Segments in this Video

Overview of Early Twentieth Century American Theater (03:13)


New ideas and philosophies moved America away from a genteel Victorian sensibility to the ten year party of the Jazz Age and Roaring 20s after World War I. American theater reflected these ideas with new playwrights, actors, stars, and political plays.

Rise of Realism in American Theater (03:56)

During the early twentieth century, theater moved from melodrama to reality in content and style, influenced by David Belasco, Steele MacKaye, and especially Richard Boleslavky's American Laboratory Theater, which taught the Stanislavski acting style.

Early Twentieth Century Theater in Greenwich Village (04:43)

Avante garde European theater companies influenced the new aesthetic form and content of American plays. Provincetown Players, begun by George Cook and Susan Glaspell, was a place for new actors and playwrights like Eugene O'Neill.

American Avante Garde Theater (02:13)

Avante garde theaters like Provincetown Players and Washington Square Players started as amateur theater and became professional with experience and mainstream acceptance. Although O'Neill began as an experimentalist, his later plays are more naturalistic.

Robert Edmond Jones and American Theater (02:22)

Robert Edmond Jones, a scenic designer, nurtured O'Neill's talent. He also founded the New Stage Craft, a new approach to set design influenced by European theater. This style saw theater as a magical place that suspended realism.

Early Twentieth Century Theater in Harlem (03:14)

The Harlem Renaissance helped to find a voice and soul for African Americans in the 1920s and to break the stereotyped image of blacks in film. "Shuffle Along," a 1921 Broadway musical, marked a breakthrough with its all-black cast.

Early Twentieth Century Ethnic Theater (05:18)

The story of the immigrant is part of American history and mythology. Each ethnic culture represented its voice on stage, including the Jewish community with its Yiddish Theater and major dramatic actor, Jacob Adler.

Golden Age of American Theater (02:03)

In the 1920s, American culture and America itself came of age, and American theater reflected this explosion in both musical and dramatic productions. This era of new playwrights, directors, actors, and designers ended with the Great Depression.

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Village Radicals, New Americans, Boom, and Crash

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 analyzes the cultural changes that occurred during the early 20th century, the golden age of American mainstream theater. Ellen Adler, owner of the Stella Adler Conservatory; playwright Michael Dinwiddie; Brooks McNamara, director of the Shubert Archive; and theater historian and author Mary Henderson address topics such as the impact of immigrants on the emerging voices in drama; the blossoming of ethnic theater; the role of the American Laboratory Theater; the influence of the Greenwich Village Theatre and the Provincetown Players; and the works of Eugene O’Neill, including Beyond the Horizon, Long Day’s Journey into Night, and The Iceman Cometh. (30 minutes)

Length: 31 minutes

Item#: BVL9166

ISBN: 978-1-4213-4014-2

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.