Merely Mary Ann (play 1903-1904)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Eleanor Robson as Mary Ann
(The Sketch, 14 september 1904)
UK premiere cast
(The Tatler, 4 november 1903)

Merely Mary Ann is a British 4-act play, written and managed by Israel Zangwill premiered as a copyright at The Corn Exchange (Wallingford, UK) on 22 october 1903, starring Elsa Steele as Mary Ann, Jerome K. Jerome as Peter, Israel Zangwill as Herr Brahmson, and initially billed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as Rev. Samuel Smedge.

Unfortunately, Arthur Conan Doyle was billed but apologised for his unavoidable absence at the last moment.

After the copyright play, there was a tour in the USA from 26 october until 26 december when the play was played at the Garden Theatre (New York). Eleanor Robson, an American actress, played Mary Ann. Then the play continued a few months later in London, from 8 september to 15 december 1904, at The Duke of York's Theatre, still with Eleanor Robson.

An article mentioned that Arthur Conan Doyle was a property man for the London performances, but the article has many errors and it is probably a mix-up (see article).

Cast (UK premiere)


  • Playwright : Israel Zangwill
  • Manager : Israel Zangwill
  • Scenery : Fred Miller
  • Costumes : Madame Pauline
  • Furniture : Mitchell & Co.
  • Song : Miss Cecile Hartog (Act IV)


  • Act I. — The friendship between the lodging-house "slavey" and the poor composer begins.
  • Act II. — The friendship discovered.
  • Act III. — The friendship ends.
  • Act IV. — They meet again and marry.