Performing the Progressive Era

Immigration, Urban Life, and Nationalism on Stage 

The American Progressive Era, which spanned from the 1880s to the 1920s, is generally regarded as a dynamic period of political reform and social activism. In Performing the Progressive Era, editors Max Shulman and Chris Westgate bring together top scholars in nineteenth- and twentieth-century theatre studies to examine the burst of diverse performance venues and styles of the time, revealing how they shaped national narratives surrounding immigration and urban life. Contributors analyze performances in urban centers (New York, Chicago, Cleveland) in comedy shows, melodramas, Broadway shows, operas, and others. They pay special attention to performances by and for those outside mainstream society: immigrants, the working-class, and bohemians, to name a few. Showcasing both lesser-known and famous productions, the essayists argue that the explosion of performance helped bring the Progressive Era into being, and defined its legacy in terms of gender, ethnicity, immigration, and even medical ethics.


Amy Arbogast, Gillian Arrighi, Rick DesRochers, Megan E. Geigner, Les Hunter, Susan Kattwinkel, Hillary Miller, Ariel Nereson, Michael Schwartz, Max Shulman, J. Chris Westgate

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