The Trial of Mary Dugan

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The Trial of Mary Dugan is a play by Bayard Veiller (1869-1943)[1].

The original text

A play about the sensational courtroom trial of a showgirl accused of killing of her millionaire lover. Her defense attorney is her brother, Jimmy Dugan. During the performance of the play, the audience is addressed as if it is the jury.

First performed at the National Theatre on Broadway on September 19, 1927, then played at the Sam H. Harris Theatre from June 11, 1928 followed by the Century Theatre from September 3-19, 1928, for a total of 437 performances. In London it played in 1928 with Genevieve Tobin.

Published as The Trial Of Mary Dugan. A Melodrama Of New York Life by Samuel French (New York and Hollywood) in 1928?/1955.

Translations and adaptations

Two American films were based on the play, one in 1929 directed by Bayard Veiller and starring Norma Shearer, and one in 1941 directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starring Laraine Day.

A novelization of the play, by William Almon Wolff, was published in 1929, and, according to Anne C. Heller (2009), Ayn Rand's Night of January 16th was modeled on the play.

Performance history in South Africa

1928: Performed by Zena Dare and Ben Webster as part of their repertoire, while on tour in South Africa


Anne C. Heller. 2009. Ayn Rand and the World She Made. New York: Doubleday

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