Wallack’s Lyceum was located in Broadway near Broome Street. Its productions included original works by Pfaffians John Brougham, Stephen Ryder Fiske, and Fitz-James O’Brien. The Lyceum, run by James W. Wallack, was at one time the leading theater in New York City.
Belphegor writes that he saw Lost in London at Wallack's (280).[pages:280,281]
Site of first performance.
Site of the first performance.
Site of the original performance.
Site of original performance, October, 1860.
Site of original performance.
Site of original performance in 1858.
Site of the original performance.
Site of first performance, Sept. 13, 1855.
Site of original performance June 8, 1868.
C.B.S. mentions a revival of A New Way to Pay Old Debts at Wallack's (233).[pages:233]
Clare engages in a late discussion of the Poor Young Man at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
Clare claims to have enjoyed Everybody's Friend at Wallack's, regardless of what the critics say (2).[pages:2]
Figaro mentions that the "benefit season" has begun at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
Figaro notes that the current play at Wallack's Society deals with Bohemia (5).[pages:5]
Figaro discusses the first appearance in a year of Mr. Oliver Goldsmith and Mr. Lester Wallack at Wallack's in a performance of She Stoops to Conquer (5).[pages:5]
Figaro mentions Lester Wallack's return to the stage after a year-long absence in She Stoops to Conquer (4).[pages:4]
Figaro notes that Charles Reade's Never too Late to Mend is still being performed at Wallack's, which he thinks may be due, in part, to the "truly magnificent scenery" (5).[pages:5]
Figaro writes that he saw Mr. Editor enjoying a performance of The Serious Family at Wallack's (4).[pages:4]
Figaro mentions that Wallack's will be another theatrical "head-centre" in the next week (4).[pages:4]
Figaro mentions the performances of Single Life and Ladies at Home> for Mrs. Vernon (5).[pages:5]
Figaro mentions that there will be a benefit at Wallack's next week for J.W. Wallack, during which he will star in The Iron Mask (89).[pages:89]
Figaro notes that even at Wallack's "business is the order" (25).[pages:25]
Figaro claims that he was present at a performance of Miriam's Crime at Wallack's (168). Figaro claims there is not much to say about the play "except that it is a crime to produce such a piece at Wallack's" (169). Figaro urges audiences to see Still Waters Run Deep when it is performed at Wallack's (169).[pages:168,169]
Figaro reports that Wallack's will re-open for the season on Monday with a production of Tom Taylor's The Serf (105).[pages:105]
Figaro discusses a benefit at Wallack's headed by J.W. Wallack (105).[pages:105]
Figaro writes that The Colleen Bawn is still at Wallack's, but will be replaced by Born to Good Luck next week. Figaro reports that the new play promises to be another success for Dan Bryant (41).[pages:41]
Figaro mentions that he saw Still Waters Run Deep and Ici On Parle Francais at Wallack's this week and that he was chiefly entertained by the "comedy of manners" being performed in a nearby private box. Mentions that he was amused, but sympathizes with the actors who could hear what was going on (184). Figaro mentions Wallack's as one of the theaters that constantly boasts a full house (185).[pages:184,185]
Figaro reports that Wallack's Theatre re-opened for the regular season on Thursday night (120).[pages:120]
Figaro mentions that he has not yet seen the new play, Society, at Wallack's (121).[pages:121]
Figaro reports that Dan Bryant will close his season at Wallack's that evening and will divide $24,000 in profits with the manager, Moss (57).[pages:57]
Figaro explains that he was unable to see The Rivals at Wallack's becuase the tickets didn't reach him "in season"(57).[pages:56,57]
Figaro announces the plays at Wallack's during his announcements of theatrical events. He remarks that Taylor's The Serf has not been a hit and is to be replaced this evening by Colley Cibber and refers readers to the advertisement for more information (137).[pages:137]
Figaro reports that The Colleen Bawn at Wallack's and Arrah-na-Pogue at Niblo's are the only plays worth seeing, but since they are both "out of date," he decides not to write anything about either play (25). Figaro also reports that Dan Bryant has been so popular in The Colleen Bawn at Wallack's that it has been extended another week (25).[pages:25]
Figaro mentions Dan Bryant's success in Miles-na-Coppoleen at Wallack's as a possible - and dismissed - topic for his column (9).[pages:9]
John writes that his wife Mary Jane wanted to go to Wallack's on their wedding tour (264).[pages:264]
Stephen R. Fiske debuted as a playwright on April 7, 1863 with the performance of My Noble Son-in-Law (104).[pages:11, 39, 46, 48, 56, 61, 104, 134]
The column reprints the remarks from the theater critic at the New York Times about Never to Late to Mend at Wallack's (4).[pages:4]
Site of the original performance, Dec. 11, 1854.
