- David Belasco's five-act historical extravaganza opened on 25 December 1901 at the Criterion Theatre for 165 performances. Staged with considerable historical detail in the visual elements, the sensationalized Du Barry involves French milliner Jeanette Vauber-nier, who is loved by soldier Cosse-Brissac. When she is attracted to a gambling house by Comte Du Barry, she becomes a scandalous adornment to French society. She is married to Du Barry's brother to create some semblance of respectability, but feelings linger for Cosse-Brissac. As the French Revolution begins, Jeanette goes to the guillotine with many other members of her social set. Following the play's opening, a lawsuit caused headlines with the news that Belasco had plagiarized French writer Jean Richepin's La Du Barry. The notoriety, as well as a fine central performance by Mrs. Leslie Carter, Belasco's typical visual realism, and a cast of 200, helped the play to a healthy run and a 1915 motion picture version.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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