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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ann Blyth at Storrowton Theatre - West Springfield, Massachusetts

Today a look back at summer theatre past.  Here is the program for the musical Show Boat at the Storrowton Theatre in West Springfield, Massachusetts.  Ann Blyth starred in August, 1976.  Maybe you were there.

The Storrowton was a tent, where shows were produced in-the-round style, on the fairgrounds of the Eastern States Exposition.

Circus and stage show publicist Wally Beach started the Storrowton Theatre in 1958.  (A kind and gentle man, I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing him many years ago.)  Ann Corio took over in the late 1960s, and the tent closed for the last time in 1978.

Have a look at some of these ads.  If you have a memory or two share about the Storrowton Theatre shows, please drop by.  For more on Ann Blyth's summer stock adventures, please have a look at my Another Old Movie Blog this Thursday for our continuing year-long retrospective on her career.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Forbes & Wallace - Springfield, Mass. - Photographs for Sale

These are some photographs relating to the old Forbes & Wallace department store of Springfield, Massachusetts.  They are a collection belonging to a former employee, a Mr. Hammond, who is now interested in selling these interesting and historically valuable items.  His email to me is below.  Please contact him if you, or someone you know, might be interested.

Hi my Name is Richard Hammond and I now reside in Florida. I worked for Forbes & Wallace right up to the end. I worked in the Loss Prevention Dept. ( Security) and also in the Maintenance, My boss was Ferm. Jeorge  We did everything in that store  from cleaning the boilers to adjusting and cleaning the elevators and escalators. I can remember sitting on the top of a high step ladder changing light bulbs in the mens dept on the main floor at the veron st entrance and alearting store security about people comming in that entrance and getting down on their knees with a big shopping bag and pulling suit pants off the racks (stealing) and running out the door. I had done this so many times that the Head of Security asked me to work for him and thats how my carrear began. I also worked at the Eastfield Mall Store and went to work when JCPenney bought it, and continued to work for them until I retired in 1997 . While we were closing the Main store I was told to make sure the area in back of the store was free of any trash on the ground , and when I went to check I found a box of papers that looked old ,so instead of throwing them into the dumpster I put them into my car. Later that evening when I looked at them to my surprise they were pictures of the old Forbes & Wallace store  inside and outside along with old newspaper adds. I am now 77 years old and was wondering if anyone would be interested to purchase these, as I believe this was my pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow.


Richard Hammond

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Theatre in Maine and New Hampshire This Week...

Arundel Barn Playhouse, photo by J.T. Lynch

Two summer theatre choices for this week:

At the Arundel Barn Playhouse on Old Post Road in Arundel, Maine -- My Fair Lady is currently running.  From the playhouse:

Welcome to Lerner and Lowe’s joyous, family-friendly musical about Eliza Doolittle, the cockney flower girl who turns into a bloomin’ elegant lady under the tutelage of Professor Harold Higgins. Eliza’s transformation in this rags-to-riches tale is often referred to as ‘the perfect musical’ with characters of brain and heart, witty dialogue and a stunning score featuring songs like I Could Have Danced All Night, A Little Bit of Luck, On The Street Where You Live and Wouldn’t It Be Loverly!

For info and tickets, see their website here.

Over in New Hampshire, we have Oscar Wilde's rollicking farce The Importance of Being Earnest The Winnipesaukee Playhouse, which closes this Saturday, July 19th.  

From the playhouse: 

Like Downton Abbey with only the funny bits!

Jack is in love with Gwendolen.  Algernon is in love with Cecily. But Gwendolen and Cecily are both in love with Ernest, who, in fact, does not exist. This tangled web of mistaken identity and delicious wordplay has proven to be one of the most loved and enduringly popular plays of all time.

Performances Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30pm
Matinees Thursday July 10 and Monday July 14 at 2pm
No Sunday Performances
Tickets: Orchestra - $29, Balcony - $10  Student Rush Available One Hour Prior to Showtime.  Cash Only $20 for Orchestra Seating.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Whale Rock - Rhode Island

This is Whale Rock, whose menacing, haunting presence taunts us at the entrance to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.

It is all that's left of a lighthouse destroyed by the Hurricane of 1938.  In a sense, it has returned to its former self: a foreboding rock ledge, resembling a surfacing whale's back, that had been a threat to navigation until a lighthouse was established on this ledge in 1882.  There had been many shipwrecks before the light was built.

Photo National Archives

Then on September 21, 1938, the day the Hurricane of 1938 made its surprise attack (see our previous post on the storm here) , the lighthouse was destroyed.  Walter B. Eberle, the first assistant keeper on duty, was in the lighthouse during the storm.  His body was washed away and never recovered.

Today, Whale Rock is what it was, except with the addition of a lump of concrete caisson jutting up from the stubborn rock ledge.

