The Theatre in Early Kentucky: 1790-1820

The Theatre in Early Kentucky: 1790-1820

by West T. Hill Jr.


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, July 29


This comprehensive study shows that the stage was active in Kentucky long before the first professional troupe toured in 1815. During the period covered, 1790–1820, Lexington, Frankfort, and Louisville became the major theatrical centers in the West. Performances on Kentucky stages far outnumbered those in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Nashville, or New Orleans. Drawing upon accounts in contemporary newspapers, West T. Hill Jr. demonstrates that drama had developed west of the mountains a full quarter century prior to the date given in theatre histories.

The Theatre in Early Kentucky, 1790–1820 captures the full flavor and color of the promoters, managers, professional strollers, and actors, many of whom performed dual roles as actors and managers. Working under primitive conditions, the groups often put on a melodrama, a musical comedy or farce, and several acts of singing, dancing, and recitation in the same performance. Appreciative audiences responded enthusiastically to the overworked and predictable plots of mistaken identity, revenge, and domestic difficulty.

This delightful, informative book includes and appendix containing the production data available for 1790–1820. It is illustrated with reproductions of charming newspaper theatrical announcements and with portraits of leading stage figures.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813193366
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 11/13/2009
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 885,685
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

West T. Hill, Jr. is professor of dramatic art at Centre College.

Table of Contents

The Athens of the West
The First Dramatic Performances
The First Permanent Theatres
Professional Players in Kentucky
The First Western Circuit
Arrival of the Drakes
Drake's Western Theatrical Empire

Customer Reviews