Social New York under the Georges, 1714-1776: Houses, Streets, and Country Homes, with Chapters on Fashions, Furniture, China, Plate, and Manners

By Esther Singleton | Go to book overview

II
THEATRES

IN New York in the time of the Georges, many inhabitants were strongly opposed to theatrical entertainments. The earliest newspaper notice of a theatre occurs in 1733, when George Talbot sold furniture " next door to the Playhouse." The first company of which we have any knowledge arrived at the beginning of 1750. On Feb. 26th we read:

"Last week arrived here a company of comedians from Philadelphia, who we hear have taken a convenient room for their purpose in one of the buildings lately belonging to the Hon. Rip Van Dam, Esq., deceased, in Nassau Street, where they intend to perform as long as the season lasts, provided that they meet with suitable encouragement."

These comedians gave entertainments till the end of July and began again on Sept. 13. The first play presented was Colley Cibber's version of Shakespeare's Richard III. The managers thought it necessary to inform the public what the play was about. "In this play," they said, "is contained the death of King Henry VI. ; the artful acquisition of the Crown by Richard III., the landing at Milford Haven of Henry VII. and the Battle at Bosworth Field."

At that date, no distinction was made between the lyric and dramatic stage. Members of a stock company were necessarily versatile. This company per

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