Shakespeare in Nineteenth-Century Chicago: An Evolving Cultural Identity

Timeline of Shakespeare in Nineteenth-Century Chicago

This timeline offers examples of landmark "highbrow" productions of Shakespeare that were produced in nineteenth-century Chicago, from humble beginnings at the Sauganash Hotel to perhaps the ultimate highbrow incident in Chicago theater history: a patron is so incensed by Edwin Booth's adaptation of Shakespeare's text of Richard II that he attempts to assassinate the actor from the audience. By contrast, Mark Twain offers in his Huckleberry Finn a hilarious fictional "lowbrow" mangling of Shakespeare soliloquys designed to generate income in Mississippi river towns. Nineteenth-century Chicago, as an evolving urban center for arts and culture, positioned itself for the most part as a home for "highbrow" Shakespeare.