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For Columbus Day: Christopher Columbus on Stage, from Lope de Vega to Eugene O’Neill to David Henry Hwang

There are statues of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle — although city officials have hinted they want to get rid of it — and Columbus, Ohio and Columbus, Georgia and Columbus, Wisconsin, and in many cities not named Columbus. But Christopher Columbus seems to have virtually disappeared from the American stage.

That’s not the way it always was. The first play about Columbus goes back to the 1500’s: “El Nuevo de Mundo” by Felix Lope de Vega. The first to be staged in America itself was in 1794: “Columbus, or The Discovery of America. A Historical Play” by Thomas Morton. Yet even as far back as 1858, the theatrical treatment was far less than worshipful of the Italian explorer of the New World.

That’s the year that John Brougham is said to have toured a show (starting at the Boston Theatre) whose satirical intent is evident in its lengthy title: “Columbus el Filibustero!! A New and Audaciously Original Historica-Plagiaristic, Ante-National, Pre-Patriotic, and Omni-Local Confusion of Circumstances, Running Through Two Acts and Four Centuries”

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Are Actors’ Bodies Part of the Show, Or Off Limits?

Yet again, a drama critic has been attacked for making comments about actors’ bodies.

The new headlines were generated by a 1991 review of “Will Rogers Follies” on Broadway. Why was this old review suddenly turned into a current issue? The reviewer was Beto O’Rourke, now a candidate to represent Texas in the United States Senate, then a 19-year-old undergraduate writing for the campus newspaper at Columbia, the Spectator.
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Plays for Labor Day. In praise of theater about unions, workers and workplaces.

It was while attending the current revival of Lillian Hellman’s 1936 play “Days to Come,” which is set during a strike at a brush factory in Ohio,  that I suddenly wondered: Where are the American plays about unions, or workers, or even just workplaces?

It seems an apt question for Labor Day, which, contrary to what may be public perception, was not created to promote barbecues. Congress passed a law making Labor Day a legal holiday in 1884 to celebrate the labor union movement, a holiday first proposed by a labor union official

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