The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Plays and Players at Pillot's Opera House

After an absence of four years, Miss Maddern returned to the
city to appear in Howard P. Taylor's engaging dramatic compo-
sition, Caprice, on October 1, 1888. "As Mercy Baxter, the un-
couth, untutored country girl," said the Post, "foisted into a so-
ciety element above her station in life by marriage with a man
of the world, Miss Maddern is in her peculiar element." She drew
sustained applause with her song, "In the Gloaming," and charmed
with her grace and naturalness, her magnificent eyes vibrating
with every mood. At her next performance she was seen as Alice
Clandenning, the neglected wife in Steele Mackaye's In Spite of
All. In this personation the Post found her "indescribably fasci-
nating," and definitely original, with greater curb on her feelings
than was shown by actresses of the purely emotional order, like
Clara Morris. William Faversham, later a notable success under
George Tyler's management, furnished able support as Carroll
Clandenning, the husband in the piece.
On January 15, 1883, Pillot patrons had the chance-rarely
offered in the provinces-of seeing two stars of primal lustre in
the same play. On that date Joseph Jefferson and Mrs. John
Drew gave the first of their two fine presentations of Sheridan's
The Rivals. Playgoers who had not been out for twenty years
braved the severe weather with hundreds of others to fill the
seats and jam the aisles of the opera house. As able an actor as
Jefferson was, his Bob Acres was only in a limited sense a cre-
ation.5 In all his parts, the basic individualities were identical.
He acted as if he imagined himself Bob Acres or Rip, and in-
vested all his parts with traits of his own personality. In a com-
ment on the play, the Post noted that only enough of Falkland
was used to make the necessary connections. The comedian was
commended for cutting much of the dreary stuff Sheridan was
obliged to put in to satisfy the tastes of his time. One never knew,
of course, in what terms to praise Mrs. Drew's Mrs. Malaprop or
Mr. Jefferson's Bob Acres. Jefferson's extreme mobility of features,
which enabled him to make all changes of expression from radiant
joy to deep sadness, was noticed as an outstanding quality of his
acting. Of Mrs. Drew, the mother of John, and the grandmother
SJohn Ranken Towse, Sixty Years of the Theatre (New York, 1916), 228.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed September 20, 2014.