Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MITCHELL, William, theatre-manager, born in Billquay, Durham, England, in 1798; died in New York city, 12 May, 1856. He appeared first in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in a small part in "The Recruiting Officer," and afterward acted at other English provincial theatres. In 1831 he was engaged in London at the Strand theatre, making his debut in "Professionals Puzzled," and later he became stagemanager of the Coburg theatre. In 1.836 Mitchell came to this country under an engagement with the lessees of the old National theatre in New York city, where, on 29 August, he made his debut as Jem Baggs in "The Wandering Minstrel," and eventually, under James W. Wallack's direction, became stage-manager. After the destruction of that playhouse by fire he assumed control of the Olympm theatre, which he conducted from 1839 until 1850. This house was frequented by the wits and menabout-town, and became popular for the performance of operas in miniature, farces, and burlesques, in which the manager usually performed the leading parts. Mitchell retired from its control with only small gains. Stricken by disease, he lingered several years in reduced circumstances. As a comedian he was painstaking and industrious, and had an artist's conception of the characters he represented. The drawbacks to his becoming distinguished in the regular line of comedy were immobility of features and inflexibility of utterance One of his most amusing personifications was that of Manager Crummles in a dramatization from Dickens's "Nicholas Nickleby."
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