"The Senator" - Bush Street Theater (1890)

Our information on this production of "The Senator" at the Bush Street Theater is based on ads and the below article published in The Call in May of 1890. The production starred William H. Crane but also included Georgie Drew Barrymore in a minor role.


Name Role
William H. Crane Sen. Hannibal Rivers
George F. Devere Alexander Armstrong, Secretary of State
Henry Bergman Count Ernest von Strahl, Austrian diplomat
Henry Braham Baron Ling Chang, Secretary of Chinese Legation
James Neill Richard Vance, Senator's private Secretary
Mr. T. D. Frawley Lt. George Schuyler
William Herbert Isaiah Sharpless, ex-Congressman
Mr. J. C. Padgett Silas Denman, a relic of the days of Webster
Will C. Sampson Erastus, a Senator's servant
Lizzie Hudson Collier Mabel Denman, daughter of Silas
Mrs. Augusta Foster Mrs. Schuyler
Miss May Penfield Mrs. Armstrong, the young wife of Sec. Armstrong
Miss Jane Stuart Josie Armstrong
Georgie Drew Barrymore Mrs. Hillary, a susceptible young widow

Cast Portraits

As printed in The Morning Call, San Francisco on May 11, 1890

533510_10151354611756913_1243728528_n.jpg 21805_10151354611666913_806682774_n.jpg 315842_10151354611591913_1231574657_n.jpg
Georgie Barrymore Lizzie Hudson Collier Jane Stuart
533962_10151354611501913_1933049051_n.jpg 382001_10151354611881913_27099090_n.jpg
William H. Crane J. C. Padgett

Newspaper Articles

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) - May 18, 1890

Senator Hannibal Rivers

In a person of Mr. William H. Crane, arrived yesterday direct from New York, and will hold his first levee at the Bush-street to-morrow evening - slightly differing from that of the Hon. Elijah Pogram described by Dickens in "Martin Chuzzlewit." The Honorable Hannibal belongs to a political school unlike that which claimed the Honorable Elijah for a pupil. Mr. Crane is accompanied by his wife and his entire company from New York, where he has concluded the most successful engagement with "The Senator" ever seen in the great metropolis, and, judging by the aspect of affairs, he will repeat his success in this city. Of this popular comedy so much has already been said by press and public, by Eastern critics and private reports, that general attention has been aroused, and while the audience will no doubt be large numerically it will at the same time represent the beauty and intelligence of our community. The comedy will be presented with the same cast as at the Star in New York, distributed as follows: (see above)

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) - May 11, 1890

Motive of "The Senator"

This four-act comedy, in which Mr. William H. Crane has achieved such a pronounced success in the East, originated in the brain of David D. Lloyd, for many years a Washington correspondent of the New York Tribune, and is founded on incidents connected with the passage of the celebrated privateer brig General Armstrong claim by Congress, after it had been before the national legislature for over forty years.

The General Armstrong

Was built and equipped in New York early in 1814, and under command of Captain Reid, sailed from that port to work destruction on the commerce of the enemy in the fall of the same year. On the evening of September 14th she entered the port of Fayal - mentioned in the old sea song of the time - for water. This port is in the Azores, or Western Islands' possessions of Portugal. Comity was accorded the American privateer by the Portuguese commandant. The next day a British fleet, with four transports having on board several thousand men intended for the re-enforcement of General Pakenham, then investing New Orleans, also entered the harbor. Despite the fact that Fayal was a neutral port, the English Admiral sent four boats to cut out the Armstrong. As they approached the privateer they were warned off, but paid no heed, whereupon the Captain, Reid, opened fire and beat them off with great loss in killed and wounded. The privateer had one offer killed and one wounded by fire from the boats. About midnight a second expedition of twelve boats, armed with swivels and filled with them, was sent against the privateer, for the double purpose of avenging the first defeat and effecting a capture. This force was also beaten off by the brave crew of the Armstrong. The next morning a brig-of-war was sent to engaged the Yankee privateer. A hot fight ensued, which ended in the English war vessel hauling off for repairs, though not until the Armstrong ran aground after her "long Tom," or best gun, was disabled. Captain Reid scuttled his vessel and with his men went ashore. In these engagements the English loss was three hundred killed and wounded, while the Americans lost two killed and seven wounded. Nor was this the chief loss inflicted on the British. Their vessels were kept so long at Fayal refitting that the fleet did not arrive off Lake Borgne, Louisiana, until four days after General Jackson had reached New Orleans and put the city in a good state of defense. To the sea-fight at Fayal was virtually due, therefore, the possession of the then territory of Louisiana by the United States. Captain Reid, through the United States, claimed damages from Portugal for the destruction of his vessel, but that Government was at war at the time, and the claim was, therefore, not pressed for many years. Then Portugal, at the instigation of Great Britain, disputed the claim and demanded that a third party be called into arbitration. This, against the wishes of Captain Reid, was eventually done, and Louis Napoleon, the party called in, hearing only the testimony of the English officer who commanded the flotilla which attacked the Armstrong, decided against the captain of the privateer. Reid then brought his claim to the attention of Congress, but before action was taken died. His son and namesake then took up the fight. For forty years he pushed the claim, and finally by the aid of Senator Pendleton of Ohio it was pased.

The Play

Beings with the claimant, Silas Denman, old and feeble, making a final effort to get the claim before Congress in order that by it he may secure a livelihood for his only daughter Mabel. Through friends Mabel enlists the services of Hon. Hamilton Rivers, a new Senator from the West, and the efforts he makes to pass the claim, the obstacles he meets, the assistance he gets from Mrs. Hillary, a society widow, together with the scenes and incidents of two subplots, make the complete business of the piece, which is said to be a very interesting one from beginning to the end.

Mr. David D. Lloyd

During his newspaper career in the national capital had an excellent opportunity to thoroughly inform himself of the politico-social-diplomatic life about him, and he has worked this knowledge into "The Senator" with a free and at the same time judicious hand. He died before the play was fully completed, and Sydney Rosenfeld, a bright librettist, finished the work Lloyd had so well begun, utilizing the main features and heightening with more color the underplots. He changed Mrs. Hillary from an adventuress to a society widow, originated the character of Josie Armstrong, and otherwise enlivened Mr. Lloyd's work. The character of the Senator, the central figure of the piece, was indicated by Mr. Crane himself, and both Lloyd and Rosenfeld have carefully followed his ideas in elaborating it. Wherever "The Senator" has been presented, and it has been played in St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester, Boston, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, and for 125 nights in New York, it has met with unequaled favor. It will be played at the Bush-street in this city for the first time on Monday, 19th inst., and our press and public will have an opportunity to pronounce on its merits.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License