For more on Whale Rock, have a look at this website.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Guys and Dolls - Ocean State Theatre Co. - Warwick, Rhode Island

This on the new Guys and Dolls production at the Ocean State Theatre Company:

WARWICK, RI – Ocean State Theatre Company (OSTC), which recently completed its first full season in its new state-of-the-art theatre in Warwick is proud to continue its summer season on July 9 with one of America’s most popular and successful Broadway musicals, Guys and Dolls, sponsored by Residence Inn by Marriott.
This Tony® Award-winning musical based on the stories of Damon Runyon, soars with the spirit of classic Broadway when gangsters, showgirls, cops and missionaries all collide in Frank Loesser’s masterpiece - each character in search of salvation, true love and, of course, the perfect craps game! Join Nathan, Sky, Sarah and Miss Adelaide in what is considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy. Songs include “I’ll Know,” “Fugue for Tin Horns,” “Adelaide’s Lament,” “If I Were a Bell,” “Bushel and a Peck,” “Luck Be a Lady,” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”
Ocean State Theatre Company is thrilled to welcome back director/choreographer Russell Garrett, who was at the helm for OSTC productions of Legally, Blonde: The Musical, 9 to 5: The Musical, Hairspray and The Full Monty. He will be joined by Justin P. Cowan, who music directed OSTC productions of Legally, Blonde: The Musical and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In the roles of Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown are Tom Andrew of Somerset, MA, who recently appeared as Brian in OSTC’s production of Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Westerly’s Rochelle Weinrauch, who will be making her OSTC debut. Medford, Massachusetts natives, Kevin B. McGlynn, who won rave reviews for his portrayal of Javert in OSTC’s Les Miserables and Katie Clark, who made her OSTC debut as Maggie in 42nd Street, play opposite one another as Nathan Detroit and Adelaide and Matthew Eamon Ryan who made his OSTC debut in Les Miserables, returns in the role of Nicely-Nicely Johnson. Other local performers include Rachel Abbate of Norfolk, Brandon Alberto of New Bedford, Jeanine Belcastro of Lincoln, Alexis Berlinger of Cumberland, Lauren Gemelli of Norwell, David Groccia of North Providence, Daniel Guay and DesirĂ©e Justin of Fall River, Maria LaRossa of Boston, Devin Marchany of Providence, Brian Mulvey of Warwick, Peter Romagna of Burlington, Peter Williams of North Kingstown, Tobias Wilson of New London and popular local comedian Frank O’Donnell of North Providence, who will be making his professional theatre debut in the role of Big Jule.
Guys and Dolls will be presented at Ocean State Theatre from July 9 – July 27. Previews are scheduled for Wednesday, July 9 at 7:30 pm and Thursday, July 10 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm. All other performances will be held Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Special matinees are scheduled for Thursday, July 10 and Saturday, July 19. Conducting Conversations Live!, a free post-show discussion hosted by WCRI’s Mike Maino, will follow the 2pm performance on Sunday, July 13. The post show Piano Bar Series, will continue with “Broadway Music and Comedy,” and will be held following Friday and Saturday evening performances (beginning at approximately 10:15 pm) in the theatre’s lobby on July 18, 19, 25 and 26.
The theatre is located at 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI. Tickets 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 are available on a limited basis one hour prior to curtain on the day of the performance. Tickets are on sale at the box office Monday through Friday from 12 noon – 6:00 pm, Saturdays from 12 noon – 4:00 pm, and from 12 noon until curtain time on performance days. Tickets are also available online 24 hours a day at and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling (401) 921-6800.
Ocean State Theatre Company (OSTC) is a professional not-for-profit regional theatre whose mission is to preserve and pass on the tradition of live, professional theatre – including the American musical – and to pursue avenues of enrichment and education for the benefit of the state of Rhode Island and the surrounding region through the theatre arts. OSTC, which re-opened and ran the historic Theatre By The Sea in Matunuck, RI from 2007-2012 and began producing shows in Warwick, RI in 2012, is an IRS designated not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

PRODUCTION:                     Guys and Dolls
DATES:                                  July 9 – 27
WHERE:                                 Ocean State Theatre
                                                1245 Jefferson Boulevard
                                                Warwick, RI
PERFORMANCE TIMES:    Wednesday, July 9 at 7:30 pm (preview)
                                                Thursday, July 10 at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm (previews)
                                                Friday, July 11 at 7:30 pm (opening)
                                                Saturday, July 12 at 7:30 pm
                                                Sunday, July 13 at 2:00 pm
Wednesday, July 16 at 7:30 pm
                                                Thursday, July 17 at 7:30 pm
                                                Friday, July 18 at 7:30 pm
                                                Saturday, July 19 at 2:00 & 7:30 pm
                                                Sunday, July 20 at 2:00 pm
Wednesday, July 23 at 7:30 pm
                                                Thursday, July 24 at 7:30 pm
                                                Friday, July 25 at 7:30 pm
                                                Saturday, July 26 at 7:30 pm
                                                Sunday, July 27 at 2:00 pm
SPECIAL EVENTS:               Conducting Conversations Live!
                                                WCRI’s Mike Maino leads cast and crew in lively discussion
                                                following the 2pm performance on Sunday, July 13
Piano Bar Series
“Broadway Music and Comedy”
Theatre Lobby
Following evening performances beginning at approximately 10:15pm on:
Friday, July 18
Saturday, July 19
Friday, July 25
Saturday, July 26
TICKET PRICES:                Previews - $39
                                                All other performances - $39/$49/$54
                                                Rush (as available, one hour prior to curtain) - $30
                                                Group Discounts Available (401) 921-1777 x112
RESERVATIONS:                             (401) 921-6800

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