Park Theatre



  • A New York theater opened by William Dunlap and JohnHodgkinson in 1798; the first production was Shakespeare's As YouLike It. The theater's early success was largely owing to appearancesby Thomas Cooper, an English-born actor who had come over in the troupehired by Thomas Wignell for the Chestnut Street Theatre.In 1805, however, the managers fell out and Hodgkinson resigned. Dunlapcontinued for a year but went bankrupt and was replaced by Cooper.

    The Park Theatre began to flourish again when Stephen Pricetook over its management in 1808. A year later he produced the firstUS play with a Native American theme, The Indian Princess; or,La Belle Sauvage by J. N. barker. The theater burned down in 1820just as Edmund Kean was due to appear. After it was rebuilt the followingyear, it became the most distinguished venue in the country, earningthe nickname 'Old Drury of America'. Despite such later successesas Boucicault's London Assurance in 1841 and a production ofMacbeth featuring Charles Macready in 1843, the theater wentinto decline after Price's death in 1840. Thomas Hamblin rented andredecorated it in 1848 but three months later it burned down and wasnever rebuilt.