Argues for the recognition of American theatre history as long, rich, diverse and critically compelling. Embracing all epochs of theatre history, from pre-colonial Native American performance rituals and the endeavours of early colonisers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to the end of the twentieth century, Theresa Saxon situates American theatre as a lively, dynamic and diverse arena. She considers the implications of political manoeuvrings, economics - state-funding and commercial enterprises - race and gender, as well as material factors such as technology, riot and fire, as major forces in determining the structure of America's playhouses and productions. She goes on to investigate critical understandings of the term 'theatre,' and assesses ways in which the various values of commerce, entertainment, education and dramatic production have informed the definition of theatre throughout America's history.
Theresa Saxon is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire.
Acknowledgements; Introduction: Critical Heritage; 1. Defining American 'Drama'; 2. European Forms; 3. Performance and Strife in Eighteenth-Century Theatre; 4. Politics and Plays in the Nineteenth Century; 5. 'Modern' American Theatre and the Twentieth Century; Notes; Works Cited/Consulted; Index.