The Lady in Charge

In its heyday, Philadelphia’s Arch Street Theatre seated approximately 2,000 patrons for each performance who came to see the renowned thespians of the 19th century. Popular performers – Fanny Davenport, Joseph Jefferson and Charlotte Cushman – played “The Arch” at 819 Arch Street. Even actor John Wilkes Booth took his turn there as Macbeth two years before he...
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The Man Behind the Curtain: “Doc” Mishler and His Legacy

Isaac Charles Mishler (1862-1944) stepped off the train in Altoona, Blair County, on August 6, 1881, just before his nine­teenth birthday, with a suitcase crammed full of ambition. Like thousands of men from across America and throughout Europe, Mishler was drawn to the booming city founded and sustained by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR). Mishler spent the next year or two laboring as a...
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The Barrymores of Philadelphia: America’s Royal Family of the Theatre

America’s fabled royal family of the theatre, the Barrymores — a name recognized throughout the world by generations of audiences — began its meteoric rise in mid-nineteenth- century Philadelphia. The twentieth-century scions of entertainment — Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore — were born in Philadelphia, children of the rapscallion English charmer, Maurice Barrymore (1847–1905) and his equally...
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