Show Town: Theater and Culture in the Pacific Northwest, by Holly George

By Holly George

Like many western boomtowns on the flip of the 20th century, Spokane, Washington, loved a full of life theatrical scene, starting from performs, live shows, and operas to salacious kind and vaudeville indicates. but while Spokanites took delight of their city’s recognition as a “good exhibit town,” the extra genteel between them nervous approximately its “Wild West” surroundings. In Show Town, historian Holly George correlates the conflict of tastes and sensibilities between Spokane’s theater consumers with a bigger shift in values happening during the Inland West—and the nation—during a interval of quick social change.

George starts off this multifaceted tale in 1890, while Spokane builders equipped the lavish Auditorium Theater as one of those commercial for the younger urban. the recent venue catered to a category of individuals made filthy rich by way of hypothesis, railroads, and mining. but the sophisticated leisure the Auditorium provided conflicted with the rollicking indicates that performed within the town’s style theaters, designed to attract within the migratory workers—primarily unmarried men—who supplied hard work for a similar industries that made the fortunes of Spokane’s elite. As well-to-do Spokanites tried to clamp down at the sort theaters, performances at even the city’s extra first rate, “legitimate” playhouses started to mirror a flow clear of Victorian sensibilities to a extra smooth hope for self-fulfillment—particularly between ladies. Theaters joined the controversy over sleek femininity through providing performs on matters starting from woman’s suffrage to moving marital expectancies. whilst, nationwide theater monopolies transmitted to the folk of Spokane new kinds and tastes that reflected higher cultural trends.

Lucidly written and meticulously researched, Show Town is a groundbreaking paintings of cultural heritage. by way of studying one city’s theatrical scene in all its advanced dimensions, this ebook expands our figuring out of the forces that formed the city American West.

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