Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Customs House - Salem, Massachusetts

Built in 1819, the Customs House in Salem, Massachusetts was once employed author, and Salem native, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who worked here from 1846 until 1849, when he was fired.  It was a politically appointed job, and his being a Democrat apparently did him no good when the Whigs took over in Washington, but Mr. Hawthorne was really more keen on writing.  During his off-time, he wrote, and at this period most probably he had started his novel The Scarlet Letter.

Mr. Hawthorne was not the first writer to work a crummy day job while he wrote at night and dreamed of better things.  He wouldn't be the last.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Fair Lady - Piano Bar at the Ocean State Theatre Company - Rhode Island

 Mike Daniels, photo courtesy of the Ocean State Theatre Company

A recent notice from the Ocean State Theatre Company of Rhode Island:


WARWICK, RI – Ocean State Theatre Company (OSTC), which recently opened its third season in its new state-of-the-art theatre in Warwick, is proud to announce the kick off of this season’s Piano Bar Series. “I Could Have Sung All Night!” will be held following select Friday and Saturday evening performances of the company’s current production, My Fair Lady.

“The Piano Bar Series has become very popular with both audiences and performers,” said Amiee Turner, Producing Artistic Director of Ocean State Theatre Company. “Not only does it extend the evening for those who aren’t quite ready to go home, but it also provides an opportunity for the actors to ‘try-out’ new songs and showcase a different side of themselves, which may not have been revealed during the main stage performance.”

Following select Friday and Saturday evening performances, the theatre’s lobby will be transformed into an intimate performance space, at which patrons will be entertained by cast members, OSTC alumni, and staff members, while enjoying beverages and late night appetizers, which will be available for purchase from the theatre’s lobby bar.

“I Could Have Sung All Night!” will be hosted by Mike Daniels, who audiences will remember from his portrayal of Snetsky in OSTC’s Inaugural Season production of Fools, as well as his appearances in Children’s Festival productions of  How I Became a Pirate, The Fabulous Fable Factory, and Schoolhouse Rock Live! Musical accompaniment will be provided by the musical director for My Fair Lady, Esther Zabinski.

“I Could Have Sung All Night!” will be presented following Friday and Saturday evening performances of My Fair Lady on October 3, 4, 10 and 11. Attendance at the performance preceding the piano bar is not required. The lobby doors will open for the piano bar at 10:15 pm. The theatre is located at 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI. Admission is free, but seating is limited, so reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling (401) 921-6800.

Tickets for all productions being presented as part of Ocean State Theatre Company’s 2014-15 Season are on sale at the box office Monday through Friday from 12 noon – 6:00 pm, Saturdays from 12 noon – 4:00 pm, and up until curtain on performance days. Tickets are also available online 24 hours a day at www.OceanStateTheatre.org and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling (401) 921-6800.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Covered Bridge, Charlemont, Massachusetts

A covered bridge in Charlemont, Massachusetts, back as it was in the day, not needing to be restored or renovated, and probably not getting an overwhelming amount of traffic.  This photo is undated, from the ImageMuseum website.  In white ink someone has labeled the white frame house as "Walkers Residence." 

There'll be some lovely foliage out that way now.  Just not in the sepia photo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Louisa May Alcott - Documentary in the making - seeking funds

I received this press release from the Orchard House museum in Concord, Massachusetts announcing a new project to preserve the history of one of New England's -- and America's -- most beloved 19th century novelists, Louisa May Alcott.  A documentary is to be filmed, and the society is seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign.  Here's the information:

We are creating the first-ever documentary about Orchard House!Orchard House is in the process of making the first documentary about the 350 year history of the house - and we'd love for you to be involved in creating the film.

Today we've launched a fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.com to raise the $150,000 needed for production. We're emailing you today to ask you to help us spread the word about this campaign by sharing it with followers and readers of your New England Travels blog.

If you aren't already familiar, Kickstarter is dedicated to fundraising for creative projects just like this. Funding is all-or-nothing, which means we need to raise every penny of our goal by October 22, 2014 through pledges to our online campaign.

Click here to visit our page and watch the beautiful four minute video.
On our project page you'll find an explanation of why we're making this film and why it's important. Inserted below are a few pre-formatted social media posts that are easy to copy, paste, and share. Attached you'll find our press release. We would truly appreciate sharing of all kinds and are happy to answer any questions you have about the campaign.

