By John Franceschina
Harry B. Smith was once the main prolific author of librettos for the yankee musical theatre in historical past, with approximately half his three hundred works really beginning in long island urban. additionally, Smith was once instrumental in adapting and popularizing international musicals in the USA, considerably influencing writing and composing sorts of American indicates. He labored with each significant composer in the US among 1880 and 1920, and therefore this exam of his paintings and technique is extremely instructive of the heritage of the yankee musical.
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Extra info for Harry B. Smith: Dean of American Librettists
Chapter 3 “Come to Sherwood: Join Our Jolly Crew” On July 15, 1889, the same day The Bostonians signed the contract with Smith and de Koven for Don Quixote, the company also agreed to produce another of the duo’s collaborations, then in the planning stages, called The Outlaw; or, Robin Hood and His Merry Men, during their 1889–90 touring season.
As Smith tells the story: I had about decided to let The Rambler ramble out of existence when one day a young man, who had occasionally brought in contributions, came into the office with the startling announcement that, if I would take him as a partner, his father would invest five thousand dollars to start him in a congenial business. This was manna in the wilderness. Sure enough, my new partner appeared next day with a check for five thousand. As we now regarded ourselves as plutocrats, my partner and I played at being editor until the money was gone.
When Clover was starting its run at Palmer’s Theatre in New York, McVicker’s Theatre in Chicago was running a revival of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and to advertise that event, the theatre offered a fifty-dollar prize for the poem that could best summarize the play. Harry came up with an acrostic, the first letter of each line acting as an advertisement for the production JOHN FRANCESCHINA 43 when read downward, and won the prize. , scheduled to open at the Chicago Opera House on June 11. Even before rehearsals began, the project was a nightmare for the manager.