Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
This is a collection of essays I posted on my New England Travels blog (and a couple from another blog on theatre: Tragedy and Comedy in New England), which at the time of this publishing has just passed its fifth year. Some of the articles were also previously published in magazines and newspapers.
This book is a small slice of New England Travels, but there are no travelogue posts here, no photos of lighthouses or covered bridges. Perhaps that might do for a future volume. This book is not about New England the place as much as it is about New England the idea, and the ideas that came out of New England, specifically events that happened in the 19th century that shot us into the 20th century.
The photo on the cover is of the Mark Twain statue that stands in front of the library in Hartford, Connecticut where he made his home in later years and wrote his most famous novels. It’s a good image, and a good metaphor for what this book holds for the reader: a titan of American literature, and in the rugged image hewn in bronze, a representation of the artistry and industry of this region. I like how the 19th century figure is flanked by the modern 20th century steel-and-glass Hartford Public Library.
“My subject is the New England mind, as it has found expression in the lives and works of writers,” Van Wyck Brooks wrote in his preface to The Flowering of New England 1815-1865, which like its sequel, New England: Indian Summer 1865-1915, has gone out of fashion as literary criticism, but that did not stop me from enjoying them in younger years. My subject, too, is the New England mind, but though some writers are represented here, such as Louisa May Alcott, they are not given preference over industrialists or inventors, or soldiers. All are presented in the context of greater things going on around them, or greater things yet to be.
Alcott is shown not as the famous author of Little Women, but as a young Civil War nurse. Francis Lowell is shown not just as one of the founders of America’s industrial revolution, but in the context of how that revolution gave women a rise in society and economic and political power. He was the first, after all, to give preference in hiring women over men in his mills, ostensibly so that he could pay them less.
Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller are not presented as Teacher and her severely handicapped pupil, but as a New Englander and a Southerner whose partnership was the first and most successful union between North and South after the Civil War.
Melzar Mosman, largely forgotten as one of the foremost founders of bronze statuary in this country, is shown not just as the foundryman, artist, and sculptor, but as a Union Army private, an experience he would re-live with every bronze statue of a solider standing picket duty that came out of his foundry to find a home on town commons across New England, and of generals across America. Mr. Mosman, incidentally, will be the subject of a future book.
The 19th century chapters seem to illustrate the spawning of ideas and inventions which made history; the 20th century seems to show us reacting to events, like hurricanes, and juggling consequences. In the 19th century, through the Industrial Revolution, we drew upon a new workforce (women), and created a market for manufactured goods. In the early 20th century—we shopped—in grand, family-owned department stores just as paternalistic as the factories of the previous century.
These then are slices of New England, not just the place, but the idea and social movement, and the force that largely determined what America would be like in the 19th and 20th centuries. You can find its representation in the bricks and mortar of a factory building, or in the hobnailed boots of the mill girl who found both exhaustion and independence there.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Recently a reader contacted me about an item offered from Steiger's, the family-owned department store that had originated in Springfield, Massachusetts -- see our previous post here.
"I wonder if you know anything about a recipe book put out by Steiger's in the 40's? The title across the top is: "Steiger's Wishes You a Gingeriffic Christmas" and a picture of a gingerbread man below that with the following under the gingerbread man: Wake up! it's Christmas
The book contains recipes for cookies. If you could direct me to where I could find this book on line I would appreciate it."
If anyone has any information about this recipe book so we can help this reader out, please contact me at JacquelineTLynch@gmail.com. Thanks.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Of the handful of covered bridges that remain in Massachusetts, the oldest, built in 1832, was burned down by vandals in 1994. Here is its replacement, constructed in 1998 as a reproduction of the original.
This bridge, however, is closed to vehicular traffic. It’s a 91-foot span in the Town Lattice style crossing the lazy Housatonic River in the Berkshire County town of Sheffield.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Halloween and Houdini seem to go together, and add to that, Holyoke.
An intriguing collection of Houdini memorabilia has been on display at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Massachusetts for the last six weeks. The last day to see it is tomorrow, October 31st.
The items are from the famed Sidney Radner collection. Mr. Radner, a Holyoke native, was a magician himself who acquired the items from “Hardeen”, a fellow magician who was also Houdini’s younger brother.
