The Rajah (play)

The Rajah; or Wyncot's Ward is a play by William Young which debuted at the Madison Square Theatre in New York on June 5, 1883.

The Rajah
The Rajah Plate 6 (1883).jpg
Actresses Rillie Deaves and Marion Elmore watch Alfred Klein fall into the brook in Act 3 of The Rajah (1883)
Written byWilliam Young
Date premieredJune 5, 1883 (1883-June-05)
Place premieredMadison Square Theatre
Original languageEnglish
GenreRomantic comedy

The play is a romantic comedy where a hapless man becomes the guardian of his uncle's adopted daughter, and eventually wins her love.[1] Produced by Daniel Frohman at the Madison Square Theatre, it was panned by critics but had a successful run of 256 nights, before also being successful on the road.[2][3][4][5][6] The play was Young's greatest success as a playwright; his other major success was the play adaptation of Ben Hur in 1899.[1]


The Rajah was one of the earliest plays of which successful photographs were taken. Photographer Benjamin Falk took eight pictures, which were made available for sale. For the 100th performance of the play on September 11, 1883, a souvenir with all eight images was created. Among the set are photographs of the much-praised woodland scenery created by John Mazzanovich.[7][8]

Opening castEdit

Actress Marie Burroughs as Gladys; she took over the role on Broadway in 1884
  • Harold Wyncot (the Rajah) ... George Clarke
  • Gladys Wyncot ... Rillie Deaves (also later played by Marie Burroughs)
  • Joseph Jeckyll ... William J. Le Moyne
  • Emilia Jeckyll ... Enid Leslie (also later played by Marion Elmore)
  • Richard Jocelyn ... Thomas Whiffen
  • Mr. Jon ... Joseph Frankau
  • Mrs. Pringer ... Blanche Whiffen
  • Buttons ... Alfred Klein (Klein had to fall into a "brook" of water in the third act)
  • Cragin ... Max Freeman[9][10]


The Rajah was adapted to film at least once; an Edison one reel production with Marc McDermott playing the title role was released on February 14, 1911.[11]


  1. ^ a b Burt, Daniel S. The Chronology of American Literature, p. 264 (2004)
  2. ^ The Drama, The Critic, p. 274-75 (June 9, 1883)
  3. ^ Strang, Lewis Clinton. Players and Plays of the Last Quarter Century, Vol. II, p. 142 (1902)
  4. ^ (6 June 1883). "The Rajah." (review), The New York Times (critical and amusing review)
  5. ^ (6 June 1883). The Rajah (review), New York Tribune, p. 4, col. 6
  6. ^ (19 August 1883). The Madison Square Theatre, The New York Times (reporting that the continued success of the play is delaying any replacements, as well as road performances)
  7. ^ Shields, Daniel S. Seeing the Stage, Broadway Photographs (University of South Carolina), Retrieved 17 April 2014
  8. ^ (10 June 1886). John Mazzanovich's Death. The Well Known Scenic Artist's Short But Varied Career, The New York Times (Obituary for Mazzanovich notes that "some of the best known of his later works, done in connection with his partner and pupil, Homer F. Emens, were the ... beautiful brook scene in 'The Rajah'...")
  9. ^ Play advertisement with cast listing, The Critic, p. 276 (June 16, 1883)
  10. ^ Brown, T. Allston. A history of the New York stage from the first performance in 1732 to 1901 (v.2), 419 (1903)
  11. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part IV for 1911, p. 82 (1911) (directory listing)

External linksEdit