The History of Theater - In One Amazing City
April 02, 2021
6. Ricketts' Circus in the Capital City, Part Four

A Triumph, an International Tour, a Fire, and a Final Exit.

The final installment of our story about John Bill Ricketts, with more adventures about his equestrian circus and theatrical troupe. We meet the American comedian and dancer John Durang, and Ricketts has his portrait painted by Gilbert Stuart. The Circus and Art Pantheon  becomes a major fixture of Philadelphia's social scene in the transition from the Washington to the Adams Administration. But troubles begin to mount as Ricketts's shows get increasingly elaborate with special effects like onstage volcanoes - and fire and wooden buildings are not a good combination . . .

(Portait of Ricketts from the collection of the National Gallery, Washington, DC. For more illustrations and information, see the episode blog post on our website: /blog/episode-6-ricketts-circus-in-the-capital-city-part-four/

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© Podcast text copyright Peter Schmitz. All rights reserved.