Before the Lusitania Embarked


Alfred Vanderbilt, the richest man on the ship, and Charles Frohman, producer of the famed Peter Pan, attended the theater the night before embarking on the “last voyage of the Lusitania“. The picture above shows what the theater looked like at the time. The theater was owned by Charles Frohman who built it in 1898. After his death on the Lusitania, ownership of the theater was handed to Al Hayman, but it was eventually torn down in 1958 to make room for offices, which is sad, really, since I’d love to have seen it.

The following quote describes the play they saw on April 30. Not the lightest play in the world but still interesting.

“The play takes place in 1745 in Belgium. The War of Austrian Succession is on. At the opening of the play a major battle between the English and the French is about to take place. The hero of the play is a French soldier named Renaud who gets a package of jewels from a dying friend in order to take care of his friend’s family.

The villain sees the exchange and later breaks into Renaud’s house, steals the jewels and kills his wife who is the mother of their young daughter Adrienne who was played by Maude Adams. The child has to testify and, since she had been sent to her room, the can only testify about what she heard. That appears to make Renaud guilty of killing his wife and it is years before the real villain confesses and Renuad is set free” (Maude).

The play was made into a movie the year before and can be found on IMDB, though there isn’t much information there.

There is also a rumor that Captain Turner visited his niece behind the stage to say hello before embarking on his journey the next morning, so it was a theater-filled eve for some.

I’d love to get my hands on a copy of that movie some day.


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