Located in the historic Tulpehocken Station District of Philadelphia, Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion’s Victorian Theatre Company is committed to staging plays that interpret the era between 1837 and 1901 for a contemporary audience while being surrounded by the ornate interiors of the city’s only authentically restored Victorian house museum.

We Been Fly: Music and Black Philadelphians of the Nineteenth Century

This multi-media performance piece considers the lives and musical activities of three remarkable Black Philadelphians from the past: Rev. Richard Allen (1760-1831), Francis Johnson (1792-1844), and Charlotte Forten Grimké (1837-1914).  These figures explore their musical preoccupations through narration and contemporary music and poetry.  These three figures tower in Black Philadelphia’s music history as composers, collectors, musicians, and journalists. This presentation details some of their contributions while at the same time re-imagines the music they wrote, collected, and engaged by updating it through contemporary arrangements, original poetry, and visual culture.  Although the historical arch of their collective lives encompasses the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, this project focuses on their musical work in the nineteenth century.

Dr. Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. is the author and director of We Been Fly: Music and Black Philadelphians in the Nineteenth Century. Dr. Ramsey is a Guggenheim Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more about Dr. Ramsey

March 24, 25, 2023

Coming soon – ticketing information.

Pictured left Charlotte Forten Grimké

TEA WITH FREDERICK DOUGLASS and A LIFE IN THREE DRESSES: THE STORY OF ELIZABETH KECKLEY

Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion and Grounded Theatre Company want to bring live theatre to Philadelphia junior high and high schools. We have two one-act plays. Each play is about 35 minutes in length.

Tea with Frederick Douglass finds him trying out his famous speech “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July.”

A Life in Three Dresses tells the story of Elizabeth Keckley, born into slavery, whose brilliance saw her rise to the White House becoming the dressmaker and confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln.

For information email diane@ebenezermaxwellmansion.org or call 215-438-1861. We want to bring these compelling Black history theatre productions to your school.

Our Production History

ANNUAL MURDER MYSTERY EVENTS

Written and directed by Josh Hitchens unless otherwise noted, with special effects by Jay Efran

2008 – Death of a Titanic Survivor

2009 – Murder in the Animal Kingdom

2010 – Good to the Last Ghost

2011 – A House Divided

2012 – The Borden Tragedy

2013 – Twisted: A Dickensian Murder Mystery (Written by Edward G. Pettit)

2014 Diary of a Murder

2015 – The Case of the Cursed Doll

2016 – Mystery in the House of Usher: A Poe Tale (Written by Edward G. Pettit)

2017 – Death Takes a Curtain Call

2018 – A Séance to Remember

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A GHOST STORY (2010)

Adapted and Performed by Josh Hitchens, from the book from Charles Dickens

*Performed annually at the Dickens Christmas Party

STOKER’S DRACULA: A SOLO TALE OF TERROR (2011)

Adapted and Performed by Josh Hitchens, from the novel by Bram Stoker

*Presented in partnership with the Rosenbach Museum and Library

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: A STUDY IN SCARLET (2012)

Adapted by Josh Hitchens from the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Directed by Jay Efran

Featuring Josh Hitchens, Jason Graboski, Rachel Gluck, Christopher Morse, Gerson Alexander, Alexander McDermott

*Presented in partnership with the Mutter Museum

BLOOD RELATIONS (2012)

Written by Sharon Pollock; Directed by Josh Hitchens

Featuring Megan Edelman, Karen Stevens, Robert Bauer, Sandy Clay Bauer, Janet Wasser, Jim Kelsh, Josh Hitchens

* Presented on August 4, 2012, the 120th anniversary of the Borden murders.

