowski
Ambrose Wilbanks, Jr.
Senior Editor: Peggy Russo
Contributing Editors: John Brokaw
Gayle Harris
Thirza Cady
Mary Case
Meredith Klaus
Alicia K. Koger
Alfrida Lee
Special Consultants: Joan Reilly
Patricia Tatspaugh

Contributing Editors

YearsEditorAffiliation
1806-1810John BrokawUniversity of Texas, Austin
1810-1815Frank McHughEastern Michigan University
1815-1820Franklin CaseEastern Michigan University
1820-1825Alfred Nelson
Gilbert Cross
Eastern Michigan University
1825-1830Alfrida LeeKing Edward's Camp Hill School for Girls, England
1830-1840Alicia Kae KogerUniversity of Oklahoma
1840-1845Mary Case
Franklin Case
Eastern Michigan University
1845-1850Gayle HarrisLibrary of Congress, Washington DC
1850-1860Alicia Kae KogerUniversity of Oklahoma
1860-1870Alfrida LeeKing Edward's Camp Hill School for Girls, England
1870-1880Frank McHugh
Gilbert Cross
Eastern Michigan University
1880-1890Peggy RussoPennsylvania State University, Mont Alto
1890-1895Meredith KlausEastern Michigan University
1895-1900Thirza CadyUniversity of Michigan

Preface

The London Stage 1800-1900, under the direction of Joseph Donohue, seeks to collect detailed information about theatre activity in the Nineteenth Century and to make the material available to scholars. A primary goal is to complete daily calendars of major theatres.

Precise knowledge of nineteenth-century drama and the music, dance, and entertainment attendant upon it can best be derived from dramatic calendars, which are the basic building blocks of all theatre research. Without such tools, scholars must depend on scattered, incomplete collections of ephemera, biographies and diaries of differing merit and honesty, as well as upon speculation and guesswork. Worse, inaccuracies are repeated and compounded. Before anything else, there must be objective, quantifiable data on performances and performers.

It is not necessary to rehearse the problems of completing a project of this kind. There is always one more resource to be examined, one more rare journal to be studied, one more individual or title that might be identified more exactly. However, the time comes when someone has to say "enough." That is the general editors' responsibility. They are aware that the calendar is not perfect, and they are anxious to hear from any user who can supply any corrections or new facts. The computerized nature of the Adelphi Calendar makes it possible to enter corrections at any time. The computer database is always current and, in the future, it will be interactive.

Using the Calendar and Indexes

The Adelphi Calendar exists in two formats: the printed record and a computer database. The printed record is in three parts:

  1. Microfiche record of daily theatrical activity and seasonal summaries,
  2. A chronology of each season,
  3. Seven indexes.

The microfiche daily calendar begins with the seasonal chronology which gives an overall view of the season with representative plot summaries, reviews, and biographical information. Next comes a daily record of pieces performed, with all the information related to an evening's activities. The date of performances and the sources of information are supplied in the margins. In certain instances, when it proved difficult to choose between variant sources, the editor had to rely on his or her experience and common sense. Commentary sections note these variations.

In the early years of the theatre's history, sources are very thin, and it has been necessary to assume performances took place even though no record has been found. Benefit nights present a related problem. Bills for such performances are generally rare, since the theatre printed very few, leaving the beneficiary to print and distribute additional bills privately. Also pieces not performed on other nights in the season were often presented. Where a bill for a benefit has not been discovered, previous or subsequent bills usually offer little help in determining what was presented. Again, editors have had to rely on experience and judgment.

The titles of dramas, operas, and ballets are entered in the calendar. The entertainments produced in the 1806-1807 season, which consisted entirely of Jane Scott's songs and recitations and her father's shadow shows have been treated as if they were dramatic pieces. (Our selectivity has been less rigorous in the first decade because so little information has survived.) In many seasons during Lent, conjurers, popular scientists, lecturers and equilibrists took the theatre. In these instances, a brief summary of the entertainment appears in the calendar, but no titles or exhaustive descriptions are included.

On the first night of a new piece, two cast lists are given. The "first night cast" is taken from the source. It contains the full cast (with character descriptions) as it appeared at the premiere of a piece. The "reference cast" is a computer-generated version containing the role-actor pairs found most often throughout the season. (It may or may not be identical to the first night cast but should not be confused with it.) The sole purpose of the reference cast is to indicate cast changes. If no changes are indicated, the cast for that evening's performance is identical with the reference cast. Thus, it is never necessary to search the calendar for previous cast changes. Three kinds of changes are made to casts.

BUTIndicates a role is being played by a new actor or actress.
ADDSMeans a new role-actor pair has appeared in the source.
OMITSIndicates a role-actor pair has been dropped.

Cast changes may not show up on the daily calendar because on that night the cast and the reference cast are identical. Users are again cautioned to apply cast changes to the reference cast, not the first night cast.

The entry "Cast truncated in the source," is employed when editors believe no change in the cast took place but the bill had been shortened to devote more space to new pieces, puffs, and advertising.

The daily calendar usually gives titles of pieces as they appear on the bill, but titles have been standardized where necessary. Occasionally, for example, a main title was changed either by the author or by mistake, or a different subtitle was printed. If such a change has been made, it will always be noted in a comment following the standardized title.

