The Auctioneer


The Auctioneer
   David Belasco, Charles Klein, and Lee Arthur collaborated on this three-act comedy that opened at the Bijou Theatre on 23 September 1901 for 105 performances starring David Warf-ield, Belasco's most durable star. Surprised by a sudden inheritance, poor Hester Street auctioneer Simon Levi finds that with his unexpected wealth his wife and adopted daughter want to enjoy life's finer things. Levi allows his prospective son-in-law to invest the inheritance in stocks, but their value declines and his fortunes are once again reduced. Warfield, who had been known mostly as a dialect comedian prior to this production, moved audiences with his first act curtain speech in which he bids farewell to his lower East Side home and neighbors. Credited with elevating this slight play, Warfield appeared in three revivals (1903, 1913, 1918), and the role of Simon Levi became permanently associated with Warfield, although George Sidney effectively played the part in a 1927 motion picture version.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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