For Facebook:

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House is making a movie! Help them create the first-ever documentary about the "Home of Little Women" and #PledgeYourLove to their new Kickstarter campaign! Click here to see their project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house

For Twitter:

.@LouisaMayAlcott has launched a #Kickstarter campaign for a new documentary! Click here to #PledgeYourLove

Many thanks,
Mary-Liz Murray
Kickstarter Campaign Manager
Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Budweiser Clydesdales Drop In for a Visit - Chicopee, Massachusetts

It was a quiet afternoon, just about suppertime.  A few of the neighbors went outside to stand by the road.

 Because it isn't too often that the Budweiser Clydesdales pulling that big old beer wagon comes down your street.

Not that anybody was filming a commercial or anything, but they just happened to be in the neighborhood.

This is Chicopee, Massachusetts.  As most New Englanders know, the Eastern States Exposition, or the "Big E" as we call it, the annual state fair for all of New England's six states is currently going on across the Connecticut River in West Springfield.  The Budweiser Clydesdales always show up for that.

Why they made a detour in this neighborhood first is because one of the neighbors, the guy who lives across the street, won a contest. His prize was  a case of Budweiser beer, to be delivered like this.

Not usually something that happens in this neighborhood around suppertime.  So folks came out to have a closer look.

 It resembled an impromptu block party, and for a little while, it was as cheerful and friendly as a holiday family gathering.

Then it was time to go.

Everybody went home and had at lot to talk about at supper.  The winner of the prize wasn't the only winner that day. 

Congratulations to Mr. Thomas Peloquin, who won the prize raffle sponsored by the Williams Distributing Company of Chicopee.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Valley Players - Program Ads from Summer 1954 - Holyoke, Massachusetts


We take a last look back at summer theatre, with fall soon upon us, but from the summer of 1954 when summer stock, and Holyoke's Valley Players, was in its heyday.

We've discussed the Valley Players in previous posts, and theatre on Mt. Tom in its many forms will be the subject of a future book, but today we salute not the art form, but that which keeps it among us--support from the community.  Not the audience, this time, but the advertising.

Have a look at some of these ads of, mostly former, Holyoke, South Hadley, and Springfield, Massachusetts business that advertised in the Valley Players programs.

How many do you remember?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS - Ocean State Theatre Company - Rhode Island

The delightful family stage musical MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, based on the 1944 movie, comes to the Ocean State Theatre Company in Warwick, Rhode Island, this December.  Have a look at their press release below for details and advanced ticket sales:

WARWICK, RI – Ocean State Theatre Company (OSTC) is proud to announce that tickets for their 2014 holiday production of Meet Me in St. Louis, which will be presented at their state-of-the-art theatre in Warwick, from December 3-28, will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, September 2.
“The response to last year’s holiday production of Miracle on 34th Street was so tremendous, we thought our audiences would enjoy another classic musical for the holidays,” said Producing Artistic Director, Amiee Turner. “We had been considering including Meet Me in St. Louis in our main stage season but, with it’s warm family themes and the joyous Christmas scene that includes the classic carol “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” it just felt better suited for the holidays.”
Based on the heartwarming 1944 MGM film which starred Judy Garland, Meet Me in St. Louis is a wonderful classic from the golden age of musical comedy. Join the Smith family at the 1904 World’s Fair and see how their love and respect for each other is tempered with the genuine humor that can only be generated by such a close family. Memorable musical numbers include “The Boy Next Door, “The Trolley Song,” “Under the Bamboo Tree,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Meet Me in St. Louis is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays with the entire family!
Meet Me in St. Louis will be presented from December 3 – 28. Previews are scheduled for Wednesday, December 3 at 7:30 pm and Thursday, December 4 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm. All other performances will be held Wednesday (except 12/10 & 12/24) through Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm, with matinees on Thursdays (except 12/18), Saturdays (except 12/6) and Sundays at 2:00 pm. (There are no performances scheduled for December 25.)
Subscriptions and single tickets for the 2014-15 Season, which includes Lerner & Loewe’s abso-bloomin’-lutely perfect musical, My Fair Lady, the classic murder mystery thriller, Dial M for Murder, Jeff Stetson’s compelling play, The Meeting, Jason Robert Brown’s musical masterpiece, The Last Five Years, the door-slamming farce, Lend Me a Tenor and Stephen Sondheim’s charming musical, Into the Woods, are also available.
The theatre is located at 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI. Tickets for Meet Me in St. Louis are $39 for preview performances and $39-$54 for all other performances. Discount rates for groups of 20 or more are available by calling (401) 921-1777 x112. $30 “Rush” tickets will be available on a limited basis one hour prior to curtain on the day of the performance. Tickets will be available at the box office Tuesday through Friday from 12 noon – 6:00 pm, Saturdays from 12 noon – 4:00 pm, and up until curtain on performance days. Tickets are also available online 24 hours a day at www.OceanStateTheatre.org and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling (401) 921-6800.