- (1872-1953)Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Maude Kiskadden was the daughter of James Kiskadden and Annie Adams, a popular actress on Salt Lake City stages. She made her first stage appearance as an infant carried onstage by her mother. Her first speaking part, at age five as a little boy in Fritz, Our Cousin German, was prophetic in that her greatest role would be as a boy who refused to grow up. She followed her mother into the profession, taking Adams as her stage name. As an adult, she first appeared in stock in California before making her Broadway debut in The Paymaster (1888). Following that, she acted with E. H. Sothern in Lord Chum-ley and Charles H. Hoyt in A Midnight Bell.With her appearance in Men and Women (1890), Adams began a long association with producer Charles Frohman, who cast her opposite John Drew in The Masked Ball (1892). She acted with her mother in The Butterflies (1894) and The Imprudent Young Couple (1895), and once again worked with Drew in Christopher, Jr. (1895). Adams followed this with Rosemary (1896), a play that encouraged J. M. Barrie to adapt his novel The Little Minister into dramatic form for her in 1897. As Barrie's Lady Babbie, Adams scored a great success and was starred for the first time, after which she won praise as Juliet to William Faversham's Romeo in 1899. She had, however, become Barrie's American muse and starred in many of his plays, including Quality Street (1901), What Every Woman Knows (1908), The Legend of Leonora (1914), A Kiss for Cinderella (1916), and the play that placed her among the theatrical immortals, Peter Pan (1905). In this role, Adams's soulful sweetness, humor, and intellect were showcased. Peter Pan occupied her for a few years, after which she had a brief run as Viola in Twelfth Night (1908). She also gave admired performances in Edmond Rostand's L'Aiglon (1900) and Chantecler (1911).After Frohman's sudden death on the torpedoed Lusitania in 1915, Adams slowly lost interest in her career. In 1918, she announced her retirement. After working as a lighting consultant for General Electric in the 1920s, Adams returned to the stage to tour with Otis Skinner in The Merchant of Venice during the 1931-1932 season and to play Maria in Twelfth Night in a stock production, after which she retired definitively. From 1937 to 1950, she taught drama at Missouri's Stephens College.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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