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theater


  • Historians on the "Hamilton" Film

    The Broadway hit moves to streaming video. Historians weigh in on the source material, the relationship of the founding to slavery, and more. 


  • The Other Booths

    by David O. Stewart

    The notoriety of the Lincoln assassination has obscured the other Booths in history, but some were as well known as John Wilkes--or even better, at least until he pulled the trigger in the president’s box at Ford’s Theater, 155 years ago this week. 



  • Shakespeare Wrote His Best Works During a Plague

    by Daniel Pollack-Peltzner

    The most heartening lesson from Shakespeare’s era is that the playhouses will likely survive and reopen, again and again. What plays to perform when they do?



  • Plagues Follow Bad Leadership in Ancient Greek Tales

    by Joel Christensen

    Zeus observes in Homer’s “Odyssey,” as I’ve translated it, “Humans are always blaming the gods for their suffering / but they experience pain beyond their fate because of their own recklessness.”

  • 1924 Leopold and Loeb Case: Murder Mania Returns

    by Bruce Chadwick

    Credit: Wiki Commons.Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two brilliant Chicago college students, have lived in infamy as the brutal slayers of 14 year old Bobby Franks in 1924, a student whom they kidnapped and murdered just to prove that they could commit the perfect crime.The pair planned the murder for seven months. They were certain they could get away with it because they believed they were “supermen” and were smarter than everyone else. They abducted Franks after school. He was beaten to death and dumped in a culvert near a Chicago area lake. Then the kidnappers sent a letter to his millionaire father demanding ransom. They did not know that the body had already been found; no ransom was paid.

  • Slave Revolt Rides on Broken Down Railroad

    by Bruce Chadwick

    Tellin’ Man Midtown International Theater Festival Dorothy Strelsin Theater 312 W. 36th Street New York, N.Y. Each summer, the festival stages fifty or so plays of different varieties at the midtown theater complex.There were five well known slave revolts in America prior to the Civil War: in New York in 1712, along the Stono River, in South Carolina, in 1740, in Richmond, Virginia in 1800, the Denmark Vesey revolt in Charleston in 1822 and the Nat Turner revolt in Virginia in 1831. Paul Gray’s new play, Tellin’ Man seems to be based most closely on the rebellion led by Gabriel Prosser in Richmond, Virginia, in 1800. In Gray’s play, as in the Prosser revolt, other slaves secretly told the owners of the rebellion and the slave owners worked with law enforcement to quash it.The Tellin’ Man is the story of James, who betrayed his fellow slaves, and what happened to him, his family and his friends after the leaders of the revolt were arrested. It is a narrow focus play about slavery and the eternal hope of those in bondage that they could be free.