American Traveling Tent Theatre, 1900-1940: Rural and Small Town Tent Shows Performed in the Midwest (including Scripts of Popular Tent Theatricals)

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The first anthology of typical tent theatre repertoire from the late nineteenth-century to the early twentieth-century. This collection of seven of the most important plays of that era includes not only the scripts but also contains informative headnotes, commentary and an outstanding bibliography. An illuminating study of twentieth-century rural America and its cultural mores and values.


“…a society is reflected in its plays and that much about a given society can be discerned through an examination of its plays and their modes of performance…much of rural America in the early twentieth century and its attitudes towards religion, urban life, rural mores and values, race, and the place of women in rural society, can be illuminated by a study of the plays of tent repertoire…these plays provide a unique insight into an increasingly distant and fading American past.”
-Dr. George D. Glenn.
Emeritus Professor of Theatre History,
University of Northern Iowa

“Historians of American popular entertainment, as well as the general public, especially those engaged and focused on the areas of tent repertoire and circle stock theatre and general entertainment in rural American will have a keen interest in this work.”
-Dr. Landis K. Magnuson,
Saint Anselm College

Table of Contents

Foreword by George D. Glenn
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Why and how to read these plays
-The Characters
-Alternative Perspectives
Chapter Three: Melodrama
Ten Nights in a Barroom
Chapter Four: The rustic play
The Awakening of John Slater
Chapter Five: The Toby play and “afterdraft”
Clouds and Sunshine
Chapter Six: The morality or preacher play
Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners
Chapter Seven: The multi-version and mystery play
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
-Version One by Robert L. Sherman
-Version Two by Anonymous Tent Rep Author
Chapter Eight: The dressy bill
The Push or Tamed and How
Chapter Nine: The western play
Sputters or Girl of the Flying X
Chapter Ten: Specialties
Chapter Eleven: Candy Pitches
Candy Pitch of Wallace Bruce
Candy Pitch of Harley Sadler
Candy Pitch of Neil Schaffner
Chapter Twelve: Summary

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