"Witham's picture of dramatic activities is drawn from an impressive wealth of documents: newspaper reports, proposals, minutes, script excerpts, reviews, business files, and so on. In this far-reaching and objective view, we come to see the importance of women and minorities in the theater as well as the significance of the existence of regional productions throughout the country." The Virginia Quarterly Review
"This fascinating assemblage of 249 documents on all aspects of theater...resembles Barbard Hewitt's still valuable Theatre USA, 1665 to 1957 (1957) but is more substantial. It is also illuminatingly focused on three abiding tensions in American theater: "commercial versus artistic values; urban versus regional theatre ; and ... what is American [Versus] what is 'foreign.'"...An invaluable book for serious students of the American theater, concluding witha substantial bibliography. This reviewer looks forward to volume 2 with its coverage of the rest of the 20th century." J. Ellis, Choice
This is the first of two volumes of documents which describe the growth and development of theatre in the US.This book goes from the beginnings of theatre in the North American colonies up to the First World War.It is organised in three chronological sections, each with its own introduction, documents and commentary, arranged into chapters on business practice, acting, theatre buildings, drama, design, and audience behaviour. Written sources include records of business transactions, letters, newspaper reports, reviews, memoirs and architectural descriptions. There are also numerous pictorial items. Volume 2, scheduled for publication late 1996, covers the period from 1915 to the present.