Germania-Theater. 528–532 Nord Dritte Strasse…Donnerstag den 17. Sept….Eine Leichte Person…
A rare playbill broadside documents a thriving immigrant community
The Germania Theater in Philadelphia was founded in 1877 by Gottlob Hammer and Heinrich Oberkirsch. The theater served a thriving German-speaking community until 1895 — a remarkable 17-year run.
Almost daily, the Germania Theater presented German-language theatrical entertainment by a resident troop of players. They staged comic and dramatic plays, operettas, musical concerts and farces.
This 1885 playbill broadside lists Gottlob Hammer as director and Heinrich Oberkirsch as music director (Kapellmeister). They are joined here by director of plays (Regisseur) Alexander Kost to mount a production of the musical farce Eine Leichte Person by Emil Pohl and with music by A. Conradi.
Comic actor Alexander Kost had joined the Germania Theater cast in 1878. From 1882 to 1885 he directed their productions. Here, with Eine Leichte Person and its song and dance numbers, Kost directs the popular actress Mrs. Marie Schaumberg. After a six-year absence from Philadelphia, Schaumberg stars in the role of the coquettish Rosalie Feldberg.
The broadside dates from the end of Alexander Kost’s tenure as director of plays at the Germania Theater. In the fall of 1885, Kost left to take over another German-language acting troop at the Concordia-Halle theater.
Theater director Gottlob Hammer, who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1865, was also an importer of Rhine wines. His partner Heinrich Oberkirsch was a music teacher and freelance conductor. Together they had managed the German-language Turner-Halle theater before starting the Germania Theater in 1877.
A German-language broadside from Philadelphia here lends insight into to a once-vibrant immigrant community and their theatrical traditions.
Description: Germania-Theater. 528–532 Nord Dritte Strasse…Donnerstag den 17. Sept….Eine Leichte Person…
[Philadelphia, 1885]. p. Broadside. 19 x 10¼ inches. Cream-colored wove paper. Very good.
Not in OCLC. Ref. Learned collection on German-language theater, 1832–1898 accessed online.