By Professor Philip H Highfill Jr PhD, Professor Kalman A Burnim PhD, Edward A. Langhans

Just like the works already released, those most modern volumes of the Biographical Dictionary take care of theatre humans of each ilk, starting from dressers and one-performance actors to trumpeter John Shore (inventor of the tuning fork) and the incomparable Sarah Siddons.Also admired is Susanna Rowson, a novelist, actress, and early woman playwright. even if born right into a British army kin, Rowson frequently wrote performs that handled patriotic American topics and spent a lot of her occupation at the American stage.The theatrical jewel of those volumes is the "divine Sarah" Siddons: "She raised the tragedy to the skies," wrote William Hazlitt, and "embodied to our mind's eye the fables of mythology, of the heroic and dignified mortals of elder time." She persisted a lot tragedy herself, together with a crippling debilitating disease and the deaths of 5 of her seven young children. Siddons performed significant roles in either comedy and tragedy, now not the least of which used to be a functionality as Hamlet.

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Extra info for A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Volume 14, S. Siddons to Thynne: Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800

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There Sarah's acting of Belvidera in Venice Preserv'd won the tears and eventually the friendship of Henrietta Boyle, the rich and fashionable stepdaughter of Lord Bruce. " Upon Lord Bruce's return to London he recommended Sarah to David Garrick at Drury Lane. During her engagement at Cheltenham Sarah was far advanced in pregnancy; she gave birth to her first child, Henry Siddons, on 4 October 1774 at Wolverhampton. At some point Garrick had sent his friend and leading comedian Tom King to Cheltenham to see her act Calista in The Fair Penitent.

It is said that as many as 2557 applications were made in one day for 630 places, and that persons merely passing by the theatre were swept in by the mob, which also attracted enterprising pickpockets all the way from London. In 12 nights playing her tragic repertoire she realized £967 7s. , including a subscription of £200 from a group of gentlemen and presents of gold plate and tickets worth £120. She also received a present of a silver tea vase inscribed "As a Mark of Esteem {for} Unrivalled Talents " While she was in Edinburgh the General Assembly was obliged to yield to the Siddons fever and avoided conducting its business during the time of her performances in order to accommodate a considerable number of the members.

In that role she reappeared on the stage of Drury Lane Theatre on 10 October 1782, with a cast that included "Gentleman" Smith as Biron, Packer as Count Baldwin, Farren as Carlos, and Robert Palmer as Belford, eight years after her initial failure there. The tumultuous applause for her began before the final curtain. " It was one of those famous nights in theatrical history, perhaps comparable to those engendered by Garrick and Kean, certainly equal to the debut of her brother John as Hamlet on the same stage a year later.

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