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Castle Sq Theatre

Haworth's Life
Haworth's Times
Haworth's Versatility
Haworth's Press
Haworth's Writings
NY Engagements
His Brother William
The Haworth Tradition

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Castle Square Theatre
(421 Tremont Street, Boston)

Built 1894
Location 421 Tremont St.
Boston's South Side
Architect(s) Architect unknown, but the theatre was praised for its Rococo/Renaissance style interior and the playhouse's new system of dimming the stage light more gradually through the use of a switchboard
Developer/Manager E.M. Maynard (builder)
John Craig & Mary Young (managers)
1st Production  
Major Productions Home of Opera & touring plays, Castle Square's stock company (1908-1916)
Joseph Haworth's Appearances  
Demolished Raised in 1932
Interesting Facts Between 1912 and 1914, a young actor named Alfred Lunt was a new member of the company; and later toured with Lily Langtry. Lunt married Lynn Fontanne in 1922, forming what some regard as the greatest American acting team of the twentieth century.

Gradually succumbing to the popularity of film over theatre, The Castle Square Theatre, now rechristened the Arlington was raised in 1932 and its furnishings auctioned off.

(click on photo to enlarge)

Front of Castle Square Theatre Program from March 4, 1895 listing Joseph Haworth's roles for the week    
Joseph Haworth in Hamlet at the Castle Square Theatre, Boston

Joseph Haworth in Rinaldo at the Castle Square Theatre, Boston


Alfred Lunt
in his dressing room
 at the
 Castle Square Theatre
Lynn & Alfred
mugging for their
wedding photo,
taken at
 Coney Island
Young Lunt
 'playing older'
 at the
 Castle Square Theatre

Joseph Haworth & The Castle Square Theatre

In 1895 Joseph Haworth played a long engagement in the standard drama, acting the leading roles in Hamlet, Richard III, Richelieu, The Bells, Rosedale, and Rinaldo. The venue for this ambitious season was the recently opened Castle Square Theatre in Boston. These productions received national attention and were widely reviewed and reported on in the New York press.

A handbill for the week of January 21, 1895 announced Hamlet and Rosedale. It unabashedly called Haworth "America’s Greatest Hamlet" and "America’s Greatest Actor." Still going strong on March 4, 1895, The Castle Square announced Rinaldo for Monday and Thursday evenings, Richelieu for Tuesday and Saturday evenings, Rosedale for Wednesday matinee and Friday evening, Hamlet for Wednesday evening and Saturday matinee, billing Joe has "Boston’s Favorite Actor."

Joe added Richard III to repertory at the Castle Square to critical and popular approval, but at a terrible cost. One night in the duel between Richard and Richmond, the fight was in its final stages with Richard succumbing to an avalanche of blows showered upon his sword. At this point, Joe felt a sudden agony in his thumb, followed by numbness in his arm as his gauntlet filled with blood. Fainting with pain, Joe managed to finish the fight and the play, whereupon it was discovered that the top of his thumb had been amputated down to the bone. The wound was dressed in a hospital emergency room, and Haworth played Richard again the very next night.

The one original play performed in the repertory was Rinaldo. It told the story of a young village doctor in the time of Dante, who abandoned his betrothed and traveled to Florence, becoming rich and marrying into aristocracy, only to suffer the remorse of a biting conscience. Joe had commissioned Ernest Lacy to write the blank verse play as a star vehicle. Rinaldo was well received in Boston and reported on favorably in the February 26, 1895 New York Times, but was not kept in Haworth’s repertory.

The Boston Herald, one of the most conservative journals in America at the time, devoted two columns to Joe’s Hamlet at the Castle Square:

"His Hamlet is one of remarkable value and worth. This much may be stated with absolute certainty. None of the actors who have attempted the role during the past dozen years, before or after Edwin Booth passed away, have at all equaled Mr. Haworth in pleasing effectiveness or in the great essentials of the role. This new Hamlet is not only one of extraordinary merit, but it is builded on lines which will make it popular with the masses. While the memory of Edwin Booth’s acting in this role is fresh in the public mind, no new Hamlet will be accepted without question. But Mr. Haworth’s Hamlet more nearly approaches the American ideal than any other which has been presented. It has qualities which should win for it a permanent place in affectionate public regard. The great merit of this Hamlet lies in the fact that Mr. Haworth has a clear, intelligent conception of the character, and that he presents it consistently and with such clearness of demonstration and illustration, that it is easily understood by the average auditor of fair intelligence. There is a straightforwardness and directness in the actor’s method, as the character unfolds and develops which challenges admiration.

"His conception of the character follows closely that made familiar by Edwin Booth, and much of the admirable business of the play used by that distinguished actor is adopted by Mr. Haworth, but there is no attempt to copy the illustrious dead. Indeed, Mr. Haworth does not look unlike Edwin Booth in the robes of the melancholy Dane, and his personality fits the character admirably. He makes at all times a pleasing, impressive, dignified, graceful prince, and fortunate graces of person aid him materially in conquering his audiences at the outset. To the scholarly, intellectual, spiritual, philosophic and poetic qualities of Hamlet, Mr. Haworth gave beautiful expression. He never for a moment lost his firm grip upon the character; never lost sight of his ideal, nor forgot the greater meaning and significance of the ideal which Shakespeare created."

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