Category Archives: Nineteenth Century

Today in Theatre History: EDWIN BOOTH’S COURAGEOUS COMEBACK–January 3, 1866

On this day in theatre history–January 3, 1866: “Not only was every seat occupied, but every inch of standing-room was eagerly appropriated by the thronging multitude. Seldom, indeed, has any New-York theater been thus crowded, and never by an audience … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: THE THEATRE OF CELESTIAL JOHN OPENS–December 23, 1852

On this day in theatre history–December 23, 1852–the first playhouse in the United States catering specifically to a Chinese audience opened in San Francisco. Located on Telegraph Hill, fronting onto Dupont Street (Grant Avenue today), it sat approximately 1400 people … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: THE GREAT RICHMOND THEATRE FIRE–December 26, 1811

On this day in theatre history—December 26, 1811—occurred one of the greatest theatre calamities in American history: the infamous Richmond Theatre Fire. At the time, it was the worst urban disaster ever in the U.S., killing 72 in all. The … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: JEFFERSON’S RIP ON BROADWAY–December 24, 1860

It was on this very day in theatre history–December 24, 1860–that Joseph Jefferson first performed his famed Rip van Winkle on the New York stage at the Winter Garden Theatre.  And the opening was a rough one.  Critics were tepid … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: MRS. IBSEN GIVES BIRTH TO HENRIK–March 20, 1828

On this very day (March 20) in 1828, Marichen Ibsen, wife of wealthy merchant, Knut Ibsen of Skien, Norway, gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  For some reason they decided to name him Henrik and eventually got him involved … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: THE FLAMMABLE BEGINNINGS OF CHICAGO THEATRE–February 24, 1834

It was on this very day in theatre history (February 24) that Chicago saw its very first documented theatrical performance back in 1834.  A “Mr. Bowers,” billed as a “professeur de tours amusant,” gave an evening’s performance on an improvised … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: “A WELL-REGULATED THEATRE”; OR, THE OPENING OF THE BOWERY–October 22, 1826

With the rise in immigration and industrialization following the Napoleonic wars, New York’s neighborhoods began reaching farther northward and away from the traditional old city at the southern tip of Manhattan.  And as the city expanded, the wealthy found themselves … Continue reading

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