On this day in theatre history (July 28, 1916) Eugene O’Neill’s Bound East for Cardiff was staged on Lewis Wharf in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was the first performance ever of a play by O’Neill. The seafaring one-act was so well received, Susan Glaspell commented, “it is not merely figurative language to say the old wharf shook with applause.” The moment the curtain came down on opening night, Glaspell claimed the Provincetown Players instantly “knew what we were for.” And indeed it was one of the greatest pivotal moments in American theatre. Less than four years later, O’Neill would win the first of his quartet of Pulitzer Prizes for his three-act drama, Beyond the Horizon. And, of course, he’d eventually win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936. And it all started on this very day in 1916 in a rickety, makeshift theatre on an old wharf in Provincetown.
- Today in Theatre History: THE GREAT RICHMOND THEATRE FIRE–December 26, 1811
- Today in Theatre History: JEFFERSON’S RIP ON BROADWAY–December 24, 1860
- Today in Theatre History: BEFORE POOH, MILNE HIT THE DOVER ROAD–December 23, 1921
- Today in Theatre History: WHY ACTING WITH ANIMALS IS A BAD IDEA–December 22, 1907
- Today in Theatre History: THEATRE WINS THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION–October 17, 1777.
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