In his vaudeville touring days, a 21-year-old Harry Houdini played Holyoke when he was first performing his escape from handcuffs in 1895. As he did in many communities for a publicity stunt, Houdini once escaped from the Holyoke jail under a challenge that he couldn’t.
Upon Houdini’s sudden death in Detroit on Halloween 1926, annual séances were conducted first by his widow, and then by magician societies around the country; Mr. Radner, before his death in 2011, presided over the Holyoke Houdini Séance.
Try to catch the marvelous exhibit at Wistariahurst before it disappears.
NOTE: Photo is from the Library of Congress collection, now in public domain.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
You are standing on the back of a dead giant man-eating beaver. According to Native American legend. Maybe so. This is the view from Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. It's only just over 650 feet high, but it's placement on a wide valley floor lends the view a strangely spectacular sense of drama. Especially at peak foliage season.
We're looking south in the above photo; that's Mt. Tom in Holyoke on the horizon. Here below is looking eastward.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Makris Diner has spent over 60 years watching the traffic speed by on the Berlin Turnpike in Wethersfield, Connecticut. It’s a good enough reason to stop.
It was built by the Jerry O’Mahoney Diner Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey, one of the largest manufacturers of metal pre-fabricated diners from 1917 (or 1913?) to 1941.
According to an article in the Hartford Courant by Donna Larcen, September 22, 2011, the Makris Diner has been standing in its present location since 1951. I don’t know if the building was in use in a different location for at least the previous 10 years -- these metal diners can be moved, after all -- but this undated postcard (1940s, early 1950s?) would seem to indicate that the place was always busy even then.
But there’s still plenty of booths and counter seating, so don’t pass it by. Eat slowly. Enjoy that comfort food.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
The iconic red bridge has known its lonely moments, but this is not one of them. On a spanking fresh fall day, the West Cornwall Covered Bridge in West Cornwall, Connecticut is likely to be the scene of converging leaf-peepers with cameras.
Open to vehicular traffic, a minor traffic jam might occur when someone takes a little extra time to get that perfect shot.
If you happen to be meandering through western Connecticut, have a look at West Cornwall’s lovely bridge. If it’s a sunny, leaf-peeping weekend and others have gotten there first, don’t mind. Get out your camera. You’ll get your turn. In the meantime, listen to the splash of the Housatonic on the stones below, and breathe the fresh air. It’s a good spot for a rest.
For more on the West Cornwall Covered Bridge, have a look at this West Cornwall Historical Society site, and this site for ConnecticutHistory.org.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
You can see Boston through the masts, which are truncated in this shot. The USS Constitution was undergoing a little refurbishment when these photos were taken two years ago. She’s presentable again, now on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, when Constitution came to fame.
New England nearly seceded over the war at the Hartford Convention, not wanting an interruption of trade with Great Britain.
We invaded Canada a few times, and were repelled each occasion. The final hopes of an autonomous state of Indian tribal control in the Midwest (or Northwest Territory as it was called then) -- supported by Great Britain, were dashed.
That’s a lot of unrelated, overlapping stuff to happen in war not often remembered today.
Though she did defeat four British warships in battle, the USS Constitution’s contributions did not affect the outcome of the War of 1812, but it provided enormous symbolism of a strong new nation. If the Revolutionary War gave us our independence from Great Britain, the War of 1812 solidified it politically, militarily, and especially psychologically. It was really our first taste of nationalism. A few decades after that Era of Good Feeling, national unity dissipated, bitter regionalism came back and led to the American Civil War.
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;--
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;--
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!
She is not plucked apart, or when she is, she’s always put back together again. For more on the USS Constitution, have at look at the official Navy website, and here for the museum at the Charlestown Navy Yard where you can visit the ship.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
In the summer of 1952 Victor Jory departed Hollywood for one of his habitual stage runs and toured the summer theatre circuit, with Alexis Smith in Noel Coward’s “Private Lives”. The sophisticate role was a natural for Miss Smith, who was typecast as such by Hollywood since her film career began some 12 years previously. But unknown to many moviegoers, it was an even more natural fit for Victor Jory, who had a much longer film career, and a much, much longer stage career. Hollywood had already typecast Jory as a scruffy villain. On stage, he was urbane, witty, and devilishly charming.
