- (1847-1920)Playwright William Young was born near Chicago, studied for the law, and began a theatrical career as an actor in order to learn the art of playwriting. He wrote several blank verse tragedies, including Jonquil (1871), Pendragon (1882), and Ganelon (1891), all starring Lawrence Barrett, but had his greatest success with a long-running 1883 comedy, The Rajah, produced by Daniel Frohman. He subsequently translated and adapted Joan of Arc (1890) from Jules Barbier's novel, and adapted A Japanese Nightingale (1903) from Onoto Wotanna's novel. His major triumph was adapting General Lew Wallace's novel Ben-Hur (1899) for the stage. Its spectacular Marc Klaw and Abe Erlanger production led to numerous revivals, tours, and motion picture adaptations.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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