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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 593

updated
Saturday, 24 January 2009

FOOTLIGHT NOTES
images of theatre and other popular entertainment
1850s-1920s


a cabinet photograph of Elsie Leslie (1881-1966), American actress,
as she appeared in the title role of Little Lord Fauntleroy,
the dramatisation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel which was first produced
at the Broadway Theatre, New York, on 3 December 1888

(photo: Sarony, New York, 1888)

'THE DRAMA IN AMERICA.
'(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT),
'NEW YORK, Monday, Dec. 10 [1888]. - The metropolis had gone into ecstasies over Mrs Frances Hodgson Burnett's stage version of her story Little Lord Fauntleroy and the charming child actress that first essayed the title-rôle at the Broadway Theatre last Monday night - Elsie Leslie. On Tuesday night Master Tommy Russell played the part of the Lord, but the success of the little miss was so great that this was the only representation of the part that he did give, in spite of the fact that his characterisation was a decidedly clever one. Little Elsie is to continue in the play for the present, Master Russell only appearing in it whenever the little lady needs a rest. Almost every critic in the city has gone wild over the child's work. Not alone does she bear the burden of the play upon her shoulders, but her acting is so unlike that of the usual infant phenomenon - so artless, so natural, and so unhampered by stage rules - that it is little wonder that the writers have enthused. The pieces has been mounted almost extravagantly by Manager Frank Sanger, and the cast is a most efficient one. Mr J.H. Gilmour as the gouty old Earl surprised his friends by a clever piece of character work, Miss Kathryn Kidder looked pretty, but acted somewhat stagily, as Mrs Errol, Mr George Parkhurst as Hobbs, the grocer, did some good comedy work, and Miss Alice Fisher as Minna was as offensively course as the character she played called upon her to be. Crowded houses witnessed the representation of the piece all last week, and the success is of such a nature that Wednesday matinées will be given regularly, beginning with this week, to accommodate the overflow. A certain portion of the house will be reserved on those occasions for the children of orphan asylums and other charitable institutions.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 29 December 1888, p. 7c)

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