- Collaborating with Evelyn Greeleaf Sutherland, Booth Tarkington transformed his story Monsieur Beaucaire into a five-act comedy produced by the Shuberts as a vehicle for Richard Mansfield. It opened on 2 December 1901 for 64 performances at the Herald Square Theatre. A mild satire on social position and class, Beaucaire focuses on the Duc d'Orleans, who lives incognito in Bath, England, as a humble barber, Monsieur Beaucaire, following his hasty departure from France as a result of his many adventures. Catching the Duke of Winterset cheating at cards, Beaucaire blackmails the Duke into introducing him into society in the guise of a French gentleman. Beaucaire initially charms the social denizens, but he is brutally rejected when they discover that he is merely a barber. When Beaucaire returns in his real guise, he charmingly puts the social butterflies in their place and wins the hand of Lady Mary Carlisle, whom he previously courted. Mansfield was acclaimed in the role and it remained in his repertoire for the rest of his career, including a major New York revival in 1904. Another revival, in 1912, was produced by and starred Lewis Waller. The play was subsequently adapted into an operetta by André Messager and a 1924 motion picture titled Monsieur Beaucaire, starring Rudolph Valentino. Another film of the same name starred Bob Hope in 1946, but retains little of the Tarkington-Greenleaf play.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.