Why Was an Ornate Opera House the Scene of a Riot in Nineteenth-Century NYC?

There was a feud between two actors: Britisher William Charles Macready and American Edwin Forrest. When Macready appeared at the new Astor Place Opera House in May 1849, riots broke out as a result of the cultural clash between the genteel clientele and Forrest's fans, working-class "Bowery boys" claiming access to the new theater. The melee resulted in twenty-two deaths.

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