The History of Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska 1915-2005: From a Wilderness Tent to a Multimillion Dollar Stage

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The growth of theatre in Anchorage, Alaska, is a microcosm of theatre development throughout the United States in the 20th century. In less than a century, Anchorage grew from its humble origins to become a vibrant frontier city of 300,000 and the cultural center of the state. Homegrown playwrights developed their craft, arts institutions flourished, withered, and were replaced by new institutions. Universities developed cadres of actors, directors, playwrights, designers and technicians.
This book contains twelve color photographs and twenty-six black and white photographs.


“. . . [Stadem] identifies the hundreds of people from directors and actors to stagehands and costume designers who over the decades brought first-class theatre to a territory that was once described in Congress as “worthless country. This is a valuable contribution to history wherever the impact of theatre in our society is taught, studied or discussed.” – Prof. John Strohmeyer, at University of Alaska Anchorage

“. . . a story about the power and importance of the arts in general and theatre specifically. It is a story about the passion and belief in the need for arts programming that leads individuals to continue to strive against financial difficulties and unexpected challenges to create art that plays a role in developing community.” “ – Prof. Lisa A. Kramer, Ph.D., Arizona State University

“As theater critic, [Stadem] recorded each development in the evolution of that city’s scene with her own description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation. . . . Even more importantly, she used her contacts to track down and interview many of the major players, who now live “Outside” Alaska. This is among her most crucial contributions to scholarship.” – Prof. Michael Barnes, St. Edward’s University

"[This book] is an encyclopedic accounting of the financing, the political and social forces, and practitioners of theatre arts in Alaska's largest community. [The author] has assembled a faithful chronicle of theatre in Anchorage.... This book will clearly be the standard work on the history of Anchorage theatre during this period." -- James Simard, Alaska State Library

Table of Contents

Preface by John Strohmeyer
1. The Early Years, 19 15—1946: Building the foundation of a cultural heritage
2. Frank Brink, the “Father of Anchorage theatre: Teacher, director, playwright and composer leaves lasting mark
3. Anchorage Community Theatre: A community of theatre for families endures
4. Soldiers on Stage: World War II brings talent to growing city
5. Jack Wandell and the Anchorage Drama Lab: Quality theatre versus the Red Scare
6. Theatre Guild, 1970—1990: Innovation’s heights and burnout
7. University theatre: Training artists for an uncertain future
8. The Alaska Repertory Theatre: A story of money and art
9. Out North Theatre Company: Out of the closet, into the spotlight
10. Theatre for children: Movement begins with parents
11. Ups and downs: 1980—2000 and beyond in a boom-bust economy
12. Cyrano’s, Eccentric Theatre Company and others look to 21st century: The heirs of 1915 carry on

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