Anna joined the Mr. Bluebeard company at the
beginning of its road tour in September, 1903,
having just finished a sixteen week season in a
stock company in Elmira, NY.
Managed by comedian Herbert Salinger, the
Manhattan Opera Company (MOC) worked out of NYC. It
had come to Elmira, New York (population then around
38,000) for a second summer in
early June, 1903 to perform at the open-air
Theater, founded in 1900 by the Elmira Water,
Light & Railroad Company as way to increase
trolley traffic. The EWLR was a
consolidation of Elmira's utilities with the Elmira,
Horseheads Maple Avenue and West Side Street
Railways. (Watch a
fun slide show of Rorick Glen images and
read more about Rorick's Glen.)
Over a decade later Anna Brandt cited stock theater
work as an excellent way for performers to expand
the breadth of their skills and hone their craft.
A look at MOC's 1903 season suggests enough variety
to challenge a company.
that summer included The Mikado,
The Chimes of Normandy, Fra Divolo (poorly
performed the first time, according to a local
critic, and offending one in the audience who
recommended Zerlina's disrobing scene be omitted),
The Merry War, The Bohemian Girl, The Grand Duchess,
The Pirates of Penzance, Patience, Charity Begins at
Trial by Jury, Giroile-Girofla and
Rose of Auvergne.
The season was not without difficulties. Three
times flooding of the Chemung River took out the
foot bridge across the river, causing the
cancellation of a few performances and requiring
relocation to the Auditorium. (The wooden bridge
washed out five times during the theater's first
five years and was replaced in 1906 with an iron
footbridge with concrete pilings – that are still in
position though the iron succumbed to floods in 1946
& 1972.) A much promoted
nighttime balloon accession was replaced with a
fireworks display when the balloonist decided a
nighttime ride was too risky. Three cast members
abruptly left to join other companies, including
their baritone, Wally Albert Wallerstedt.
Some MOC cast members had previously worked in other Klaw
& Erlanger productions, including The Beauty and
the Beast and Mr. Bluebeard when it
on Broadway. Seven evening performances and
four matinees were scheduled for each week in Elmira.
Admission was free with audiences of up to two
thousand people (some reports said 1,200) and hundreds more on
the surrounding lawn, strolling in the elaborate
illuminated walking gardens and in boats on the
It is not known if Anna Brandt* performed in
Bluebeard when it was in NYC but I suspect not.
She was not mentioned in MOC news stories during the
1903 season, suggesting she did not yet stand out
from the crowd.
At the end of
August she and two other performers in MOC left
Elmira to join the Bluebeard Company in New York.
Mr. Bluebeard opened at the Alvin Theater in
Pittsburgh at the end of September, presumably with
Anna, Kittie and Gladdis in the chorus. Last names for
Kittie and Gladdis were not given but the sentence
structure in news clipping suggests
they were Anna's sisters. Ordinarily with so
much information I would be able to find Anna in
genealogy records but such has not been the case.
That may mean that Brand/Brandt was a stage name.
In the years after the fire
Around 1906 Anna joined the
Holden Players in which she was often cast as an
ingénue before moving on to more important and
better compensated roles. In 1912 she joined the
North Brothers stock company but a year later
returned to the Holden Players. " In 1914 she was
with Frank Readick's American Players.
Productions in which Anna
Fool and His Money
A Trip to India
Marie in Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Pierre of the
Place and the
Shores of Sin
The Girl From
Wife in Name
Whose Baby are
Age and the popularity of cinema may have caught up
with Anna. The last mention I found of Anna in a theatrical
role was in Detroit in 1915. A performer of
the same name appeared in November, 1915 at the
Strand Theater in Brooklyn singing soprano in Bella
Donna but I suspect that was not the same woman.
After the first quarter of 1915, Anna seems to
have vanished from the stage.
Discrepancies and addendum
* Occasionally spelled
in newspapers as Brand but more often as Brandt.
Misc possible connections:
One possibility is that
Anna, Kittie and Gladdis were the daughters of
hat maker John S. Brandt and Isabelle A. Holmes
Brandt of Boston. In 1910 their married
daughters, Gladys L. Brandt Scott and Katherine
Brandt Mohan, lived with them in Boston.
In 1921 an Anna G. Brandt
said to be of Stockholm turned up as a performer,
described as new on the scene in the U.S. so
probably not the same woman. She married
Charles K. Johansen.
A playwright in
El Paso named Anna
Brandt worked in the 1930s but I found nothing to
suggest she was the same woman.
A Kate Brand appeared in "then I'll Come Back to You
in an Indianapolis theater in June, 1916.
Anna's sister, Kitty?
An Edwin Brandt in
theater work in 1903. Related?