The Seymour-Dolman family has been in theater for more than 150 years.
Mrs. E. J. Phillips, (Charlie Seymour Jr's great great
grand mother and Liz's great great great grandmother), was
married to John Nickinson who was the actor-manager of the Royal Lyceum in Toronto.
was on the stage for 45 years, playing in 36 roles in 19 of Shakespeare's plays plus 63
roles in 45 plays of other authors in such cities as Toronto, Ottawa, Rochester,
Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. They toured the United States with a traveling repertory
company from 1858 until his death in 1864.
During this time they had three children:
Charles (1858-59), Christine Harriet Melanie (1860-1946), and Albert (1863-1948). They probably
slept in trunks and were occasionally carried on stage.
E. J. Phillips was performing with Junius Brutus Booth in
Cincinnati the night that John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, and
the acting company had to leave town under the protection of a covered wagon to protect
Like his wife, John Nickinson was also a performer. He moved from
London to New York in 1837 and established himself as one of the outstanding supporting
actors on the New York stage.
He appeared with Tyrone Power, Edwin Forrest, and Charlotte
Cushman but was usually seen with other members of the Olympic Company. His roles ranges
from Sir Peter Teszle in The School for Scandal, Peachum in The Beggar's Opera,
and Havresack in Napoleon's Old Guard to the first witch in Macbeth, Crusoe
in a burlesque of Robinson Crusoe, and Snigglefritz in The Imp of the Elements.
A daughter from John Nickinson's first marriage, Charlotte
Nickinson Morrison, became manager and star of a new Grand Opera House in Toronto in 1874.
She left that, however, in 1878, and the Opera House burned in 1879.
Christine Harriet Melanie Nickinson eventually married the son
and namesake of an English-born Philadelphia actor, John Dolman, who was a member of the
Chestnut Street Theater stock company.
Their son, John Dolman, Jr. (Charlie Jr's great uncle
and Liz's great great uncle), was for 40 years a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, a director of
plays, and the author of four books in his field The Art of Public Speaking, The
Art of Play Production, The Art of Acting, and The Art of Reading Aloud,
all published by Harpers.
Charles Seymour, Jr., a Swarthmore (PA) native and
Liz's father, is a fourth
generation director at The Players Club of Swarthmore, following in the footsteps of his
great grandmother Harriet
Melanie Nickinson Dolman (also a professional actress), his great uncle John Dolman, Jr.
(one of Broadway Director Harold Prince's favorite professors at the University of
Pennsylvania), and his father Charles F.
Seymour (Former Chairman of Jackson-Cross Company, Realtors, who directed and acted as an
avocation, having learned first-hand from his uncle).
At Tufts University, where he appeared in two operas and one
musical (plus work at Harvard's Agassi Theatre), Charlie Seymour, Jr. created and launched
Torn Ticket in 1971, which continues to produce musicals each year, and he was the
director or musical director for three productions.
Tufts has established a prize named for him, providing
an annual stipend for an enterprising junior or senior involved in musical theater
who has an interest in
At Wharton Graduate (University of Pennsylvania), he produced and
directed three musicals, the first student to earn credit toward his MBA by producing
He produced and directed the first Harold Prince show (Company) to appear
in the theater named for Mr. Prince in the Annenberg Center. He also apprenticed with the
New York Shakespeare Festival, working with Tony Award-winning director A. J. Antoon (and
performers Zoe Caldwell, Robert Shaw, and Hector Elizondo) while they were in residence at
He received a Wharton Public Policy Fellowship and worked as the Assistant
to the Executive Director at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA
(outside Washington, D.C.).
After graduate school, Charlie became the Assistant General
Manager at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, where he helped establish the McCarter
Theatre - Annenberg Center series of plays. He was also the General Manager of the
Loretto-Hilton Repertory Theatre in St. Louis, MO, before returning to the Philadelphia
He was also the Producing Director of
The Players Club of Swarthmore from 1989 to 1993.
Since 1975 at the venerable theater
(records are incomplete before then), more people saw a Charlie Seymour, Jr. directed
musical than productions by any other director.
In fact, five of the most seen productions
were directed by him (nine of his productions are ranked in the top 15 most popular in the
theater's long history).
Since then he has been the Artistic Director for
the all-male Mask and Wig Club of Philadelphia, helping to create three book musicals which
played Philadelphia for two months and toured various parts of the United States,
including New York City.
He wrote the book and lyrics for The Hunchback of Notre Dame Hunchback of Notre Dame with Off-Broadway
composer, Neil Radisch.
He is now the Founder and Owner of