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE SPECKLED BAND (2013)

Adapted by Jason Graboski from the story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Directed by Jay Efran

Featuring Josh Hitchens, Jason Graboski, Jessica Evans, Gerson Alexander

*Presented in partnership with the Mutter Museum

A DOLL’S HOUSE (2013)

Written by Henrik Ibsen; Adapted and Directed by Josh Hitchens

Featuring Jennifer Summerfield, Megan Edelman, Carl Granieri, Linda Minster, Ryan Walter, Peter Zielinski

*Presented in partnership with the American Swedish Historical Museum

THE ADVENURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA (2014)

Adapted by Josh Hitchens from the story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Directed by Jay Efran

Featuring Josh Hitchens, Jason Graboski, Loretta Vasile, Peter Zielinski

*Presented in partnership with the Mutter Museum

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (2014)

Written by William Shakespeare; Directed by Josh Hitchens

Featuring Megan Edelman, Josh Hitchens, Ken Jordan, Noah Levine, Edward G. Pettit, Jennifer Summerfield, Loretta Vasile, Ryan Walter, Peter Zielinski

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE VALLEY OF FEAR (2015)

Adapted by Josh Hitchens from the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Directed by Jay Efran

Featuring: Josh Hitchens, Peter Zielinski, Patrick McAndrew, Megan Edelman, Sue Edelman, Sam Miller, Edward G. Pettit, Brian Weiser

*Presented in partnership with the Mutter Museum

THE YELLOW WALLPAPER (2016)

Written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Directed by Josh Hitchens

Featuring: Jennifer Summerfield

*Presented in partnership with the Mutter Museum

LITTLE WOMEN (2016)

Written by Louisa May Alcott; Adapted and Directed by Josh Hitchens

Featuring: Christina Higgins, Megan Edelman, Molly Edelman, Sue Edelman, Sam Fineman, Allison Kessler, Brian Weiser

TRIBULATION PERIWINKLE: CIVIL WAR NURSE (2017)

Written by Louisa May Alcott; Adapted and Directed by Josh Hitchens

Featuring: Christina Higgins

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (2017)

Written by Lucy Maud Montgomery; Adapted and Directed by Josh Hitchens

Featuring: Molly Edelman, Megan Edelman, Sam Fineman, Noel Hanley, Allison Kessler, Ryan Walter, Janet Wasser

THREE SISTERS (2018)

Written by Anton Chekhov; Directed by Josh Hitchens & Ryan Walter

Featuring: Megan Edelman, Molly Edelman, Sue Edelman, Sam Fineman, Jacob Glickman, C. J. Higgins, Josh Hitchens, Allison Kessler, Amber Orion, Geremy Webne-Behrman, Peter Zielinski.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Adapted and Performed by Josh Hitchens

From the novel by Robert Lewis Stevenson

Halloween 2022 – Mansion favorite, Josh Hitchens, stars in a one-man performance of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a Gothic novella by Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson, first published in 1886. It is about a London legal practitioner named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jeckyl, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the vernacular phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” referring to persons with an unpredictably dual nature: outwardly good, but sometimes shockingly evil.

Be prepared to be frightened!

Friday, October 28, 2022, at 7:00 pm, Saturday, October 29, 2022, at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm

Cost: $35, Member cost: $30

Reservations are required.

MAKE RESERVATIONS ONLINE

The Creators

Josh Hitchens
Creative Director

Josh Hitchens founded the Victorian Theatre program at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in 2010.  He is a Philadelphia based director, actor, and playwright.  Josh is also the Artistic Director of Going Dark Theatre and has been a storyteller for the Ghost Tour of Philadelphia for a decade.  joshhitchens.weebly.com

Jay Efran
Technical Director

Jay Efran, a member of the Society of American Magicians, provides special effects and technical advice for the Mansion’s productions. His theatrical creations have earned awards from the Philadelphia City Council and the Mt. Airy Neighborhood Alliance. Locally, he has designed special effects for the Narberth Community Theatre and the Moorestown Theatre Company.

Testimonials

The Mission of Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is to showcase Victorian era Philadelphia through the architecture, grounds/gardens, and collections; and to educate, entertain and inspire through onsite educational programming, tours, theatre events and lectures.