Strike a Pose
National Theater, Walnut and Eighth streets. Philadelphia: Brown, 1856.
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The Keller Troupe was famous for its tableaux of beautiful women and children posing in scenes from mythology, the bible, and history. The "Bower of Flora" and the "Battle of the Amazons" were among their most popular shows. This broadside playbill documents a Keller Troupe performance of "Azael," which was loosely based on the story of the prodigal son. Instead of reveling with gamblers in a tavern, however, Azael ends up in Egypt with worshippers of Isis surrounded by harems, dancing, and alcohol. The show ended with a patriotic tableaux called the .3rd & 4th of July. which included a curious mash-up of actual historical figures like Washington and Hamilton on stage with the Roman god of war Mars, Britannia, and a goddess of Peace.