Three sons of the London-born actor Junius Brutus Booth followed in their father’s footsteps and became eminent tragedians of the 19th century American stage, bringing the drama of William Shakespeare to audiences across the country and helping to secure the Bard’s legacy for generations to come. When the brothers Booth [Junius, Jr., Edwin and John Wilkes] gathered in New York during the fall of 1864 to stage a benefit production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the quintessential tragedy of political assassination and its aftermath, it was their first professional appearance together. Political assassination and its aftermath assured it would be their last. Given their family dynamics and the ongoing Civil War, it was nothing short of a theatrical miracle that the production came off at all.
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