|Born||Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot|
26 December 1820
|Died||18 September 1890 69) (aged|
New York City, United States
|Resting place||Mount Hope Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, United States|
|Nationality||British subject, Anglo-Irish|
|Notable works||London Assurance , The Octoroon , The Colleen Bawn , The Shaughraun|
|Spouse||Anne Guiot (m.1845–d.1845)|
Agnes Kelly Robertson (m.1853–d.1916; marriage dissolved 1888)
Josephine Louise Thorndyke (m.1885–1890; his death) ( bigamously )
|Children||Dion William Boucicault(1855–76)|
Eva Boucicault (1857–1909)
Dionysius George Boucicault Jr. (1859–1929)
Patrice Boucicault (1862 – 1890)
Nina Boucicault (1867–1950)
Aubrey Boucicault (1868–1913)
|Relatives|| Dionysius Lardner (putative father)|
Anne Darley (mother)
George Darley (uncle)
Dionysius Lardner "Dion" Boucicault // (né Boursiquot; 26 December 1820 – 18 September 1890) was an Irish actor and playwright famed for his melodramas. By the later part of the 19th century, Boucicault had become known on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the most successful actor-playwright-managers then in the English-speaking theatre. Although The New York Times hailed him in his obituary as "the most conspicuous English dramatist of the 19th century," he and his second wife, Agnes Robertson Boucicault, had applied for and received American citizenship in 1873.
Boucicault was born Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot in Dublin, where he lived on Gardiner Street. His mother was Anne Darley, sister of the poet and mathematician George Darley. The Darleys were an important Dublin family influential in many fields and related to the Guinnesses by marriage. Anne was married to Samuel Smith Boursiquot, of Huguenot ancestry,but the identity of the boy's father is uncertain. He was probably Dionysius Lardner, a lodger at his mother's house at a time when she was recently separated from her husband, with Lardner later giving Dion Boucicault financial support until about 1840.
In 1828, Lardner was elected as professor of natural philosophy and astronomy at University College, London, a position he held until he resigned in 1831. Anne Boursiquot followed him to London in 1828, taking all but one of her children with her. Consequently, from then on Boucicault attended various schools in and around London, about which there is a good deal of confusion, which has been dealt with by Richard Fawkes in a biography. For about four years, from 1829, he seems to have attended a very small private school in Hampstead kept by a Mr Hessey, then between 1833 and 1835 was at University College School, where he began his friendship with Charles Kenney. He later recalled having boarded in Euston Square with a Rev. Henry Stebbing, a historian. There is then a gap of two years, when Fawkes believes Boucicault may have attended Rowland Hill's Bruce Castle School, as stated in the Dictionary of National Biography . In 1837, he was enrolled at Wyke House, a school at Sion Hill, Brentford, kept by a Dr Alexander Jamieson, where he appeared in a school play, in the part of Rolla in Sheridan's Pizarro, and wrote his own first play, The Old Guard, which was produced some years later.After that, according to some accounts he attended a school in Dublin, before returning to London as an apprentice civil engineer to Lardner.
Boucicault abandoned his apprenticeship to take up an acting offer in Cheltenham, adopting the stage name of Lee Morton.He joined William Charles Macready and made his first appearance on stage with Benjamin Webster at Bristol. Soon after this he began to write plays, occasionally in conjunction with his acting.
Boucicault's first play, A Legend of the Devil's Dyke, opened in Brighton in 1838. Three years later, he had a big success as a dramatist with London Assurance . First produced at Covent Garden on 4 March 1841, its cast included such well-known actors as Charles Mathews, William Farren, Mrs Nesbitt and Madame Vestris.
Boucicault rapidly followed this with a number of other plays, among the most successful being The Bastile[ sic ], an "after-piece" (1842), Old Heads and Young Hearts (1844), The School for Scheming (1847), Confidence (1848), and The Knight Arva (1848), all produced at Her Majesty's Theatre. He had further great successes with The Corsican Brothers (1852, for Charles Kean) and Louis XI (1855), both adaptations of French plays.
In his The Vampire (1852), Boucicault made his début as a leading actor, appearing as the vampire Sir Alan Raby. Although the play itself had mixed reviews, Boucicault's characterisation was praised as "a dreadful and weird thing played with immortal genius".In 1854 he wrote Andy Blake; or, The Irish Diamond and also appeared in it, playing the title character.
From 1854 to 1860, Boucicault resided in the United States, where he was always a popular favourite. Boucicault and his actress wife, Agnes Robertson, toured America. He also wrote many successful plays there, acting in most of them. These included the popular Jessie Brown; or, The Relief of Lucknow in 1858.
From around 1855 his business manager and partner in New York was William Stuart, an expatriate Irish MP and adventurer. Together they leased Wallack's Theatre in 1855-1856, and put on a short season at the Washington Theatre in Washington D.C.
