• Staging History to Make History: Theater and the Road to the Good Friday Agreement

    by Marilynn Richtarik

    Brian Friel's play "Making History" wasn't faithful to the facts of the life of Hugh O'Neill, a 16th century chieftain who had symbolized Irish resistance to colonization. But, as an influential artist, Friel purposefully substituted myths of cultural hybridity for myths of nationalism to make the negotiation of peace palatable to his friends in politics.

  • Malcolm X Returns to the Opera Stage

    Anthony Davis's 1985 opera "X" was slow to catch on in the American repertory, a fact that would have been no surprise to its subject. 

  • Library of Congress will Acquire Neil Simon's Papers

    Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden expressed gratitude to Simon's widow Elaine Joyce Simon for the donation, which enhances the library's holdings in performance arts and ensures future researchers will be able to access his work. 

  • Rally 'Round the Rune: Fascist Echoes of the CPAC Stage

    by Mark Auslander and Jay Ball

    The incorporation of a Norse rune associated with the SS into the stage of the recent CPAC conference probably isn't an accident; the choice reflects the cultural cachet of Norse myth on the far right, the conservative movement's desire to maintain deniability about its ties to the far right, and the recognition that the design would be crystal clear to viewers of internet memes. 

  • The Black Ambition of "A Raisin In The Sun"

    by Koritha Mitchell

    Lorraine Hansberry's play and the critical response to it offer a lens on American theater's current reckoning with racism and exclusion, as "the play reveals that what has been framed as “integration” is really about getting white people to stop hoarding everything desirable."

  • Historians on the "Hamilton" Film

    The Broadway hit moves to streaming video. Historians weigh in on the source material, the relationship of the founding to slavery, and more. 

  • The Other Booths

    by David O. Stewart

    The notoriety of the Lincoln assassination has obscured the other Booths in history, but some were as well known as John Wilkes--or even better, at least until he pulled the trigger in the president’s box at Ford’s Theater, 155 years ago this week. 

  • Shakespeare Wrote His Best Works During a Plague

    by Daniel Pollack-Peltzner

    The most heartening lesson from Shakespeare’s era is that the playhouses will likely survive and reopen, again and again. What plays to perform when they do?

  • Plagues Follow Bad Leadership in Ancient Greek Tales

    by Joel Christensen

    Zeus observes in Homer’s “Odyssey,” as I’ve translated it, “Humans are always blaming the gods for their suffering / but they experience pain beyond their fate because of their own recklessness.”