Stephen Foster youth's golden gleam - online book

His Life And Background In Cincinnati 1846 - 1850 by Raymond Walters

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The Stage of the 'Forties             79
As a boy at Pittsburgh Stephen had de­lighted in the theater, and had attended a number of Shakespearean plays. Now, with matured understanding, he had plenty of chances to see more of them and to catch the music of Shakespeare's lines. In a letter to his brother Morrison,1 he mentioned the appear­ance in Cincinnati of the eminent English actor, William Charles Macready, whose per­formance the New York Home Journal [pi which Stephen was a reader) termed "a de­lineation of the beauty and power of Shake­speare."2 Following his engagement at the National Theater in April, 1849, the Chronicle reported3 that "this distinguished tragedian has been playing to crowded and fashionable houses/'* and the Gazette said4 that "Mr. Macready has won for himself here 'troops of friends' for he challenges admiration both as an actor and ripe scholar and polished gentle­man." It should be said that Cincinnati ap­plauded also Macready's great rival, Edwin Forrest, the American tragedian who used to declare5 "I play Hamlet, I play Richelieu. But King Lear, by God, I am Lear!" To this terrible intensity the critic of the Gazette testified6 in his report of Forrest's performance before "a crowded house" in April 1848: It was "a most powerful and truthful persona­tion of the mad old King."
* Macready's repertoire then included Macbeth and"Henry VIII for the first time in our city."







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III