Shaw, Mary


Shaw, Mary
(1860-1929)
   Born in Boston, Mary Shaw debuted with the Boston Museum stock company in 1878. As a firebrand feminist, Shaw became a proponent of the plays of modernist dramatists Henrik Ibsen and George Bernard Shaw. After appearing on Broadway in David Belasco's production of Ben-Hur (1899), Shaw's early stage experiences were in support of several actresses who shared her feminist views or interest in Ibsen, including Helena Modjeska, Minnie Maddern Fiske, and Julia Marlowe, and she toured the United States in Ibsen's controversial Ghosts in 1903. Shaw appeared in Hedda Gabler in Chicago in 1904 before starring in the first American production of Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession in New York in 1905, a production that landed Shaw and producer Arnold Daly in jail for indecency. Undaunted, she later appeared in 1918 and 1922 revivals of the play and usually acted in works focused on women's rights and other controversial social issues, including Votes for Women (1909), Divorce (1909), and Polygamy (1914), and The Dickey Bird (1915). Shaw founded the Gamut Club, was a charter member of the Professional Women's League, represented the United States at the International Congress of Women in London in 1899, and was a much sought-after lecturer.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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