The Cambridge History of American Theatre by Don B. Wilmeth (Brown University, Rhode Island)
This is an authoritative and wide-ranging history of American theatre in all its dimensions, from theatre building to playwriting, 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 addresses the economic context that conditioned 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. All volumes include an extensive overview and timeline, followed by chapters on specific aspects of theatre. Volume Three examines the development of the theatre after World War II, through the productions of Broadway and beyond and into regional theatre across the country. Contributors also analyze new directions in theatre design, directing, and acting, as well as key plays and playwrights through the 1990s.