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Charlotte Cushman

After leaving the army in 1835 John Nickinson acted at the Theatre Royal, Montreal, and the following season 1836-1837 joined a stock company in Albany, New York.  Charlotte Cushman played Romeo at the Albany theatre and after the performance, John Nickinson led her on stage and placed a wreath on her head. http://www30.us.archive.org/stream/cu31924027236771/cu31924027236771_djvu.txt

Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto 1894  http://books.google.com/books?id=gVkRAQAAMAAJ&vq=nickinson&dq=robertson's+landmarks+of+toronto&source=gbs_navlinks_s  says that John Nickinson first came to Toronto in  1852, and that Charlotte's godmother was Charlotte Cushman

 

Charlotte Cushman, Philadelphia, May 1858

Headlined Great Actress of the Age Miss Charlotte Cushman, 
Only Four More Nights as Lady MacBeth and Mr. Dolman playing MacBeth.

Charlotte Cushman photographed by Matthew Brady http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/brady/gallery/01gal.html    Charlotte Cushman photo http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Cushman,Charlotte2.jpg

The New York Dramatic Mirror obituary of EJ Phillips mentions that she played with Charlotte Cushman. I was unable to trace this until I read John Dolman Jr.'s The Art of Acting where he recounts the following anecdote.

The unwillingness to act at rehearsals is a characteristic of third-rate actors; the great ones like Garrick have generally been less temperamental about it., though some have pretended to be more casual than they really were.  Charlotte Cushman, for example, is quoted by her chief biographer, Emma Stebbins, as saying that she was content to get the general sense of her part at rehearsals; but my own grandmother [EJ Phillips, the author was her grandson Jack] who was on the stage for forty-five years, used to say that the most stirring piece of acting she ever saw was a portrayal of Lady Macbeth, in the banquet scene, done at rehearsal, in street dress, by that same Charlotte Cushman. 

It seems likely that this was in Philadelphia, though it may have been in New Orleans or elsewhere.  I have a small undated newspaper clipping which mentions Charlotte Cushman, and a copy of a playbill from Wheatley's Arch St. Theatre, May 25th 1858 

Strang writes "Charlotte Cushman has always been to me a creature of  mystery ... Certainly the facts of her life and career are straightforward and simple, even prosaic ... She was the first great American actress. That much is plain.  ..Strang also notes that Charlotte Cushman "presented a Lady Macbeth that was more man than woman; and she had, moreover, a theory , which she claimed could be proven by the text, that both Macbeth and his wife were drunk when they murdered Duncan.. 

Charlotte Cushman early in her career, Strang's Players and Plays, 1902
 

 

Charlotte Cushman 91816-1876) is buried in Mt Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge Massachusetts.

Bibliography
Leach, Joseph, Bright Particular Star: The Life and Times of Charlotte Cushman, 1970, CardinalBook Electronic Edition, 1997 http://www.cardinalbook.com/leach/cushman/iso8859/index.htm
Stebbins, Emma, Charlotte Cushman: Her Letters and Memories of Her Life, 1878. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston excerpt http://www.authorama.com/19th-century-actor-autobiographies-4.html

Last Updated Oct 27, 2012        

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