William Gillette and Francis Hodgson Burnett adapted Burnett's story into this four-act comedy, which opened on 29 October 1881 at the Madison Square Theatre for 350 performances. Esmeralda provided a vehicle for Annie Russell as Es-meralda Rogers, a North Carolina farm girl in love with a neighbor boy, Dave Hardy. Her ambitious mother resolves to send Esmeralda to Europe to marry a marquis when gold is discovered on what her parents believe to be their property. When it turns out that the gold is actually on Dave's land, Esmeralda's parents change their views. Esmeralda gets to marry Dave. Russell's performance and the play's light charm and romanticism made it one of the longest-running plays of its time. Mary Pickford starred in a 1915 silent motion picture version of Esmeralda, and it was a popular touring vehicle well into the 20th century.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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