O'Brien mentions that a Philadelphia manager hired a stenographer to take down the lines of a play of his at Wallack's and then produced the drama at his own theater (2).[pages:2]
O'Brien discusses a production of The Merchant of Venice at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
O'Brien mentions that John Lester Wallack has a "an original five act drama" in progress at the theatre (3).[pages:3]
O'Brien mentions that he has been to the rehearsals for the upcoming production of Merchant of Venice (3).[pages:3]
O'Brien notes that Wallack's is also in a phase of "Shakespearean revival" (3).[pages:3]
O'Brien discusses a performance of Wheat and Chaff (3).[pages:3]
Wallack's is one of the two theaters producing Tom Taylor plays. Going to the Bad is at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
O'Brien notes that The Veteran, or France and Algeria was performed at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
Wallack's opened for its fifth season Sept. 21, 1865. The "outstanding feature" of Wallack's "theatre royal of America" in 1866-67 was the production of Roberston's comedy Ours preceeded by "minor successes and quasi-failures." Improvements were made to the theater for this season (as mentioned in opening show's program note): "during the recess the house had been cleaned at renovated througout, that extra stalls had been added, the parquette and boxes newly carpeted, and 'every requisite for the comfort and convenience of the audience carefully considered'" as well as "'a new stage has been laid and other mechanical improvements effected, in order to render the production of all plays in a most complete manner'" (128). Admission prices for orchestra seats were raised to $1.50, which is what the price remained in the best theaters for the next 20 years (128-9).
Odell argues that Wallack's 1867-68 company was the strongest company yet at Wallack's and "perhaps the most brilliant for comedy and drama known up to that time in America" (269). The strong cast, however, did not play the theater at the same time; some returned, some were new, and some left after short stints (269).
Odell mentions that Wallack's was reluctant to do Saturday matinees and "was about the last stronghold to fall before the demand to Saturday matinees." Wallack's only broke its tradition of not doing them for Oliver Twist, which was a great success and brought in weekly receipts of $7,256.70 and $7,394.55 for the week with the matinee performance (273).
Lester Wallack's return brought the theater successful receipts, even though a major actress, Mary Gannon, fell ill and eventually died. Lester Wallack abolished benefits and farces this season [1867-68] from Wallacks; other theaters followed suit amid controversy (275).
Wallack's began it 17th season (its 9th in the new theater) in 1868-69 on Sept.23, 1968. Odell feels that during this season the female cast list was a rare weakness for Wallack's. The much liked lead actress Mary Gannon has died and the others on female list seemed to match former greats. Receipts for the season appear to have fluctuated (414).
The controversial Much Ado About Nothing was performed at Wallack's in the 1868-69 season. It was the first time Shakespeare was performed at Wallack's; the performance may have occurred because of the opening of Booth's Theatre. Much Ado About Nothing was an extravegant production and was the last time Wallack's did Shakespeare until 1880 (416-419).
The 1869-70 season brought sense of competition from Booth's Theatre (founded the year before) and Daly's Fifth Avenue Theatre, which would soon become a theatrical force (559).[pages:3, 128-29,269,273,275,414, 416-19,559]
Founded in 1852 by J.W. Wallack the elder at the former site of Brougham's Lyceum (48). Became a "great institution" for the next 36 years. The founding of the theater managed to destroy Burton's company and theatical prestige - the management and actors in Burton's company moved to Wallack's. Odell describes the founding of Wallack's as one of the most important events in the history of the NY stage.
Wallack's first theater opened Sept. 8, 1852. Odell says that "immediately on getting into a file of Wallack programmes one realises that one has entered a realm where beatuy and elegance almost invariably prevai" (213). The productions at Wallack's were carefully planned and managed and the quality of actors and plays was always high and excellent. Odell claims, "Nothing like Wallack's Theatre, I am convinced, had existed in New York presiously to 1852; nothing quite like it existed after 1880." Odell makes this claim while also recognizing more contemporary respected theaters (213).
The lobby and decorations of Wallack's were elaborate and included frescoes done by Harvest and Youngling (who also did the Metropolitan Hotel and received positive reviews). Lester Wallack (John W. Lester) was listed as stage manager and Charles Wallack, his brother, as treasurer. The listed staff also included fifteen band members. Admission to the parquet and dress circle was $.50, to the family circle $.25, orchestra seats $.75, private boxes $5-7. Performances began at 7:30 (213).
Boucicault's Love in a Maze was staged both at Wallack's and at Burton's on Sept.5, 1853 (286). Wallack's Second season began Sept. 5, 1853, with "a 'theatre re-gilded and re-painted,' new 'cushioned seats covered with crimson cut velvet,' 'handsome mirrors in the boxes,' a 'complete system of ventilation' including a 'large opening at the back of the parqette, a withdrawing room, with a large French window, at the back of the dress-circle, and in the roof above the family circle a large shaft or cupola, 15 by 11 feet, producing a thorough current air through the house'" (295). New prices: $.50 dress-circle or parquette, $.25 for the family circle, $1 stall seats, $6-7 box seats (295). The company remained largely the same in the second season.
