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Portrait of John O'Keefe by either Thomas or William Lawranson, 1782

John O'Keeffe (June 24, 1747 – February 4, 1833), dramatist, wrote a number of farces and amusing dramatic pieces, many of which had great success. Among these are Tony Lumpkin in Town (1778), Wild Oats (1791), Love in a Camp, and Omai – A Voyage ‘round the World (1785), an account of the voyages of the Tahitian explorer Omai. The Poor Soldier (1783), a comic opera with words and lyrics by O'Keeffe and music by William Shield, was a musical farce about the lives of British soldiers returning home after the American Revolution. O'Keeffe also wrote The Son-in-Law, Agreeable Surprise, and Castle of Andalusia. [1]

O'Keeffe was the most produced playwright in London in the last quarter of the 18th century. Some of his songs set to music by Arnold and Shield, such as I am a Friar of Orders Grey, and The Thorn, are still popular. He was blind in his later years.

Wild Oats was revived successfully by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London in the fall of 1976, with Alan Howard as the leading character, strolling actor Jack Rover. Ben Cross and Jeremy Irons were also in the cast. This production led to many revivals at regional theatres across the UK, the US, and Canada. The Royal National revived it again in the 1990s.


  1. ^ O'Keefe, John (1808). The Poor Soldier: A Comic Opera, in Two Acts: with all the original songs. New-York: Printed and published by D. Longworth at the Dramatic repository, Shakespeare-Gallery. pp. cover.  

External links

This article incorporates public domain text from : Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London, J. M. Dent & Sons; New York, E. P. Dutton.



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