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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Forbes & Wallace Shoes - 1927, Springfield, Massachusetts

An ad for Forbes & Wallace department store in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1927, in a Court Square Theater play program.  The play was the musical Rose Marie.  The shoes are Jazz Age.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Merrimack Repertory Theatre - Lowell, Massachusetts


Tickets Available to June 21 Gala

Lowell, MA - Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) will celebrate its 35th anniversary at a gala celebration set for Saturday, June 21 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. The event will feature dinner, dancing, a look back at the company's history, and special recognition of UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.

Congresswoman Nicola Tsongas will present the Paul E. Tsongas Award to the chancellor in recognition of his long-time personal support and his continued work to build and expand MRT's partnership with UMass Lowell. Another highlight of the night will be a special look back at the company's history prepared by the Reduced Shakespeare Company® whose "The Complete History of MRT (abridged)," a 10-minute sketch, is being created especially for this event.

The MRT staff and Board of Trustees are looking forward to celebrating with subscribers, donors, and members of the community, some of whom have been a part of Merrimack Repertory Theatre since the beginning. Tickets for the event are available to the general public through June 10 at $150 per person online at or by contacting Jeff Prescott at or 978-654-7552.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (originally called Merrimack Regional Theatre) had its genesis when Barbara and Al Abrahamian met John R. Briggs and Mark Kaufman at a summer stock theatre in Salem, NH and created "The Committee for Legitimate Theatre In Lowell." University of Lowell (now UMass Lowell) Chancellor, John Duff, offered Mahoney Hall for the new theatre's home and the company's first season opened on October 23, 1979 with a production of "The Passion of Dracula" by Bob Hall and David Richmond. Mark Kaufman and John R. Briggs were the first Producing Artistic Directors, Barbara Abrahamian was the first Director of Audience Development and Nancy Donahue was the first Board President.

In 1983, the company changed its named to Merrimack Repertory Theatre and moved into Liberty Hall, its current location. Over the years, the company continued to grow and became the professional regional theatre that Merrimack Valley audiences respect and admire today.

In the 1990's, MRT expanded its educational programming. The Partners in Education Program was developed with support from the Ronald M. Ansin Foundation to subsidize student matinee tickets for middle and high school students. The summer program for children, Young Artists at Play (now called MRT's Young Company) was also created to give kids in grades 1-12 opportunities to create and perform live theatre.

Charles Towers was hired in 2001 as the company's fourth Artistic Director. During his tenure, MRT opened The Donahue Center in Bagshaw Mills that houses the theatre's administrative offices, rehearsal hall, and artistic and intern housing. In 2012 the company completed a renovation of the theatre and celebrated the Grand Re-Opening of the renovated 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, the Sage Bank Lobby and the Enterprise Bank Box Office in Liberty Hall.

With a history of 35 years of excellence on stage, Merrimack Repertory Theatre is in a strong position to serve the region for many years in the future, working with leading artists from the country to deliver vibrant, contemporary plays that reflect our audience's relationships, challenges and joys.

MRT (Merrimack Repertory Theatre) is one of Massachusetts' most highly-regarded theatre companies and one of only three theatres in the state to be a member of LORT (the League of Resident Theatres) which represents the 74 leading non-profit theatres in America. Under the artistic direction of Charles Towers since 2001, it has become known for producing an eclectic mix of new plays and regional premieres, with an emphasis on writers giving voice to the American experience. Since its founding in 1979, MRT has served as a vital cultural, educational and economic resource for Greater Lowell and its surrounding region.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Movies in Our Time - Hollywood Mirrors and Mimics the Twentieth Century

This is to announce the publication of Movies in our Time - Hollywood Mirrors and Mimics the Twentieth Century, my latest book, a collection of essays on classic films from the period from 1928 to 1960 and how their reflect their eras.

Some of these essays have been previously published in Classic Films and the American Conscience.  That is available only as an eBook, but Movies in Our Time, out as an eBook now, will also be issued in paperback by the end of the month.

These essays originated on my Another Old Movie Blog.

The books is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Sony, and a variety of other online merchants.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Shaw Memorial - Boston

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and his men of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Colored Infantry Unit marched past here, past the Massachusetts State House, on their way to fight in the Civil War, the first Union black regiment.

Their gallantry and courage at the Battle of Fort Wagner in South Carolina was depicted in the 1989 film Glory.  Their story was first depicted here in sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens' remarkable bas relief known as the Shaw Memorial.  Many feel that this bronze  sculpture was the finest piece that the noted 19th century artist ever produced.

It is a stirring and powerful piece of art that has depth and texture, and emotion.   Saint Gaudens used African American models for the solders marching to war and strove for realism in every detail.  When it was dedicated in 1897, among the many military units marching in review past the monument were 65 remaining members of the old 54th Mass.  Mr. Saint Gaudens wrote of the emotions of that day:

"Many of them were bent and crippled, many with white heads, some with bouquets... The impression of those old soldiers, passing the very spot where they left for the war so many years before, thrills me even as I write these words. They faced and saluted the relief, with the music playing 'John Brown's Body'…. They seemed as if returning from the war, the troops of bronze marching in the opposite direction, the direction in which they had left for the front, and the young men there represented now showing these veterans the vigor and hope of youth. It was a consecration."

Here, a proud member of the Mass. 54th Reenactors Regiment stands honor guard at the Shaw Memorial. Perhaps soldier ghosts salute and smile.

A special exhibit from July 18th running through October 31st in the picture gallery at the visitors center will celebrate the "CONSECRATION & MONUMENT: Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

For more on the Shaw Memorial, have a look at this National Parks website.

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