Christopher, Jr

The play opened Oct. 7, 1895 at the Empire Theatre. The play was by Madeleine Lucette Ryley. Maude Adams played Dora Annie Adams was also in the play. It ran for 64 performances..

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

"It was found necessary to make a change of bill at once, and Christopher, Jr., a rollicking little comedy by Madeleine Lucette Ryley, which Mr. Drew had produced on the road during the previous season, but which he had feared was not quite strong enough to endure a New York run,, was substituted for The Imprudent Young Couple. The change was a great success, and the little comedy set the whole town laughing. There was one scene in this play which I have always thought the most beautiful piece of acting that Maude Adams had ever done. I saw the play for the first time the season previous to its run at the Empire over in that gaunt old mausoleum of a theatre, the Columbia,, in Brooklyn, where Mr. Drew was quietly, to quote the vernacular, "trying it on the dog." The details of the plot have escaped my memory, but that one little episode stands out as clear as day. In this scene, Miss Adams, broken-hearted at the prospect of a long parting from her lover, Adams sits down at the piano and sings for him at his request. The song was Torti's "Good-bye." She struggled through those first lines, -"

"Falling leaf on fading tree,

Lines of white on a sullen sea,

Shadows rising - "

"and then gradually, note by note., her voice began to fail a little; a lump crept into one's own throat from sheer sympathy, and then with a sudden crash and a sob down went her head upon the music rack, and actress and audience wept metaphorically on each other's shoulders."

"That huge theatre was almost empty that night, but for all that the small audience fairly got up on its hind legs and fired salvoes after salvoes of applause at the actress. The run of Christopher,Jr, at the Empire lasted until the following February."

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

Frohman's response to That Imprudent Young Couple 's debacle was to offer a hasty mounting of Madeleine Lucette Ryley's Christopher, Jr. ( 10-7- 95), Empire). Actually, the mounting was not all that hurried, for Drew and his fellow players had been offering it on the road. Since Christopher Colt, Jr. ( Drew), has mistakenly entered a young lady's stateroom, fallen asleep, and remained there overnight, he has been forced to marry the girl. Once ashore, however, he conveniently forgets her--an easy thing to do since he never really got a good look at her. Although he lives a costly man-about-town life, he takes a room in an attic and pretends to poverty when his father comes to visit him. But his father's mission is to insist that his son marry, and, for farcical purposes, the old man will not listen to his son's explanation of why he cannot. The father ( Harry Harwood) introduces the bride-elect, Dora ( Maude Adams), and Christopher proceeds to make himself as undesirable as possible. Of course, it turns out that Dora was the girl on the ship, and all ends happily.

Drew had several juicy scenes, at one point turning a headache on and off to suit his purposes. Miss Adams also had an applause-getting scene, which required her to run a gamut of confused, often conflicting emotions in response to Drew's remarks. The Times praised both players, suggesting that Drew's role was "measured to fit him." But other critics were wearying of Drew's tried and true mannerisms, which, the Dramatic Mirror complained, often consisted of little else than "rolling his eyes at the heroine and making grimaces at the audience." But his audiences clearly loved it, and the farce ran out the rest of his season, eight weeks.

=====My Years on the Stage by John Drew; E. P. Dutton & Company, 1922=====

Then came Christopher Jr., a bright but not altogether logical play by Madeline Lucette Ryley in which the players were:

CHRISTOPHER COLT, JR. (John Drew ); CHRISTOPHER COLT, SR. (Harry Harwood ); BERT BELLABY (Lewis Baker ); HEDWAY (C. Leslie Allen); SIMPSON (Arthur Byron); GLIBB (Herbert Ayling); JOB (Joseph Humphreys); WHIMPER (Frank Lamb); MRS. GLIBB (Elsie De Wolfe); MRS. COLT (Anna Belmont); DORA (Maude Adams).


An October 8, 1895 review of the play goes:

"Miss Adams has a good part, the best-in the technical sense-yet allotted to her. She is called upon to denote sudden changes of mood, from anger, contempt, and amazement, to extravagant joy. Her acting fairly justifies the enthusiastic admiration of her friends."

“Miss Adams also has a good part, the best—in the technical sense—yet allotted to her. In three-quarters of the play she is vivacious, with a touch of pleasing sentiment, while in the last act she is the central figure in an ingenious and adroitly varied scene, in which she is called upon to denote sudden changes of mood, from anger, contempt, and amazement, to extravagant joy. Her acting fairly justifies the enthusiastic admiration of her friends.” New York Times, Oct. 7, 1895

“As Dora Miss Maud Adams is even more charming than in anything before. She is rising, and in the play she goes a long way up. Miss Adams is original as well as arch. There is something deliciously quaint in the dainty and delicate ways in which she completes a picture of bewitching young womanhood. NO one who was in the house last night could doubt that the audience was as enthusiastic over her acting as over that of Drew, and both were applauded without reserve, and most cordially.” Tribune, Oct. 8, 1895

Ad for the Play

The Evening News, May 30, 1896

The New York Times, Oct. 27, 1819

The Stevens Point Gazette, Dec. 11, 1895

The Fitchburg Sentinel, Jan. 20, 1902

Notice the first article refers to a famous person seeing the play, and the second article uses the "Maud" spelling rather than the proper "Maude" spelling.