MacKaye, Steele

MacKaye, Steele

MacKaye, Steele (James Morrison Steele MacKaye), 1842-94, American dramatist and inventor in theatrical scene design. After studying in Europe he went to the United States (c.1872) and first appeared in New York with a group of students he had trained in the Delsarte system. He opened the Madison Square Theatre in 1879, where his most successful melodrama, Hazel Kirke, was presented (1880). It was in this theater that he invented and installed overhead and indirect stage lighting, movable stages or wagons, and folding seats. He then took over the Lyceum where he established the first school of acting in New York City, later known as the American Academy of Dramatic Art.

See Epoch (1927) by his son, Percy MacKaye.

Percy MacKaye (1875–1956), was an American dramatist and poet. He wrote the plays, The Canterbury Pilgrims in 1903, Sappho and Phaon in 1907, The Scarecrow in 1908, Anti-Matrimony in 1910, and the poetry collection The Far Familiar in 1937. In 1950, MacKaye published The Mystery of Hamlet King of Denmark, or What We Will, a series of four plays written as prequels to William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

In the 1920s, MacKaye was poet in residence at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

He was the son of actor Steele MacKaye and brother of philosopher James MacKaye and of conservationist Benton MacKaye.

Percy MacKaye is considered to be the first poet of the Atomic Era because of his sonnet "The Atomic Law," which was published in the Christmas 1945 issue of The Churchman.

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