When Did Americans Go Crazy for Celebrities?

In 1849, a Riot Between 10,000 Fans of Two Rival Actors Left 22 People Dead

May 10, 1849, New York City. Twenty-two people lay dead and 150 were injured in the deadliest event of its kind in the city up to that point. The cause was not a workers’ uprising or political clash. What came to be known as the Astor Place Riot resulted from a feud between two well-known actors—or, more accurately, between their fans.

At the time, the New York Tribune expressed disbelief that so many people could be killed or injured because “two actors quarreled!” But the conflict was about so much …

Bringing Shakespeare and Shaw Live from the Stage to the Screen

The National Theatre's Cinema Simulcasts Have Used Tech to Build Global Audiences

Since its founding in 1963—with Laurence Olivier as artistic director and Kenneth Tynan as dramaturg (plus a rep company that included new faces Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, and …

What Shakespeare Can Teach the Supreme Court

The Bard's Plays Not Only Reflect Legal Culture—They Also Shape It

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” So urges Shakespeare’s comic character Dick the Butcher, caught up in a revolution in Henry VI, Part II. Four hundred …

Sonnet 143

Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
One of her feather’d creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe, and makes all swift dispatch
In pursuit of the thing she …

The Rogue Festival’s Renee Newlove

To Eat With Ranch Dressing or Without Ranch Dressing: That Is the Question

For five years, Renee Newlove was co-producer of the Rogue Performance and Arts Festival in Fresno; she is currently a Rogue board member. For the past decade, she’s been involved …

Winter

[Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 5, Scene 2]

When icicles hang by the wall
   And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall
   And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is …