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Stage Door Canteen At The Academy Of Music

Posted by:  Kimmel Center on December 03, 2016

If you’ve wandered downstairs in the Academy of Music looking for a bathroom during intermission, you may not have known you’ve stepped right into history.

The area pictured here – located directly beneath the lobby in the Academy basement – is known now as the Stage Door Canteen, however as early as the the mid-19th century, the area served as a stylish restaurant.

Transformed during wartime, the area was home to 2.5 million circulating WWII servicemen from 1942 to 1945. A series of stars performed for troops there, including Harry Richman, Duke Ellington, James Melton, and Frank Sinatra. The Canteen also held a series of benefits for WWII, including the Red Cross War Fund, the United Nations Council, and others.

Photo credit: Historical Society of Philadelphia.

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