Amy Leslie


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(1860–1939), critic. Born in West Burlington, Iowa, she made a small reputation for herself as a prima donna in operetta during the 1880s and early 1890s, performing under the name Lillie West. She then retired from the stage to become drama critic for the Chicago Daily News, a position she held for forty years. Leslie was the first woman to have such a prestigious assignment. Her criticisms leaned over backward to be kind to even the most woebegone entertainments, and as a result she was sometimes accused of “puffing,” writing favorable notices to help at the box office. She nonetheless won the respect of her fellow reviewers and of the theatrical profession as well.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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