The Drama is an example of Social Realism, a popular style of the early 20th century influenced by Robert Henri and the Ashcan School. The painting includes expressionistic elements typical of Regionalism, a type of Social Realism championed by artists like Thomas Hart Benton and John Steuart Curry. However, Philipps urban subjects perhaps more closely resemble those of Ashcan School member Reginald Marsh, which depict the working classes at leisure. While Marsh depicted burlesque shows and Coney Island, Philipp has chosen to show his two working girls (less obviously bodacious than Marshs) in their balcony seats, caught up in the imagining of other lives on the stage below them. Born Moses Solomon Philipp in New York City, Robert Philipp studied art in America before joining the family theatrical practice and singing tenor in operas throughout Europe. By the 1920s, however, he was painting in Paris where he developed an expressionistic style using high keyed colors and a rhythmic treatment of form. Returning to America in the 1930s, he won the Logan Prize at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1936, by which time critic Henry McBride termed him, One of the top ten painters in America.