The New York clipper annual (1892)

(New York :  Frank Queen Pub. Co.,  1883-)



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America July £0. Grisi and Mario Avere brought to this
countr.y by Jas. H. Hackett, anel made their American
elebut Sept. 4,1854, Maretzek havimr closed his regular sea¬
son Aug. 24, on Avhich occasion he and his Avife took a
benefit. Si,g. Beraldi took a benefit Aug. 25. An auction
sale e)f tickets took place at Castle Garden for the opening
night (of Grisi and Mario) on Sept. 1. No charge was
made for admission to the Garden during the sale, as Avas
done Avhen the Jcnn.v Lind sale took place. At least
15,000 persons Avere present. The first ticket AA-as pur¬
chased by Mrs. (noAv the Baroness) turdett Coufts, a
wealthy lady from England. The sale continued for at
least two hours, the tickets going at rates A-arving from
fifty cents to $2.50. A great many tickets at $1..50 to $1.75
premium Avere sold to music stores, speculators and
others, in lots of tAventy to one hundred, Avhile the aA-er-
age to priA-ate individuals Avas from two to six tickets.
The initial opera Avas "Lucrezia Borgia," Avith Grisi as
Lucrezia, Mario as (Jenarro and Susini as Duke Alfonso
—their first appearance in America. An auction sale for
the second representation took place at the (warden Sept.
.5. The attendance Avas meagre, and the Avas
of small account, the bidding being sIoav. Taa-o or three
seats Avere sold for premiums, reali'zing from $5 to $7.50,
and the bidding fell off to a dollar, and from tliat to a
shilling. After the second concert it Avas discovered
that the public Avould not pay the prices of admis¬
sion, and on Sept. 8, for the third concert, it Avas an¬
nounced that the uniform price Avould be $3, and
that there AA-ould be no auctie)n sale of seats, and no
premiuAis charged on seats. The promenade tickets Avere
$1. Sept. 11 "Norma" Avas sung, Avith Signora Donovani
as Adelgisa—heT first appearance in America. The sea¬
son closed Sept. 29, Avith "I Puritani," as the Fall Avas
too far advancetl to admit of performances in the ex¬
posed area of Castle (farden. A season of equestrian
performances Avas inaugurated Oct. 23, 1854, Avith J. Van-
derbilt as manager and James M. Nixon as equestrian
director. Two performances Avere given daily. The sea¬
son terminated Noa-. 25, 1854. In May, 1855, Castle Gar¬
den Avas closed as a place e)f amusemi nt, and Avas
taken possession of b.y the Commissioners of Emigra¬
tion as an emigrant depot. On May 23, 1870, it had a nar-
roAV escape from destruction by fire, but the flames had
not got sufhcient headAvay before the arrival of the fire¬
men to prevent them extinguishin.g the fire, Avhicli tlu'v
did alter a leiss of $3,()0U Avas occasioned. It was finally
destre)yed by fire Sunday afternoon, July 9, 1876. It took
fire about 5.30 o'cle)ck, and in less than lialf an hour it Avas
a heap of charred ruins. The Avails alone Avere lelt stand¬


