[Advert from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (20 February, 1887 - p.13).]
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (22 February, 1887 - p.3)
Robert Buchanan knows his public and is careless of his critics, and these facts inure to his success. It would be an easy matter to pick flaws in his drama, “Alone in London,” that is played at the Park this week, to say that his motive wants originality and that as a literary work it is unpretentious, but what matter, at least to him and the manager and actors of his play, so that he reaches the hearts and pockets of the people? For between hearts and pockets there should be an intimate relation. The house was crowded to the doors last night, and from the managerial standpoint that is the best criticism on a performance. The making of sympathy for a good woman by neglectful and cruel treatment of her, the hatred of vice and meanness, the admiration for cheerfulness and virtue, practiced in spite of repressive circumstances— audiences have been made to yield these homages since the time that drama was, with a result of moral benefit to themselves and of financial benefit to play writers and theater managers. “Alone in London” tells an old story with strength and address; the public warms to the gentle, the steadfast and the heroic in it, and it lends no countenance to the evil that stalks through it, apparently on the road to success, but only to end in overthrow. There are bits of interesting portraiture in it, too, and the snake swallower, his companion, the pot boy, the humorous old lodging keeper, the philosophic thief and the poor, limping pedler of chickweed, are worthy to have stepped from the pages of Dickens. In the setting one glimpses high and low life and the haunts and habitats of all sorts and conditions of men, and in the rescue of the heroine from the rising tide there is a coup du theatre and a display of the scenic and mechanical resources of the stage that have done much to make the fortune of the piece. The play has been improved since last season by more compressed and spirited action, the company is excellently chosen and the setting is better than ordinary. Miss Cora Tanner, who plays the heroine, has beauty, intelligence and emotional power. C. G. Craig exhibits the villainy of Redcliffe, but he should remember that even professional villains have their human moments at times and are not always cold and sneering. Leonard Grover plays Jenkinson with unction, and there is good work in the acting of W. T. Grover, Harry Davies, formerly H. Rees Davies, Alfred Fisher, W. A. Sands, Grace Pauling, Ada Dwyer and Laura Leclaire. Next week M. B. Curtis will be “Caught in a Corner.”
The New York Times (1 March, 1887)
At Niblo’s Garden Miss Cora Tanner appeared last night in “Alone in London,” and was received by a very large audience. Miss Tanner was effective as she always is in this play. Mr. Leonard Grover, Jr., as the philosophical thief made lots of laughs, and, as Richard Redcliffe, the wily adventurer, Mr. C. G. Craig was efficient.
The New York Times (26 June, 1887)
There have been three “Fascination” plays up to the current year. Audiences managed successfully to resist all. The fourth and the latest, given a trial a short time ago, may triumph. The Sinns, father and son, think of putting it on the road. But next season they will continue Cora Tanner in “Alone in London.” Its last season was better even than its first.
The New York Times (2 August, 1887)
Little Mabel Pollock is to travel next season in support of Cora Tanner (Mrs. Col. W. R. Sinn) in “Alone in London,” and Miss Evelyn Pollock is to go with a “Michael Strogoff” company.
St. Paul Sunday Globe (13 November, 1887 - p.1)
BIG THEATRICAL WEEK.
Cora Tanner, in Alone in London, at
This evening Robert Buchanan’s great drama, “Alone in London,” will be produced at the Hennepin Avenue theater with a remarkably strong cast, and with all the scenic and mechanical effects that go to make this powerful drama—representing romantic phases of life—the most realistic and intensely interesting play of its kind on the stage. The piece is an admirably constructed story dealing with the types of living characters, and it possesses all the elements which go to make a perfect play. The story itself is simple, dealing as it does with the adventures of a young country girl, who rejects an honest miller to marry a more fascinating adventurer, who, in the guise of an honest man, turns her foolish head and wins her heart. After marriage she finds that her husband is a swell mobsman, the associate of thieves and blacklegs, and she is in their company subjected to all the perils of a great city. She is protected, however, by a poor street waif whom she had befriended in happier days, and, when the clouds that darken her life are most gloomy, her country lover turns up to rescue her from the perils by which she is surrounded.
