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O'Keeffe
O'Keeffe
73

smith's ‘She Stoops to Conquer,’ was produced in Dublin. The author sent it anonymously to Colman, the manager of the Haymarket Theatre in London, and on 2 July 1778 it was put on the stage there with considerable success. It was published in the same year. From that date O'Keeffe proved an exceptionally prolific playwright, but mainly confined his efforts to farces and comic operas. His phraseology was quaint, and sometimes barely intelligible, but gave opportunities for ‘gag’ to comedians, of which they took full advantage. The songs in his operas had an attractive sparkle, and some, like ‘I am a Friar of Orders Grey’ and ‘Amo Amas I love a Lass,’ are still popular. He was always a facile if not a very finished rhymester.

About 1780 O'Keeffe removed from Dublin to London, with a view to obtaining an engagement as an actor. But in this endeavour he was not successful, and he consequently devoted himself to writing comic pieces, chiefly for the Haymarket and Covent Garden Theatres. He also sent verses for many years to the ‘Morning Herald.’ His failing sight compelled him to depend largely on an amanuensis, but his gaiety was not diminished. He dictated many of his plays in his garden at Acton, whither he went to reside about 1798.

At the Haymarket were produced his †‘Son-in-Law,’ comic opera (14 Aug. 1779; London, 1779, 8vo); †‘The Dead Alive,’ comic opera (16 June 1781; 1783, 8vo); †‘The Agreable Surprise,’ comic opera, with music by Dr. Arnold (3 Sept. 1781; London, 1786, 8vo; Dublin, 1784 and 1787; printed in Cumberland's ‘British Theatre,’ No. 232); †‘The Young Quaker’ (26 July 1783); ‘The Birthday, or Prince of Aragon,’ comic opera (12 Aug. 1783; 1783, 8vo); †‘Peeping Tom of Coventry,’ comic opera (6 Sept. 1784; 1787, 8vo); *‘A Beggar on Horseback,’ comic opera (16 June 1785; 1785, 8vo); ‘The Siege of Curzola,’ comic opera (12 Aug. 1786; not published); ‘Prisoner at Large,’ a comedy (2 July 1788); *‘The Basket-Maker,’ musical piece (4 Sept. 1790); ‘London Hermit,’ a comedy (29 June 1793); *‘The Magic Banner,’ opera (22 June 1796; not published separately, but apparently identical with ‘Alfred,’ a drama, in the collected edition of 1798; on it James Pocock [q.v.] based his ‘Alfred the Great, or the Enchanted Standard,’ produced at Covent Garden on 3 Nov. 1827.

At Covent Garden were represented O'Keeffe's *‘The Positive Man’ (16 March 1782); *‘Castle of Andalusia,’ comic opera (2 Nov. 1782); *‘Poor Soldier,’ comic opera (4 Nov. 1783); *‘Fontainebleau’ (16 Nov. 1784); *‘The Blacksmith of Antwerp’ (7 Feb. 1785); ‘Omai,’ a pantomime (20 Dec. 1785); *‘Love in a Camp, or Patrick in Prussia,’ musical piece (17 Feb. 1786); *‘The Man Milliner’ (27 Jan. 1787); *‘The Farmer,’ musical piece (31 Oct. 1787); *‘Tantararara Roguesall’ (1 March 1788); *‘The Highland Reel’ (6 Nov. 1788); ‘The Toy,’ a comedy (3 Feb. 1789); *‘Little Hunchback,’ farce (14 April 1789); *‘The Czar Peter,’ comic opera (8 March 1790); ‘The Fugitive,’ musical piece (4 Nov. 1790); *‘Modern Antiques,’ a farce (14 March 1791); ‘Wild Oats,’ a comedy (16 April 1791); ‘Tony Lumpkin's Rambles,’ musical piece (10 April 1792); *‘The Sprigs of Laurel,’ comic opera (11 May 1793); ‘World in a Village,’ a comedy (23 Nov. 1793); ‘Life's Vagaries,’ a comedy (19 March 1795); ‘The Irish Mimic’ (23 April 1795); ‘The Lie of the Day’ (19 March 1796); *‘The Lad of the Hills,’ comic opera, 9 April 1796 (reproduced with alterations as ‘The Wicklow Mountains,’ 10 Oct. 1796; *‘Doldrum,’ a farce (23 April 1796); ‘Olympus in an Uproar,’ 5 Nov. 1796 (altered from ‘The Golden Pippin,’ a burletta, by Kane O'Hara); ‘Aladdin, or the Wonderful Lamp,’ a melodramatic romance (19 April 1813).

At Drury Lane appeared in 1798 O'Keeffe's ‘She's Eloped,’ a comedy (19 May); ‘The Eleventh of June, or the Dagger-Woods at Dunstable’ (5 June); ‘A Nose Gay of Weeds,’ interlude (6 June).

O'Keeffe is also credited with producing many pieces which, unlike those already enumerated, are not mentioned by Genest. The additional pieces include ‘The Banditti’ (1781); ‘Lord Mayor's Day’ (1782); ‘Maid the Mistress,’ ‘Shamrock,’ and ‘Friar Bacon’ (1783); ‘Harlequin Teague;’ ‘The Definitive Treaty;’ ‘The Loyal Bandeau’ (opera); ‘Female Club;’ ‘Jenny's Whim;’ ‘All to St. Paul's;’ ‘The She-Gallant.’ In 1798, when O'Keeffe claimed to have composed fifty pieces, and he was totally blind, he published a selection from them by subscription in four volumes. He had disposed of the copyright of those marked † in the list already given, and was unable to include them. The volumes only contained those marked * above, all of which were now printed for the first time, together with ‘Le Granadier,’ intended for production at Covent Garden in 1789, but not performed.

On 12 June 1800, owing to O'Keeffe's financial embarrassments, he was accorded a benefit at Covent Garden, under the patronage of the Prince of Wales. His ‘Lie of the Day’ was performed, and, at the