A first-rank Broadway singing lead in the period before World War I, Christie McDonald began as a chorus warbler in Pauline Hall's company, jumping to Francis Wilson's troupe when he promised to put her in featured roles. Wilson fulfilled his promise, giving her the role of Marie in a revival of "Erminie" in 1893 that had her singing with Lulu Glaser and Amanda Fabris. He followed this up assigning her the comic trouser role, valet Bob, in 1894's "The Devil's Deputy."
In summer of 1895 she played in Seymour's production of "The Sphinx" in Boston, an Egyptian extravaganza, before returning to Wilson in September for the New York premiere of Sir Arthur Sullivan's comic opera, "The Chieftain." The cycle of Boston summer bon bons and more substantial New York musicals and comic operas persisted for five years until McDonald had progressed vocally to being able to assume a leading role. David S. Shields/ALS