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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Upcoming talk on Mt. Tom Theatre book - West Springfield, Massachusetts

Just a note that I will be speaking on my book Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain - 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, Massachusetts on Wednesday, June 7th at 6 p.m. at the West Springfield Public Library, 200 Park Street, West Springfield, Mass.


The book covers the history of live theatre on Mt. Tom from 1895 to 1965.  For some seventy years live theatre created magic on the mountain above the city, from vaudeville, operetta, WPA-sponsored shows in the Great Depression, and its heyday from 1941 to 1962 with a resident repertory company called The Valley Players.  In the early 1960s, two new incarnations: The Casino-in-the-Park, and finally, the Mt. Tom Playhouse with touring packaged shows featuring well-known stars from television and movies.  Many stars of stage and screen, and many newcomers who would one day become stars, performed over several decades on Mt. Tom.  Through interviews, newspaper reviews, and nearly 250 photographs, relive their performances, and go backstage for personal experiences that were both comic and tragic, and enjoy again the excitement of opening night.

The book is currently available in paperback from the printer, CreateSpace here, and from Amazon in paperback and eBook.  You can also contact me by email or my website to obtain a paperback copy. 


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Student Prince - Springfield, Massachusetts Restaurant

JT Lynch photo

The Student Prince, a nostalgic and fanciful name for a German restaurant in Springfield, Massachusetts, has been a landmark in that city since 1935.  Though you may not find the characters from the Sigmund Romberg operetta  roaming about the premises, you will, at lease this month, find the Fort Street Carolers performing selections from The Sound of Music.  Surely, that is gemΓΌtlich enough for any fan of this cozy and inviting restaurant.  If that weren't enough, it is reckoned to have one of the largest collection of beer steins in the U.S.

JT Lynch photo

Ruprecht Scherff came from Germany to work here in 1949, and took ownership in 1961, and the Scherff family continued ownership until 2014.  When they announced the closing, several Springfield businessmen became involved to save the beloved restaurant, and so it remains today on Fort Street where it has stood since the Great Depression. 

Fort Street, incidentally, is so named because it was the site of Springfield founder William Pynchon's stockade fort, which withstood the attack of King Phillip's Pocumtuck warriors when they burned the young settlement of Springfield in 1675, 39 years after the settlement had begun. 

JT Lynch photo

There are stained glass windows in The Student Prince that picture Springfield historical landmarks, such as the Campanile, and Deacon Samuel Chapin, one of Springfield's founders.

JT Lynch photo

Through thick and thin, Fort Street lends its tradition of resilience and charm to Springfield.

JT Lynch photo

Have a look here at The Student Prince website.

*************
Also, thank you to organizer Erica Walch, and all the intrepid walkers who followed me around Springfield this past Saturday on my walking tour of Springfield's theater history sponsored by the Springfield Museums and the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association.



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Walking Tour - Theaters - Springfield, Massachusetts


This is the Bijou Theater on Worthington Street, Springfield, Massachusetts.  It's not there anymore, but that won't stop us...

This Saturday, May 13th, I'll be conducting a walking tour of Springfield's entertainment history by visiting a number of sites of theaters (and former theaters).  Sponsored by the Second Saturday Walking Tours for the Springfield Museums and Armory-Quadrangle Civic Association, this tour is titled:

"Stage, Screen, and Radio: A Walk through Springfield's Entertainment History"

We meet at the Visitors Center at the Springfield Library and Museums on Edwards Street in Springfield at 10:30 a.m.  The walk will be about a mile and a half, and the route downtown will probably take somewhere between an hour or hour and a half to complete.  The event is free for Museum and Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association members; $5 nonmembers.

I hope you can put on your sneakers and join us!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Upcoming talk on my book about Mt. Tom (Holyoke) summer theatre

I'll be speaking on my new book, Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain - 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, Massachusetts - on Wednesday, April 19th for the Chicopee (Mass.) Historical Society.  The event takes place at the Chicopee Public Library on Front Street at 7 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

The book is sold online at Amazon, at CreateSpace, and also from my Etsy site LynchTwinsPublishing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Review - Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain

A new book review is posted on COMEDY AND TRAGEDY ON THE MOUNTAIN - by Shera Cohen at In the Spotlight, a website devoted to the arts and culture in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.

Also, here's the YouTube clip of my interview on WGBY-TV about the book, interviewed by Carolee McGrath on Connecting Point, broadcast on March 20th.

My book Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, Massachusetts is sold online at Amazon, at CreateSpace, and also from my Etsy site LynchTwinsPublishing.

Monday, March 20, 2017

On TV Tonight - Me, and my book.

I'll be discussing my book on summer theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, Mass. tonight on television tonight with interviewer Carolee McGrath on Connecting Point, Channel 57-WGBY.  The program starts at 7:30 p.m., and the interview is part of their "Gone But Not Forgotten" segment.  For those not in the broadcast range of this locally produced Springfield, Mass. show, the program can be watched online here (my segment starts at 20:50)



The book is Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, Massachusetts.  The book is sold online at Amazon, at CreateSpace, and also from my Etsy site LynchTwinsPublishing.




