The Cambridge History of American Theatre by Don B. Wilmeth (Brown University, Rhode Island)
The Cambridge History of American Theatre is an authoritative and wide-ranging history of American theatre in all its dimensions, from theatre building to play writing, directors, performers, and designers. Engaging the theatre as a performance art, a cultural institution, and a fact of American social and political life, the History recognizes changing styles of presentation and performance and addresses the economic context that conditions the drama presented. The History approaches its subject with a full awareness of relevant developments in literary criticism, cultural analysis, and performance theory. At the same time, it is designed to be an accessible, challenging narrative. Volume One deals with the colonial inceptions of American theatre through the post-Civil War period: the European antecedents, the New World influences of the French and Spanish colonists, and the development of uniquely American traditions in tandem with the emergence of national identity.