Edward Brewster Sheldon

Definition

Theater

  • (1886 - 1946) US dramatist who pioneered realismon the US stage with his first play Salvation Nell. First producedat Hackett's Theatre on Broadway in 1903, it starred Minnie Fiskeas a parish scrubwoman, Nell Sanders, and was directed by her husband,Harrison Grey Fiske. Sheldon, who had been a member of '47 Workshopat Harvard University was instantly acclaimed as the leader of a newUS school of naturalistic playwrights. This standing was confirmedby subsequent works such as The Nigger (1904), which exploredthe race problem, and The Boss (1911), about contemporary employmentabuses.

    Sheldon's biggest hit, however, was Romance (1913),a far less realistic piece in which Doris Keane starred in the roleof an Italian opera singer. The play, one of the first to use flashbacks,enjoyed long runs in New York and London. Owing to his ill healthmost of Sheldon's later work was in collaboration with other writers.

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