In late 1855, while his wife was performing in St. Louis, Boucicault became the lessee of the Varieties Theatre in New Orleans. He quickly renamed it the Gaity and was set to open its doors on the 28th of November. A short delay pushed the opening night back to December 1st with his play Used Up. During his stay in New Orleans, a false report of his death began to circulate, this rumor was proven false when days later on December 20th he presented The Chameleon at the Gaiety. This was the first appearance of Agnes Robertson at the Gaiety. Shortly after, on February 26th of 1856 Boucicualt was in the market to sell his lease. By March 8th he was out and heading to New York.
In the summer of 1859, Boucicault and William Stuart became joint lessees of Burton's New Theatre (originally Tripler's Theatre) on Broadway just below Amity Street. After extensive remodeling, he renamed his new showplace the Winter Garden Theatre.There on 5 December 1859, he premiered his new sensation, the anti-slavery potboiler The Octoroon , in which he also starred. This was the first play to treat seriously the Black American population.
Boucicault fell out with Stuart over money matters, and he went back to England. On his return he produced at the Adelphi Theatre a dramatic adaptation of Gerald Griffin's novel, The Collegians, entitled The Colleen Bawn . This play, one of the most successful of the times, was performed in almost every city of the United Kingdom and the United States. Julius Benedict used it as the basis for his Opera The Lily of Killarney . Although it made its author a handsome fortune, he lost it in the management of various London theatres.
After his return to England, Boucicault was asked by the noted American comedian Joseph Jefferson, who also starred in the production of Octoroon, to rework Jefferson's adaptation of Washington Irving's Rip van Winkle . Their play opened in London in 1865 and on Broadway in 1866.
Boucicault's next marked success was at the Princess's Theatre, London in 1864 with Arrah-na-Pogue in which he played the part of a County Wicklow, Ireland carman. This, and his admirable creation of "Conn"in his play The Shaughraun (first produced at Wallacks Theatre, New York City, in 1874, then at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1875), won him the reputation of being the best "Stage Irishman" of his time. His reputation was also mentioned by W. S. Gilbert in the libretto of his 1881 operetta Patience in the line: "The pathos of Paddy, as rendered by Boucicault".
Again in partnership with William Stuart he built the New Park Theatre in 1873–1874.However, Boucicault withdrew just before the theatre opened, and Stuart teamed up instead with the actor, playwright and theatre manager Charles Fechter to run the house.
In 1875 Boucicault returned to New York City, where he made his home and for a time his manager was Harry J. Sargent.He wrote the melodrama Contempt of Court (poster, left) in 1879, but he paid occasional visits to London and elsewhere (e.g. Toronto ). He made his last appearance in London in his play, The Jilt, in 1885.
Boucicault was an excellent actor, especially in pathetic parts. His uncanny ability to play these low-status roles earned him the nickname "Little Man Dion" in theatrical circles. His plays are for the most part adaptations, but are often very ingenious in construction. They have had great popularity.
Boucicault was married three times. He married the much older Anne Guiot at St Mary-at-Lambeth on 9 July 1845. He claimed that she died in a Swiss mountaineering accident later in the same year, though she may in fact have died as late as 1848.In 1853, he eloped with Agnes Kelly Robertson (1833–1916) to marry in New York. She was Charles Kean's ward; the juvenile lead in his company and an actress of unusual ability. She would bear Dion six children: Dion William Boucicault (1855–1876); Eva Boucicault (1857–1909); Dion Jr. (1859–1929); Patrice Boucicault (1862–1890); Nina Boucicault (1867–1950); Aubrey (1868–1913); three of whom became distinguished actors in their own right. Patrice became a society singer, marrying George Pitman in 1885 but died in childbirth in 1890. His granddaughter Rene Boucicault (1898–1935), Aubrey's daughter, became an actress and acted in silent films.
Between 11 July and 8 October 1885, Boucicault toured Australia, where his brother Arthur lived.Towards the end of this tour, he suddenly left Agnes to marry Josephine Louise Thorndyke (c. 1864–1956), a young actress, on 9 September 1885, in Sydney. This aroused scandal on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, as his marriage to Agnes was not finally dissolved until 21 June 1888, by reason of "bigamy with adultery." The rights to many of his plays were later sold to finance alimony payments to his second wife.
His last play, A Tale of a Coat, opened at Daly's Theatre in New York on 14 August 1890, and closed on 13 September 1890.
Boucicault died in 1890 in New York City, and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Hastings, Westchester County, New York.
| Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
Professor Dionysius Lardner FRS FRSE was an Irish scientific writer who popularised science and technology, and edited the 133-volume Cabinet Cyclopædia.
Charles Fisher was an Anglo-American stage actor and comedian. Born to a prolific theatrical family from Norfolk, England, Fisher went on to find success as an actor in different parts of England, and then from 1852 onwards in New York City where he worked as a highly regarded performer for almost 40 years in the companies of William E. Burton, Laura Keene, James William Walluck, and Augustin Daly.
