The earliest recorded theatrical performance in San Francisco was a one-man show by Stephen Massett, author of the autobiographical
Drifting About; Or, What "Jeems Pipes of Pipesville" Saw-and-Did.
Stephen C. Massett, "a red-faced little Englishman," had sailed from England to Buffalo in 1839.
Not finding his calling in Buffalo, he traveled to New York City, Boston, Charleston, Malta, Constantinople, and back to New York City,
supporting himself as song and dance artist, composer, essayist, lawyer, auctioneer, notary public, clerk, bookkeeper, salesman,
and wandering minstrel.
In January, 1849, he set sail for the gold fields of California, by schooner to Panama, then by mule across the isthmus. On the Pacific coast,
Massett boarded a second ship which soon was becalmed and took ninety-eight days to reach California.