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American plays (pre-1900)
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Prelude and First Curtains
Publication Date: 1999
In this program, Brooks McNamara, expert on 19th-century theater at New York University; theater historian and author Mary Henderson; playwright Michael Dinwiddie; and New York City historian George Thompson examine the efforts at theater-making in America from the 1750s to the eve of the Civil War. Among the topics discussed are actor training; the stage careers of Ira Aldridge, Edwin Forrest, and William Macready; the African Theater Company; the Astor Place Opera House riots; and issues such as immigration and segregation. The program also sets the stage for the entire series by asking questions that are explored over the course of the six episodes. (52 minutes, full transcript)