In early years, say 1800, a circus and trainin.g ground
for race horses, called the Stadium, v,-as established on
the northeasterly corner of BroadAvay and Prince Street,
NeAV York City. The site Avas a portton of the old Bayard
farm, and Avas purchased by S. Van Rensaeller for
$15,000. Shortly after the war of 1812 the inclosure Avas
used as a drilling ground lor militia ofliccrs. Early in
1823 the Columbian Gardens, devoted to Summer night
entertainments, occupied the site, and many singers,
dancers and specialists of that day appeared there. On
July 4, 1827, the Sans Souci Theatre came into existence
on this spot, the manager anel proprietor being Mr. Gil¬
fert, and the opening performance consisting of "The
Hundred Pound Note," Avith George Barrett, W. B. Chap¬
man, Mrs. Barrett and othei-s in the cast. The season
terminated, hoAvever, on Aug. 19, 1827. William Niblo es¬
tablished here a restaurant'and the garden bearing his
name, in 1828. May 18, 1829, he opened his concert saloon,
but later still he erected the first Niblo's Garden, a A-ery
pretentious and handsome theatre. Joseph Jefl'erson
and John Setton, Avith a company, appeared here during
September, 1837. Sept. 3, 183.J, James W, Wallack leased
the house, opening Avith his cennpany on Oct. 1 follow¬
ing. The season ( f 1842 opened June '2, Avhen the Ravels
gave '-Mazulm, the Night OavL" for the first time in
America. On Aug. 9,1843, E. L. Davenport made his first
NcAv York appearance. Sept. 15 to 2,5 Italian opera Avas
offered. June 21, 1844, John Dunn ("Rascal Jack") made
his first appearance in America. Mrs. W. H. Crisp, an
actress of note in that day, Avas seen for the first time in
America on Oct. 13, 1845. She AA-as the mother of Harry
Crisp and the present Georgia Congressman. On July 7,
1846, Mile. Blangeuse. French dancer, Avas seen for the
first time in this country. The RaA-els performed Sept 17,
1846, and on the morning of the 18th the theatre Avas en¬
tirely destroyed by fire. The flames spread rarddlv, and
in a short time the Avhole block, bounded by Broa'dAvay,
Prince and Crosby Streets, Avas consumed. The Ravel
Family Avere very heavilj- losers.

It Avas three .v'ears lat'er, July 30, 1849. before the neAv
(or second) Niblo's Gaiden Avas thrown open to the public,
Avith Chippendale & Setton as managers, and the RaA-els
as the opening stars. Aug. 13 Paul Brilliant and
phine Berton made their American debut. John Brough¬
am succeeded Mr, Sefton in the management May 13, 1851).

On Sept. 18, L85I, Mme. Anna Thillon was heard for the
first time in this country, singing in "The Crown Dia¬
monds"—its first performance (in Ensilish) in America.
"The Ce)rsican Brothers" Avas initially produced in this
country June 8,18.52, Avitli G. V. Brooke'as the Dei Franchi
twins. On Aug. 30 Charles Wheatleigli made his American
debut as Doricemrt in "The Belle's Stratigem." Henri¬
etta Sontag, she of Avoild Avide fame, accomplishe'd her
American debut in Italian opera Jan. 10, 1853, when the
prices were advanced from fifty cents te) two dollars and
one de)]lar. The theatre Avas enlarged, improved and
redecorated early in 1854. On June 3, as Pauline in "The
Lady of Lyons," Anna Cora MoAvatt toe)k her leav-e of the
stage, to a $6,(300 house'—an audience rarely since dupli¬
cated in money e;r in brilliance. Rachel, the French tra-
.gedienne, appeared Nov. 12, 18.55, and played one week.
Dan Reed's Equestrian Co. occupied the house in the
Spring of 1858. Mary Devlin (afteiAvards tlie first Mrs.
Edwin Booth.) made lu'r New York debut June 22, 1858,
playing Juliet to Charlotte Cushman's Romeo. James W.
Collier's first New York appearance e.ccurred at this house
during 1859, anel for five seasons he Avas in the .'■tock here
as leading juAenile. AVilliam Niblo retired from the les-
seeship of Niblo's (Jarden in May, 1861. A. T. StCAvart
owner of the property, elevoted that Summer to beautify¬
ing and improving the place. A new stage Avas a conspic¬
uous alteration. The reopenin.g, Jan 7, 1862, Avas by the
Wallack-DaA'enport Co. Fanny DaAenport's first New
York appearance as an actress occurred here on Feb. 14,
1862, as Charles I in ''Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady."
the occasion being E. L. Dayenpcrt's benefit. J. B. Rob¬
erts produced his version ejf "Faust and Marguerite" on
Dec. 22, 1862. On Jan. 19 "Leah" (Aug. Daly's ver.sion)
Avas (OTginally acted by Kate Bateman, and on March 20
"Aurora Fle>yd" (Charles (Gayler's dramatization e)f the
noved) Avas initially performeel by Matilda Heron. Sept.
1, 1863, saw the first New York presentation e)f "Narcisse,"
with D. E. Bandmann in the title role. F( licia Vestvali
("The Magnificent") made her first appearance in English
drama Sept 29, 1863, and on Nov. 2 Shakespeare's "Corio-
lanus"' Avas first acted at this house, Avith EdAvin,
John McCullough, L. R. SheAvell and J. (i. Burnett in the
chief roles. Chas. Gayler's "Connie Soogah'' was first
performed on any stage Jan. 11, 1864. and ran five weeks.
On March 28 Edwin Booth played "The Fe)e)rs ReA-enge"
for the first time in Ncav York, his .support including
Eytinge, Ada Clifton, J. W. Collier, B. T. Rtngold,' J. W.
Blaisdell, E. B. Holme^', J. Nunan, C. De Fen-rest, Mary
Wedls and Mr,-;. Re^eves.

