1890-92: The Alcazar
San Francisco's Alcazar Theatre underwent a major renovation in 1890. The troupe that opened the theatre after the reconstruction, included Ben Cotton, his daughter, Idalene, and Nick Long, her future husband. It was stock theatre for performers who had a lot of experience, and probably very heady stuff for Idalene. In rapid succession the company produced "10,000 Miles Away," "The Upper Hand," "Wife for Wife," "A Fair Rebel," "The Exiles," "The English Rose," and many other dramas. Ben and Idalene had small parts in most of these productions. In almost every instance Ben played an ancient black - a butler, a field hand, usually comic, always faithful, always minor. At the outset of 1892 Nick Long and J.A. Hearne filed a copyright application for a three-act play titled the "Street Singer." The first Alcazar production of 1892 was "The Octoroon." In November of that year Eliza Payne Cotton, Ben Cotton's mother, died at the age of 84.