From the Boston Daily Globe August 12, 1952:
“The Boston Summer Theatre may be air-cooled but it sizzled last night with the heat engendered by Victor Jory kissing decorative Alexis Smith in that famous second act of “Private Lives”…I never saw…quite as much vigor and passion as Miss Smith and Mr. Jory, who seemed to enjoy every second of the sophisticated romp…The dialogue is light, witty and thoroughly naughty; the acting should be on the same order. And Miss Smith and Mr. Jory live up to audience expectations. It was a wonderful evening and the audience was capacity.”
Alexis Smith had minimal stage experience when she was in college, but Victor Jory had played stock theatre everywhere from his early apprenticeship at the Pasadena Playhouse to stages across the continent and as far as Australia. He played Shakespeare, Ibsen, Moliere, and Shaw. He wrote plays, and directed them.
A year later, Miss Smith and Mr. Jory took another summer tour, this time with “Bell, Book and Candle.” From the Boston Daily Globe, June 28, 1953, Alexis credits Victor Jory for teaching her stagecraft:
“I can’t believe that anyone in the whole world could have taught me as much as Victor has about my job. Working with him is better than any training school of the theatre you ever heard of. Mr. Jory has a vast amount of experience and he is willing to share it. Some actors are reticent when it comes to giving newcomers tricks of the trade. Victor is generous and kind. He has taught me all I know about legitimate theatre.”
When she first met Jory, she had a different impression. This was on the set of her film “South of St. Louis” (1949), which we discussed here. Jory played a nasty villain. She thought him a “rather horrible person” who was, “dirty, bewhiskered and wearing baggy pants.”
This had become Jory’s fate by the 1940s. Syndicated Hollywood columnist Bob Thomas visited the set of “South of St. Louis”, as picked up by the St. Petersburg, Florida Evening Independent June 14, 1948:
“Victor Jory, the mug they love to slug, was being pummeled by Joel McCrea when I visited the “South of St. Louis” set. The poor guy was being bounced all over the barroom…”
After “South of St. Louis”, Alexis and Victor Jory worked on one more film together, “Cave of Outlaws” (1951). He’s still a villain here, but considerably cleaned up. He vies with Macdonald Carey for the love of the typically cool and aloof Alexis, and gets beaten up again. It was on the set of “Cave of Outlaws” where she and Victor got to know each other better. They talked of theatre, of his experience in it, and her desire to pursue it. They formed the plan of working together. In the following year, they found themselves in an unexpected hit in “Private Lives”.
The next year, they met with further success in “Bell, Book and Candle”. Their performances were sold out, largely on the strength of their previous hit. From the Lewiston (Maine) Evening Journal, July 3, 1953. Smith and Jory “broke all attendance records at the same theater last year with their presentation of ‘Private Lives’.” (At Lakewood.) They had opened their tour of “Bell, Book and Candle” in Ogunquit, Maine at the famed Ogunquit Playhouse “to the pleasure of all that saw them there.”
“Bell, Book and Candle” opened the Framingham, Massachusetts season that June 1953. James Lee, author of the “Backstage” column for the Worcester Evening Gazette, June 11, 1953, met Alexis Smith and Victor Jory at a party in Boston the week before.
“They were supposed to leave at 7:30 for another rehearsal of “Bell, Book and Candle”…Victor decided they had been rehearsing so arduously for a week they could skip that night’s practice, and prolong the party instead.
“But not Miss Smith. She liked the party, but she liked the rehearsal idea better. So they left and rehearsed.
“‘Never saw anybody so anxious for perfection,’ he whispered to me.”
In the above-referenced Boston Daily Globe article of June 28, 1953, the article by Marjory Adams, Jory further commented on his co-star:
“Alexis is one of the hardest workers in the theatre I have ever met…She has intelligence and imagination. She is able to concentrate. And it has been a hell of a lot of fun to work with her in both ‘Private Lives’ and ‘Bell, Book and Candle.’”
Jory was pronounced “superb” by the New London Day when they brought “Bell, Book and Candle” to the Norwich (Connecticut) Summer Theatre.
