Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America's First Celebrity

by Tana Wojczuk

Paperback, 2021




Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (2021), 240 pages


From the very beginning, she was a radical. At age nineteen, Charlotte Cushman, America's beloved actress and the country's first true celebrity, left her life--and countless suitors--behind to make it as a Shakespearean actress. After revolutionizing the role of Lady Macbeth in front of many adoring fans, she went on the road, performing in cities across a dividing America and building her fame. She was everywhere. And yet, her name has faded in the shadows of history. Now, for the first time in decades, Cushman's story comes to full and brilliant life in this definitive, exhilarating, and enlightening biography of the 19th-century icon. With rarely seen letters, Wojczuk reconstructs the formative years of Cushman's life, set against the excitement and drama of New York City in the 1800s, featuring a cast of luminaries and revolutionaries that changed the cultural landscape. A vivid portrait of an astonishing and unique life, Lady Romeo reveals one of the most remarkable women, and restores her to the centre stage where she belongs.… (more)


(3 ratings; 4.3)

User reviews

LibraryThing member kitlovestea
This was a really interesting look at a woman who was unbelievably famous in her time, but who history and changing social mores forgot. It was fascinating to see how entwined with more well-known historical figures and how her legacy lives on in some of the ways we approach Shakespeare today,
Show More
including repipularizing the use of the original text of Romeo and Juliet instead of a ubiquitous bowdlerizarion that had been popular in the 19th century. Her dedication to and patronage of the art of other women of the time is also remarkable and inspiring.

I'd definitely recommend this for anyone interested in a fierce woman and some lesser-known, nearly-lost history
Show Less


Lambda Literary Award (Finalist — Lesbian Memoir/Biography — 2021)
Publishing Triangle Awards (Finalist — Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction — 2021)
ALA Over the Rainbow Book List (Longlist — Non-Fiction — 2021)


Original language


Physical description

240 p.; 8.38 inches


1501199536 / 9781501199530
Page: 0.8134 seconds