The History of Theater - In One Amazing City

Season 2

May 29, 2023

54. Theatre of the Living Arts: A Beginning

The founding of Philadelphia's first major resident theater company: The Theatre of the Living Arts.

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May 12, 2023

53. Philadelphia Theater Scandal!

Could the first publicly funded and owned city theater in the country survive in the maelstrom of Philadelphia city politics?

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April 28, 2023

52. The Walls of Walnut Street

An interview and audio tour of the historic Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, with the Walnut's Producing Artistic Director, Bernard Havard.

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April 14, 2023

51. Banned in Philadelphia

During the Great Depression years of the 1930s, some touring Broadway shows got into trouble in Philadelphia. "The People's Mayor" S. Davis Wilson had his limits when it came to what he would allow in the city's theaters.

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March 31, 2023

50. Stop Those Swinging Girls!

In the 1920s, Philadelphia theater censorship controversies were usually about what women were wearing - or rather were NOT wearing - on the city's stages.

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March 17, 2023

49. Bernhardt and the Playboy - or, "Immoral, Blasphemous, and Obscen…

In 1911, actress Sarah Bernhardt's production of La Samaritaine met with fervent opposition from Philadelphia clergymen. In 1912, a production of 'Playboy of the Western World' caused an audience riot!

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Feb. 24, 2023

48. Hammerstein's Opera House, Part Three

The last installment of the saga of Oscar Hammerstein in the "Opera Wars" - and the story of the grand Philadelphia theater he left behind.

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Feb. 10, 2023

47. Hammerstein's Opera House, Part Two

February 1909: The opera "Salome" at Oscar Hammerstein's new Philadelphia Opera House needed to be stopped, as a matter of public decency, declared hundreds of clergymen and civic leaders.

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Jan. 27, 2023

46. Hammerstein's Opera House, Part One

We meet Manhattan opera impresario Oscar Hammerstein, and learn how the "Opera War" with his rival, the Metropolitan Opera Company, spread all the way to Philadelphia. What remains behind is not only an amazing theater, but a great story!

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Jan. 13, 2023

45. The Fight Against The Clansman, Part Three

1906: A coalition of African American men attempt to stop Thomas Dixon Jr.'s play The Clansman from being performed in Philadelphia. After leading a public protest in front of the Walnut Street Theatre, the whole matter ends ...

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Dec. 30, 2022

44. Holiday Show - 2022

Seven short and light vignettes from the history of Philadelphia Theater - all of which took place in the city during the Holidays, from various theatrical seasons over the past 150 years. A gift to all of you listeners and …

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Dec. 16, 2022

43. The Fight Against The Clansman, Part Two

We continue our story about Thomas Dixon Jr. and his 1905 play The Clansman with an examination of the early life of this formidable man. We learn the root causes of his political obsessions - and about his need to …

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Nov. 25, 2022

42. The Fight Against The Clansman, Part One

We begin the harrowing story of The Clansman in Philadelphia. Although this play by Thomas W. Dixon is known as the progenitor to the 1915 D.W. Griffith film Birth of the Nation , few are aware of its early controversial …

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Nov. 11, 2022

41. Encore Episode: "I Fear No One" - Native American Performance in …

A re-broadcast of an episode originally released in November of 2021. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, an exploration of performances by Indigenous People in theaters of the City of Philadelphia in the 19th Century.

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Oct. 28, 2022

40. The Quaker City: The Forbidden Play of 1844, Part Three

The mob is gathering in the street outside the Chestnut Street Theatre, while inside the rehearsals for the scandalous play The Quaker City go on! Will it all end in a deadly riot? The suspense is building . .

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Oct. 14, 2022

39. The Quaker City: The Forbidden Play of 1844, Part Two

George Lippard's novel "The Quaker City, or the Monks of Monk Hall" is made into a new play. The excitement about it builds in Philadelphia, just as the national election of 1844 roils the city.

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Sept. 30, 2022

38. The Quaker City: The Forbidden Play of 1844, Part One

We set the scene for the 1844 battle over the play at Philadelphia's Chestnut Street Theater, entitled "The Quaker City, or the Monks of Monk Hall," by George Lippard. How and why this production came about will be the story …

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Sept. 23, 2022

37. Season Two Announcement: Drama is Conflict

A quick announcement about our upcoming season of new episodes . . . Spoiler Alert: There will be lots of drama. And conflict!

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