Wallack’s Theatre: Opening night

Event Information

Wallack's Theatre

Thomas Baker

Price: $.75; reserved seats in dress circle, $1; orchestra chairs, $1.50; family circle, $.30; private boxes seating seven, $10

Event Type:
Play With Music

Record Information


Last Updated:
25 February 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

25 Sep 1867, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Thomas Baker, music director
Medley overture (on popular airs)

Performers and/or Works Performed

Text Author: Burnand
Participants:  G. F. [actor] Browne (role: Hatchett);  Mary [actress] Scott (role: Gnatbrain);  Kate Ranoe (role: Bill);  Mark Smith (role: Captain Crosstree);  T. J. [actor] Ward (role: Admiral of the Blue);  Mary Gannon (role: Black-Eyed Susan);  B. [actor] Durand (role: Admiral of the White);  J. C. Curran (role: Admiral of the Yellow);  C. [actor] Sherman (role: Admiral of the Black);  George [comedian] Holland (role: Doggrass);  Fanny [actress] Green (role: Dolly Mayflower);  J. C. [actor] Williamson (role: Shaun O'Ploughshare);  Mary [actor] Barrett (role: Raker);  W. J. [actor] Leonard (role: Lord High Admiral);  Alfred W. Young (role: Dame Hatly)
aka Grand Medley Overture


Announcement: New York Post, 21 September 1867.
“Wallack’s Theatre has for several days presented a dull exterior to passers-by, but within there has been the most constant activity on the part of scrubbing women, carpenters, painters and upholsterers.  Next Wednesday night the public will be invited to come and see what is the net result of all this cleaning and renovation, on what occasion they will find the home of English comedy in New York in perfect condition to receive visitors.”
Advertisement: New-York Times, 21 September 1867, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 24 September 1867, 4.

“This popular reopens to-morrow evening—having been closed during the last two weeks for the usual renovation. . . . Crimson and gold are now the ground work of its coloring”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 24 September 1867.
(separate) Gives synopsis of play. “During the evening the orchestra will perform the following music, arranged by Mr. Thomas Baker:
NEW MEDLEY OVERTURE ON POPULAR AIRS, with solos for Flute, Oboe, Clarionette, Cornet, Bells, &c., &c., also introducing for the first time in any theatre, the new musical instrument called the Ziether. [sic] 
New Waltz, “The One I Love Best.”
Cornet Solo, with echoes, dedicated to the lady patrons of Wallack’s Theatre. Each lady, on the opening night, will be presented with a copy.”
Announcement: New-York Times, 25 September 1867, 4.
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 25 September 1867, 8.
Notes the redecoration with descriptions.  “There was an immense audience present last night, and both Meg’s Diversion and the burlesque of “Black-Eyed Susan” were hailed with warm applause.  The combination of pieces is a good one.  The first is full of feeling, the latter is full of fun. . . . Mr. Thomas Baker, in assuming the conduct of the orchestra at this theater, was hailed with those greetings of popular applause to which he is deservedly accustomed.  A copy of a new Waltz, by Mr, Baker, was presented to every lady who attended at Wallack’s Theatre last night.”
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 25 September 1867, 5.

“This is one of the most important events of the dramatic year.  The theater has been cleansed and beautifully redecorated during the recess.  Two lively plays dominate the opening bill.  A large audience will undoubtedly attend, and a very pleasant occasion may be anticipated.”

Review: New-York Times, 26 September 1867, 4.

[Review of the actors and plays.] . . . “Mr. Thomas Baker was flatteringly recognized upon his appearance in the orchestra; a rather cheap bid was made for the reception, however, by a presentation at the door of a copy to each lady of Mr. Baker’s musical compositions—in the cover to which, with thoughtful regard for womanly weakness, a real piece of looking-glass had been inserted.”

Review: New York Clipper, 05 October 1867, 206.
“The house during the short time it has been closed, has undergone a thorough renovation, and presented an entirely new appearance.  Everybody who entered the house was at once struck with the neatness and beauty of it. [description of the house renovation and review of ‘Meg’s Diversion’—no mention of music].   The burlesque of ‘Black-Eyed Susan,’ is, undoubtedly a failure.  It has been placed upon the stage in magnificent style, the dresses being all new and handsome, as well as the scenery, which, with its dioramic effects, is excellent, but the burlesque is bad.  It does not contain a pun which would cause any one to smile naturally, and the music is certainly not set to popular airs.  One great fault is, it is too English in its construction to please an American audience.  There is not a lady or a gentleman in it that can sing correctly, or can dance, and there is but one burlesque character in the whole piece, and that is the part of Capt. Crosstree.  As a burlesque, it is one of the weakest attempts we have witnessed, in fact, we have yet to see a good burlesque from the pen of Burnand. What has made it so successful in England is that every one in the cast there that does sing, knows how, and can also dance. On the second night of its production at Wallack’s most of the songs were cut; but without singing, what is burlesque? Kate Ranoe, from the London theatres, who made her debut as William, dresses well, and that is all the praise we can award her, for she certainly cannot sing.”