Equestrian drama


Equestrian drama
   Plays that made a spectacle of horsemanship were expensive to tour, but their popularity with audiences seems to have justified the cost. While the earlier Mazeppa required only one horse, Ben-Hur (1899) multiplied the thrills with many horses; its climactic chariot race was performed with live horses on treadmills. Some melodramas not specifically written as equestrian dramas used horses on stage as an element of spectacle. For example, William A. Brady's 1901 revival of Uncle Tom's Cabin included "horses, carriages, pony carts, donkeys, and dogs" (New York Times, 5 March 1901). A 1900 production of Quo Vadis!, performed by Kansas City's Auditorium Stock Company, touted the horses in its advertisements and became the longest continuously running play in Kansas City history.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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