The organization presenting “Alone in London” is one of the best now traveling. Cora Tanner, who plays the heroine, Annie Meadows, is a young American actress of brilliant talents, and her impersonation of the character is marked by a strong individuality that has given her a place among the foremost American actresses.
Charles G. Craig, a well known actor, plays the villain, and gives a singularly vivid piece of acting in the part. William A. Sands is John Bidellecomb, the honest-hearted miller. Miss Ada Dwyer plays the character of Tom Chickweed, the Waif, very cleverly. Len Grover Sr., has a clever bit of character acting as an old thief, and the other parts are in equally competent hands.
The scenic effects of the play are superb, the view of Westminster bridge, the parliament house by night, being particularly fine. The play will be presented with every attention to detail and in a manner characterizing this house, which so far has been noted for the admirable manner in which pieces are mounted.
St. Paul Daily Globe (14 November, 1887 - p.3)
Sunday night amusements are in great favor, if last night’s audiences are any criterion. Every Theater was crowded to suffocation, but the plays were given to enthusiastic and not noisy audiences. “Alone in London” packed the Hennepin Avenue with the largest audience it has ever contained. Not an inch of available room was room left unoccupied. before such an audience this play could have been nothing but a success. Everything was applauded, and everything received with the greatest enthusiasm. The company is a good one, and the play is put on with every desirable effect in the way of stage setting. It will be run throughout the week, and will hold up its share of the city business.
. . .
MISS CORA TANNER.
Miss Cora Tanner, the emotional actress, who stars in “Alone in London,” arrived in town yesterday and is stopping at the West hotel. This “Alone in London” organization is one of the largest on the road, and includes in all thirty-five members. It is an extremely popular play, written by Buchanan, and the piece in which Miss Tanner first made her reputation as an exponent of the melodrama. It is generally supposed by the public that Miss Tanner is a native of Brooklyn, from her long and close connection with the Park theater of that city, which is owned by Colonel Sinn, who first produced “Alone in London” in America, and who is fortunate in being the husband of this popular lady, but the real place of her birth was Cleveland, O., and she has lived in Chicago and other Western cities beside. She was the original princess Ida in this country, and ere venturing on her present line of business had gained quite a reputation as a singer. Her reception room in the hotel is one of the handsomest in that spacious hostelry, and had a home like look from the books and papers of the actress scattered around. Seen off the stage, Cora Tanner looks just as attractive as when before the footlights, but her beauty is greatly enhanced by the modesty of her manner and the evident kindliness of her disposition. In fact, in private life she is the very last person in the world that would ever be suspected of being an actress, as there is no glamour or show about her, simply the dignity and sweetness of a true woman. She is greatly interested in her new play, “Fascination,” but owing to fatigue and preparing for the night’s performance had to put off telling all about it and future plans till another day during this week.
St. Paul Daily Globe (15 November, 1887 - p.3)
Miss Cora Tanner and the sensational drama “Alone in London,” now running at the Hennepin Avenue theater, must be registered as a decided success. The audience Sunday night was the largest that has appeared at any theater in the city during the present season, every seat, loge and box being occupied and much of the standing room utilized. Last night Miss Tanner received another ovation, the house being full and the audience enthusiastic.
The play, as a work of art, is only tolerable, but all defects in this particular are more than made up by the beautiful scenic effects. The sluice scene in the third act is incomparably realistic and effective. Miss Tanner is always womanly and effective. She has a splendid figure, a good face, and a proper artistic conception of her part, in so far as her part can be said to have any artistic conception. The play is highly sensational, and contains the customary dime-novel ingredients of an abused wife, a good old uncle, a sickly newsboy and an intensely, unnaturally villainous husband, who dies of apoplexy or heart disease in the last act; just in time to leave the quick imagination to infer that his abused but beautiful widow will marry the noble miller, who talks the Yorkshire dialect with decided American variations.
The company is strong enough to do the play creditably, and those who like this sort of dramatic effects can visit the Hennepin assured that it is entirely moral, very entertaining, decidedly sensational and scenically beautiful.
