Born in Limerick in 1860, Ada Rehan moved to America when she was about six years old. Her entry into the world of theater was an accident, when she filled in for an ill member of her brother-in-law’s company during a trip. Her success in the role convinced her to pursue a career in theater, and she went on to join the stock company managed by Mrs. John Drew in Philadelphia.
Rehan soon made her mark not just in comedy, but also in tragedy, and was discovered by the famous theater director Augustin Daly. She made her debut in his company at the Olympic Theatre in New York in the late 1870s, and went on to play almost 200 different characters throughout her career. She performed in cities such as London, Berlin, and Vienna, becoming particularly well-known for her roles as Katherine, Rosalind, Viola, and Lady Teazle.
Outside of her work on the stage, Rehan was known as a studious woman with a passion for Shakespearean literature. She first appeared before a London audience with the Daly company at Toole’s Theater in 1884, quickly becoming a favorite among critics and theatergoers alike.
The death of Daly caused significant disruptions in Rehan’s career, and she has appeared less frequently on stage in recent years. Nonetheless, her undeniable talent and contributions to theater will ensure her legacy is remembered for years to come.
Morning Leader – Monday 10 March 1902