[E3] "The Great Boz Ball in New York," Spirit of the Times, Feb. 15, 1842

The Great Boz Ball in New York.

            This truly magnificent affair came off at the Park Theatre, last evening.  Never was such a fete before given in the American Union.  If Boz had been a very God, he could not have received more adulation and worship.  The glory of New York was present on this most auspicious occasion—and the display of jewellery, rich dresses, and smiling faces, was beyond all precedent.  There were present about 2,200 persons.

            The Theatre was opened at 7 o'clock, and before 9 o'clock most of the company had assembled.  The accommodations were most superb.  The seats in the lower tier of boxes were covered with white muslin, with gold fringe and baize placed for the feet of those in the front circle.  The dome of the pit was covered with bunting, festooned, and having a golden rosette in the centre.

            The gallery part of the Theatre was hid by bunting and statues of Apollo, the nine muses, Cupid and Psyche, and portraits of all the American Presidents, with the coat of arms of each State, served as some of the ornaments.  The sixteen boxes of the second tier were hung with crimson drapery, with a blue ground in the corners, having thereon twenty-six stars, the whole of the boxes thus presenting the appearance of a number of oriental tents.  In front of the second tier, were medallions, ornamented with wreaths, on which were painted various devices representing the works of Boz.  Interspersed were a number of stars, and in the centre of them, surrounded by wreaths, there was an admirable portrait of Charles Dickens, surmounted by a splendid golden eagle, holding a laurel crown in his beak.

            The display of flags, wreaths, and festoons of flowers throughout the building, was magnificent and highly effective.  The stage decorations were the most beautiful that could be imagined.  The stage had been widened, and was made to represent a splendid chamber of carved and gilded oak, with a magnificent ceiling to match, of the Elizabethan age.  On each panel of this apartment was a medallion tableau, representing a scene from Boz's works.  They embraced the following subjects:—

1.     Emotion of the Kenwigs.

2.     Bumble and Mrs. Corney taking tea.

3.     Sam Weller writing his Valentine.

4.     Quilp and the Dog.

5.     Oliver asking for more.

6.     Nell's Death Bed.

7.     Mantillini poisoned for the seventeenth time.

8.     Pickwick in the pound.

9.     Nicholas teaching French to the Kenwigs.

10.  The Sagacious Dog reading the "Caution to Dogs."

11.  Old Weller and his grandson.

12.  The Bailiffs at Mantillini's.

13.  Dancing Dogs.

14.  Old Weller dipping Stiggins's head in the horse trough.

15.  Sim Tappertit's Reverie.

16.  The Old Man at Nell's Grave.

17.  Nell resding [sic] in the Old Church.

18.  Oliver beats Noah Claypoole.

19.  Nell in the Old Church Yard.

20.  Old Curiosity Shop.

A drop curtain was placed in the centre of the stage, painted like the frontispiece to the Pickwick Papers, and exhibits all the characters in that work.  This was drawn up, and there were presented the tableaux vivante, in the following order.

1.     Mrs. Leo Hunter's dress, dejare.

2.     The middle aged lady in the double bedded room.

3.     Mr. Bardell faints in Mr. Pickwick's arms.

4.     Mr. Bardell encounters Mr. Pickwick in prison.

5.     The red nosed man discourseth.

6.     Mr. and Mrs. Mantillini in Ralph Nickleby's office.

7.     Oliver Twist at Mr. Mayley's door.

8.     Little Nell, her grandfather, the military gentleman, and Mr. Slum's unexpected appearance.

9.     Little Nell leading her grandfather.

10.  The Stranger scrutinizing Barnaby's features in the widow's cottage.

11.  The Pickwick Club.

12.  Washington Irving in England and Charles Dickens in America.

These tableaux were represented by the following actors:-


Pickwick,                                 Mr. Bellamy

Sam Weller,                                         John Fisher

Tupman,                                              Povey.

Snodgrass,                                           Clarke.

Winkle,                                                Andrews.

Old Weller,                                          Povey.

Jailer,                                                   Guillot.

Fat Boy,                                   Master King.

Mrs. Lee Hunter,                     Mrs. Jackson

Mrs. Bardell,                                       Ferris

Elderly Maiden Lady,                          Bouillange.

Nymph,                                               Bedford.

Mantillini,                                            Andrews.

Ralph Nickleby,                                   Clarke.

Mrs. Mantillini,                                   Jackson.

Oliver Twist,                                        Pritchard.

Brittles,                                    Mr. Povey.

Little Nell,                                Miss King.

Her Grandfather,                     Mr. Bellamy.

Showman,                                            Nelson

Slum,                                                   Clark.

Mrs. Jarley,                             Miss Bulonge.

Barnaby Rudge,                       Mr. Clarke.

Barnaby's Father,                                 Gallett.

Barnaby's Mother,                   Mrs. Bedford.

            The blaze of light from the innumerable Chandeliers was intensely vivid, and while the dancers were in motion, the tout ensemble of the Theatre was like a scene of enchantment, which no language could depict.  The supper was furnished at an expense of about $2,500.