Exploring the History of Theater - in One Amazing City

Blog Posts: Commentary and Images for Every Episode

Print of a young Louisa Lane, portraying multiple characters in the play Twelve Absolutely, 1828. (Collection of the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin)Below, an image of the silver medal that Edwin Forrest presented to little Louisa a…

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Fanny Kemble reads Shakespeare aloud at the St. James Theatre in London - from the Illustrated London News, August 10th, 1850. As we detail in the podcast episode, becoming a public 'reader' of Shakespeare's plays gave Fanny both an independent inco…

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Above, the three portraits of Fanny Kemble by painter Thomas Sully at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Sully was eventually to paint Kemble eleven different times, and also painted a portrait of her father Charles Kemble. The artist was kn…

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The residents of the Edwin Forrest Home for Actors, sitting in the front entrance hall on Parkway Avenue in West Philadelphia, 1960. The photo was taken by historian Richard Moody, for his book Edwin Forrest, First Star of the American Stage. T…

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A montage of photographs of Edwin Forrest. First as himself, and then as the title characters in Spartacus, Metamora, and Jack Cade.Below: Three paintings of Forrest as Metamora, from different stages of his career. The first (artist unknown) is fro…

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Above Left: Edwin Forrest as Rolla in Pizzaro, in a black-and-white photo of the portrait by John B. Neagle (1796-1865). Above Right: Engraving of the Neagle portrait by A.R. Durand, commissioned by F. Wemyss. Pizzaro was a play adapted from …

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A poster advertising the production Ranch 10, a Western drama by Harry Meredith playing at the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia during November of 1883. The vividness of the print makes the onstage fire  the selling point of the production. …

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Above, a hand-colored etching from 1811 by Denis Dighton. It depicts "Mrs. H. Johnson" (Nanette Johnson, née Parker) as 'Zorilda' in the melodrama of Timour the Tartar (Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London).  Alongside it …

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"George Frederick Cooke as Richard III", by Thomas Sully (1811). Collection of the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts. Visiting this painting again, it strikes me more than ever how the viewer is actually placed as if they were in the action of t…

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William B. Wood in action on the stage in the role of Charles De Moor in Schiller's The Robbers, which was first played on the New Theatre stage in February of 1811. Painting by Thomas Sully.Below: As promised, below is a map of the City of Philadel…

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