Sarah Helen Whitman - Lover
SARAH HELEN WHITMAN: The widow of a writer and a poet herself, Sarah Helen Whitman became involved in a fast moving and, ultimately, sad romantic relationship with Edgar Allan Poe. Their whirlwind courtship led to a doomed engagement that was broken off on Christmas Eve, 1848. Sarah lived in Providence, RI. Less than a year later, Edgar Allan Poe was dead. Sarah Helen Whitman became one of Poe’s most ardent defenders in the years following his death as exaggerated accounts of his drinking, drug use, and erratic behavior came to be believed as fact.
Performed by Linda Goetz
Virginia Poe - Wife
VIRGINIA ELIZA CLEMM: Virginia was Edgar Allan Poe’s first cousin who became his wife when she was thirteen. Although the marriage was and is scandalous to many, she became the central female figure in his life. The years of their marriage proved to be the most stable and productive of his writing career. Her death in 1847 triggered the emotional unraveling of Edgar Allan Poe, who died two and a half years later after a frantic search for love, which included desperate courtships with several women from Lowell, Massachusetts to Baltimore, Maryland.
Performed by Hannah Heckman-McKenna
Elizabeth Poe - Mother
ELIZABETH ARNOLD POE: Elizabeth was Edgar Allan Poe’s mother, an actress who died destitute when Edgar was two years of age. Her artistic ability and her determination despite difficult odds seemed to be her special inheritance left to Edgar. Instead, her death left him with an abiding sense of loss and the arbitrariness of life.
Performed by Diana Masi
Sarah Royster - Lover
SARAH ELMIRA ROYSTER: Sarah Royster also figured prominently in Poe’s life when he was a young man and at his death. When Poe was seventeen, and Sarah just sixteen, they began a courtship that was interrupted and ultimately stopped by her father. Sarah went on to marry another and was later widowed. In 1848, Poe visited the widow Royster and renewed the relationship. Doubts about Poe’s behavior and emotional stability, the same that caused her father to condemn the relationship years prior, gave her hesitation. After the summer of 1848, when she told Poe that she was not ready to marry him, he became involved with Sarah Helen Whitman in Providence, Rhode Island. Once that relationship abruptly ended, he again pursued Sarah Elmira Royster. It is likely that they were tending toward marriage when they reunited in Richmond, Virginia in September of 1847, but two weeks later Poe was found lying in a gutter in Baltimore, Maryland, and he died just days after.
Performed by Cindy Lentol
Frances Allan - Step-Mother
FRANCES VALENTINE ALLAN: In 1811, she and her husband, John Allan, took Edgar in following his mother’s death (Poe’s father had abandoned the family a year before Poe’s mother died). Until her death in 1829, Frances Allan remained an emotional anchor for Edgar and cushioned the many hard times he experienced in his relationship with John Allan, who never formally adopted Edgar.
Performed by Jami Tennille