The play opened Aug. 31, 1896 at the Empire Theatre. The play was by Louis N. Parker and Murray Carson. Maude Adams played Dorothy. This was also the last play that Maude Adams appeared on the stage with her mother, Annie Adams.
=====From the Acton Davies book=====
"Early in the following September Mr. Drew produced Rosemary, and Maude Adams' popularity grew suddenly from a fad into a furor. Mr. Drew scored a notable success as Sir Jasper, but it was Maude Adams' Dorothy Cruickshank that made the great success."
"As for the play, it was charming. As sweet and wholesome as the little plant whose name it bears, Rosemary triumphed unconditionally. Messrs. Louis N. Parker and Murray Carson had turned out a remarkable piece of stagecraft. It was a love story pure and simple, and yet it was more than that. In dialogue and action it was high comedy of the first water. There was not a superfluous phrase nor a strained situation in it., and children might take their grandmothers to see it without fear of the slightest blush. The play opens in the wet.
Miss Dorothy Cruickshank and Master William Westwood, an eloping couple, aged eighteen and twenty, have come to grief in the mud. Their chaise has broken down. Sir Jasper Thorndyke, outside of whose gate the accident has occurred, comes to their rescue. He puts them up for the night the boy in the Pink room, the girl in the Blue. Later a blustering sea captain and his wife also take refuge from the storm, and it isn't until they are also safely installed for the night that Sir Jasper realizes that they are the parents of the would-be bride. His first real glimpse of the little girl comes early in the morning, when she comes ski ping into the breakfast room with her arms full of flowers just plucked from the garden. She flits about the room, looping up the curtains, placing a flower here and there., and before he is aware of it the middle-aged bachelor finds himself head over ears in love. The girl tells him all about her great love for William, and then asks him to please call her Dolly. The irate parents, to whom William is an unknown quantity, meet the lad in the garden and take a great fancy to him, supposing, of course, that he is Sir Jasper's son. Sir Jasper, by the exercise of a little diplomacy at the breakfast table,, induces the old people to consent to the marriage of the youngsters, and the act ends by the whole party starting for London on Sir Jasper's coach, where they intend to kill two birds with one stone,-see the young queen's coronation and get the children spliced in proper form. But in London Sir Jasper meets his Waterloo. Dolly, all unconsciously, has wound herself about his heart. A word from him and William's chances of matrimony would be blown sky-high."
"The boy is furious with jealousy. He reproaches Dolly and demands possession of her diary, in which the girl has written her impressions of her coaching trip. Dolly refuses indignantly. William decamps, and the little girl in despair appeals to Sir Jasper. She reads him an extract about the beautiful day and the beautiful time and the beautiful things which Sir Jasper has said to her."
"There!" she exclaims , triumphantly. "William has no cause to be angry. There's nothing about him in that."
"It is all that Sir Jasper can do to keep from taking the little girl in his arms. She tears the leaves out of her diary and hands them to him. "I don't mind showing them to you," she tells him naively, "because you don't care."
"Sir Jasper finds the boy and a reconciliation is effected, but in the meantime the Queen's procession has passed their windows and not one of them has seen it. As the girl and her boy lover start away, Dolly places a sprig of rosemary in Sir Jasper's hand. - ,This is for remembrance."
"A moment later the landlord of the house comes rushing in, and Sir Jasper buys the house from him on the spot. "his house henceforth shall be a shrine to me., a holy place."
"The last act shows the same room on the day of the Queen's jubilee. Sir Jasper, lame and toothless, hobbles in. As he rings for his servant a piece of the old wainscoting falls down, and from the ruins he picks up a leaf of yellow paper. Through his glasses Sir Jasper recognizes that the word beautiful is written on it several times. Then he remembers the little girl who wrote it. What was her name? Ah! yes, he remembers now. It was Dolly."
