The History of Theater - In One Amazing City

Blog Posts: Commentary and Images for Every Episode

March 17, 2023

Bernhardt and the Playboy

Above left: The actors Sara Allgood ("Widow Quin") and J. M. Kerrigan ("Shawn Keogh"), in the Irish Player's 1911 production of The Playboy of the Western World. Above right: a photo published in many American newspapers as word spread about the con…

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Feb. 24, 2023

Exit Hammerstein

The two men who were the commanding generals of the The Opera War (as the newspapers loved to call it) between the Metropolitan Opera and the Manhattan Opera/Philadelphia Opera Company - financier Otto Kahn (1867-1934) in his dapper overcoat and bow…

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The dancer Maud Allan in her vaudeville performance of "The Vision of Salome" at London's Palace Theatre in 1908. Allan (1873-1956), a Canadian, danced her interpretation of Salome at theaters worldwide - amazingly, she was actually performing tople…

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Jan. 27, 2023

The Beauties of Society

The header image is the newly-completed Philadelphia Opera House in 1908 (courtesy Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries). This is followed by a composite drawing of the opera house, Oscar Hammerstein, and the soprano Mari…

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Jan. 13, 2023

The Learned Professions

The above photograph is the graduating class of 1900 at Lincoln College (later Lincoln University) in Oxford, Pennsylvania - to the southwest of Philadelphia.  As you can see, there were some white students at Lincoln, but the large majority of…

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Dec. 30, 2022

Pajama Tops Bottoms Out

Above, the William B. Collins' 1973 review in the Philadelphia Inquirer about his visit to the Locust Street Theatre to see Pajama Tops.As you can see, we didn't even quote all the best lines from the article in our episode - especially the headline…

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Dec. 16, 2022

The Syndicate

Above, a contemporary photo montage of the six principal members of The Theatrical Syndicate. Philadelphia producers Samuel F. Nixon (Nirdlinger) and J. Fred Zimmerman - and their mustaches - can be seen at the bottom. Above, Abraham Lincoln Erlang…

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Above is the top of the front page of the Philadelphia North American for Tuesday, October 23rd, 1906. The article, "3000 Negroes Start Riot Trying to Stop Objectionable Play" - the report on the disturbance at the Walnut Street Theatre the previous…

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Above, the title page for the 1845 of George Lippard's full novel The Quaker City.   The illustrator, Felix Octavius Carr Darley, depicts both The Devil Bug revealing a secret tunnel inside Monk Hall, and also a coffin floating in a river, an…

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An 1844 portrait of the young George Lippard, depicted in front of what looks like a lake with a medieval castle (likely referring to a scene from his book The Ladye Annabel). The image is a lithograph by Albert Newsom, from a daguerreotype by John …

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