Sunday, October 23, 2011

Murder in the Cathedral by T. S. Eliot
A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Wilmington, Othello in Chicago, Twelfth Night in Oakland--Federal Theatre brought “Hamlet to every hamlet,” as one actor said. But it also mounted the first American production of T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. It staged Arms and the Man in San Diego, Ibsen’s Ghosts in Miami, Uncle Vanya in Los Angeles, Ah Wilderness in Des Moines, Room Service in San Francisco, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Springfield, Illinois.

The Federal Theatre brought plays in French to Los Angeles, in German to New York, in Spanish to Florida, in Italian across Massachusetts, and in Yiddish on both the East and West coasts.

There were plays about American history, several about Abraham Lincoln, including one about his early years and his relationship with Ann Rutledge, who was played by her great-grandniece, also named Ann Rutledge. It played for a year in New York and toured across the country in several productions.

There were plays about local history. Several were produced on the very spot they were about, such as one about the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Virginia that proved so popular that it is still running, every summer.


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