April 18, 2022

27. The Best of Times

27. The Best of Times

From the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the end of the 19th Century, Philadelphia's experienced a boom in theater construction. New plays, musicals, operettas and vaudeville shows constantly cycled in and out of the city to fill these theaters.


From the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the end of the 19th Century, Philadelphia's experienced a boom in theater construction. New plays, musicals, operettas and vaudeville shows constantly cycled in and out of the city to fill these theaters. By the 1890s, one newspaperman estimated that on average each of Philadelphia's one million people saw five shows a year! It was the best of times.

In this episode we do our best to describe this productive and significant, but mostly forgotten era of Philadelphia theater history. 

Music in the episode is mostly from Evangeline; or, The Belle of Acadia an 1874 musical by Edward Rice.

To see and hear more of this show, as it was recently played and produced in Portland, Maine, see this playlist on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzxddX3RlZft3pSnqdMzU43l4emFzE6TR

A heartfelt thanks to Mr. Charles Kaufmann and the singers and orchestra of the Longfellow Chorus of Portland Maine, as well as the Charlotte Cushman Foundation of Philadelphia for their generous help, cooperation and support.

Additional music is from "Fatinitza" and Debussy's "La Soiree dan Grendade", played by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.

For images relating to the episode,  and additional information see our website's blog post and bibliography: https://www.aithpodcast.com/blog/the-best-of-times-blog-post-and-bibliography-for-episode-27/

Want to know even more great stuff about Philly theater history and can't wait for the next episode? We post stories every day on our Facebook page and our Twitter feed. Follow us there for a daily dose of Philly theater!

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© Podcast text copyright, Peter Schmitz 2021/2022. All rights reserved.