After the title or title comment comes a genre description. There was an explosion of such descriptions during the first half of the century, and before long, some were being treated as humorous playthings. The hit, Tom and Jerry; or, Life in London, is described as an "entirely new classic, comic, operatic, didactic, moralistic, Aristophanic, localic, analytic, terpsichoric, panoramic, camera-obscura-ic extravaganza burletta of fun, frolic, fashion and flash." In short, many terms were largely meaningless. Burletta was by far the most overworked genre description. The term, never defined by the Lord Chamberlain's Office, was employed to circumvent the monopoly of the patent houses to produce "legitimate" drama. Burlettas were deemed to be musical pieces and thus exempt from the monopoly's purview. Wherever possible, editors have attempted to give an accurate genre assessment, but it is sometimes impossible to be sure.

All music, song, dance and entertainment are noted on the opening night of a piece and not thereafter. Very infrequently music or songs mentioned for the first time are deemed so important they are included, even if there is no new play on the bill. In addition, interludes are given on their first appearance. No attempt has been made to list all the changes in these items throughout a season. Users should find in the calendar an accurate and quite broad sample of the music, dance, and entertainment performed, not an exhaustive record.

The seasonal summary which follows the calendar always begins with the same information: name of the theatre as it appears on the bills, curtain and half-price times, and ticket prices.

After this comes a series of totals: nights of performance, benefits (with dates and recipients), number of dark nights, Lenten performances and performers (if any), and other relevant matters such as productions at the Adelphi by a visiting company, educational lectures, juvenile nights, charity performances, etc.

The theatre's management and its functionaries are then given; most of these are found on the playbills, but a few names have been discovered in other sources.

The computer also keeps a running total of the number of times a piece was played in a season and records the date of its first performance. After the premiere, the calendar records the date of the previous performance and the next one. Such information makes it easy to follow a piece through the season, particularly if the run is interrupted.

In the seasonal summary are found all authors and titles of pieces performed during the season together with the date of first performance. Following these entries is a section listing actors and actresses with the titles of the pieces in which they appeared, the roles they played, and the number of times they performed each role. A window date gives the first and last time they appeared in a role. Actors and actresses are listed separately.

Next comes a complete listing of singers with the dates on which they performed. Similar lists of dancers, entertainers and spectacle performers follow.

The major part of the summary is devoted to cast lists. Each piece is given in alphabetical order with its genre, number of acts, author, composer, the number of times played, and a window date. Every actor and actress appearing in the piece is included; the performers appearing on opening night have asterisks after their names. Where editors have expanded or supplied part of a performer's name, brackets surround the addition. If a piece is being played for the "first time ever" an asterisk precedes the title. A separate listing gives the different genres of pieces played and the total number of each genre. From this the user can deduce changing tastes in dramatic fare from season to season.

The seasonal summary ends with chronological lists of music, songs, dances, and the performers associated with them. If the composer or choreographer is known, his or her name, in brackets, follows the title or genre description. Singers, dancers, and entertainers' names follow a slash mark. The date of first performance, in parentheses, ends each entry. If a song or a dance is taken from another piece, this fact is also indicated.

The printed section of the calendar starts with the seasonal chronologies gathered together to form a history of the theatre.

After the chronologies come seven general indexes all referring to one or more seasons. (Within each season every individual and play can be located precisely.)

The Theatre Management index includes names of all those who played a major role in the daily operation of the theatre. There is a hierarchical structure beginning with the proprietors. Minor figures are excluded. The index is by decade, so the reader can get a feel for a period when certain individuals set their stamp on the theatre.

The Theatre Functionaries index lists all non-acting personnel by position and also by decade. The positions are alphabetized from acting managers to wig makers.

The Index of Theatre Management and Functionaries lists all non-acting people alphabetically. Each name is followed by a function and date.

In the Authors, Composers, and Titles index, the basic entry is the author's name. Titles are cross-referenced to author, composer, adapter, translator, or choreographer. In the case of pieces whose author has not been found, the listing is by title and date of performance. However, the pieces are also listed alphabetically under the heading "Unknown." All dates given are dates of performance.

The Actors and Actresses index contains the names of all actors and actresses appearing in the bills. An attempt has been made to regularize names and amplify them. It is not possible to individualize all the Smiths and Joneses who played at the Adelphi, but in the case of less common names initials and first names can occasionally be supplied.

An index is supplied for Musicians, Singers, Dancers, and Entertainers. Music and dancing were very popular at the Adelphi, and a representative sample has been included in the daily calendar.

The Composers, Music, and Songs index lists typical examples of the music and songs performed at the Adelphi. No attempt was made to record all songs and music.

The printed section of the calendar ends with a listing of the Major Works Consulted. This is not an exhaustive bibliography, but it contains those works which the editors found helpful in their researches.

Symbols Used in The Calendar: Repositories and Publications

BLBritish Library
BrStBritish Stage and Literary Cabinet
CornellCornell University Library
CtYYale University Library
DFoFolger Shakespeare Library
HTCHarvard Theatre Collection
ISDIllustrated Sporting and Dramatic News
ISNIllustrated Sporting News
LillyLilly Library, Indiana University
LTMLondon Theatre Museum
NjPPrinceton University
NNNew York Public Library
OxDOxberry's Dramatic Biography
STDStage Directory
ScrWinston scrapbooks (LTM)
Th ObTheatrical Observer
ThTheatre
TimesThe London Times
TxUTexas University Library
WLSJ. Peter Wearing, London Stage 1890-1900 et seq.
WPLWestminster Public Library

© Copyright 1998 by Alfred L. Nelson and Gilbert B. Cross

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