Odell mentions that "fashion was revived at this time also at Wallack's" in the 1854-55 season in response to trends in the theater (354). J.H. Stoddart remarks on his first appearance in America during the 1854-55 season that the company of Wallack's "had become, by long association, the finest band of actors concievable. 'I do not think,' says Stoddart,'the old comedies were ever better played'" (359).
W.R. Blake left Wallack's in the 1855-56 season to manage for Marshall (424). Odell calls the company of the 1855-56 season "one of the most glorious companies I have yet recorded in this chronicle" (441). J.W. Wallack seems to have lost managerial control of the theater some time during the 1855-56 season (446). Brougham leaves in 1855-56 to direct the failing Bowery (461).
The Theatre was leased to W. Stuart in the 1856-57 season (Stuart is best remembered for being connected to the Winter Garden later on). In 1856 he "rechristened Wallacks the Summer Garden" and had a decent summer season. No one knows why Wallack temprorarily retired; Odell speculates hard times but also notes that there's some evidence of illness. Lester Wallack remained during this period as stage manager and "leading juvenile." Season marks debut of Sothern under his own name and return of Blake (529-30). J.W. Wallack returned Oct. 20, 1956, with a revival of Hamlet (531).[pages:48,205,213,286,295,354,359,424,441,446,461,529-30,531]
The theater had highly elaborate lease terms under William Stuart who contracted with J.W. Wallack. The terms of performances were very specific and Odell lists the staff salaries (19). Management of Wallack's was resumed by J.W. Wallack after a two-year break during the summer season of 1858. Stuart seems to have had a long-term connection to the theater.
Wallacks was regarded as the leading New York theater (and possiblty the leading American theater) during the 1859-60 season. Wallack's was usually family-run.
The last season at the Broome Street location was 1860-61. Wallack's moves uptown to Broadway and 13th. The theater closed early in 1861 with a series of benefits because of the war. The new theater opened in the 1861-1862 season. The new Wallack's was very large - the theater was leased in part on 10 lots owned by William B. Astor. This lease was for 20 years. "The site was so large that the theater could be built with comfort for all." The new seating capacity exceeded Broome St. by 1000+ seats. "[...]the last word of elegance was expressed in the architecture, the furnishings, the lobbies, and lounging rooms. For the twenty years of its existence Wallack's on this site was unquestionably the leading theater of the country, maintaining the best stock company conceivable, and presenting plays with an elegance and a distinction unattainable in any other American establishment." Opened Sept.25,1861 (377).
Wallack's was described as the "perfect theater" in 1862-1863 (462) and seems to have been unparalleled. The old theater reopened in the 1862-1863 season as a home for a season of German opera. Old Wallack's becomes known as the New Idea and collapses in August 1863, but reopens the next month as the New York Theater. Entertainment there seems to have been stale and derivative - ballets, pantomimes, etc. Reopened again that Nov. as the Broadway Amphitheater.
Rosedale, or, the Rifle Ball became a company/theater standard, especially for Lester Wallack.
The popularity of Wallack's seems to wane in the 1864-65 season; the crowds are less fashionable, unrefined, seats are sold to speculators right before opening night. These events are a change from sold out opening nights in the past (625).[pages:5,18-19,49,120,203,211,305,308,377-379,462,516,542, 577-578,625]
Lester Wallack's Romance of a Poor Young Man is still playing at Wallack's (3). Personne also reports that Mr. Wallack is "getting mercenary" in terms of controlling the audience so that the paying customers enjoy the show (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that there is nothing new at Wallack's and asks Lester Wallack to "hurry up" his Poor Young Man (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions the leap from the tower that is an important plot point of Romance of a Poor Young Man (3). Personne reports that Fanny Morant, the comedienne at Wallack's, has married a man named Smith (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that Brougham's Ruling Passion will be replaced by Woad to Wuin (2).[pages:2]
Personne notes that Wallack's The Veteran is currently grossing a larger box office than Keene's Our American Cousin (2).[pages:2]
The column mentions a production of Prison and Palace. Wilkins notes that The Veteran has passed its 50th performance at the theater (2).[pages:2]
Personne notes the "forty-eighth jump" of Lester Wallack's Poor Young Man (3).[pages:3]
Personne anticipates that the Winter Garden will be competition for Wallack's. Personne mentions that the theater is set to open next Monday with a comedy from Brougham (2).[pages:2]
Personne notes that Mary Gannon has returned to the theater after an illness (3).[pages:3]
Personne writes that Wallack's Poor Young Man continues to make his "gymnastic sacrifice." Personne compares the staging of Lester Wallack's adaptation to the original (Le Roman d'un Jeune Homme Pauvre) at the French Theatre (3).[pages:3]
The Veteran is still playing at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Florence will be at Wallack's for the Summer season. Personne reports that Brougham will not be performing at Wallack's after this season (2). Personne also reports that Tom Taylor's Overland Route will be performed next at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
Personne discusses Everybody's Friend at Wallack's (2).[pages:2,3]
Personne mentions that Geraldine is still at Wallack's, but will be leaving next Wednesday (2).[pages:2]
Personne mentions the benefit for Mr. Wallack (the elder, probably) where many speeches were given about the Wallacks (3).[pages:3]
