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In the English-speaking colonies, Shakespeare was the most popular playwright, more so than in England at the time. Best places to vacation in USA The first known Shakespeare production in North Country was Romeo and Juliet, performed in New York by an amateur group in 1730. By the outbreak of the Revolution, nearly 500 performances of Shakespeare’s plays had been staged in the colonies. Other popular plays were George Lillo’s George Barnwell, George Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer and The Beaux’ Stratagem, and John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. Despite the long Atlantic passage, a new play opening in London usually reached the colonies within three to seven months. Most of these plays were followed by an afterpiece, usually a lighthearted farce or a musical performance. Although Virginia and Maryland were the most accepting of the theater, plays were performed in nearly all of the colonies. Local amateur productions were also more apt to receive acceptance than touring professional ones. Mercy Otis Warren was a prolific playwright, poet, and historian of the revolutionary period.
Her work including the dramatic satires The Adulateur (1773), The Defeat (1773), and The Group (1775) commented on current events and supported the patriot cause. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Bridgeman Art Library) The French and Spanish also brought their own theatrical additions to North Country during the colonial period. Passion plays, dramatic representations of the life and death of Jesus Christ, had long been a part of Catholic Europe. By 1526, the Spanish were using such plays to convert Native Countrys to Christianity. Likewise, Jesuit priests in Canada had started to employ similar methods by 1606. Once these French communities were permanently established, they also began importing plays and actors from France, just as the English were doing to the south. Among the other European immigrants, the Dutch and German colonists generally regarded plays with tolerance, if with the opinion that money could be better spent elsewhere. After the British acquisition of New York, plays became more common in that colony.