From Skowhegan to Schenectady, they covered New England and the northeast with both plays. Hollywood was entering an interesting period in the early 1950s. Between the studios cutting back on productions, the court-mandated breaking up of movie theater properties, the competition from television, and the Communist witch hunts going on in the industry, actors were being booted out from the system or else voluntarily fleeing for work on the stage or television. It was, not so coincidentally, one of the most celebrated periods of summer theatre.
The same year Smith and Jory brought “Bell, Book and Candle” to Ogunquit, Zachary Scott appeared there in “The Moon is Blue”, Richard Arlen brought “Mister Roberts”, and Cedric Hardwicke appeared in “Island Visit”. The latter two stars brought those plays that same summer to the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts. Macdonald Carey was at the Westport (Connecticut) Country Playhouse in “Day of Grace.”
In future seasons, Alexis Smith returned to New England summer theatre with a different partner, her husband Craig Stevens, who made fame as TV’s Peter Gunn, in the comedy “Critic’s Choice”, which played, among other stops, the Ivoryton (Connecticut) Playhouse in August 1961, and closed the season that year at Oguquit. They also appeared together in the comedy “Mary, Mary” which made a stop at the old Mt. Tom Playhouse (see this previous post on the Casino at Mt. Tom) in August 1965; and at the Westport Country Playhouse, and Ogunquit, in 1968 with the comedy “Cactus Flower”. She returned to the Country Playhouse, and Ogunquit, in 1968 without Victor or Craig to appear in "The Coffee Lover." Gabriel Dell was her lead.
Victor Jory's many other appearances included "The Happiest Millionaire" in 1958 at Ogunquit, and with Don Porter in "The Best Man" at the Cape Playhouse in 1976. Mr. Jory was in his 70s at the time, and looking well and fit.
The 2012 season of summer theatre is ending hereabouts, and joins the memories of seasons past.
For more on Victor Jory - On Stage and Screen, have a look at yesterday’s post on my Another Old Movie Blog.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
This Friday, September 21st marks another anniversary of the Hurricane of 1938, which we covered here in this three-part post. We don't hear too much about that monster storm anymore as the generation that experienced it firsthand is diminishing among our ranks. But here and there the great storm left calling cards that remain. The generation that experienced it wanted it remembered, too.
Here on the brick facade of a charming bookstore on the corner of Main and Brown streets in Wickford, Rhode Island is a plaque.
To measure by, lest we forget.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Phyllis Thaxter died a week ago on August 14th. Though many will remember her film and TV roles beginning in the 1940s and ‘50s, through to her stint as Superman’s mother in the 1978 film, perhaps a few will recall the young actress who toured New England in the stage production “Claudia.”
Above we have the program cover advertising the national touring company of “Claudia” when it hit the boards at the Court Square Theatre in Springfield, Massachusetts. It ran for three days, March 29, 30, and 31, 1943. Miss Thaxter played opposite Donald Cook and Frances Starr. She understudied Dorothy McGuire as Claudia on Broadway, and when Miss McGuire won the film role of the popular play, Thaxter took over in the leading role on stage. Phyllis would have her own Hollywood career soon.
She was a New England girl, born and raised in Portland, Maine, her mother a former actress and her father, Sidney, a Maine Supreme Court judge. On a visit to her family in 1952, while swimming in the ocean, she developed the first frightening symptoms of polio. She was pregnant at the time, and required treatment in an iron lung for a brief period. Fortunately, the illness abated, she recovered her ability to walk, and had no difficulties delivering a healthy son some months later.
Phyllis Thaxter and her husband, Gilbert Lea, spent their retirement years between Maine and Florida. She was 92 years old. Her obituary in the New York Times is here.
These program pages from the Court Square Theatre display advertising from Springfield businesses of the day. Perhaps you remember True Brothers, Inc., Jewelers, or Converse Carlisle Coal Company, or J.E. Cheney and Staff opticians. Perhaps you went to the Hotel Bridgeway to dance in the Mayfair Room to Vin Breglio’s Society Orchestra.
Or bought your shoes at Stetson’s Shoe Shop on Bridge Street.
Or maybe you’ve never heard of them. Until now.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
A reader, John Y., recently contacted me with these two great scans of postcards of the Tremont Theater.
I put them up on my Tragedy and Comedy in New England blog, but wanted to include them here as well, as this blog is where my theatre posts are now going.
