Black Crook

Event Information

Niblo's Garden

Manager / Director:
William Wheatley

Harvey Bradley Dodworth

Price: $.75; $.50 family circle; $1 dress circle secured; $1.50 parquette and parquette circle reserved; $8, $10 private boxes; $1 Saturday matinee all seats

Event Type:
Play With Music

Record Information


Last Updated:
13 June 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

22 Oct 1866, 7:30 PM
23 Oct 1866, 7:30 PM
24 Oct 1866, 7:30 PM
25 Oct 1866, 7:30 PM
26 Oct 1866, 7:30 PM
27 Oct 1866, 1:00 PM
27 Oct 1866, 7:30 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed


Announcement: New-York Times, 22 October 1866, 4.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 22 October 1866, 7.
Review: Courrier des √Čtats-Unis, 23 October 1866, 6.

“The Black Crook, that ugly centipede, which is said to run so well because it has so many legs, should be crushed at once. But the public taste has been so much depraved by Barnumizing influences that fools by hundreds still rush to see it. Even young girls returning from school have been overheard in the street chatting over the disgusting indecencies of this ballet, which some of them had been wickedly permitted to see overnight. How shall we account for this widespread demoralization? Corrupt and corrupting, as is our city government, a deeper source of the evil must be sought for in the lamentably defective moral education of the young. School committees must be purified and reformed. Parsons must cease preaching politics and denounce such flagrant and vitiating immoralities as the model artist’s theatre is flaunting before the public.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 27 October 1866, 7.
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 27 October 1866.

“A ‘Black Crook’ Matinee will be given here to-day. The Herald—naturally anxious to recover the advertising patronage of the theaters, and having failed in all its many efforts to accomplish this end—has now resorted to its familiar weapon, vituperation, and has grossly attacked Mr. Wheatley, on the score of the alleged impropriety of his ballet troupe. The Herald, in a state of virtue, scolding, meanwhile, like an enraged fishwife, is merely an amusing spectacle. Mr. Wheatley has no reason to feel annoyed. There was a time when The Herald had some influence in theatrical matters; but that day has passed, never to return. Upon the ballet question, we do not care to enter. Public opinion has long been divided on the subject. To us, a ballet is a graceful spectacle of very little importance or influence one way or another. As to this particular ballet, at Niblo’s Garden—which we have seen but once—it differs from previous exhibitions of the kind only in being more nearly perfect. The display of personal beauty is perhaps more liberal than has been usual on the American stage, but – not being learned in such matters – we cannot testify conclusively to this point. Two things, however, are certain – that the ballet is beautiful and that the scenery of ‘The Black Crook’ is the most resplendent that has ever been offered in this country. For the play we have no word of praise. It is to our taste inane and tiresome. Niblo’s Garden, however, is crowded every night, and we should judge that the public is in no position to know for itself precisely the nature, value, and defects of the entertainment therein offered.”

Review: New York Clipper, 03 November 1866, 238.

“Barras’ drama of the ‘Black Crook’ continues to fill Niblos.  As an offset to the Herald's article against this house, Manager Wheatley has had placed over the bill board, close to the entrance to Niblo's, a board three feet long and two and a half deep, upon which is a poster, with the following inscription in large letters: ‘This establishment does not advertise in the New York Herald.’ The people enjoy it hugely.”