On May 10, 1849, what is known as the worst theater riot in the history of the world occurred in Manhattan.
That evening, a demonstration in support of American and against English actors flared into a riot outside the Astor Place Opera House, leaving 22 dead, with 9 others dying of injuries within 5 days. A total of 150 were wounded. William Macready, the noted British tragedian against whom the demostration was aimed, escaped unhurt. Between 10,000 and 24,000 rioters, many from Irish gangs, had surrounded the theater.
The magnificent interior of the theater was reduced almost to a wreck. The demonstration was said to have been instigated by Edwin Forrest, a first-rate American tragedian whom Macready had insulted.
May 10, 2012 - 10:17am