The only comprehensive book that has appeared on this largely neglected subject, this book encompasses all areas of theatre activity, concentrating on the state but also taking into consideration the past influences of the minstrel shows, burlesque and the silent movies. Starting with Edwin Forrest, the author discusses each individual talent, their own particular fortes and weaknesses and subsequent influence and imitators. There is also a rundown of technique and outstanding roles. We discover that Forrest, for example, had a vigor and a determined realism that was so encompassing that ""scenes of combat in which he participated were always a terror to the other actors. There was no shamming the battle."" Forrest's style was the first distinct change from the proper British method which had previously dominated the scene. Further influences divided the artform into a variety of schools--the classic, emotional, personality and of course, the Method which predominates today. These schools and their proponents are discussed with precision. It's a complete portrait of our theatrical landscape from the first curtain up...from Booth to Brando...on stage and screen. A great addition to theatrical commentary.