William Charles Macready

1793-1873; ed. Rugby, appeared Birmingham as Romeo 1810; acted in his father’s company, playing with Mrs Siddons in Newcastle; Covent Garden, 1816; raised to head of theatre by his Richard III, 1819; successfully played John Banim’s Damon and Pythias (1821) but rejected Gerald Griffin’s first play, Aguire (now lost); quarrelled and moved to Drury Lane, 1823; America, 1826-17; Paris, 1828; managed Covent Garden, 1837-39; Haymarket, 1839-41; Drury Lane, 1841-43; visited America, 1843; played with Miss Faucit in Paris; staged Macbeth at the Astor Opera in New York while the American favourite son Edwin Forrest was also playing the role, causing theatrical riot in which 20 deaths occurred, 10 May 1849; forced to leave the country; last performance as Macbeth, Drury Lane, 1851; unrivalled Lear; drowned in Merchant Ship London. ODNB OCEL

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Alan S. Downer, The Eminent Tragedian William Ch. Macready (Mass: Harvard UP 1966), xvi, 392pp., ill.; J. C. Trewin, ed., Journal of William Charles Macready, 1832-1851 [abridg.] (London: Longmans 1967), xxxiii, 315pp.; William Toynbee, ed., Journal and Diaries (1912); John Cronin, ‘Macready, Griffin, and the Tragedy Gissipus’, in Éire-Ireland (Spring 1975), pp.34-44; there is a biography by W J Lawrence; sSee also G. E. Bentley, The London Stage [q.d.].

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Dictionary of National Biography, indicates that the father, William, was Irish-born, while his son William Charles Macready, was born on modern Euston Rd., London. There is a notice in Irish Book Lover.

Margaret Drabble, ed., The Oxford Companion to English Literature (OUP 1986), calls him the son of provincial actor-mgr, ed. Rugby; arrived from provincial stage in Covent Gdn, 1816; rival of Kean; mgr. Drury Lane and Covent Gdn. at different times; Browning wrote Strafford for him. 1837; appeared in Byron’s Two Foscari; best known as tragedian in Shakespearean roles as Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth; Friends with Dickens; Tennyson wrote a sonnet to mark his last performance (in the part of Macbeth), 1851.

Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, Vol 2 (Gerrards Cross 1980), cites Alan S. Downer, The Eminent Tragedian, William Charles Macready (Harvard 1966); The Journals of William Charles Macready 1832-51, abridged and edited by T. C. Trewin [held in UUC Lib.]

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The British Library [1] Account of the terrific and fatal riot at the New York Astor Palace Opera House, on the night of May 10th, 1849; with the quarrels of Forrest and Macready, including all the causes which led to that awful tragedy! etc. New-York: H. M. Ranney, 1849. pp. 32; illus. 8o. 23 cm. [2] Werner. A tragedy. A facsimile of the acting version of William Charles Macready. With an introduction by Marvin Spevack.. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1970. pp. xxxiv, viii, 188. 22 cm. [3] The Eminent tragedian, William Charles Macready. [With plates, including portraits.]. pp. xiv. 392. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass.; Oxford University Press: London, 1966. 8o. [4] An appeal to the public, relative to the conduct of W. M'Cready, Esq., in the case of the Author, J. P. E., Comedian, etc.. pp. 35. Printed for the Author: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1807. 8o. [5] Candour versus Calumny; being an ample refutation of the ... falsehoods ... published by ... W. M'Cready. Written by ... J. P. Edwin. pp. 28. S. Hodgson: Newcastle upon Tyne, 1807. 8o. [6] L'Entente cordiale au théâtre. Macready et Hamlet à Paris en 1844. Le journal de Macready. Macready et George Sand. pp. 77. Paris, [1963.] 8o. [7]A Critical Examination of the Respective Performances of Mr. Kean & Mr. Macready in Abber's alteration of Shakespeare's historical play of King Richard the Third.. pp. 40. Simpkin & Marshall, etc.: London, 1819. 8o. [8] The biography of William C. Macready, Esq., tragedian, etc.. London: G. Vickers, [1851]. pp. 24; port. 18 cm. [9] A Rejoinder to “The Replies from England, etc. to certain statements circulated in this country respecting Mr. Macready” together with an impartial history and review of the lamentable occurrences at the Astor Place Opera House, on the 10th of May, 1849. By an American Citizen.. New York, 1849. 8o. [10] Catalogue of the library of W. C. Macready ... also, the collection of pictures ... and engravings, sculpture ... and ornamental objects, etc.. pp. 16. [London, 1873.] 8o. [11] [Letters to Edward Bulwer] [12] Macready's Reminiscences, and selections from his diaries and letters. Edited by Sir F. Pollock, Bart. Title New edition, etc.. 2 vol. London, 1875. 8o.. London, 1876. 8o. [13] Memoir of Mr. Macready [by H. T.] [14] Mr. Macready. Heroism and humanity. [An article reprinted from the Southampton Chronicle.]. [Southampton, 1818?] s. sh. fol. [15] The Bridal, a tragedy, ... adapted for representation [by W. C. M.] ... from the Maid's Tragedy of Beaumont and Fletcher. [16] The Diaries of William Charles Macready, 1833-1851. Edited by William Toynbee ... With forty-nine portraits. Title [Another copy.]   The diaries of William Charles Macready. 1833-1851.. 2 vol. Chapman & Hall: London, 1912. 8o.. 1912. [17] The Journal of William Charles Macready, 1832-1851. Abridged and edited by J. C. Trewin. [With plates, including portraits.]. pp. xxxiii. 315. Longmans: London, 1967. 8o. [18] The Replies from England, ... to certain statements circulated in this country respecting Mr. Macready.. New York, 1849. 8o. [19] Monographs: Garrick, Macready, Rachel, and Baron Stockmar.. pp. ix. 341. John Murray: London, 1906. 8o. [20] Macready as I knew him. pp. 141. Remington & Co.: London, 1884. 8o. [32] Memoir of Mr. Macready. London: J. Passmore Edwards, 1851. pp. 16. 13 cm.  [22] Mr. Macready produces As you like it; a prompt-book study. [A facsimile of the Macready-Ellis-Vezin prompt book in the University of Illinois Library, being vol. 8 of “The Plays of Shakespeare”, printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1807, interleaved and with MS. notes. Edited with an introduction and notes by Charles H. Shattuck. With illustrations.]. pp. 105. Beta Phi Mu: Urbana, 1962. 8o. [23] The Works of William Shakspere illustrated. (With historical introductions and notes, by J. O. Halliwell.) [With a memoir and portraits of W. C. Macready.] Title [Another copy.]   With a 7th. vol. entitled 'Doubtful plays ... with historical and analyticall introductions ... by Henry Tyrrell.'. 6 vol. John Tallis & Co.: London & New York, 1850 [1851]. fol.. 7 vol. Same imprint. [24] William Charles Macready's King John. A facsimile prompt-book. Edited by Charles H. Shattuck. [With illustrations.] Title [Another copy.]   William Charles Macready's King John. A facsimile prompt-book, etc.. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, 1962. obl. 4o.. Urbana, 1962. obl. 4o. [25] Bulwer and Macready. A chronicle of the early Victorian theatre. Edited by C. H. Shattuck.. pp. 278. pl. 8. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, 1958. 4o. [26] Mr. Macready. A nineteenth-century tragedian and his theatre ... Illustrated from the Raymond Mander & Joe Mitchenson Theatre Collection. [With portraits.]. pp. 267. George G. Harrap & Co.: London, 1955. 8o. Note that William Macready is listed with William Charles Macready in the BL Online Catalogue..

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