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Acting

The man who has lived with him nearly as long as Samuel Clemens did tells why Twain still has the power to delight—and to disturb

Beginning with a lecture in St. Louis in 1867, Mark Twain’s famous career as a public speaker spanned about 40 years. But thanks to his avatar Hal Holbrook, he has gone on amusing and instructing and scolding us for another half-century on stages all over the world. Read more >>

Bela Lugosi began by playing Laertes and Romeo, only to become forever trapped in very different roles

It is hard to believe now, but there was a time when moviegoers did not know about vampires. Read more >>

HISTORY’S MOST PHOTOGENIC LABOR dispute lasted thirty days, spread to eight cities, closed thirty-seven plays, and finally won performers some respect

In the years between the dedication of the Statue of Liberty and the First World War, the Divine Sarah was, for hundreds of thousands of Americans, the single most compelling embodiment of the French Republic

During Sarah Bernhardt’s 1912–13 American tour, the souvenir program for La Dame aux Camélias quoted Mark Twain: “There are five kinds of actresses: bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actr Read more >>

All through the 1920s eager young emigrants left the towns and farms of America and headed for New York City. One of them recalls the magnetism of the life that pulled him there.

And still they come. Read more >>
The hiss of a poisonous snake warns the passer-by to keep his distance or risk a dangerous bite. Man’s hiss is far deadlier; a single one, uttered in Scotland, killed more than thirty people three years later in New York City. Read more >>

In the hands of a rococo Yankee named Clyde Fitch, the American stage came of age with a gasp of scandalized shock

The first-night audience that poured out of Wallack’s Theatre in 1900 must have appreciated the cold February air, for they had just watched a thoroughly shocking play. Read more >>

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