Great Catherine: Whom Glory Still Adores

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Great Catherine: Whom Glory Still Adores
George Bernard Shaw 1934-12-06.jpg
Written by George Bernard Shaw
Date premiered 1913
Original language English
Genre Comedy
Setting Imperial Russia

Great Catherine: Whom Glory Still Adores is a 1913 one-act play by Irish dramatist George Bernard Shaw. It was written between two of his other 1913 plays, Pygmalion and The Music Cure. It tells the story of a prim British visitor to the court of the sexually uninhibited Catherine the Great of Russia.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

George Bernard Shaw Irish playwright, critic and polemicist, influential in Western theatre

George Bernard Shaw, known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist. His influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as Man and Superman (1902), Pygmalion (1912) and Saint Joan (1923). With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation, and in 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

<i>Pygmalion</i> (play) play by George Bernard Shaw

Pygmalion is a play by George Bernard Shaw, named after a Greek mythological figure. It was first presented on stage to the public in 1913.



The plot focuses on Captain Charles Edstaston, a very prim and proper British military attaché who, in 1776, is assigned to the Imperial Russian court in Saint Petersburg, during the 34-year (1762–1796) rule of Empress Catherine the Great, and brings his equally prim fiancée, Claire, with him. In the midst of court intrigue and palace politics, primarily instigated by Catherine's favored statesman and military leader, the drunken, ill-mannered, but crafty Prince Patiomkin, the imperiously commanding, yet concurrently, voraciously intimate Catherine toys with the naive arrival, questioning his rigid beliefs, leading him to drop his guarded mannerisms and, in the process, she also learns certain philosophical truths. [1]

In diplomacy, an attaché is a person who is assigned ("attached") to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency. Although a loanword from French, in English the word is not modified according to gender.

Saint Petersburg Federal city in Northwestern, Russia

Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject.

Grigory Potemkin Russian military leader and statesman

Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tavricheski was a Russian military leader, statesman, nobleman and favourite of Catherine the Great. He died during negotiations over the Treaty of Jassy, which ended a war with the Ottoman Empire that he had overseen.


Written for the popular actress-manager and artist Gertrude Kingston, [2] Great Catherine premiered on 18 November 1913 at London's West End performance space, Vaudeville Theatre, [3] paired with the one-act Hermon Ould play Before Sunset, and enjoyed a 30-performance engagement. Among other cast members were Edmund Breon as Edstaston and Norman McKinnel as Patiomkin.

Gertrude Kingston British actress

Gertrude Kingston was an actress, an actor-manager and an artist.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

West End theatre term for mainstream professional theatre staged in and near the West End of London

West End theatre is a common term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of "Theatreland" in and near the West End of London. Along with New York City's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist activity in London.

In 1916, three years after its London production, while the UK was in the midst of the Great War, Gertrude Kingston and her British acting ensemble, A Visiting Company, toured the United States, staging New York City's Broadway premiere of Great Catherine in repertory with another one-act Shaw play, The Inca of Perusalem: An Almost Historical Comedietta, and Lord Dunsany's one-act fantastic drama of ancient Egypt, The Queen's Enemies, which included, among its cast members, twenty-nine-year-old future director George Abbott. The productions ran at the Neighborhood Playhouse and Maxine Elliott's Theatre for 42 performances, from November 14 to December 30. Twenty years later, in May 1936, the Works Progress Administration's Federal Theatre Project presented the One-Act Experimental Theatre in a three-performance cycle of three one-act plays, with the second work written by Molière and the third by Emjo Basshe.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and in the U.S. state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

TV and film

During the early years of TV broadcasting, an era referenced in the U.S. as the Golden Age of Television, there were at least three transmissions of Great Catherine. The first, a live staging for NBC in May 1948, was directed by TV pioneer Fred Coe and starred, in her TV debut, Gertrude Lawrence as Catherine and Micheál MacLiammóir as Patiomkin. A British live TV exhibition in April 1953 starred Mary Ellis as Catherine and Frederick Valk as Patiomkin. Five years later, another live UK presentation was directed by Barry Morse, an acting and directorial mainstay of early Canadian television, and starred his wife, Sydney Sturgess as Catherine. In 1968, as cinematic productions eschewed constraints of film censorship, the release of a 99-minute British film version, Great Catherine, with expanded plot and character development, as well as sexually charged situations and dialogue, directed by Gordon Flemyng and starring Peter O'Toole as Captain Edstaston, Zero Mostel as Patiomkin and Jeanne Moreau as Catherine, was judged by most critics to be unsatisfactory. [4]

Golden Age of Television era of live television production in the United States, roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s

The first Golden Age of Television is the era of live television production in the United States, roughly from the late 1940s through the late 1950s. According to The Television Industry: A Historical Dictionary, "the Golden Age opened with Kraft Television Theatre on May 7, 1947, and ended with the last live show in the Playhouse 90 series in 1957;" the Golden Age is universally recognized to have ended by 1960, as the television audience and programming had shifted to less critically acclaimed fare, almost all of it taped or filmed.

NBC American television and radio network

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. The network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting. It became the network's official emblem in 1979.

Fred Coe American director

Fred Coe, nicknamed Pappy, was an American television producer and director most famous for The Goodyear Television Playhouse/The Philco Television Playhouse in 1948-1955 and Playhouse 90 from 1957 to 1959. Among the live TV dramas he produced were Marty and The Trip to Bountiful for Goodyear/Philco, Peter Pan for Producers' Showcase, and Days of Wine and Roses for Playhouse 90.

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Great Catherine may refer to:

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