The Butterflies

The play opened Feb.5, 1894 at Palmer's Theater. The play was by Henry Guy Carleton. Maude Adams played Miriam. Annie Adams, her mother, played Mrs. Ossian.

=====From the Acton Davies book=====

"This time it was a light comedy by Henry Guy Carleton called Butterflies. Miss Adam's nominally played the leading part in it, but it was a dreadfully conventional part, which offered her no real opportunity..."

=====American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1869-1914 by Gerald Bordman; Oxford University Press, 1994=====

John Drew, still new to stardom, found himself in a ticklish situation when a supporting player all but stole the show from him in Henry Guy Carleton's The Butterflies ( 2-5- 94), Palmer's). Carleton's story told how love forces Frederick Ossian to give up the life of an irresponsible man-about-town and settle down to earning his way in the world. Maude Adams was the heroine. But critic after critic stopped his review in its tracks to hurl garlands at Olive May for her portrayal of Suzanne Elise, a happily chortling, scatterbrained ingenue. She bounced about in bright, flower-bedecked gowns, and when she bounced, a bun that sat atop her head like a cupola bounced in quick response. Yet although she also received excited notices in some later shows, Miss May's career was shaky, while Drew and Miss Adams remained major stars for decades. Carleton's humor was also enjoyed. In one instance a snobbish woman, determined that everyone should be aware that she and her family are the Stuart-Dodges of Philadelphia, has her vanity punctured when someone asks in response, "Where is Philadelphia?" Winning further applause was a setting of a San Augustine drawing room, with a moonlit lighthouse seen through its windows. Pleasant fluff, the play drew patrons determined to forget the nation's economic woes and so prospered for three months.


A review from February 6, 1894, of the play went:

"Miss Adams, an actress of exceptional talent, plays with charming intelligence and restraint."

"Maude Adams, an interesting actress and one of exceptional talent, represented the gentle heroine."" New York Tribune, Feb. 6. 1894

The Trenton Times, Dec. 20, 1894

Manitobou Morning Free Press, Feb. 23, 1894

The Evening Herald, May 11, 1895

The North Adams Transcript, January 30, 1899

The Fort Wayne News, August 31, 1896

The Evening Democrat (Penn), April 28, 1894

The first article (top left corner) is simply an ad for the play, with Maude Adams having second billing. The next article (top middle) has a somewhat unflattering analysis of Maude Adams' performance, saying there was "no tangible flaw" in her work, but she simply was not as good as she was in the play "The Masked Ball." Likewise, the next article is critical of her performance, saying that she was "vastly overpraised for her not remarkable work in an exceedingly easy role." Most reviews of Maude Adams work are positive, but sometimes you do find negative ones.

The bottom left article gives a little interesting history about the play. The middle bottom-row article is about the writer of the play, mainly. The final article is a cute piece describing how Maude Adams laughs.