The Octoroon is a play by Dion Boucicault that opened in 1859 at The Winter Garden Theatre, New York City. Extremely popular, the play was kept running continuously for years by seven road companies. Among antebellum melodramas, it was considered second in popularity only to Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852).
Dion Boucicault Jr. was an actor and stage director. A son of the well-known playwright Dion Boucicault and actress Agnes Robertson, he followed his father into the theatrical profession and made a career as a character actor and a director. In addition to extensive work in the West End of London, he spent considerable time in Australia, where he went into management in the 1880s.
The Shaughraun is a melodramatic play written by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault. It was first performed at Wallack's Theatre, New York, on 14 November 1874. Boucicault played Conn in the original production. The play was a huge success, making half a million dollars for Boucicault, which he squandered.
Donald Esme Clayton Calthrop was an English stage and film actor.
The first theatre in New York City to bear the name The Winter Garden Theatre had a brief but important seventeen-year history as one of New York's premier showcases for a wide range of theatrical fare, from Variety shows to extravagant productions of the works of Shakespeare. Initially known as Tripler's Hall or Metropolitan Hall, it burned down in 1854 and was rebuilt as The New York Theatre. Although it burned to the ground several times, it rose from the ashes under different managers, bearing various names, to become known as one of the most important theatres in New York history.
Stage Irish or Paddywhackery is a stereotyped portrayal of Irish people once common in plays. The term refers to an exaggerated or caricatured portrayal of supposed Irish characteristics in speech and behaviour. The stage Irishman was generally "garrulous, boastful, unreliable, hard-drinking, belligerent and chronically impecunious." This caricature includes many cultural outlets, including the stage, Punch cartoons and English language cliché, such as the terms "Paddywagon" and "hooligan." Collectively, this phenomenon is called "Paddywhackery."
Sarah Jane Woolgar was an English stage actress. She had leading roles in plays by notable dramatists of the day, including original productions. She had a long association with the Adelphi Theatre in London.
Nina Boucicault was an English actress born to playwright Dion Boucicault and his wife, actress Agnes Kelly Robertson. She had three brothers, Dion William (1855–1876), Dion Boucicault Jr. and Aubrey Boucicault, and two sisters, Eva and Patrice.
Edmund O'Flaherty, also known as William Stuart, was an Irish MP who hurriedly emigrated to the United States in 1854. In New York City he was the business partner of the actor-managers Dion Boucicault and Edwin Booth, and with them leased and managed the Winter Garden Theatre. He managed the New Park Theatre on Broadway from 1874 to 1876.
Mary Jeffreys Lewis known professionally as Jeffreys Lewis was a British-born American actress whose career lasted long after her popularity as a leading lady had faded.
Jeanie Deans is a play written by Dion Boucicault based on Sir Walter Scott's 1818 novel, The Heart of Midlothian. It is named after the heroine of the novel, Jeanie Deans.
The Poor of New York is a melodrama in five acts written by Dion Boucicault, adapted from the French play, Les Pauvres de Paris which was written by Edouard-Louis-Alexandre Brisbarre and Eugene Nus. It premiered at Wallack's Lyceum Theatre, of which Boucicault was the General Director, on December 8, 1857.
Aubrey Boucicault was a British born stage actor, playwright and matinee idol. He came from a famous family of actors and playwrights, his father being Dion Boucicault.
An Octoroon is a play written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. It is an adaptation of Dion Boucicault's The Octoroon, which premiered in 1859. Jacobs-Jenkins reframes Boucicault's play using its original characters and plot, speaking much of Boucicault's dialogue, and critiques its portrayal of race using Brechtian devices. Jacobs-Jenkins considers An Octoroon and his other works Appropriate and Neighbors linked in the exploration of theatre, genre, and how theatre interacts with questions of identity, along with how these questions transform as a part of life. In a 2018 poll by critics of The New York Times, the work was ranked the second-greatest American play of the past 25 years.
The Phantom is a two act melodrama written by Dion Boucicault. It was originally titled The Vampire when it was first performed at the Princess's Theatre in London in 1852. Boucicault renamed it The Phantom when he went to the United States, where it opened in Philadelphia in 1856. The play tells the story of two different encounters with a mysterious phantom.
Abbey's Park Theatre or Abbey's New Park Theatre was a playhouse at 932 Broadway and 22nd Street, New York City. It opened as the New Park Theatre in 1874, and was in use until 1882 when it burned down and was never rebuilt as a theatre.
Agnes Kelly Robertson was born in Edinburgh and became a popular actress on the American stage.
John Clayton was an English actor. After building a career in a range of parts, he became best known for his roles in the farces of Arthur Wing Pinero. With Arthur Cecil he was joint manager of the Court Theatre in London from 1883 until his death, aged 43, while on tour in Liverpool.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Dion Boucicault|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dion Boucicault .|