Segments in this Video

Transformations in Society and the Arts (03:24)


By the 1900s, the Industrial Revolution, rapid urban growth, and the Civil War had forced American society to redefine itself politically, morally, and socially. One family, the Booths, and their acting careers mirror this period.

Edwin Booth: "Prince of Players" (02:53)

In 1918, the Players' Club paid homage to its founder, Edwin Booth, the most extraordinary nineteenth century American actor. Edwin, his performances of Hamlet, and his citizenship gave legitimacy to both acting and the American theater.

Edwin Booth's Acting Style (05:25)

Edwin first modeled the melodramatic style of his father and Edwin Forrest. He soon developed his own inward style, capitalizing on his musical voice and slight frame, thus becoming one of the first actors to personalize his roles and become the character.

John Wilkes Booth (05:02)

John Wilkes Booth and his sister, Asa, idolized each other. As he grew older, Wilkes became more prone to emotional outbursts and involved in politics. The Confederate defeat in the Civil War drove him to assassinate President Lincoln.

Junius Brutus Booth, Sr. (04:33)

Patriarch to a large family, rival to Edmund Kean, and America's first great tragic actor, Junius Brutus Booth, Sr., suffered from erratic behavior and alcoholism. Edwin traveled with him, thus learning the craft from his father and fellow actors.

Edwin Booth's Personal Tragedies and Theater Legacy (05:45)

Edwin's wife, Mary Devlin, was a stabilizing force in his life affected by deep melancholy. The remainder of his life was filled with tragedy--his wife's death, bankruptcy, and his second wife's death--and success, including the Players' Club.

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The Tragedian, the Rebel, and the Prince

Part of the Series : A Search for an American Voice in Theater
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



This program focuses on the Booth family to evaluate their tremendous impact on American theater and, in a broader sense, to create an image of Victorian American culture. Brooks McNamara, expert on 19th-century theater at New York University, and theater historian and author Mary Henderson delve into the careers of the acclaimed tragic actor Junius Brutus Booth,Sr., the notorious assassin John Wilkes Booth, and Edwin Booth, America’s first great Hamlet and the most important American actor of the 19th century. (30 minutes)

Length: 31 minutes

Item#: BVL9164

ISBN: 978-1-4213-3384-7

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.