Next week the Hennepin Avenue will introduce to the Minneapolis public a first-class minstrel troupe—one of the strongest now on the road. It will open on Sunday night.
St. Paul Daily Globe (19 November, 1887 - p.4)
A TALK WITH CORA TANNER.
Miss Cora Tanner was “at home” yesterday afternoon in her pretty reception room in the West hotel, and pleasantly chatted on all the live and dead subjects of the day, that is to say, from her new play “Fascination” to the Chicago anarchists. She is a very interesting woman, as her life has been thrown in the company of many distinguished people. As a child she intimately knew Mary Anderson, supporting her at McVicker’s theater in Chicago quite often. She thinks Mary a great artist, but one who has but little pathos in her nature. With Roland Reed she has also been associated professionally, and Buchanan, who wrote “Alone in London.” He is also author of “Fascination,” the next play Miss Tanner stars in, and which largely engrosses her present attention. This play was put on the boards of her husband’s theater in Brooklyn last season for one week, and made instant success. In her new role Miss Tanner will do two very interesting things—step completely out of melodrama into genteel comedy, and also appear in boy’s costume. This latter seems to be all the rage at present. Emma Abbott in the “Good Devil” and Mrs. Langtry in her last thing out appear in pants, but neither of these women can approach Miss Tanner in masculine attire. “My husband,” said Miss Tanner,” has been trying to get Osmond Tearle and his wife to support me, but I greatly fear they can’t, on account of previous English engagements. Charley Coote will take the part of Rev. Mr. Colley, and the first performance will be given in the Fourteenth Street theater, New York, Sept. 10, the engagement to last seven weeks. The dates are already signed for the travelling show all next winter and far into the spring.” The Hennepin Avenue theater she characterizes as beautiful and ahead of many New York houses. She is agreeably surprised at the reception given her here, and intensely anxious to know all about the rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul, and if there is really any such thing.
The New York Mirror (19 November, 1887 - p.6)
We take satisfaction in presenting the following letter, which has been sent to us for publication by the members of the Alone in London company:
DUBUQUE, Ia., Nov. 6, 1887.
Editor New York Mirror:
DEAR SIR:—You have accomplished a great deal of good in your warfare against the play-pirates, and other abuses in the profession. Will you now take up the cudgel in behalf of the actor in the matter of the dirty and uncomfortable dressing-rooms with which we are afflicted in many of the provincial theatres? While every attention is paid to the comfort, and even luxury, of the auditor, the actors and actresses are compelled to do their dressing in the cellars and holes behind the curtain.
To be sure there are many theatres where no complaint can be lodged on this score, while the dressing-rooms of others are little better than rat pits. Of the latter are the dressing-rooms of the Peoria (Ill.) Opera House. The rooms under the stage of that house, where the gentlemen are compelled to dress, are the filthiest and most uncomfortable of any we have used this season. Imagine a cellar with earthen floor, damp, unwhitewashed walls of brick; laden with the accumulated dust of several years. In one room two barrels, half filled with foul-smelling garbage, support a rough plank that does duty as a dressing-shelf; each corner a convenient place for heaps of rubbish which have lain there since the house was built, and other nuisances to which we would respectfully call the attention of the local Board of Health.
We do not think that we are unreasonable when all we ask is clean rooms and proper facilities for dressing. Many ladies in the profession who have to wear elegant dresses on the stage, are compelled to carry two sets, one for the dirty theatres and one for the clean. The cause of innumerable deaths in our profession may be traced to damp and malarious dressing-rooms.
We cannot reform these abuses by our individual efforts, but it you will aid us in the publication, we, as a company, will contribute the location and names of the theatres and managers who insult the ladies and gentlemen of our profession by compelling them to dress in such pens, and our signatures will vouch for the truth of our complaints.
(Signed) Ada Dwyer, Maggie Holloway, Mrs. J. P. Sutton, Laura Le Claire, William T. Grover, stage manager; Alf Fisher, Leonard Grover, Jr., H. R Davies, Oliver Paul, C. G. Craig, W. A. Sands and G. Harold Cohill, members of the Alone in London company.
