Adventures in Theater History: Philadelphia

Adventures in Theater History: Philadelphia

An exploration of the History of Theater in the City of Philadelphia - from Early Colonial times, through the Industrial Era, all the way into the 21st Century.

Recent Episodes

Interview: Mary B. Robinson

May 6, 2022

January 1990: The appointment of Mary B. Robinson as the new Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Drama Guild is announced, taking over from outgoing Artistic Director Gregory Poggi. Robinson's tenure at the Drama Guild was…

27. The Best of Times

April 18, 2022

From the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the end of the 19th Century, Philadelphia's experienced a boom in theater construction. New plays, musicals, operettas and vaudeville shows constantly cycled in and out of the city to f…

26. The Black Booth: Part Two

March 25, 2022

John A. Arneaux plays "Richard III" at the Academy of Music, then mysteriously exits the American stage. His co-star, the actor Henri Strange, remains - and strives to create a Shakespeare theater for Philadelphia's Black au…

25. The Black Booth: Part One

March 4, 2022

John A. Arneaux starred in a one-night all-Black production of "Richard III' at Philadelphia's Academy of Music in January 1887. Who was he, where had he come from, and why had he chosen Philadelphia for this audacious feat?

Special Episode: The Mischianza

Feb. 11, 2022

Before ending their occupation of Philadelphia in 1778, the British threw themselves a hell of a theatre party! Knights and heralds, pageantry and theatricals, pomp and parading, feasting and flirting, all-night dancing and …

24. The Everlasting Minstrel Show

Jan. 28, 2022

The story of one of America's most infamous - and influential - performance traditions, as it specifically relates to the history of theater in Philadelphia.

Recent Blog Posts

Posters of "A Great Theatre-Going City" - Blog and Bibliog…

Above is the Ida B Siddons Female Mastodons and Burlesque Company poster that I described in the episode. After I posted the image on Twitter last y…

"The Happy Possessor of a Noble Ambition" - Blog and Bibli…

Above, John A. Arneaux, in a photo printed in the pages of his privately published edition of Shakespeare's Historical Tragedy of Richard III: Adapted fo…

Edwin Booth and "Richard III" in Philadelphia - Blog Post …

Above, Illustration of Edwin Booth as Richard, in an engraving published in Booth's own acting edition of the play in 1872. Edwin Booth …