As an actress and playwright, I have performed as Edgar Poe and Poe’s one-time fiancée, Helen Whitman since 1999. First “Poe-sessed” in high school when, for an acting class, I memorized “The Raven,” I fell in love with Poe’s poetry. Eventually, I came to love almost everything that Poe has written, so my repertoire expands.

My first appearance as Edgar was at the Ritz Theater of Oaklyn, NJ. Bruce Curless, founder of the Ritz Theater, directed my performance as (Sarah) Helen Whitman in “Remembering Poe”. I had written “Remembering Poe” to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Poe’s death.

Mr. Curless offered me the opportunity to play Helen Whitman for act one and, after Intermission, to return as Poe for act two. As an actress, I’d always longed to perform as Poe, but, of course, felt intimidated by the idea of performing as a man. So Bruce’s offer was a dream come true - a dream that I hardly dared to dream! Thank you, Bruce! Women performing as male characters occurs more these days, but it was not so prevalent in 1999. Since then I have performed as Poe on stage, radio and television. It is a joy for me to stretch my acting and writing skills in this way. Each performance is an opportunity to attempt to almost channel the great writer.

I have an undergraduate degree in Theater Arts and a master’s in Literature, both from Rutgers University. I’ve worked at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia since 1995, giving tours of the last Philadelphia home that Poe resided in.

About Eddy

Edgar Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, to itinerant (read “not wealthy”) actors. Orphaned at 2, he was taken in as the foster child of John and Frances Allan (hence the middle name). Raised mainly in Richmond, Virginia, and in England between the ages of 6 and 11, he received a good education. He did well at the University of Virginia, but his wealthy foster father did not provide adequate funding to pay all his expenses. When John Allan refused to honor the IOUs that Poe had signed payable by Allan, Poe ran away from home.

Convinced he was a genius who could support himself as a writer or effectively shame Allan into supporting him (neither strategies paid off), Poe published his first book Tamerlane and Other Poems at the age of eighteen. When he received favorable reviews, but little financial compensation, Poe, in desperation, joined the Army. Officers were so impressed with Poe, they advanced him to Sergeant Major within 19 months. Then he was persuaded to seek and secured an appointment to the Military Academy at West Point. After 5 months, Poe decided he’d had enough of the military, arranged to be court-martialed, and homeless, moved in with his father’s sister Maria Clemm.

In Baltimore, for the first time since being orphaned, Poe lived with relatives. Under one roof, Poe shared a small home with his aunt, two cousins, grandmother and brother. Within 6 months he watched his brother die of a combination of tuberculosis and alcoholism. When the grandmother died, the absence of the pension she received as a widow to a Revolutionary War Deputy Quartermaster, put the family into dire straits. Poe joined the staff at the Southern Literary Messenger and his professional writing career was launched.