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January 2004


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George Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 5 Jan 2004 12:34:05 -0500
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If anyone is doing research in Albany newspapers or other sources, 1822-1826, I am very interested in learning more about the following episodes in the history of "The African Theatre" and the career of James Hewlett, its star actor:

Dramatic.  The African Company have closed their Theatre, in Mercer-street, in consequence of the epidemic, and have gone to Albany to perform a few nights.  They will probably rusticate until frost.  There are three corps dramatiques now in the north; two white and one black.
National Advocate, October 12, 1822, p. 2, col. 4

A house opposite the Columbian hotel was also fitted up by a Mr. Brown, for an African theatrical company, which opened December 19th, [1823] with "Pizarro."
H. P. Phelps, Players of a Century.  A Record of the Albany Stage.  Albany: Joseph McDonough, 1880, p. 56.

A small stage was erected in front of a fountain, and on those boards strutted the African champion, Hewlet.
"The Albany Theatre,"  in Joel Munsell, Collections on the History of Albany from Its Discovery to the Present Time, referring to 1826.

Hewlett continued to travel and perform through the rest of the 1820s and the early 1830s, and any reference to his appearances anywhere would be welcome.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.