for the 174th anniversary of this legendary event
Wednesday, May 10, 2022 at 5:30pm EDT
Check back soon to RSVP for the Virtual Performance on Zoom
Created & performed by RALPH LEWIS
Please join us from your home—or wherever—and get the inside scoop on this incredible moment in NYC history: a cautionary tale ripe for today’s divisive political culture.
May 10, 1849, New York City. The bitter theatrical rivalry between two of the world's best Shakespearean actors — American Edwin Forrest and British William Charles Macready — was reaching a crescendo. At that point, Forrest's rise as an actor through New York's middle-class theaters made him an American hero to working-class fans from rough-and-tumble neighborhoods like the Bowery and Five Points. Macready, on the other hand, was regarded by the wealthy class as the greatest British actor of his generation — translating to the best actor on Planet Earth as Britain was considered the gold standard for theater.
But it’s much more than a fight between the two biggest stars of their day: the riots represent a national tragedy unlike anything before—the first time in U.S. history that our government shot and killed its own innocent citizens. You'll hear verbatim reenactments from contemporaneous descriptions and see how it all unfolded with dozens of rare images. It's not only a requisite for all theater-lovers, it's a prescient story that every American should know.
Our Peculiar Works projects are being made possible with public funds from is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs In Partnership With The City Council, and private funds from the Mental Insight Foundation, as well as our many, wonderful, individual donors.