New York. Fifth Avenue Theatre, Eugene Tompkins, Lessee. 1888.
Program, printed on silk (or a silk-like fabric) for the opening of the Fifth Avenue Theatre’s "Regular Season 1888-1889," Monday October 29th, featuring a production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s comedy "The Rivals" starring Mrs. John Drew as "Mrs. Malaprop, Mr. Joseph Jefferson as "Bob Acres," and Mr. John Gilbert as "Sir Anthony Absolute." The program measures approximately 14 x 10 ¾ inches and, in addition to the front page, consists of two interior pages and a rear page. Each of these contain advertising unrelated to the stars or the production. Sheridan’s play was presented in an adaptation by Joseph Jefferson. Regarding the bringing together of three theatrical luminaries in the same play, the New York Times wrote (October 29, 1888) as follows: "The novelty lies in the fact that (the trio) will appear together in one company, making what may be justly called a star cast, and a fact which adds greatly to the interest aroused by this artistic combination is that each of the three players named has passed the half-century stone in his or her professional career. The aggregate service of these three artists in the dramatic profession amounts to 171 years." Following the run in New York City, the production was scheduled to move to Brooklyn and then to Boston for limited runs. The program is an exceptional and no doubt rare piece of theatrical ephemera and, despite its age, in remarkably good condition. Item #54892