The Emergence of the Modern American Theater, 1914-1929 by Associate Professor Ronald H. Wainscott

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From World War I to the stock-market crash of 1929, New York theater enjoyed a period of unequaled creative output and experimentation that redefined the direction of American theater -- both mainstream and avant-garde -- for decades to come, says Ronald Wainscott. In this handsomely illustrated book, Wainscott explores the emergence of the modern American theater in New York during a turbulent era of clashing artistic tastes and conflicting cultural, economic, and political events. He provides the first complete historical and cultural examination of the period he deems Broadway's most prolific and influential, and he offers an immense trove of material on plays and productions from 1914 to 1929.

Beginning with American theatrical responses to World War I, the book goes on to investigate the theater-tax rebellion of 1919, the role of women in popular sex farces, censorship battles over changing themes and language, spatial aspects of American expressionism, popular drama's treatment of commercialism, and theatrical reponses to the Russian Revolution. Wainscott deals with such notable figures as Eugene O'Neill, Maxwell Anderson, Susan Glaspell, Sophie Treadwell, Arthur Hopkins, Robert Edmund Jones, Lee Simonson, and Philip Barry, and he shows how dynamic theatrical experiments altered definitions of serious playwrighting, stage direction, and scenic design.


About Associate Professor Ronald H. Wainscott

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Published March 27, 1997 by Yale University Press. 272 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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If What Price Glory is the best-known war play (in large part because it dramatized rather than simply reported the horrors of war), Wainscott demonstrates that it was not an isolated example, and that its focus on anti-heroism and "group dynamics" (33) was only one of many dramatic responses to ...

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