The Tavern


The Tavern
   George M. Cohan's facile parody adapted from Cora Dick Gantt's melodrama provided him an enduringly popular play. The leading role of the mysterious Vagabond was originally played by Arnold Daly, but later acted by Cohan himself in a demonstration of his versatility. This spoof of melodramatic traditions is set in a small country inn where the guests complain of highwaymen plaguing travelers. Those stopping at the inn include the otherwise unnamed Vagabond, a mysterious woman, and the family of a governor. The daughter of the governor and the woman are both attracted to the charming Vagabond, who seems to be in control of the situation until the sheriff arrives to escort him back to the insane asylum from which he has escaped. First produced on 27 September 1920 at the Cohan Theatre, The Tavern won appreciative reviews and audiences for 252 performances, after which the play became a staple of stock and touring companies. In his declining years, Cohan, eager for another stage success following a string of failures during the 1930s, crafted a sequel, The Return of the Vagabond (1940), but it failed to find favor.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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