- The first major success for playwright Clyde Fitch, this four-act drama starring Richard Mansfield opened on 19 May 1890 at the Madison Square Theatre for 150 performances. Popinjay Beau Brummel, an irresponsible hedonist served by a loyal valet, attempts to restore his sagging financial fortunes by marrying Mariana Vincent, daughter of a London businessman, unaware that his nephew, Reginald, is also courting Mariana. Brummel insults the Prince of Wales and is publicly humiliated when the prince returns a peace offering. Brummel learns of the relationship between Mariana and Reginald and, to save his pride, leaves London for Paris, where he is discovered years later in poverty-stricken old age with only his valet for comfort. In an eerie scene, the old man entertains imaginary guests at supper. Critics and scholars have accounted this as Mansfield's greatest triumph as an actor. It remained in his repertoire for the remainder of his career, with no less than five New York revivals and tours between 1899 and 1907. Arnold Daly revived it in order to play Brummel in 1916.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.