A quick announcement about our upcoming season of new episodes!
Hello - and welcome back to Adventures in Theater History Philadelphia! This is a preview announcement about the beginning of Season Two of our podcast, and Chris and I are both very excited to get started once again. Thank you all for hanging in there with us during the extended break after the conclusion of Season One, in which we covered the story of Philadelphia theater in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Now, we didn’t go away completely. We continued to put out interviews and special episodes in the interim, including our conversations with Mary Robinson, Jonathan Shandell, Jerrel Henderson and Barry Witham, and we shared the stories of the Philadelphia connections of the eminent actors Paul Robeson and John Barrymore. We even did some on-site reportage from locales somewhat away from Center City Philadelphia, such as the Paul Robeson House and the Hedgerow Theatre.
But now we are back to our main mission, the ongoing deep research and writing I have been doing into Philadelphia's fascinating theater history. My original plan, I must admit, had been to keep the chronological narrative going - to forge deliberately through the 20th Century, just as I had done with the 19th. But as I looked over the material that I was gathering, and as I looked at the feedback that I was getting from listeners, I decided to take a slightly different tack.
This season we are going to try a more thematic approach to the selection of all the various stories we will explore together. And looking at all the narratives I had lined up, I realized that the theme had to be “Drama Is Conflict!”
Because I kept coming across stories of real drag-out, knock-down battles in the archives of the City of Brotherly Love: incipient riots, actual riots, court cases, arrests, and fist fights. Disputes between theater owners and opera impresarios, and shouting matches between playwrights and producers in the lobby. It was close to what everyone usually associates with the modern image of Philadelphia, I admit, but I couldn’t deny that it was true. So, I decided to run with it. Drama IS conflict, after all! That’s the classic line of a playwriting teacher to his students, and we’re going to do our best to prove that’s the case in theater history as well.
We’ll generally proceed chronologically, once again, starting in 1844, and then we will be jumping over times with each different story, turning the accomplishments of many years into an hourglass - to coin a phrase. Eventually we’ll end up somewhere in the 1970s. For reasons of clarity on the podcast website, we’ll keep numbering these regular episodes sequentially from where we left off in our Season One, which is why the next one will be Episode 29, but the first episode of Season Two. In Season Three, in the way-off distant future that I can hardly imagine now, we will attempt to cover the stories and narratives we have skipped over and make a more coherent and thoroughgoing narrative out of it.
Meanwhile, I urge all of you who haven’t already done so to catch up with our already released episodes - though, you know, you don’t have to, this isn’t school, after all! I just think it will help you enjoy things more. And of course I urge you to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where almost EVERY DAY we tell a new story, and offer you some delicious tidbits about Philadelphia theater history, from any point in history from the 18th Century, right up to the present moment. Those little social media explorations tend to form the basis and inspiration for our future episodes, so if you want to get in there early, that’s a good place to start. The links are in the show notes, just look at the complete page for this podcast on whatever app you are listening to right now.
And of course there is our Patreon feed. That is where I am really trying out new stuff and previewing material for our fans and supporters. In fact, if you become a Patreon supporter early on, you have already heard an early version of our upcoming episodes, and been able to listen in on unedited and expanded versions of our interviews! We share extra images and behind-the-scenes photographs. It’s all part of the way we thank people who want to help us out a little with the ongoing expenses for maintaining our podcast feed and our public podcast webpage: www.AITHpodcast.com, where there are more images and blog posts for you to explore. Please consider becoming a Patreon supporter yourself - the link is also right in the show notes - for just 4 bucks a month, about the cost of a cookie and a bottle of water in many Philadelphia theater lobbies, you can help us out, and we would be very very grateful. You can begin or cancel your support any time you want, there’s no problem if you don’t want to make a long-term commitment. We understand, totally.
And at the very least, we also would be grateful to have your continuing feedback! Please keep sending us emails as email@example.com, or via the Contact Us tab on the website, or by responding to our Facebook posts and tweets, we love that. And as every podcaster always says, please leave us some stars and reviews on Apple Podcasts or Overcast! Why do we say that? Well, because it really matters - the algorithms of the podcasting world are increasingly dominated by large podcast consortiums and companies, and the best way to help us raise any small independent pocaster’s profile and to attract other listeners is to have those stars and reviews attached to our feed. It really helps, so thanks to all of you who have already done so, and thanks to all of you who are about to do so, right after listening to this announcement, when I know you will pick up your phone, find the podcast, and tap on the five stars thing! And then leave a few nice words there, too! That’s wonderful of you, thank you so much!
Okay, so, when the new season begins, where will we start? Well, as I mentioned earlier, right back in the 19th Century, actually. Those of you that remember our episode 21: Theater of Cruelty will recall that we spoke of the amazing volatility and incipient violence that was often present in early 19th Century theater audiences. That’s where we’re beginning, in Philadelphia of the 1840s, and then we’ll go on from there, jumping over decades into the early 20th and then into the mid-20th Century. Even though by that point in its history Philadelphia had a reputation for being a bit of a sleepy backwater, culturally, it turns out there’s no shortage of conflict, when you take a real look at it. Everything from Oscar Hammerstein II spending millions to outshine his rival the Academy of Music with a palatial new palace of Art along Broad Street, to Joe Papp going hammer and tongs with David Rabe in a dingy converted church lobby along Lombard Street. Are you intrigued yet? Are you ready? These are fun, shocking and exciting stories, I promise you, each and every one of them. Okay, so that’s enough of a prelude. Stay tuned and stay subscribed to this podcast feed! By this coming Friday, we will be off again on our new set of Adventures! Here we go . . .