Transitions in Italian- American Immigrant Theatre 1746-1899: Transients to Residents - Volume I, Book 12

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This book is a comprehensive and detailed study of the Italian immigrant theatre of New York City from 1746 to 1899. It is chronologically and geographically detailed, along with details about the actors and principals of that theatre. The author provides factual, personal and anecdotal stories about the principals of this theatre, such as Lorenzo Da Ponte, Adelina Patti, Guglielmo Ricciardi and Antonion Maiori. Through these details, the book explains why theatre was so important to the Italian immigrant population, suggesting that, for one thing, life among the immigrants was itself dramatic, if not theatrical. With its thoroughness and emphasis on the humanness of Italian immigrant society clearly conveyed, this book will be an important contribution to scholarship.


“ … Dr. Emelise Aleandri’s book is an excellent example of the drive to recapture, to return to what was left behind even as we move to higher ground. She has recorded for us one aspect of those rites of passage every immigrant, every Italian-American has gone through. The theater that emerged in those early days speaks of a community striving to survive emotionally in unknown territory, expressing in their skits, plays, songs, the things they loved best; using humor, laughter and optimism to lighten the uncertainties of the new land, the new life they had chosen … This ambitious work will insure that the history of what is surely one of the most interesting facets of the Italian American experience – the Italian-American immigrant theatre – will not go unrecorded.”

– (from the Preface) Anne Paolucci,
Professor Emerita, St. John’s University

“This work of the history of the Italian language theatre in America should be in every library. This study is an exciting one, the only one ever to be published on the progress of the Italian-American immigrant theatre, decade by documented decade from pre-revolutionary times until the theatre’s temporary demise by the 1960s. It is only one result of Dr. Aleandri’s continuing pursuit of information in order to reconstruct the history of the existence of this ethnic theatre …”

– Professor Mario Fratti, The City University of New York

“I have known and admired Dr. Aleandri for many years. From our first acquaintance, it was evident that she had a passion for Italian-American theatre. Her academic pursuits have dealt with these materials and a good part of her post-doctoral life has been devoted to this subject. I would wager that no one else knows the material so deeply and so widely as she does. What she has discovered and experienced should most certainly be preserved for future generations of scholars and practitioners.”

– Vera Mowry Roberts, Professor Emerita, Hunter College

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