(James Morrison) Steele MacKaye

Definition

Theater

  • (1842 - 94) US theater designer, stage innovator, playwright, andactor-manager who has been called both a Renaissance man and "thatstrange genius".

    MacKaye wrote some 30 plays and patented more than 100 theatricalinventions. He was the first US actor to play Hamlet in London, doingso in 1873. In 1885 he built the Lyceum Theatre, New Yorkand founded the Lyceum Theatre School of Acting, which still existstoday as the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

    His contributions to internal theater design include beingthe first to use overhead lighting (1874), inventing folding theaterseats, and introducing the first moving 'double stage' (1879). Hesupposedly died from overwork and disappointment after planning avast theater, the Spectatorium, which was never built.

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