John E. Owens: Nineteenth Century American Actor and Manager

Front Cover
McFarland, Jan 1, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 216 pages
John E. Owens (1823-1886), one of the wealthiest, most popular comic actors in America, refined the stage yankee and won critical and popular acclaim for his eccentric characters and tender, evocative portrayals of garrulous old men. His most famous role was Solon Shingle in J.S. Jones' The People's Lawyer, which he played over 2000 times, earning over $250,000 from it alone. As a manager, Owens had an eye for a hit, and he produced, directed, and performed in several of the nation's most successful productions of the 1850s and 1860s.
This biography chronicles his childhood and apprenticeship with William Burton, his early lead roles, his first efforts at management, and his marriage to Mary C. Stevens. It then discusses how he developed the roles of Solon Shingle and Caleb Plummer that brought him so much fame, the broadening of his audience and refining of his craft around the time of the Civil War, his performances in the West and expansion of his repertoire, his new ways of touring, and the loss and recovery of his audiences amid the rise of Joseph Jefferson. It ends with a discussion of his theatrical success, financial loss and exhaustion with acting and managing, and his illness and death.
 

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Contents

Illustrations
1
John E Owens 18231886 Photograph by Sarony ii
22
Owens as Paul Pry
24
2Baltimore Management and Marriage 18481855
28
Owens as Dr Ollapod in The Poor Gentleman From a painting by DAlmaine
29
The Baltimore Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts at the time of Owens management 1850
30
Aigburth Vale in 1868
46
Aigburth Vale today
47
Owens as Major Wellington Deboots in Everybodys Friend
73
4Wartime Touring 18611865
79
15 Mr and Mrs John E Owens c 1865
81
Broadway Theatre
90
5Into the West 18651872
95
6Combinations 18721875
117
7Eclipsed? 18751879
130
8Vicissitudes 18791884
144

Owens as Dr Pangloss in The Heir at Law
49
3Solon Shingle and Caleb Plummer 18551861
53
Four views of Owens as Solon Shingle in The Peoples Lawyer
58
Owens as John Unit in Self
61
Owens as Joshua Butterby in Victims
64
Owens as Caleb Plummer and Charlotte Thompson as Dot in Dot
70
Last known photograph of Owens c 1880
150
Roles Played
163
Cities Played
178
Bibliography
203
Copyright

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