Wednesday, June 26, 2013
(WPA theater production in New York city. Image courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.)
WPA theater productions entertained millions of Americans from 1935 to 1939. Unemployed actors and unemployed theater workers were given a chance to earn a paycheck while entertaining audiences. Area businesses benefited from the increased pedestrian traffic during theater nights.
Congress eventually shut the theater productions down and forbid Americans from enjoying the shows. Some conservatives in Congress--both Democrat and Republican--thought the theater productions were a communist plot. The program that many Americans enjoyed, and had tremendous potential, was destroyed by hysteria, finger-pointing, and witch-hunting.