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EDWARD ASKEW SOTHERN - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 10/27 CO-SIGNED BY: FRANCIS S. CHANFRAU - HFSID 304558

Separate handwritten letters to Eugene Tompkins, manager of the Boston Theatre, finalizing booking arrangements for their productions. Each of these actors parlayed a small role ("Lord Dundreary" and "Mose the Bowery Boy") into internationally famous ones.

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Reg. $360.00

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EDWARD ASKEW SOTHERN and FRANCIS S. CHANFRAU
Separate handwritten letters to Eugene Tompkins, manager of the Boston Theatre, finalizing booking arrangements for their productions. Each of these actors parlayed a small role ("Lord Dundreary" and "Mose the Bowery Boy") into internationally famous ones.
Collection includes: 1) Autograph Letter signed: "E. A. Sothern", 1 page, 5¼x5¾ No place, October 27, no year. To "Dear [Eugene] Tompkins", in full: "All right - February 16 (Monday) for three weeks - 7 performances a week - $500 for each performance. Booking here & Hall tells me better than ever as is known. Yours sincerely". 2) Autograph Letter signed: "F. S. Chanfrau", 1 page, 5x8. Long Branch Village, New Jersey, 1883 August 8. To "Dear Mr. Tompkins", in full: "I forward to Boston Theatre this day Manuscript, Music & Parts of Kit. I suppose we will have two or three rehearsals before the 3rd of September. I think we will need it - as there seems to be several new people in the cast. My Son answered your letter yesterday. I will be with you three or four days before the opening. Truly yours". English comic actor EDWARD ASKEW SOTHERN (1826-1881) made his professional debut in The Lady of Lyons (1849). He traveled to the US in 1852, joining the company of Wallack's Theatre in 1854. His success in Camille secured an offer for a part in Tom Taylor's Our American Cousin (1858), remembered today as the play Lincoln was viewing when assassinated. The part offered Sothern, Lord Dundreary, was so small that the actor almost refused it. However, he became so popular in this role as an empty-headed English aristocrat that his part steadily expanded, becoming the focus of the play. Lord Dundreary became hugely popular on both sides of the Atlantic, and Sothern famous as its creator. He had another big hit in the title role of David Garrick (1864), famous for an audience-pleasing drunk scene. W. S. Gilbert wrote three plays for Sothern, who could manage dramatic roles as well. (He successfully portrayed Othello in an 1877 production. Sothern was so famous as a practical joker that many friends missed his funeral, thinking the announcement one of his tricks. FRANCIS "FRANK", "F. S." CHANFRAU (1824-1884), possessing a superior gift for dialect, started his stage career doing impressions, from famed actor Edwin Forrest to assorted foreigners. In 1848, he stole the show as "Mose," a Bowery boy in A Glance at New York, expanding what was originally a bit part into a starring role in that and six more plays through 1860. In 1868 a melodrama, The Arkansas Traveller, was written expressly for Chanfrau. Unsuccessful in its 1868 debut, the play was re-worked and became a major New York hit in 1871. He took his starring role as Kit Redding, referenced in his letter above, on successful road tours. Although he performed in other works, it was for "Mose" and "Kit" that Chanfrau was famous. The "Mr Tompkins" to whom these letters were addressed was the longtime manager of the Boston Theatre. Paper strip affixed at left edge of face and right edge of verso. Normal mailing folds present on letters. Bottom edge of face irregularly cut. Pencil note (unknown hand) near right edge on face (not affecting signature). Ink lightly smeared on verso. Otherwise, fine condition.

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