Daly, Augustin

Daly, Augustin,

1838–99, American theatrical manager and dramatist, b. Plymouth, N.C. After 1859 he was drama critic for several New York City newspapers and adapted many plays from French and German. In 1867 he made his debut as manager with his melodrama Under the Gaslight, and in 1869 he opened his first theater. At his famous Daly's Theatre on Broadway he presented noted productions of Shakespearean comedies. He was praised for his meticulous concern with details and hated for what his critics saw as his paternalistic handling of his company.

Bibliography

See biography by J. F. Daly (1917); M. Felheim, The Theatre of Augustin Daly (1956).

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Daly, (John) Augustin

(1838–99) theatrical manager and playwright; born in Plymouth, N.C. Although purists criticized him for rewriting standard works, including Shakespeare, he became one of the most admired theatrical personages of his day, with approximately 100 plays to his credit. He founded and managed theaters named for him in both New York and London. His greatest hits were plays he adapted from foreign sources, but he was disappointed when audiences turned away from new American plays. In the 1880s he built an excellent company, including Ada Rehan and John Drew, insisting that his players demonstrate considerable versatility, rather than being type-cast. His first New York success in 1863 was S.H. von Mosenthal's Deborah as Leah, The Forsaken. Later productions included Twelfth Night, Frou-Frou, The School for Scandal, and The Big Bonanza, The Railroad of Love, and Tennyson's The Foresters.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.