Mary Anderson’s Exciting Effort to Fill an Engagement.
From the New York Telegram.
“Mary Anderson had to keep an engagement at the Carll opera house, now the Hyperion, in New Haven, says the New York Telegram. She had been playing a week’s engagement in the Elm city to great houses. The Yale students, as was always the case, bought up entire rows of seats in the largest house between New York and Providence.
‘Our Mary told the members of the company on Tuesday night,’ said the chief tale-teller, ‘that there wuld be no rehearsal on Wednesday, as she intended running down to the metropolis to do some shopping.’ It was just after the season opened, and Miss Anderson left New York without a number of little incidentals she needed.
At 8:20 o’clock, just before the curtain was to be rung up, House-Manager Carll came rushing on the stage with hair on end. ‘My God, I am ruined! Miss Anderson’s train is wrecked at Bridgeport!’
He waved a telegram and called for Miss Anderson’s understudy. To tell the truth, she didn’t have any. We had only just gone on the road, and none of the ladies in the company could speak our Mary’s lines. The house had $1,500 or $2,000 in it. It was a dandy, and poor old Carll had good reason to kick.
Carll went out before the curtain, and, being a great favorite among the students, who were raising perfect Ned with their ‘Rahs’ for Mary, pacified them with an explanation. ‘But a little matter like a train-wreck won’t keep Miss Anderson from playing here to-night!’ said Manager Carll. ‘Good! good!’ cried the students. Then there were songs by the students that kept the audience amused and in good humor.
Nine o’clock came and still no Mary, but bets were freely wagered that she would play that night. ‘Is the audience willing to wait?’ asked Manager Carll, as he appeared before the curtain with a little speech again. A mighty ‘Yes!’ went up.
It was five minutes of 10 o’clock when Miss Anderson appeared on the stage with her arms full of parcels. Five minutes later the play proceeded and a few minutes of midnight the audience went home, after having witnessed one of the greatest performances Miss Anderson ever gave. She told members of the company of her great race to New Haven after her train was wrecked just this side of Bridgeport — eighteen miles from the City of Elms.
No train could pass the wreck and Miss Anderson couldn’t reach New Haven with horses till nearly midnight. It was 6:30 o’clock, and our Mary had just about given up hopes when a bright idea struck her. A lot of trackmen and wreckers had come up from Bridgeport on handcars, a four-wheel crank arrangement, used by the rail-road repairers along the line.
‘I will give $200 to the men who will take me to New Haven on one of those handcars,’ said Miss Anderson. O. M. Shepard, the present general superintendent of the New York, New Haven & Hartford road, was at the scene of the wreck. He offered eight of his biggest and most muscular men to Miss Anderson for her handcar. She gayly mounted the little car with her maid. It was a great ride and a dangerous one. Of course, though, Mr. Shepard wired ahead for a clear track. New Haven was reached after the greatest handcar race on record. The big, brawny Irishmen worked the cranks like majors, and they got the $200 too. Miss Anderson said it was the most exciting ride she had ever experienced in all her travels around both hemispheres on all sorts of trains and vehicles.”
-Excerpt courtesy of Newspapers.com, The Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana), Sunday, October 11, 1891. (top) Image courtesy of the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Collection of Theatrical Photographs, “Actress Mary Anderson,” by Newsboy, between 1870 and 1930
“This evening Miss Mary Anderson supported by Mr. J. B. Studley and Mr. R. L. Dowling and her own company, will appear at Carll’s Opera House in ‘Julia the Hunchback.’ A crowded house is assured whenever Miss Anderson appears in this city.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Wednesday, March 14, 1883
“At Carll’s Opera House last evening Miss Mary Anderson, supported by Mr. J. B. Studley and Mr. R. L. Downing and a fair supporting company, presented Sheridan Knowles’ play entitled ‘The Hunchback.’ The play is well known to New Haven theater-goers. It is in many respects one of the best of Miss Anderson’s repertoire, though not calculated to be very popular. There are strong places in it and many opportunities for over-acting, which were not taken advantage of last evening. The whole effect of the play is, however, somber and depressing. Miss Anderson appeared even more charming than ever last evening, and sustained her role with more evenness than she did when she last appeared in the character in New Haven. There is now more finish and yet not less passion in her acting. In the first scenes she was the light-hearted country lass, free, careless and natural. When the critical scenes in the last two acts were reached she threw the whole force of her magnificent voice into her lines, only once or twice allowing it to be too forcible. But Miss Anderson is becoming a better, more conscientious artist every year and her popularity does not wane; as the immense house which greeted her last evening attests. The part of ‘Master Walter, the Hunchback,’ was ably sustained by Mr. Studley. Possessing a remarkably fine voice and good presence he displayed a just appreciation of the part and was especially good in the last act. Mr. Downing was very acceptable as ‘Sir Thomas Clifford.’ Miss Adelaide Ford and Mr. Charles Hawthorns got through their scene in the last act very creditably.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Thursday, March 15, 1883
“On next Wednesday evening Miss Mary Anderson supported by Mr. J. B. Studley, Mr. R. L. Dowling and her own selected company, will appear at Carll’s Opera House as ‘Julia’ in the ‘Hunchback.’ Very little need be said to insure a full house for Miss Anderson, as she is one of New Haven’s especial favorites. Reserved seats now on sale at Loomis’.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Saturday, March 10, 1883