Baltimore’s Next “Poe Toaster” Auditions

Baltimore’s Next “Poe Toaster” Auditions

SATURDAY, November 7
8:30 PM – 11:30 PM

Hosted by the Maryland Historical Society, in partnership with Poe Baltimore. The Mesmeric Revelations! of Edgar Allan Poe, and Westminster Hall and Burying Ground

Doors open at 8:30 PM, Finalists take the stage at 9:30 PM
FREE admission, cash bar/all you can drink wristband $20

Do you have what it takes to become Baltimore’s Next “Poe Toaster”? 

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Beginning in the 1940s, a mysterious individual began visiting Edgar Allan Poe’s original gravesite at Westminster Hall every year on the author’s birthday, January 19th. Later dubbed the “Poe Toaster,” the man began a tradition in which he would sneak into the cemetery at night while dressed in black clothing, a hat, and a white scarf.  Upon arriving at Poe’s grave, the toaster would place 3 roses beside it before opening a bottle of cognac.  The roses are believed to be in memory of the three individuals buried at the site of the Poe Monument: Poe, Maria Clemm, and Virginia Poe.  After toasting Poe, the man would then place the bottle next to the grave before disappearing into the night. Sadly, the “Poe Toaster” has not appeared since 2009, but never fear, this long held Baltimore tradition will be reclaimed to honor the memory of the "Poe Toaster" this fall.

The Competition:

On November 7, the Maryland Historical Society and Poe Baltimore are teaming up to host the Baltimore’s Next “Poe Toaster” Auditions.  Along with their friends at Westminster Hall and The Mesmeric Revelations of Edgar Allan Poe, the organizations aim to revitalize the bygone tradition of the “Poe Toaster”, but with a new twist!

Each contestant will be given 3 minutes to perform as their own original vision and interpretation of the “Poe Toaster”. This performance could be anything within the bounds of the imagination – a dramatic reading, song, interpretive dance – you name it, as long as it’s connected to our dear friend Edgar.  In the style of America’s Got Talent or American Idol, three distinguished judges will comment on the performances, but the audience will ultimately decide on the winner.  The newly dubbed “Poe Toaster” will then have the honor of “toasting” Poe at Poe’s gravesite at Westminster Hall for his birthday in January 2016, as well as other events throughout the city during the year. 

Submission Rules:

All contestants are encouraged to submit a 75-100 word description of his or her proposed performance, plus any supporting materials such as videos, storyboards, drawings, etc.  We want to hear your vision of the “Poe Toaster”, and remember creativity counts!  Singular performances, rather than group acts, are encouraged.

Submissions are due no later than October 23, 2015. Participants must be 18 years or older. 

How to Submit:

Please submit your application to [email protected].

Be sure to include: 1. a performance description, 2. a phone number and email address, and 3. either your name or an alias.  For this competition, we would like to follow the tradition of anonymity exhibited by the original “Poe Toaster” and encourage the use of an alias. 


On October 31, the finalists will be announced at Poe Baltimore’s Black Cat Ball at Mobtown Ballroom, and posted to the Maryland Historical Society’s website and Facebook page on November 1.  The 10-12 finalists will perform in front of a panel of 3 judges and a live audience at the Maryland Historical Society on November 7. 

On the night of the auditions, all audience members will have the opportunity to enter a raffle to win 1 of 4 additional spots on stage to perform in front of the live audience and panel of judges, and potentially be named Baltimore’s Next “Poe Toaster”. 

All audience members will be given a ballot to vote for their favorite “Poe Toaster”, and the winner of the competition will be announced that evening. 

Baltimore’s Next “Poe Toaster” will be expected to perform for Edgar’s birthday in January 2016, and will be heralded throughout the Baltimore in 2016!

Join our live audience on November 7 at the Maryland Historical Society

Doors will open at 8:30 PM, and performers will take the stage at 9:30 PM. There will be FREE admission to watch the competition, plus a cash bar/all you can drink wristband for $20. Reserve your space today by clicking here!  

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