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Title:The Partnership of Stuart Robson and William H. Crane: American Comedians (New York)
Author(s):Morgan, John Benjamin
Department / Program:Theatre
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:For twelve and one-half seasons (January 1877 to May 1889), actors Stuart Robson and William H. Crane maintained a theatrical partnership which presented fourteen productions of contemporary comedies and "old comedies" to the American public. On the road and in New York, they developed into one of the most popular, financially successful, and critically acclaimed star attractions of the period. Contemporaries particularly cited two of their productions--The Comedy of Errors (1885-87) and The Henrietta (1887-89)--as standards of excellence in their field. In fact, the innovations synthesized in these productions represented signal accomplishments in the development of native American production and acting styles. Having been trained under a system dependent on the stagecraft, management practices, and acting techniques associated with the "old school" or primarily British tradition of comedy performance, Robson and Crane's progress illustrates fundamental changes which took place overall in the late nineteenth century American legitimate theatre, including the pervasive trend toward realistic presentation.
This study examines Robson and Crane's achievements by citing contemporary and later accounts of each of their productions as a team. Newspaper reviews, for instance, offer a detailed picture of their performance and production practices. Mention is also made of the type of material they presented, their standing in the profession, and the nature of their appeal to the American public. Summaries of Robson's and Crane's individual careers before and after the partnership highlight the significance of their accomplishments as a team.
The results show that Robson and Crane's partnership--largely overlooked by historians and analysts of the nineteenth century American theatre--exemplified and contributed significantly to the development of production and performance styles which shaped the emerging native American theatre. Indeed, their success among contemporaries is directly related to their impact as practitioners of "modern" American theatre techniques.
Issue Date:1983
Description:272 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8410002
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1983

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