I studied an early, cardstock-bound copy of this book while working on my NeoVaudeville grant presentation back in 2009. It’s a little fact-heavy but boasts a few memorable anectdotes and is a worth $13 for those interested in vaudeville and theatrical history –especially if they’re from Scranton.

I’m personally curious to read the last chapter — as one of the few journalists covering theater in Scranton for the past decade (as well as consistantly working on the production end in my freelance life). and I’ve never met or spoken with the author as far as I can remember but according to her bio she has participated in local cemetery theater productions.


“If You Can Play Scranton is a theatrical history of America as seen through the famous performers who came to Scranton, Pennsylvania. It discusses performances by the best known actors and actresses of the tragic and comic stage, ethnic performers, vaudevillians, musical comedy, concert, orchestra and band performers from 1871-2010. At the turn of the 20th century, Scranton was one of the most famous try-out towns for legitimate stage productions. The sophisticated taste of its audience, created by extensive exposure to world renown talent, continues to this day.”

via If You Can Play Scranton: A Theatrical History, 1871-2010 by Nancy McDonald: Excerpt.