1903. Item #028119
A playbill by the Chestnut Street Opera House announcing the special engagement of Henry Irving and his company. What is interesting is the Philadelphia Inquirer had announced in a special headline on November 12, 1903 was that "A SUDDEN DROP IN MUSICAL COMEDY .. IN FAVOR OF MORE SUBSTANTIAL ATTRACTIONS". The article goes on to say that Sir Henry Irving who had not been back since 1884 would be headlining the series with an unusually large and talented company. Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) was the first actor to be knighted was also known as an actor-manager because he took complete responsibility for the sets, lighting, direction, casting as well as playing the leading roles. Irving is widely acknowledged to be one of the inspirations for Count Dracula, the title character of the 1897 novel Dracula whose author, Bram Stoker, was business manager of the theatre. When Stoker began writing Dracula, Irving was his chief inspiration for the character. The historian Louis S. Warren in a 2002 paper wrote "Scholar have long agreed that keys to the Dracula tale's origin and meaning lie in the manager's relationship with Irving in the 1880's. Theatre playbills that have survived in fine condition seldom survive: especially, for such a noted actor in a major American theatre. Tiny chip to bottom edge otherwise a fine example.