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Talks this week, and Play Performances!

My scheduled talk at the Agawam Historical Association will be moved to Thursday, March 16th at 7 p.m. due to today's blizzard.

- I'll be speaking about my book on the Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Mass. and its importance during the Civil War for the Agawam Historical Association, at the Captain Leonard House, 663 Main Street, Agawam, Mass.  Free and open to the public, the time is 7 p.m.



Saturday, March 18, 2017 - I'll be speaking about Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain at Blue Umbrella Books, 2 Main Street, Westfield, Mass., free and open to the public, 3 p.m.

The time:  1895 to 1965

Setting:  A wooden, barn-like summer playhouse…in an amusement park…on the top of a mountain…in a New England factory town

It was as unlikely a place as you will find for stage plays, but as much a part of the community as the stores and businesses and the red brick maze of factories and canals down below the mountain in the so-called “Flats” by the Connecticut River.  The place was Holyoke, Massachusetts.  For some seventy years live theatre created magic on the mountain above the city.


Though a small theater may seem like a world unto itself, it is not; not entirely.  It reflects its era and its location, that larger world outside its wooden walls; therefore this story is as much about Holyoke, the tri-city area of Holyoke-Chicopee-Springfield, and the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, because this was the audience for the little playhouse on Mt. Tom.  If you are familiar with these towns, then you will find much in this book to jog your memories, for this is your story.

Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain covers seventy years of live theatre on Mt. Tom, from vaudeville, operetta, WPA-sponsored shows in the Great Depression, and its heyday from 1941 to 1962 with a resident repertory company called The Valley Players.  In the early 1960s, two new incarnations: The Casino-in-the-Park, and finally, the Mt. Tom Playhouse with touring packaged shows featuring well-known stars from television and movies.  Many stars of stage and screen, and many newcomers who would one day become stars, performed over several decades on Mt. Tom.  Through interviews, newspaper reviews, and many photographs, you will relive their performances, and go backstage for personal experiences that were both comic and tragic, and enjoy again the excitement of opening night.

***

Speaking of opening nights, I'd like to extend best wishes to the two theatre companies that will be performing my play Sketching the Soul this month.  The first is the Hummingbird Theatre Company of Rochester, New York.  They open this Thursday:


Hummingbird Theatre Company (formerly BART Productions) presents: Sketching the Soul


by Jacqueline Lynch 
Directed by Donald B. Bartalo


Thur. March 16th - 7:30pm
Fri. March 17th - 7:30pm
Sat. March 18th - 7:30pm
Sun. March 19th - 2:00pm
Thur. March 23rd - 7:30pm
Fri. March 24th - 7:30pm
Sat. March 25th - 7:30pm


Chelsea Logan is an artist struggling with the conflict between her growing celebrity and her Amish upbringing, which she left behind to pursue her ambition, and which she neglected to mention to Mike (her boyfriend), new friends and colleagues.

The past and present, celebrity and spiritually come to a head one frenetic weekend when her younger sister Sarah arrives unexpectedly. Chelsea must explain her sister, and the lifestyle she kept a secret, to Mike, an attorney struggling with his own ethical priorities, and to Maureen Nash an aggressive journalist who arrives with a photographer for an interview (during which Chelsea, with a rather un-Amish-like attitude, pummels the photographer into surrendering the film he has shot of Sarah!) Sarah and Mike together help Chelsea to accept and acknowledge the power of her Amish heritage and to move toward a future she had not expected.

CAST

CHELSEA LOGAN…………….……………Sara Bickweat Penner

MIKE GRIMALDI…………………………..Brian Tan

SARAH RICHTER………………………….Laura Thompson Pratt

NANCY………………………………………….Stephanie Sheak

MAUREEN NASH…………………………..Denise Bartalo

ARTHUR COAKLEY……………………….Joseph Barcia

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15.00 at the door. 

****************
The second group to perform this same play will be the Belhaven University Theatre Department in Jackson, Mississippi.  They run March 30th to April 1st, directed by Dr. Elissa Sartwell.

Cast
JAMES KENYON as Mike Grimaldi
LECI GRAY as Chelsea Logan
OLIVIA SIMMS as Nancy
RILEY PLEASANTS as Sarah Richter
RACHEL BROOME as Maureen Nash
MAC MITCHELL as Arthur Coakley

Production Staff & Crew
Director: Dr. Elissa Sartwell
Stage Manager: Frannie Maas
Scenic Design: Hannah Kenyon
Technical Director/Lighting Design: Michael Tobin
Costume & Hair/Makeup Design: Alice Bryant
Sound Design: Brittany Lyday
Props Master: Laina Faul
Dresser/Run Crew: Grace Reeves

Admission $10; Seniors/Students $5; Complimentary admission for Belhaven students, faculty, staff and their immediate families. Doors open 30 minutes prior to each performance. We hope that you will join us at the theatre! To reserve tickets for any Belhaven Theatre production, please call 601-965-7026 or email your request to boxoffice@belhaven.edu. Tickets may be purchased with cash or check.

My thanks and very best wishes to both companies.  Break a leg!

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