Originally published in 1928, Troupers of the Gold Coast follows the startup and success of a theater company of the same name that started performing in 1837 at California’s First Theater. More than 2,000 actors and actresses performed and trained with the company between 1848 and 2005. Until their last show in 2005, they were the oldest continually performing theater company in the world.
By the time the Troupers found their footing, though, a little girl named Charlotte (Lotta) Crabtree was achieving an early stardom. Since the age of six, she had been performing along the coast for men and women of the Gold Rush. Her mother managed her career, thus ensuring that Lotta was never taken advantage of. She was extremely popular and very successful in acting, singing, dancing, and banjo playing. Lotta, who was named The Nation’s Darling,” was able to tour the United States and Europe before retiring in her forties.
Troupers of the Gold Coast captures the rise of one America’s most beloved entertainers, as well as the formation and excitement surrounding one of the most popular and successful American theater troupes of all time.