On June 20, 1900, both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune reported on a panic that occurred during a performance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. A tent had been erected to hold an audience of 400 people but the play was so popular that an additional 200 people crowded into the temporary wooden seats.
Just as Little Eva was ready to do her big scene, a section of seating collapsed and forty people fell to the ground. Men pulled out their knives and cut holes in the tent to escape the panicking crowd. Dozens of women fainted and had to be carried out.
The actors attempted to continue the performance but the Captain of Police refused to allow it. Once quiet was restored, members of the audience were offered a refund but most preferred to receive tickets for the next evening’s performance.
That was a travelling company under the management of Orcott and Roberts. Uncle Tom’s Cabin continued to tour well into the 1920s, when this poster announced yet another performance under the management of Ora Martin, Inc.