Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All-Star Cast of 1874 Erie Play

Naiad Queen tintype courtesy of John Baker.
The Naiad Queen, under the direction of Arthur McKnight, opened at the Park Opera House in downtown Erie, PA on June 23, 1874. The all-star cast included notable members of several founding families of Erie. Mrs. T. M. Walker starred in the title role of Stalacta, the Naiad Queen. Mrs. J. P. Covert was Astrea, the Goddess of Justice, and Agnes Caughey was Clementia, the Goddess of Mercy.

"We have no hesitation in pronouncing it the best amateur entertainment ever witnessed in the city...The perfection to which Mr. McKnight has trained his 300-400 pupils is simply wonderful.:" -Erie Observer, June 25, 1874.

The production was quite elaborate, as witnessed by the costumes worn by two members of the cast in shown in this tintype. Pictured here are George Smart, a page to the Queen, and Jeannie Smart, an attendant of the Gypsy Queen. 

Arthur McKnight's students practiced the operetta for several months. The show cost $2,500 to produce, quite a large sum in 1874. There were five consecutive performances from June 23 through June 27, 1874 in the plush Opera House at 28 North Park Row. In addition to George and Jeannie Smart, the other performers included Sophia Warfel, Emma Mayo, Aggie Sterrett, Jessie Riblet, Jessie Thayer, Katie Kennedy, Lulu Sturznickle, Emily Foote, Maud Hoskinson, Clara Sherwood, Samuel Magill and Emil Jarecki.

Enjoy more fun facts and photos of historic Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

No comments:

Post a Comment