Teaching Cleveland
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High School Edition: 9-12

Lesson 19


To familiarize students with the type of theatrical entertainment available to Clevelanders at the turn of the century.


A copy of current theatrical advertisements from the newspaper, made into an overhead transparency. Advertisements for "Phantom of the Opera" or the Cleveland Playhouse are good choices. The teacher might want to use an advertisement for a rock concert instead of a play.


astrologer, fin de siecle, degenerate


  1. What types of entertainment were available to Clevelanders at the turn of the century?


Have the students examine the playbills and answer the following questions:

  1. What types of theatrical entertainment do you think these two plays were?
  2. What class of people do you think these plays would have appealed to?
  3. Do you think someone would go to see a play based on who was appearing in it?
  4. How are the stars of the 1890s different from stars today?
  5. How are advertisements for plays (rock concerts) different today from those of the 1890s?
  6. How do you think advertising for plays and concerts might change in the future?
  7. How does the cost of a ticket today compare to the cost of a ticket in 1896? What do you think a ticket might cost in 100 years?
  8. Marcus Hanna was the owner of the Opera House. Who was he? Compare the forces behind the building of major theatrical houses in Cleveland today with the past.
  9. Look at the advertisement for the "Moses Cleaveland Cigar." Compare the price of a cigar in 1896 with the price of a cigar today? Was smoking viewed differently in 1896 than it is today?

Have students design an advertisement for a play or rock group using the style of the 1890s or have students design an advertisement for an 1890s play using today's style.

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