His contribution is in response to this past post on Boston's Tremont Theater.
From John Y.: "Here you'll see an early, say, 1905 view of Tremont Street looking north towards Park Street. Just a hair to the right of center, if you look carefully, you'll be able to make out the "Tremont Theater" sign on the front of the marquis, the same as is on the first post card. On the right side of the marquis is "C. S. either Millard or Willard". The dance studio is upstairs and just to the right of that sign is a two-story tall Quaker Oats mural. Other businesses readable are Estley Organs and Weber Pianos. I'm confident that the white stone building at the right edge is the Masonic Temple.
One of your bloggers, Herb, I think it was, correctly determined that the Astor Theater did occupy the building after our Tremont Theater.
If you or any of your friends would like, and you wouldn't mind being the connection, I'll be glad to share whatever views I have of the City. Just let me know what and whaere and I'll check my stuff."
These are wonderful glimpses in Boston's magnificent theatre history, and I'd like to thank John very much for sharing them with us.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Today is National Lighthouse Day. We mark the establishment of America’s lighthouses through act of Congress in 1789 on this day. The lighthouse above is called the Plum Beach Lighthouse, and represents how both a love of lighthouse history and future preservation can come together.
It stands in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. The Jamestown Verrazano Bridge looms over it, though when the 53-foot lighthouse was constructed in 1899, there was no bridge here, and a need for aid to navigation around Plum Beach Shoal.
The Hurricane of 1938 wreaked havoc on the little light, and trapped the keeper and his assistant, who reportedly tied themselves down to the apparatus that turned the beacon. They made it through the storm, but the Plum Beach Lighthouse was put out commission only a couple years later, not through storm damage, but because of the first Jamestown Bridge that opened in 1940. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1941.
For several decades it sat rusting, in a kind of legal limbo, until the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse were formed to restore and preserve it. The incredible task of restoring this lighthouse is detailed in the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse website here.
The lighthouse is now restored and the light, now a solar-powered beacon, was re-lit in December 2003.
For more on the history of Plum Beach Lighthouse, have a look here. For more on National Lighthouse Day, have a look at this website.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
We interrupt this blog for another in our continuing series of annoying announcements: the second book in my new “cozy” mystery series is available now as an ebook, and will be published in paperback in August.
For those who write book reviews on their blogs and would be interested, I’ll provide the first five people who email me, a free copy of the ebook (through a coupon on Smashwords to be read on any ereader device or on your computer) or a paperback book, or both if you prefer. My email is JacquelineTLynch@gmail.com. Please don’t leave your email or mailing address in the comments section. All emails and mailing addresses will remain private.
The cover is done by that extraordinary talent, Casey Koester, whom you might know better as Noir Girl from her blog. The vector graphic style used here is the same style she applied on the first book in the series, Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red, and I hope her participation on these covers will continue for several more books. She’s terrific, as you can see. I like the whimsical nature of the illustrations, the feel of being both from the era of the stories (late 1940s, early 1950s), and yet still seeming clean and modern.
And now (drum roll) the blurb: Speak Out Before You Die, the second in the “Double V Mysteries” series reunites wealthy Juliet Van Allen and ex-con Elmer Vartanian on New Year’s Eve, 1949. Guests are gathered in snowbound mansion for the wedding of Juliet’s widowed father to an elegant younger woman just after the clock strikes midnight. When Juliet finds what appears to be a threatening note directed at her father, she calls Elmer to pose as a hired servant to help ferret out the danger…but midnight is approaching and time is running out. There may be murder as the old year dies.
What interests me about these characters of Juliet and Elmer, who began their partnership for mutual survival in the first book Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red -- is that neither is a mastermind sleuth. I’ve always been a bit annoyed at the great literary detectives who possess so much knowledge on bullet wounds and African poison darts, and who also seem to solve the crime in the last few pages of the book by producing evidence which the writer has withheld from the reader. (“I had my assistant wire these documents from the War Office last night which PROOVES that the colonel was a VEGETARIAN!”)
There’s a scene at the end of the movie “Murder by Death” (1976), the Neil Simon parody of great detectives where Truman Capote berates the famous sleuths for withholding clues from the reader until the last minute. When I first saw that scene as a teenager I agreed with his complaint, erupting in righteous indignation.