Personne writes that it has been announced that it is the last evening of The Veteran (3).[pages:3]
Personne writes that Blake has left Keene's for Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne notes that Wallack's is presenting Buckstone's The Wreck Ashore. Personne reprints a letter to the Editor of the Saturday Press from Gayler about Many a Slip 'Twixt the Cup and the Lip, performed at Wallack's the previous summer (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that Brougham will write the holiday piece for Wallack's, and the subject is rumored to be Rip Van Winkle (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions that Geraldine is still playing at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
The letter from The Oldest Man refers to Wallack's Theatre on Leonard Street (3). Personne writes that Lester Wallack's Romance of a Poor Young Man is a success at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne writes that Wallack's and Laura Keene's Theatres have closed "unusually prosperous" seasons (2).[pages:2]
Personne mentions Wallack's new theater (3).[pages:3]
Personne notes that The Veteran is still playing (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that Les Crochets de Pere Martin, originally performed by the Florences at Wallack's and titled There's Many a Slip Twixt the Cup and the Lip, can now be seen at the French Theatre. Personne reports that Miss Walcot's translation of Les Deux Aveugles called Going it Blind is currently at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that they "are still hammering away at the old comedies" at Wallack's. Personne also notes what is currently onstage and what is coming up at Wallack's (3).[pages:2,3]
Personne mentions that the management of Wallack's has seemed less active (3).[pages:3]
Personne predicts a short run for A Husband to Order at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne announces that the Florences have begun their summer season at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
As You Like It is currently playing at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
Personne mentions that the success of The Veteran at Wallack's has waned in the past week with competition from the opera at Burton's and the French Theatre (3).[pages:3]
Personne reviews The Wreck Ashore. He also notes that Brougham's Romance and Reality will open there on Sunday (3).[pages:3]
Personne writes that Falconer's Extremes is currently at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne reviews the current play at Wallacks, a life story of the Earl of Rochester (2).[pages:2]
Personne writes that "the Stranger, the Wife, and other exciting things" are currently being performed at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
Personne reviews Brougham's The Ruling Pardon at Wallack's (2).[pages:2]
Personne notes that Mr. Florence and his wife are entering their second week at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that Brougham's Romance and Reality has been "revived" at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne claims that Heron's acting style has not changed since she first appeared at Wallack's. Personne notes that The Romance of a Poor Young Man has debuted at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions that Don Caesar de Bezan has been playing to crowded houses (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that Everybody's Friend is having a "good run" at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that A Husband to Order will continue at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Wallack's is mentioned in the article on Edwin Booth following the Feuilleton (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un gives his reasons for not wanting to say anything about Miss Jean Coombs at Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un claims that the young man who takes issue with his argument that de Walden's Aileen Aroon "was the best play produced this season" has argued in favor of Playing with Fire. Quelqu'un agrees that Playing with Fire is a good peice, but still favors Aileen Aroon (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un reports that the "young and popular artists" at Wallack's have announced that they cannot stay in New York any longer and the theater has been forced to "announce their eighteen last nights" (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un reports that Mr. W.J. Florence will have a benefit at Wallack's and will star in Brougham's new Burlesque, The Great Eastern (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un discusses the opening night at Wallack's, which featured The Royalist, or Forty Years Ago (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un criticizes Brougham's new play at Wallack's, Playing with Fire for having too much "fine sentiment" (2).[pages:2]
Reports that Florence will be doing "Toodles" at Wallack's (3). Reports that he has "issued a card" that states he will be opening for the Fall and Winter and will not be "giving up future management" (3).[pages:3]
References the "bivalvular Florences," but refuses to say more (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un reports that the General has been seen at Wallack's several times during the week (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un remarks that he does not enjoy the comedic stylings of the Florences. Quelqu'un also announces the plans to construct a new Wallack's (3).[pages:3]
Mentions that Wallack's was presenting "The Almighty Dollar" (168).[pages:168]
The company produced "Henriette," more widely known as "A Scrap of Paper," "the most charming of Sardou's comedies" (known in the French as "Les Pattes des Mouche"), as a result of the efforts of Wilkins to bring the play to American audiences (88).[pages:88]
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015