Charlotte Cushman | 1816–76
Charlotte Cushman had hoped to be an opera singer, but she failed badly in her first engagement in New Orleans in 1835, ruining her singing voice in the process. Undaunted, the manager of the St. Charles Theatre booked her far more successfully the next year in the role of Lady Macbeth. She eventually became the first great Shakespeare actress born in the United States, equally renowned for her performances at home and in England.
Cushman often played such female characters as Lady Macbeth, Emilia, Rosalind, and Viola, but she also performed in male roles, including Romeo (with her sister Susan as Juliet) and Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VIII. Her performance of Queen Catherine in the same play was considered one of her best.