Thomas Barry


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(1798–1876), director and manager. Coming to America in 1826 from England, where he had performed a highly praised Hotspur to Macready's Henry IV, Barry made his acting debut at the Park Theatre, but he later found a major niche as a director, theatre manager, and occasionally as an author of such melodramas as The Battle of Mexico. He became the principal stage manager, as directors were then called, at the Park until he took over Boston's Tremont Theatre in 1833, running the latter house until 1839. He then returned to New York to act as manager first at the Bowery Theatre and later again at the Park. From 1848 to 1851 he ran Boston's National Theatre and subsequently ran the Broadway in New York, the new Boston Theatre, and houses in Cincinnati and Chicago. Walter Leman recalled his “expressing by a short, spasmodic laugh—something between the grunt which a pugilist would utter if hit below the belt, and the sharp bark of a dog—his opinion of anything not in accord with his taste or judgment.”

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.