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Page 145 of 246

HYLAND It didn't matter that it was a gala performance of a hit show. The weather wasn't going to cooperate. The newly renovated Madison Square Theatre had opened in February 1880 with the melodrama Hazel Kirke. A tearjerker and a particularly slushy one, it somehow had captured the fancy of the theatergoing public and was heading for a record run. But in late May, as the Madison Square's management was busy advertising the play's upcoming one-hundredth performance, the Northeast was gripped by a freak hot spell, with several days of temperatures topping out in the mid-'90s. An Excerpt from COOL: Chapter One The problem of ovrheated theaters: English caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson's take of the sweltering "gallery gods" of Covent Garden. Library of Congress.

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