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Edwin Booth and the Players Club, New York’s home for high drama

PODCAST The thrilling tale of Edwin Booth and the marvelous social club he created for the acting profession Edwin Booth was the greatest actor of the Gilded Age, a superstar of the theater who entertained millions over his long career. In this podcast, we present his extraordinary career, the tragedies that shaped his life (on stage and […]

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The first Shakespeare performance, recorded by Edwin Booth

The plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare, as the finest examples of the English written word, were also the first recorded sounds ever made.  The first recording ever made at Alexander Graham Bell‘s Volta Laboratory in Washington DC in 1881 was that of Bell’s very own voice reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Here’s another recording of Bell’s […]

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Harlem on a high note: The grand Harlem Opera House

A ton of people on-stage at the Harlem Opera House in 1907. During this period, it was owned by vaudeville impresario Keith Proctor and called Proctor’s Harlem Opera House. Pictures courtesy the Museum of the City of New York   The Hotel Theresa, subject of this week’s podcast, had a rather unusual neighbor in its early […]

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Edwin Booth, American Hamlet, born 180 years ago today

Edwin Booth, the Gilded Age’s most famous American actor, was born 180 years ago today.  Here’s a few past blog posts on Mr. Booth (and his infamous brother John Wilkes Booth) to commemorate the great thespian’s contribution to New York City history: — Booth owned a theater at 6th Avenue and 23rd Street that nearly […]

Welcome to 1864! A 24-karat gold hoax, New York’s first theme restaurant, and a Confederate plot to torch the city

Barnum’s American Museum at left (the building with the flag) and the Astor House at right, from the vantage of City Hall Park, circa 1850. Both buildings were victims of the Confederate plot of 1864 to burn the city. PODCAST We’re officially subtitling this ‘Strange Tales of 1864’, presenting you with a series of odd, fascinating […]

Sarah Bernhardt’s favorite New York landmark

Sarah Bernhardt may be the most famous and most mysterious actress who ever lived and certainly “the greatest celebrity of her era.” Working mostly in the days before recorded medium (there are exceptions), Bernhardt crafted a legend matched by outrageous behavior and provocative stage performance. Naturally, she brought both with her when she came to […]