Drew family

Definition

Theater

  • The US actress-manager Louisa Lane Drew (1820 - 97), herhusband the Irish comedian John Drew (1827 - 62), their son theactor John Drew (1858 - 1927), and their daughter the actressGeorgiana Drew (1856 - 92).

    Louisa Lane Drew was born (as Louisa Lane) into aLondon family with theatrical connections going back to the Elizabethantheater. A child star who once appeared with Macready, Louisa wastaken by her widowed mother to America where, aged seven, she playedin Richard III at the Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia.As an adult Louisa appeared with many famous actors, including EdwinBooth and Edwin Forrest. She had a strong personality and was singledout by the critic T. Allston Brown for her lofty intellect, passionatedevotion to her art, and highly cultivated mind.

    In 1850 Louisa married the Dublin-born actor John Drew,who specialized in comic Irish characters. John had made his New Yorkdebut in 1842 and the following year took out a lease on Philadelphia'sArch Street Theatre. From 1859 he concentrated on touring,leaving Louisa to run the venue, which she continued to do until 1892.The first US woman to manage a major theater, she presented severalimportant plays as well as doing much of the all-round stage work,including carpentry, herself. From 1880 onwards she toured almostconstantly in Sheridan's The Rivals, with the third JosephJefferson (see Jefferson family).

    The younger John Drew made his debut at his mother'stheater in Cool as a Cucumber (1873). Two years later he madehis New York debut in Augustin Daly's The Big Bonanza.In 1879 John joined Daly's new company, in which he played oppositeAda Rehan (1866 - 1916), also from his mother's theater. In the1880s Drew became a matinee idol popularly known as the FirstGentleman of the Stage. In 1893 he and Rehan opened Daly's Theatre,London, with The Taming of the Shrew. John's last performancewas in Pinero's Trelawny of the 'Wells'. see also Sir Max Beerbohm.

    Georgiana Drew, known as Georgie, made her debutin 1872 at the Arch Street Theatre, before also joining Daly's company.In 1876 she married the British actor Maurice Barrymore; their children,Ethel, John, and Lionel all later became stars (see the Barrymores).Georgiana continued to act until her early death at the age of 36.Following her performance in The Senator in 1890, one critichad noted: "An actress to her fingertips, she captivated theaudience at once and kept them in roars of laughter and applause."

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