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In this architectural history, Brooks McNamara reconstructs the past of the places where plays were staged and watched and listened to. The author draws together for the first time all the existing documentary and source material on the subject, much of it hitherto undiscovered, and traces the major patterns of expansion and change that characterized theater design in the eighteenth century—from the construction of the first playhouse at Williamsburg about 1716 until the end of the century, when more them seventy theaters had been erected in America. The book is generously illustrated with reproductions of prints, plans, and drawings associated with these early buildings.