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EJ Phillips principal plays and roles

I found a handwritten EJ Phillips autobiography in the Harvard Theatre Collection. Her manager AM Palmer collected them from almost every Union Square Theatre Co actor. 

Mrs. E. J. Phillips

In the city of Toronto, Ont. Canada, in the “Royal Lyceum” Theatre on Easter Monday 1852 I made my first professional appearance as a stock actress, playing “Grace Harkaway” In “London Assurance”. The “stars” Mr. John Nickinson and Miss Charlotte Nickinson appearing as Sir Harcourt Courtly and “Lady Gay Spanker” .

Previous to this time I had gained some experiences in an “amateur” association of Hamilton Ont. Can. where in my 19thyear I made my first appearance on any stage as M’selle de Volange in “The Pride of the Market”. 

For my second appearance he [John Harrison, manager of the Hamilton Amateur Association]  entrusted me with “Diana Vernon” in “Rob Roy”. A month afterwards I donned the somber embodiment?  of  “Lady Randolph” in [John] Home’s “Tragedy of Douglas” ...During the following years Charles Kemble Mason [1805-1875] came to the city and having of the successes of the association proposed to play a few “parts” with them.  And to his Glenalvon I again appeared as Lady Randolph [in the Tragedy of Douglas] this being the first professional with whom I had the honour to appear.  He also played the Stranger, Mr. Baker of the Association playing Dr. Haller and I the Countess.  Early in 1853 Mr. Thos. P.[ope] Besnard, an  Irish comedian and a retired officer of the British Army induced the  “Association” to appear with him in [Samuel Lover’s ] “The White Horse of the Peppers: How to pay the rent” etc.

During this season of 1864-65 a most unique performance of Hamlet was given by Gentlemen of the Cities of Cincinnati and Columbus for “The Benefit of the widows and orphans of the Soldiers, who died in the war”. Hamlet was represented by Ex Lieutenant Governor [Charles] Anderson [1814-1895 later governor of Ohio after the death of Gov. John Brought in 1865] of Ohio. All the other parts were played by Lawyers, Doctors, Bankers, and Brokers – Mrs. Thomas Barry [Clara Biddies married 1856] Ophelia -- a young lady of the Opera House Stock Co “players”, and I as “Queen Gertrude”.

The seasons of 67-68, 68-69 I was engaged in Indianapolis. March 68 I played for the first time with Edwin Forrest [1806-1872] and did not find him as difficult to please as I had heard – on the contrary he was kind and complimentary – I played Emelia in “Othello”, “Goneril” in “King Lear” and “Servia” in “Virginius” with him. 

Before closing my Season with [Barrett] I made an engagement for Septr 1875 for the Chestnut Street Theatre Phila. where I appeared as “Clarissa” in “Our Boys” which was revived in the Spring of ’76 and ran through the entire “Centennial” Summer.

During my vacation in the Summer of ’77 Mr. A.M. Palmer sent for me to play Mrs. Tubbs in “Pink Dominos” which he was to produce in August. I accepted his offer and made my first appearance in the Union Square theatre in August 1877 in the above part.... at the end of May 1878 I again made an engagement with Mr. Palmer to join his company then playing in Chicago, Ill. opening in the Duchess in “A Celebrated Case”. ... The parts I was cast for under Mr. Palmer’s management at his Union Square Theatre were Aunt Fanny in “Banker’s Daughter”, “Lady Ogden” in “False Friend”, Countess in “The Creole”, Mrs. Powers in “Daniel Rochat”, Countess in “Danicheffs”, Countess in “Two Orphans” Mrs. Jarvis in “Lights O’ London” , Eleanor Mormay in “Felicia”, Tabitha Harewood [Trump] in “Conscience”, Prudence in “Camille”, Marianne Florence in “The Rantzaus”.

Mr. A.M. Palmer having become manager of the Madison Square Theatre reengaged for the Fall season 1885 at this theatre, where I first appeared as “Lydia” in “Saints & Sinners”

a list of the principal parts I have appeared in since 1852. 

Othello  Emilia & Desdemona
Coriolanus Volumnia
Hamlet Queen Gertrude
Merchant of Venice Portia
Macbeth Lady Macbeth
Richard III Queen, Lady Anne & Duchess of York
Comedy of Errors Adriana
King John Eleanor
Romeo & Juliet  Juliet & Nurse
Taming of the Shrew Katharine
Merry Wives  Mrs. Page 
Henry VIII Queen Katharine
Twelfth Night Olivia
As You Like It Celia
King Lear Goneril
Pisarro  Elvira & Cora
Lucretia Borgia Lucretia
School for Scandal  Lady Teazle, Mrs. Candour
Love’s Sacrifice Margaret, Hermione
Clandestine Marriage Mrs. Heidelberg
Rivals Mrs. Malaprop, Lydia & Julia
She Stoops to Conquer Mrs. Hardcastle
Stranger Mrs. Hallam & Countess
The Gamester Mrs. Beverley
Venice Preserved Belvidera

This gives a slight idea of the work done by your humble servant,  

Shakespeare plays include comedies, tragedies and histories.
As you Like It,
Celia Toronto 1855
Comedy of Errors,
 Adriana  Toronto?
Volumnia Toronto 1857?
Hamlet Queen Gertrude 1863, Royal Lyceum Toronto with Charles Couldock  1865 Pike's Cincinnati, 1873 Savannah Barrett
Henry VIII, Queen Katharine 1873 Charleston SC Lawrence Barrett
King John, Eleanor 1856 Royal Lyceum Toronto?
King Lear, Goneril 1868 Indianapolis with Edwin Forrest
Merchant of Venice Portia 1854 Royal Lyceum Toronto other years?
Merry Wives of Windsor, Mrs. Page 1853 Royal Lyceum other years?
Othello   Emilia Toronto 1857? Pike's with Junius Brutus Booth Jr. in 1865, Desdemona with Edwin Forrest in Indianapolis in 1868
Taming of the Shrew, Katharine 1856 Royal Lyceum Toronto?
Twelfth Night Olivia 1857 Royal Lyceum Toronto

Sheridan's Rivals, Mrs. Malaprop Philadelphia 1877  Lydia Hamilton 1852 , Julia unknown and School for Scandal, Lady Teazle Ottawa 1861 , Mrs. Candour Toronto 1855 are still classic comedies of manners . Other  18th century plays included George Colman and David Garrick's Clandestine Marriage 1766, Edward Moore's Gamester 1777,  von Kotzebue's Pisarro 1799 and The Stranger 1791.   Thomas Otways Venus Preserved dates from 1682.   "Contemporary" plays included Victor Hugo's Lucretia Borgia 1833 and  George Lovell's Love's Sacrifice 1847

Clandestine Marriage, Mrs. Heidelberg  Toronto?  by David Garrick and George Colman

Gamester, Mrs. Beverly Toronto 1856

Love's Sacrifice by George William Lovell 1847, Margaret Elmore Philadelphia 1877 , Hermione?

Lucretia Borgia, Lucretia  Toronto 1856?

Pisarro, Elvia, Cora  Toronto 1865 multiple years?

, Mrs. Hallam, Countess Erie PA 1861 Toronto?

Venice Preserved, Belvidera Toronto  1855 by Thomas Otway 

Since this was written in 1890 it does not include Wealth, Middleman, Pharisee, Judah, Broken Seal, Lady Windermere's Fan, Joseph, Judge, Gay Parisians.  It also doesn't include Jim the Penman or Captain Swift which were performed in 1889.   more plays EJ Phillips didn't mention

Last revised Feb. 11, 2018

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