About the Book
David Grimsted's Melodrama Unveiled explores early American drama to try to understand why such severely limited plays were so popular for so long. Concerned with both the plays and the dramatic settings that gave them life, Grimsted offers us rich descriptions of the interaction of performers, audiences, critics, managers, and stage mechanics. Because these plays had to appeal immediately and directly to diverse audiences, they provide dramatic clues to the least common denominator of social values and concerns. In considering both the context and content of popular culture, Grimsted's book suggests how theater reflected the rapidly changing society of antebellum America.