“Hey...yeah!” I said.
That was pretty much all I said at the time. I never claimed to be articulate, just indigant.
Fast forward to now and my two characters who are not geniuses. Juliet and Elmer are ill-equipped to find murderers. She is the daughter of a wealthy financier and museum administrator, and he is an ex-con, who had made more use of his opportunities to read literature in prison that she did at finishing school. They are intelligent enough, but not more than anybody else. They have no superior gifts. With their back stories, including the pain over the outcomes of their previous marriages, they carry a lot more emotional baggage than most.
The edge they have going for them is their growing relationship. Their trust in each other and their reliance on each other’s opinions and perspectives is what guides them through the sticky mess of who done it. Their relationship, with its ups and downs, will be the engine that drives the series, and takes them through the brave new world of the 1950s.
Speak Out Before You Die (the title, though appropriately lurid, is actually from a line in a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson) ebook version will be on sale for the next month at 99 cents, then will be ruthlessly jacked up to $2.99. The paperback will be sold for $12, plus postage. You’ll be able to buy the paperback directly from me, or in the coming weeks from CreateSpace or Amazon. Currently, the ebook is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords:
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Have a look at the Hindenburg flying over Hartford, Connecticut in October, 1936, from what is apparently someone's home movie. Note the Olympic rings on the side. In that year, both the Summer and the Winter Games were held in Germany, and this logo on the airship was a bit of public relations. The following spring, of course, the Hindenburg would explode over Lakehurst, New Jersey. Here it looms over the Traveler's building.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This map has been making the rounds on the Internet. I don't know who created it, but I leave you to decide on the accuracy of the cartographer. When visiting Tanglewood this summer, do be cautious about the dragons. We've lost more than one motorist on the westernmost stretch of the Pike who decided to stop and feed them.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
A look at some current offerings at summer theaters in Maine:
This is the final week for the Rogers & Hammerstein musical “South Pacific” at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Have a look here for the details, a look at their great reviews, and the remaining schedule for the summer. “Damn Yankees” comes up to bat July 25th.
At the famed Lakewood Theater in Skowhegan, “The Fox on the Fairway”, a comedy by Ken Ludwig, starts July 19th. Here’s the synopsis from the Lakewood Theater:
This tribute to the great farces of the 1930's and 1940's has more twists and turns than a par 4 dog-leg or a double breaking, 60 foot putt as sex and water hazards collide in a mapcap adventure about love and golf. It is time for the annual match between rival clubs Quail Valley and Crouching Squirrel. The Squirrel has hoisted the trophy for many years but Baldwin of Quail Hollow is optimistic. He has found a ringer and has made a hefty bet on the outcome. When his secret asset changes teams, Baldwin must hand the ball - and his bank balance - to his nervous assistant, Justin. Justin does surprisingly well until his fiance, ditsy waitress Louise, loses her engagement ring down the toilet. Justin is unable to concentrate and as the match is slipping away Baldwin finds an unlikely replacement who may just save the day. Baldwin's humorless wife Muriel is not amused when she hears about his bet...and we hear her long before we see her. But we will be more than amused as the sturdy harridan arrives to set things straight. Filled with mistaken identities, slamming doors, and over-the-top romantic shenanigans, it’s a furiously paced comedy that recalls the Marx Brothers’ classic. Discussing his play Ludwig concluded "My plays are an attempt to move the ball in the right direction – towards a sense of humanity and good fellow-feeling. I hope (audiences) come away feeling rejuvenated, inspired, and happier than when they went in the door." It's a gimme!
For details and the rest of the season, have a look here.
Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma” runs at the Hackmatack Playhouse in Berwick through July 21st. For more details and the rest of the season, have a look at the website.
The Arundel Barn Playhouse in Arudel is celebrating their 15th Season. “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” runs through July 14th, and then Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” takes over on July 17th through August 4th. Have a look at the link for the rest of the season.
As we can see, Rogers and Hammerstein musicals still pack them in.
Please support these fine summer theaters in Maine, and that summer theater near you. You’ll find a bit more on the history of these theaters in my Tragedy and Comedy in New England blog. Though I don’t keep it up with current posts, have a look in the sidebar labels for an archive of blog posts.