Epilogue: The Story that Won’t Stay Dead
In the March 23, 1901 edition of Harper’s Weekly, critic Lawrence Reamer made a claim about Uncle Tom’s Cabin that, in that year, sounded plausible; namely that the play still possessed enough of its original vitality to interest an audience at the beginning of the twentieth century.1 While such a claim may have been warranted in 1901, considering the success of William Brady’s Uncle Tom at the Academy of Music, Reamer’s assertion raises an obvious and inevitable question for twenty-first century observers: would he make the same claim today? Would anyone? Conventional wisdom would likely be in agreement with Elizabeth Corbett’s 1931 assessment that Uncle Tom on stage was ostensibly dead and hence post-2000, reasonable people would necessarily conclude that optimism would be unwarranted; yet as the twenty-first century began, dramatic versions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, like Broadway itself, continued to rise Lazarus-like from the grave, albeit none were close to the scale of their nineteenth-century ancestors.2
KeywordsArtistic Director American Play Favoured Race North American Literature American Classic
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