A big star of the Broadway stage came to Jamestown in October 1910.
William Faversham, and I’ll forgive you if you mumbled “who” under your breath when you read that name.
But Faversham was one of the highest-earning actors of his era and a major name on Broadway as an actor and a producer.
In fact, some historians estimate his income at about $5 million per year about 1900.
And $5 million was real money back 110 years. Today, adjusted for inflation, that would amount to about $83.4 million which will still get you through the year.
Faversham brought the play “The World and his Wife” to Jamestown. While Faversham was the manager of the company he also played the lead character.
The term “the world and his wife” is English slang for a large crowd. The play opened on Broadway in 1908 and lasted just a couple months; evidently, Faversham made up a touring company that included the same supporting cast.
A decade later, in 1920, the play was made into a silent movie. Don’t bother looking for the movie on any streaming service, it has evidently been lost to history.
Faversham did make the transition to moving pictures of the silent variety in 1915. He even had a few small parts in talking and even colored movies even though he was into his 60s by the time that technology made it into movie theaters.
The Faversham presentation of “The World and His Wife” played for one night, Oct. 25, 1910, at the Opera House in Jamestown. That was a Tuesday night and I’m sure the tour was scheduled for weekend performances in bigger cities for bigger crowds.
Still, it gives a glimpse of what entertainment was like in Jamestown 110 years ago. Some of the best stage plays, with top name performers, came to Jamestown even if just for a single show.
There were a limited number of entertainment options for the public back in 1910. You could read a book, sing some music or play an instrument yourself or go to some sort of local public performance.
Jamestown would have been fortunate enough to at least occasionally get some top name performers.
Author Keith Norman can be reached at www.KeithNormanBooks.com