The Billboard
Excerpt from Unsigned Article
22 August 1903


  Of the Floating Theatre. Managers Expense Comparatively Nominal. No Town Licenses. No Hotel Bills.

  Leaving Pittsburg the floating theatre steams up the Monongahela River to the towns of the coal miners and steel workers. Returning, it continues its journey down the muddy Ohio to the Kanawha, the conditions of navigation, in this instance, being a depth of eight feet of water and a population of 4,000 in the towns along the banks. The route of the boat is next down the Ohio to Cairo and then up the Illinois River to Lasalle, which is only a few hour’s railroad ride from Chicago. From Lasalle, the playboat steams back to the Mississippi and thence to the vicinity or New Orleans where the theatrical season ends late in the southern winter. Over this route there are thousands of towns in all, with many varied types of people as patrons, including those of the famous Mississippi plantations.

  For 25 years past from one to four playboats have been on this long water circuit. Years ago French’s floating theatre, one of the originals, presented Uncle Tom's Cabin on the very river over which Eliza escaped on the ice. The water circuit tired of the Uncle Tom show, however, and until recently, there has been nothing in the floating theatres except vaudeville. . . .