Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Theatre on Mt. Tom - Holyoke, Massachusetts


I've begun the research in earnest now on a new book about theatre on Mt. Tom in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The above photo is the playbill for the show Mary, Mary, when Hollywood stars Craig Stevens (whom you may remember TV's Peter Gunn), and his wife Alexis Smith, who appeared with a string handsome leading men -- Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Paul Newman among them -- and who would later earn a Tony Award on Broadway, came to the mountain in this romantic comedy. The Mt. Tom Playhouse was a smashing finale to the years of theatre on Mt. Tom, but it wasn't the only incarnation.

Before there was the Mt. Tom Playhouse, there was the beloved Valley Players, a stock company that rigorously produced show after show of a summer and featured some local, and some national Equity players -- including famed writer Madeleine L'Engle (who wrote A Wrinkle in Time), and most especially, actor Hal Holbrook, who played with the company in the early 1950s, and later in the decade brought his most famous character to town in his one-act show Mark Twain Tonight!




Before the 1940s and '50s, however, the mountain saw other performances, a wide and wonderful array of theatre, including WPA performers in the Great Depression, and before that, operetta and vaudeville.




There has been theatre on the mountain since the 1890s when Mountain Park first opened to the city dwellers bellow it's cool, green heights, where with egalitarian sociability, the factory workers mingled with the mansion dwellers and factory owners, all escaping the summer heat of the city.

A playhouse in the middle of an amusement park, up on a mountain, in a New England factory town.  Never has there been a more unusual setting for live theatre.

If you know anyone connected with any phase of theatre on Mt. Tom -- whether they be actors, technical and support staff, or audience members -- especially audience members -- who would like to share their memories of the stage shows on Mt. Tom, please have them get in touch with me.  I will do interviews by email, by regular mail, by phone, or in person.

Thanks.

Jacqueline T. Lynch

JacquelineTLynch@gmail.com

PO Box 1394, Chicopee, MA  01021

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"Lynch’s book is organized and well-written – and has plenty of amusing observations – but when it comes to describing Blyth’s movies, Lynch’s writing sparkles." - Ruth Kerr, Silver Screenings

"Jacqueline T. Lynch creates a poignant and thoroughly-researched mosaic of memories of a fine, upstanding human being who also happens to be a legendary entertainer." - Deborah Thomas, Java's Journey

"One of the great strengths of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is that Lynch not only gives an excellent overview of Blyth's career -- she offers detailed analyses of each of Blyth's roles -- but she puts them in the context of the larger issues of the day."- Amanda Garrett, Old Hollywood Films

"Jacqueline's book will hopefully cause many more people to take a look at this multitalented woman whose career encompassed just about every possible aspect of 20th Century entertainment." - Laura Grieve, Laura's Miscellaneous Musings''

"Jacqueline T. Lynch’s Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is an extremely well researched undertaking that is a must for all Blyth fans." - Annette Bochenek, Hometowns to Hollywood




Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. 
by Jacqueline T. Lynch

The first book on the career of actress Ann Blyth. Multitalented and remarkably versatile, Blyth began on radio as a child, appeared on Broadway at the age of twelve in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine, and enjoyed a long and diverse career in films, theatre, television, and concerts. A sensitive dramatic actress, the youngest at the time to be nominated for her role in Mildred Pierce (1945), she also displayed a gift for comedy, and was especially endeared to fans for her expressive and exquisite lyric soprano, which was showcased in many film and stage musicals. Still a popular guest at film festivals, lovely Ms. Blyth remains a treasure of the Hollywood's golden age.


The eBook and paperback are available from Amazon and CreateSpace, which is the printer.  You can also order it from my Etsy shop. It is also available at the Broadside Bookshop, 247 Main Street, Northampton, Massachusetts.

If you wish a signed copy, then email me at JacquelineTLynch@gmail.com and I'll get back to you with the details.


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My new syndicated column on classic film is up at http://go60.us/advice-and-more/item/2047-everybody-comes-to-rick-s, or check with your local paper.

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