"In spite of the effectiveness of this final scene Rosemary would be a better play if it ended with the third act. As it stands at present, it seems to signify merely "a dream and a forgetting." This scene must always remain an open question. Some liked it, many others did not. If Miss Maude Adams had played Dolly five years before, when she first became Mr. Drew's leading woman, she would have been credited with giving a lifelike impersonation of an ingenuous little girl. But coming at this stage of Miss Adams' career, this impersonation of hers meant far more."
"It meant that she had become a consummate artist. Never for one instant did Miss Adams forget that she was playing the part of an absolutely ingenuous girl. Exquiadamse is the only word which properly describes her work."
"So great was Miss Adams' success in Rosemary that her manager, Mr. Charles Frohman, decided that the time was now ripe for Miss Adams to come out as a star."
My Years on the Stage by John Drew 1921
"The play Rosemary is not an extraordinary piece, but it does contain a great deal of proper sentiment, feeling and sympathy. It is gay and pretty, but not without depth."
=====Charles Frohman:" Manager and Man by Issac F. Marcosson and Daniel Frohman, with an Appreciation by James M. Barrie. 1916=====
Rosemary" was an exquisite comedy, and packed with sentiment. Maude Adams played the part of Dorothy Cruikshank, a character of quaint and appealing sweetness. It touched the hidden springs of whimsical humor and thrilling tenderness, qualities which soon proved to be among her chief assets.
=====American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1869-1914 by Gerald Bordman; Oxford University Press, 1994=====
The season's first big success at a prime playhouse was Murray Carson and Louis N. Parker's Rosemary ( 8-31- 96), Empire), which Charles Frohman mounted for his star, John Drew, supported by an excellent cast that included Maude Adams, Arthur Byron, and Ethel Barrymore. Drew played middle-aged Sir Jasper Thorndyke, who takes a pair of eloping lovers under his wing only to be smitten by the bride-to-be. He resists temptation and sees to it that the pair are married. Years later, after the youngsters have lived out their lives and died and he is a doddering old man, he revisits the inn where he took the girl to watch the coronation procession and there briefly remembers the idyll. Drew was "delightfully light and airy in the gay passages. . . . Always essentially the man of the world, he composed with admirable skill the picture of senility in the last act or epilogue." Many reviewers felt Miss Adams gave her most beguiling performance yet, and they found promise in Miss Barrymore's portrayal of a rustic maid. The play ran into the winter, then toured.
=====Barrie, the Story of J. M. B by Denis George Mackail; C. Scribner's Sons, 1941=====
On the very first evening Frohman had provided a box for the little party at the Empire Theatre. The play was Rosemary, by Louis N. Parker and Murray Carson. Its heroine, not technically a star yet, was Miss Maude Adams, and they were all very much impressed by her charm and skill. On the following day Miss Marbury called at the hotel and collected the script of The Little Minister. Frohman had promised to read it and give his decision within a week.
A September 1, 1896 review of the play goes:
"The heroine was made incarnate simplicity by Miss Maude Adams, more clever and charming than ever. It is the great merit of Miss Adam's performance that she keeps ever in view the simple ingeniousness of Dolly's nature."
New York Times, Sept. 1, 1896:Some folks...will say no such girl as Dorothy Cruickshank ever lived-none so simple and ingenuous; but they will be very modern young folks who know nothing at all about the style of the thirties, and The Ladies Own Annual.
Dramatic Mirror, Sept. 12, 1896:Few single bits of recent light comedy may compare with her delightful work in the second act, when, with real ingenuousness, she undertakes to rearrange the bachelor Sir Jasper's breakfast-room, and, all unwittingly, captivates his hardened heart. In the third act, the reading of the charmingly characteristic diary was a gem of true art—almost pathetic in girlish simplicity.
The New York Times, Sept. 1, 1896
The Fort Wayne gazette, May 14, 1899
The Fort Wayne News, May 11, 1897
The New York Times, Oct. 4, 1896
The first two articles are about how well the play was liked. The third and fourth entries are from the same article and seems to praise Maude Adams quite highly. The last article appears to be part of the play itself.