Marshall A. Ledger


BSR Contributor Since March 7, 2011

Marshall A. Ledger is a writer and editor who lives in the University City section of Philadelphia.
Marshall Ledger is a warhorse of the in-house magazine world. He was founding editor of Trust, the magazine of The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Penn Medicine, the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania's medical school. He also served the Pennsylvania Gazette, Penn's general alumni magazine, as staff writer, associate editor and interim editor. He has been recognized as an Invited Member of the Robert Sibley Society “of extraordinary institutional editors and their distinguished colleagues in American journalism†(Council for Advancement and Support of Education, or CASE).

Marshall originally thought he was going to be an English professor, and he taught at Penn, the University of New Hampshire and La Salle College until he was hired by Farm Journal to help create a centennial-celebrating keepsake publication. His later writing credits include The New York Times Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Boston Magazine and many periodicals that now are merely remembered, sometimes even fondly, such as the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine.

Marshall and his wife, Martha, collaborated to write and produce Dear Old Penn in Postcards: The University of Pennsylvania, 1900-1923, which won three CASE awards. And he worked with David Y. Cooper III, M.D., on Innovation and Tradition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine: An Anecdotal Journey (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Marshall earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College, an M.A. from Penn State, and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in Philadelphia with Martha, who also writes. Their children are now far-flung: Daughter Kate is author of the 2009 novel Remedies, and son Gabriel is an emergency physician and creator of the short film, The Rest of My Life: Stories of Trauma Survivors. Marshall's hobbies include cooking, Spanish language study, tai chi, Argentine tango, watercolor painting and drawing.

By this Author

30 results
Page 1
Rohina Malik performs “Unveiled.” (photo by Sadaf Syed)

'Unveiled' by Rohina Malik

Under the hajib

Playwright Rohina Malik argues that a woman’s hijab, or head covering, opens her to the world even as it seems to close her off. It also opens her to some hard truths about looking different.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 3 minute read
Gonglewski (right) with Christopher Patrick Mullen: Battle (yawn) of the sexes. (Photo: Mark Garvin.)

Sondheim's "A Little Night Music' at the Arden (2nd review)

A Broadway musical, or a period piece?

An excellent Arden production brings out the best of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music— specifically, his music and lyrics. But the play's theme of marital dalliance is growing tired.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 3 minute read
Alhadeff (left), Putney: 12 seductions, and counting.

David Ives's "Venus In Fur' at Philadelphia Theatre Co, (2nd review)

I am woman, hear me roar

Do women's liberation and sadomasochism go hand in hand? The father of S & M thought so, but what do men know about women? In David Ives's Venus in Fur, a modern-day wonder woman bites back.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 6 minute read
Whyte, DeLaurier, Kern: Will the dog move?

Stoppard's "Heroes' at the Lantern (1st review)

Take that, Godot! Or: Band of brothers, refusing to go gently

Beckett's Waiting for Godot argued that life is absurd but suicide is no solution; there is only waiting. In Heroes, Tom Stoppard offers a new twist: Even in a world without purpose, he suggests, heroics are possible.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 4 minute read
Connell (left), Catalano-Leckerman: A Ledger family tradition.

Penn Singers' 'Patience' at Annenberg

You've got mail, or: My not-so-brilliant stage career

Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience is a Victorian romp concerning jealousy among poets, soldiers and lovesick maidens. But the most jealous character of all was in the audience: me.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 3 minute read
Wouldn't you like a beautiful Olympic medalist like Julie Foudy in your neighborhood?

The School District and the Olympics

An idea whose time has come: A modest proposal for the School District

Philadelphia's School District is starved for cash and weak on educational vision but steeped in empty classrooms. The U.S. Olympic Committee needs a large city with a ready-made Olympic village. Here's a sure-fire idea for some bright real estate developer.

Marshall A. Ledger

Essays 4 minute read
Bellwoar (left), Martello: Parental cruelty.

McDonagh's "Beauty Queen of Leenane' at the Lantern (1st review)

Ireland's answer to Where's Poppa?

What is it about modern Ireland that produces so many playwrights intent on cutting through that charming Gaelic sentimentality to expose the human brutality underneath?

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 5 minute read
Howet, Scofield: When does the clash of ideas start?

"Freud's Last Session' at the Arden (2nd review)

From World War II to Newtown

The last thing you might expect from an encounter between the founder of psychoanalysis and a great Christian apologist is a snore. Freud's Last Session. By Mark St. Germain; Ian Merrill Peakes directed. Through December 23, 2012 at the Arden Theater's Arcadia Stage, 40 N. Second St. (215) 922-1122 or

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 3 minute read
Sheeny, Bortolussi: Haunted by a raven.

"Red-Eye to Havre de Grace' at Live Arts Festival

Once upon a midnight dreary

Edgar Allan Poe, that master of the macabre, couldn't tell the best story of all: his own mental disintegration and collapse. But Thaddeus Phillips and his team could, and did.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 6 minute read
Heller (left), Bustamante: In search of a quick fortune.

"Tulipomania' at the Arden (1st review)

A good investment

Tulipomania concerns greed, not as a deadly sin but as a by-product of market opportunity. For a musical about 17th-Century Holland, it sounds all too contemporary.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 6 minute read
U.R. (left) and Frank X: Sophocles, by contrast, had it easy.

Lantern's "The Island' (2nd review)

Which prisoner is the hero?

Since South African Apartheid no longer officially exists, this 1973 Athol Fugard work might seem merely historical. Yet The Island's relevance transcends its criticism of one particularly cruel and arbitrary state.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 5 minute read
Gonglewski (left), O'Donnell: Rdiculous women who deserve each other. (Photo: Mark Garvin.)

1812 Productions does Mamet's "Boston Marriage'

David Mamet's woman problem

David Mamet supposedly wrote Boston Marriage to prove he can write substantive roles for women. He still hasn't.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 3 minute read
Lawton (left), Poe, Moseley: Unbearable decisions. (Photo: Mark Garvin.)

Bruce Graham's "Outgoing Tide,' by PTC (1st review)

Why again are we laughing?

Bruce Graham's The Outgoing Tide confronts Alzheimer's disease with wisecracks like, “Are you crazy?” The playwright's immense talent, a first-rate cast of three, and innovative staging create a powerful theater experience nevertheless.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 5 minute read
Benson: His colleagues hooted.

Lee Benson: The historian as activist

One historian who looked ahead

The late Penn historian Lee Benson contributed significantly to his field, but his shining moment may have occurred when he told his fellow historians to leave the sidelines and get involved.

Marshall A. Ledger

Essays 3 minute read
Hissom as Cyrano: A complex character in a modern idiom.

"Cyrano' at the Arden (1st review)

A Cyrano for our time

The polymath playwright Michael Hollinger has done it again. This time he takes a too-familiar century-old classic tragicomedy and infuses it with new allusions and linguistic flights of fancy suitable for the 21st Century.

Marshall A. Ledger

Articles 4 minute read