Daly's Theatre



  • (1) A former theater off Leicester Square, London, which openedin 1893. It was owned by and named after the US producer AugustinDaly. The theater opened with a production of The Taming of theShrew featuring the stars of Daly's US repertory company, AdaRehan and John Drew (see Drew family). Subsequentperformers there included Eleonora Duse and Violet Vanbrugh.

    In 1895, discouraged that his British venture was not provingas successful as its New York counterpart, Daly sold the theater toits manager, George Edwardes, who made it a fashionable venuefor musical comedy. This tradition continued after Edwardes's deathin 1915.

    In 1927 the theater witnessed scenes of uproar on the firstnight of Noël Coward's Sirocco (see flop).After this failure, Daly's quickly returned to musical comedies butfound little further success, eventually closing in 1937.

    (2) A New York theater that opened as Banvard's Museum in1867 (changing its name to Wood's Museum the following year). At firstthe majority of productions were variety and burlesque,although more serious works were offered after 1872, when Laura Keenemade her farewell performance in The Sea of Ice. After beingremodelled by Augustin Daly it reopened in 1879 as Daly's Theatre,becoming one of New York's most fashionable venues.

    In the 1880s Daly established one of America's last greatrepertory companies there, headed by John Drew and Ada Rehan. One of theirbiggest hits was an 1887 revival of The Taming of the Shrew; othersuccesses included the comedy The Railroad of Love (1888). Anotherof Daly's stars was Clara Morris, the Canadian-born US actress, who wonparticular acclaim as Lady Macbeth and in Wilkie Collins's Man and Wife(1872). Once a letter arrived for Morris from the rival Wallack's TheatreCompany. Daly hid the letter, offered the actress a $20 rise if she immediatelysigned a new contract, then replaced the letter in her box. Although the rivaloffer was double Daly's salary, Clara remained with him for many years.

    Daly managed the theater until his death in 1899. Although it became acinema in 1915, the venue retained his name until its demolition in 1920.