A History of the Theatre in America: From Its Beginnings to the Present Time - Vol. 1

A History of the Theatre in America: From Its Beginnings to the Present Time - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

A History of the Theatre in America: From Its Beginnings to the Present Time - Vol. 1

A History of the Theatre in America: From Its Beginnings to the Present Time - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

For nearly two hundred years the theatre in America has been without a historian. Of books on plays and playacting there has been no end. We have also several histories of the stage, but practically all of them are limited to the chronicling of theatrical happenings in certain localities, such as Blake's "History of the Providence Stage," Clapp's "Record of the Boston Stage," Ireland's "Records of the New York Stage," etc. Until now no attempt has been made to produce a work embracing the entire field of American theatrical activity, from the earliest beginnings in Colonial days down to the present time.

Thirty years ago George O. Seilhamer began the publication of his "History of the American Theatre," perhaps the best, because the most complete, chronicle of the American stage up to the time of the Revolution that we have. Unfortunately, Mr. Seilhamer died when his history reached the year 1797, so that his splendidly conceived work remained unfinished. The three large volumes that did appear constitute, however, a monument of patient research, and I wish to acknowledge indebtedness to their interesting pages for much valuable information and data regarding the earlier period of our stage.

Of William Dunlap's better-known work "A History of the American Theatre "--now a classic of our literature--almost everything can be said in praise except that it is not history. The book, which might properly be classed as an autobiography, see-

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