"Arrah-na-Pogue" Avas first acted in America July 12,
1865, and ran nine weeks. Sept. 12, 1866. Avas made memo¬
rable by the first production on any stasre of Charles M.
Barras'spectacle, "The Black Crook.'' Its great success
need ne)t be detailed here. It had a run e)f 475 consecu¬
tive performances, lasting until Jan. 4, 1868, and it w-as
several times afterAvards successfully revived. No ballet
spectacle before or since "The Black Crook" has placed so
many representations to its credit It made a fortune for
its author and for Wheatlev, Jarrett & Palmer, then
Niblo's managers. "The White FaAvn" folloAved, and was
performed 175 times Avithout interruption. The triumph
of these tAvo spectacles gaA-e te) Niblo's its first fame as a
home of great pictorial productions. On July 20, 1868,
Ofienbach's "Barbe Bleue" Avas sung for the first time in
America. On Aug. 31 of this year William Wheatley re¬
tired from the management of Niblo's, being succeeded
by Jarrett <fe Palmer. On Aug. 2, 1869, in a revival of
"Arrah-na-Pejgue,'' Dominick Murray made his first
American appearance. "Little Eni'ly'' Avas first acted in
NcAV York Dec. 20. folloAving, Avitli lone Bnrke in the title
role. Jan. 10, 1870, saw the American debut, j.oint]y, of
Charles Fechter and CarlOtta Leclercq in "Ruv Bias "
On Jan. 7, 1872, a bene-fit to Matilda Heron realized $5,390.

May 6, 1872, Niblo's Garden Avas burned for the third
time. In less than tAvo hours all .save the Crosby Street
Avails Avere placed in ashes, and the total lo,sses amounted
to several hundred.thousands of elollars. The house Avas re¬
built and rededicated Nov. 30,1872, and the present Niblo's
Garden, with such alterations as time has necessitated,
is the result The opening attraction, under Jarrett &
Palmer's management, was the spectacle of "Leo and
Le)tus," Avhich had 123 performances. April 28, 1873, Lulu,
the boy gymnast (then supposed tube a Avoman), made his
American debut May 1, 1874, Jarrett & Palmer's lease
terminated. C. R. Thorne Sr., the next lessee, opened the
house May 25, 1874, Avith "The Lady of the Lake.'' Mr.
Thome's A-enture failed, and Imre and Bolos.'jy Kirally
next assumed the managerial reins, opening Sept. 7,1874,
Avith "The Deluge." Early in 1875 the house closed, and
remained in darkness for a long spell. On Sept. 18, 1876,
it Avas opened again, by John McCoede and Chas. E. Ar-
nedd, with "Baba," in the cast of Avliich Avas Eliza Weath-
ersby (first Avife eif N. C. GoodAvin Jr.). The scase)n closed
Dec. 9, and on Dec. 25,1876. the Kiralfys reisumed cemtrol
and held it until March 10, 1877, Avhen elarkness once more
fell upon Niblo's. Ai)ril 2, 1877, it started again, this time
Avith Benson Sherwood as manager and "Anthony and
Cleopatra" as the play. W. J. Fleming next assumed
control, but retired Dec. 17, 1877, and a brief season of
Italian opera ensuea, with little success. Gardiner &
Bache then assumed a lease from Marcli 18,1878, at $22,.500
a .year. Aug. 17. 1878, they were ejected for failure to
pay the rent.   E. F. Starin Avas the next lessee.   On March
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