How did Richard III fare in its first American outing in New York City on Mar. 5, 1750? And why were the colonists captivated by John Gay's Beggar's Opera
The answers are contained on an interesting new CD-ROM, "The Performing Arts in Colonial American Newspapers, 1690-1783," produced by the Research Foundation of the State University of New York at New Paltz.
The CD-ROM contains arts listings from more than 60,000 issues of newspapers ranging from the Albany (NY) Gazette to the American Gazette in Boston.
The colonists were highly interested in culture and popular entertainment -- and their hunger for news of the latest plays in London and Paris and gossip about the dances and music being performed at foreign courts and concert halls was matched only by their interest in importing the same plays and compositions to America.
A sampling of news articles from the Index to the CD-Rom shows 10,826 references to "actors," 426 references to Gay's Beggar's Opera, 1,243 references to Shakespeare (and an additional 116 references to Hamlet) and 3,801 references to "theatre performances." There is also a first-line index of 12,059 song lyrics (with 174 of these labeled as "theatrical lyrics"). And though you may not be able to find out where George Washington slept, there are six references to cultural events that he attended.
The CD-ROM is available for $99 by calling (212) 569-5340. The toll-free number for callers outside of New York City but within the U.S. is (800) 448-2805.
For additional information, see the Website www.universitymusicedition.com.
-- By Rebecca Paller