"Josephine, Empress of the French" - Baldwin Theater (1890)
Table of Contents

Our information on "Josephine, Empress of the French" at the Baldwin Theater is based on ads and the below article published in The Call in May of 1890.


Name Role
Mlle. Rhea Josephine
William Harris Napoleon Bonaparte
Ida van Siclen

Newspaper Articles

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

Mlle. Rhea

This well-known actress begins a brief engagement at the Baldwin to-morrow evening in her new historical play, by Albert Roland Haven, called "Josephine, Empress of the French." It is now nearly six years since the charming Belgian was seen in San Francisco. Then she played in a repertory, now she brings an historical drama by an American author, which has been highly spoken of by Eastern critics. The perfect manner of production which commanded encomiums in the leading cities East will, we are assured, be repeated here. Rhea's company is said, also, to be particularly strong, and, as to dressing, her wardrobe has stirred the admiration and envy of the dames belonging to the "Four Hundred" in New York and the elite of Beacon Hill, Boston. Strange to say, the gowns she wears in "Josephine" were made by an American dressmaker.


Is purely an historical play, but unlike most stage productions, the theme carries one back to written pages. It is said to be replete with thrilling climaxes and intensely dramatic situations in all its six acts. The story opens with a scene showing a ball-room int eh Tuilercles, where Josephine, who has heard of the diplomatic project to divorce her from the Emperor, relies on the fact that the Prince of Holland has been declared the Emperor's heir, but is deeply concerned when the death of that prince is announced.


Take place in the second act, followed by Josephine's signing the divorce and a stirring climax in pity for Napoleon's weakness and a display of patriotism for France. A year or more elapses, and Josephine is found at Malmaison bravely enduring her sorrow, and even decorating her palace in honor of the birth of the Duke of Reichstadt, the heir born to Napoleon by his second wife, Maria Louisa. The lapse of time brings the story down to the abdication and departure of Elba. Maria Louisa is about to leave for her Austrian home, when Josephine meets and upbraids her for deserting the Emperor. This scene is said to be one of the strongest in the play, although for dramatic effect it is slightly anachronistic. Napoleon's return from Elba and the death of Josephine bring the drama to a close.


Mr. William Harris will interpret the role of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his make-up of the Imperial Corsican is described as a perfect copy of his best portraits. Miss Ida Van Siclen, a young California girl, is also most acceptable in the part assigned her.

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