Although THE MIRROR has at frequent intervals during the past few years called attention to the disgraceful condition of the dressing-rooms provided in various theatres throughout the country, the foregoing letter of complaint is the first real token we have had of a desire on the part of the members of the profession for a reform in this direction. The statement of the Alone in London company is straightforward and to the point. If the management of the theatre in Peoria has any self-respect or any regard for the health and comfort of visiting professionals, the dressing-rooms will be promptly put into decent and habitable condition.
There is always money and to spare for beautifying an auditorium and equipping it luxuriously; surely a little may be spent on the players’ accommodations. Their surroundings should be in keeping with the dignity and character of their vocation. Unfortunately an opposite view typifies the reversion prevailing in certain managerial quarters of the relations of the actor to the theatre.
The speediest, if not the only way of remedying this crass indifference, is that pointed out in the concluding paragraph of the Alone in London company’s communication. We will gladly open our columns to all well-founded and signed complaints, and we hope that this offer and the good example set by the organization in question will induce others to aid us in securing better dressing-rooms for the profession wherever they are needed.
[A further article from The New York Mirror regarding the dressing-room question was published in the issue of 10th December, 1887 and is available here.]
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (21 February, 1888 - p.3)
Cora Tanner’s charm of manner and appearance and the copiousness of incident in Robert Buchanan’s play save and popularize “Alone in London.” The play is disappointing as a literary production; in fact, for an author who has done such singularly good work as Mr. Buchanan, who has displayed such original ideas as may be found in his novels and such delicacy of thought as mark his poems, it is coarse and conventional. The fact that such a play succeeds for three seasons proves the necessity of action in the drama. The most melodious dialogue, the most charming stage pictures, the brightest and most interesting accessories go for naught unless the stage folks hustle around and do something. They are doing something incessantly while the curtain is up on “Alone in London;” making love, committing deep, dark, terrible crimes, masquerading, begging, plotting revenge, trying to kill and getting killed. Time is duly measured off in which the heroine shall lament her bitter fate, and when the house is dotted with hankerchiefs low comedy enters with a bounce and the chuckle chokes the sob. It is in the truest sense an “effective” drama, and Mr. Buchanan has earned by it the title of playwright, which may compensate him for the abandonment of his old position as man of letters. The company and the setting that give form to his story have been picked with care and taste. In C. G. Craig, Leonard Grover, Alfred Fisher, Maggie Holloway, Ada Dwyer, W. A. Sands and others Miss Tanner has capable associates and supporters and the play moves with the spirit and precision that come of thorough practice. The attempting drowning in the sluice house and the foiled robbery in the last act were loudly applauded. Next week a new company will turn on some “Natural Gas” that is said to resemble laughing gas in its effect on the audience.
The New York Times (28 February, 1888)
MUSICAL AND DRAMATIC NOTES.
Cora Tanner, in “Alone in London,” was the attraction at Niblo’s last evening. The audience was large and enthusiastic. The engagement will continue this week.
The New York Times (14 March, 1888)
The east siders proved their fondness for the theatre last evening by giving Miss Cora Tanner, supported by Col. Sinn’s company, in “Alone in London,” a very fair-sized audience at the Windsor Theatre. Miss Tanner was called before the curtain several times. The applause was much louder than it would be supposed an audience of 400 could produce.
The New York Times (9 October, 1888)
Robert Buchanan’s melodrama “Alone in London,” in which Cora Tanner made some fame and considerable fortune, is the attraction at the Windsor Theatre this week. Last evening the audience was quite large, and it showed its enthusiasm without stint. Miss Ada Dwyer, who formerly had the part of Tom Chickweed, now personates the heroine. Her acting is marked by intelligence and much emotional power, and she wins fairly the marks of favor with which she is greeted. The part of Tom Chickweed is taken by Miss Madge Carr, who also does well. The remaining characters are portrayed by the same company that supported Miss Tanner, including Frank L. Davis, Leonard Grover, Jr., C. G. Craig, Alfred Fisher, Miss Marian Strickland, Miss Maggie Holloway, and Miss Marie Dudley. The scenic effects remain as picturesque and attractive as ever.