Morton, Martha

Morton, Martha
   Born in New York City, the trailblazing woman playwright was well-read and had traveled internationally when she tried to make a career of writing for the stage. Her self-produced initial effort, Helene (1888), failed, but it hardened her resolve. Submitting her next play under a male pseudonym, she won a playwriting competition and saw the work, The Merchant, produced at Madison Square Theatre, starring Rose Coghlan, in 1891. Augustus Pitou produced her next play, Geoffrey Middleton, Gentleman (1892), and then she really hit her stride in a series of plays she wrote for comedian William H. Crane: Brother John (1893), His Wife's Father (1895), A Fool of Fortune (1896), and The Senator Keeps House (1911). For comedian Sol Smith Russell, she wrote A Bachelor's Romance (1896). Unable to gain admittance to the American Dramatists' Club, she organized the Society of Dramatic Authors, with a charter membership of 30 women, in 1907. When the two organizations consolidated as the Society of American Dramatists and Composers, Morton served as its first vice president.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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