Synopses & Reviews
No play in the history of the American stage has been as ubiquitous and as widely viewed as Uncle Tom's Cabin. This book traces the major dramatizations of Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic from its inception in 1852 through "modern" versions on film. Frick examines the major productions, companies, and influential persons in the long, complex history of theatrical Toms, providing a broad overview of what has been labeled the "Uncle Tom phenomenon." Unlike previous studies about Uncle Tom's Cabin, Frick introduces the reader to the artists who created the plays and productions that created theatre history.
"John W. Frick has given a great gift to American theatre scholarship: a full-length, expansively-conceived, meticulously researched study of Uncle Tom's Cabin. This lively, erudite book zooms in to feel the texture of individual shows and to envision the performances of specific actors, and then zooms out to locate Uncle Tom's Cabin in the greater contexts of theatre history and large-scale social forces that Uncle Tom both reflected and influenced. This is a magisterial, exciting, and necessary book." - Robin Bernstein, associate professor of African and African American Studies and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University "As John W. Frick points out, between the mid-1850s and the 1930s, "anybody who was anybody" appeared in a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin, whether on stage or on screen. Frick's study sheds new light on the complex history of America's best-known and perhaps most controversial and far-reaching play. Mapping its transition from page to stage to screen, he examines how the seemingly infinite adaptations of Uncle Tom's Cabin challenged or affirmed audience prejudices. More importantly, he explains why, 160 years after its debut on the American stage, Uncle Tom's Cabin remains a work that illuminates not only the history of American theatre and film, but the trajectory of our national discussions on race." - Heather S. Nathans, professor of Theatre, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, University of Maryland
"John Frick's comprehensive study of the myriad theatrical and movie interpretations of Uncle Tom's Cabin should be required reading for all scholars of American culture and theatre . . . The scope and breadth of Frick's study is truly epic . . . [it] masterfully and comprehensively synthesizes mountains of primary research data and scholarship on the major American stage and screen adaptations of Uncle Tom's Cabin." - Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism
"Frick not only illuminates nineteenth century stage practices (for example, the odious custom of white actors performing in blackface) and the play itself, but he also provides a panoramic view of the titanic social issues inherent in the play and that the work directly influenced, in regard to slavery . . . Frick's eye for engaging details and his astute and thorough scholarship provide a treasure trove for theatre and cultural historians . . . Frick's study makes clear that the play's ongoing dialogue with its culture, for better or worse, is as enduringly American as that proverbial apple pie." - Broadside
About the Author
John Frick is a professor of Theatre at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Theatre, Culture and Temperance Reform in Nineteenth-Century America and New York's First Theatrical Center: The Rialto at Union Square as well as co-editor of The Directory of Historic American Theatres and Theatrical Directors: A Biographical Dictionary. He is a past editor of Theatre Symposium, a former Stanley J. Kahrl Fellow at Harvard University, past president of the American Theatre and Drama Society, and the 2010 recipient of the Betty Jean Jones Award for Outstanding Teacher of American Theatre and Drama. While in New York, he worked Off-Off Broadway as a dramaturg and as a stage manager with theatre and dance companies.
Table of Contents
Halfway Between Sermon and Social Theory: The Mania for "Tom Mania""There is No Arguing with Pictures": The Aiken/Howard Uncle Tom's Cabin"A Play to which No Apologist for Slavery Could Object": The Conway/Kimball/Barnum Uncle Tom's Cabin "O' It Was a Sight Worth Seeing": Uncle Tom Hits the Road Long Live Uncle Tom! Uncle Tom's Cabin in the Twentieth Century Uncle Tom in Middle