Charles Gayler


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(1820–92), playwright. One of the most prolific dramatists of the second half of the 19th century, as well as a sometime actor and novelist, he is said to have written well over one hundred plays, covering a range from minstrel skits through farce, comedy, spectacle, melodrama, and tragedy. Many of his plays were written to order for some of the most popular and respected performers of the era, and though a number of his works held the stage for years, none is probably performable today. Among his more notable vehicles were Taking the Chances (1856), The Love of a Prince (1857), There's Many a Slip'Twixt the Cup and the Lip (1859), The Magic Marriage (1861), The Connie Soogah; or, The Jolly Peddler (1863), and Atonement; or, The Child Stealer (1866). His most durable success was the J. K. Emmet vehicle Fritz, Our Cousin German (1870). Writing swiftly, Gayler had Bull Run; or, the Sacking of Fairfax Courthouse (1861) on stage less than a month after the battle and Hatteras Inlet; or, Our Naval Victories (1861) ready three months after the incidents described in the play. By the 1880s the New York–born writer's style was no longer in vogue, although plays such as Jacqueline, Lord Tatters: The Bohemian, and Lights and Shadows found audiences at lesser houses and on the road.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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