The COVID-19 pandemic has put many things on hold, among them the publication of Indianapolis: An Illustrated Timeline. The book has been delayed until spring so we can celebrate its publication properly with signings, presentations, and other events. I can’t wait for you to see it.
In the meantime, here’s a snippet from the early years:
1823 | Indy’s First Theatrical Performance
As New Year’s Eve approached in 1823, Indianapolis residents had something special to look forward to: the town’s first theatrical performance. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, an elderly couple “late from the New York theater,” advertised that they would perform several short plays. In addition, Mrs. Smith would sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” while dancing a hornpipe, blindfolded, amongst eggs.[i]
The performance was held in the Rosebush Tavern owned by Thomas Carter, a religious man who insisted on solemn music. “This restriction, considering the nature of the performances and the character of the players, was so extremely ludicrous that the audience was convulsed with laughter during the whole evening,” one historian wrote.[ii] Calvin Fletcher later wrote in his journal, “I apologized to myself for going.”[iii]
[i] Bolton, Early History, 167–168.
[ii] Bolton, Early History, 168.
[iii] Thornbrough, Diary of Calvin Fletcher, 101.