Percy MacKaye

Percy MacKaye ( born March 16, 1875 in Manhattan, † August 31 1956 in Cornish, Sullivan County, New Hampshire) was an American playwright and poet.


His father was the actor Steele MacKaye (1842-1894), his mother Mary was attached to the theater, they adapted, for example, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for the stage. His brothers were the engineer and philosopher James MacKaye (1872-1935) and the environmentalists and Forstwisschenschaftler Benton MacKaye ( 1879-1975 ). Shortly after MacKayes birth the family moved to Brattleboro, Vermont, where his father worked in the same house where Rudyard Kipling lived later. MacKaye studied at Harvard. After graduating in 1897 he spent two years in Europe, where he attended Rome, fountains SZ, Switzerland, and London, and studied at the University of Leipzig. He returned in 1900 returned to New York, where he worked as a teacher in a private school and wrote plays. After 1904 he wrote full-time. In 1920 he was Poet in Residence at the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He taught in the 1920s and poetics and folklore at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, a college, where his brother James in 1931 also taught.

At Percy MacKayes Friends belonged to the Antroprosoph Albert Steffen, as well as the poet Robert Frost, Khalil Gibran, Isadora Duncan, Thomas Alva Edison, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. He was married to Marion Homer Morse and had a son (* 1899) and two daughters (* 1902, * 1909).


As a teenager, MacKaye already wrote hymns for a project of his father at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. As a student at Harvard, he wrote Sapho, a drama in rhyme, which was performed by students from Harvard and Wellesley College. His first big success was in 1903 comedy The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer in an adaptation of a poem that had been 1904 Posted by EH Sothern. Percy MacKayes great passion was the Middle Ages, which in its choice of topics and its language clearly shows. He worked in his plays often with historical parades and masks. Another topic were Norse legends and the history of the inhabitants of Kentucky. It is also known a vierbändrige history to Shakespeare's Hamlet, which appeared in 1949. Between 1903 and 1927 more than a dozen of his plays were published, as well as eleven masques, four operas, four essays and a two-volume biography of his father. His play The Scarecrow, written in 1908 and premiered on Broadway in 1911 with Frank Reichert in the lead role, was filmed three times: in 1923 by Frank Tuttle as Puritan Passions and 1972 television adaptation starring Gene Wilder by Boris Sagal and in 2000 as an animated film by Brian Nissen and Richard Rich. The piece is based on Feathertop, a gambling in the 17th century and 1852, published short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne.



  • The Canterbury Tales. A Comedy. 1903
  • Jeanne D' Arc. A Tragedy. 1906 ( Broadway show at the Lyric Theatre from 21 January 1907 produced by Lee and JJ Shubert )
  • Sappho and Phaon. 1907 ( Broadway show at the Lyric Theatre from 21 October 1907 to October 1907, 7 shows, music AA Stanley, produced by Harrison Gray Fiske )
  • The Scarecrow. A Tragedy of the Ludicrous. 1908 ( Broadway show at the Garrick Theatre from 17 January 1911 to February 1911, 23 performances, produced by Henry B. Harris)
  • A Garland to Sylvia. A Dramatic Reverie.
  • Kinfolk of Robin Hood.
  • Mater. An American study in comedy. 1908 ( Broadway show at the Savoy Theatre on 25 September 1908 to October 1908, 27 performances, directed by: Frank Brownlee, produced by Henry Milller )
  • Anti- Matrimony. A Satirical comedy. 1910 ( Broadway show at the Garrick Theatre from 22 September 1910 to October 1910, 20 performances)
  • Tomorrow. A Play in Three Acts. 1912
  • Yankee Fantasies. Five One -Act Plays Folk. 1912
  • A Thousand Years Ago. A Romance of the Orient. 1914 ( Broadway show in the Shubert Theatre on 6 January 1914 to March 1914, 87 performances, produced by Lee and JJ Shubert )
  • The Antic. 1915 ( Broadway show in brandbox Theatre on October 4, 1915 to May 20 in 1916, produced by the Washington Square Players )
  • Washington, the Man Who Made Us. A Ballad Play. 1919 ( Broadway show when George Washington at the Lyric Theatre from 1 March 1920 to March 1920, 16 performances, produced by Walter Hampden )
  • Gettysburg. Playin A One Act. 1921
  • This Fine Pretty World. A Kentucky Mountain Comedy. 1923 ( Broadway performance at the Neighborhood Playhouse from 26 December 1923 to January 1924, 33 performances, produced by The Neighborhood Playhouse )
  • Napoleon Crossing the Rockies. A Kentucky Mountain Play. 1924


  • Gloucester Pageant. 1903
  • Saint Gaudens Masque- Prologue. 1909
  • Caliban. A Masque on the Art of Theatre. 1916 ( Broadway performance as Caliban of the Yellow Sands from 24 May 1916 to June 1916 in the Lewisohn Stadium at the City College of New York, 10 performances, directors: Joseph Urban and Richard Ornisky, 10,000 visitors)
  • Saint Louis. A Masque of the American Civilization.
  • Sanctuary. A Bird Masque. 1913 (written for a bird sanctuary in Meriden, New Hampshire, premiere on September 12, 1913 in the presence of President Woodrow Wilson. With the presidential daughters Eleanor and Margaret as actresses )
  • The New Citizenship. A Civic ritual. 1915
  • The Evergreen Tree. A Christmas Masque. 1917
  • The Roll Call. A Masque of the Red Cross. 1918
  • The Will of Song. A ritual of Community Singing. 1919
  • The Pilgrim and the Book. A Dramatic service.


  • The Immigrants. A Tragedy. 1915
  • The Canterbury Pilgrims. A Comedy. 1916 ( Reginald de Koven Music )
  • Sinbad the Sailor. A Fantasy. 1917
  • Rip Van Winkle. A Legend. 1919


  • The Playhouse and the Play. New York 1909
  • A Substitute for War. Macmillan, New York 1915
  • Community Drama. An Interpretation. 1917