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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Insurrection in Springfield - John Brown and Frederick Douglass have a chat.

In November 1847, two famous abolitionists met in Springfield, Massachusetts, to discuss a bloody revolt against slavery.  A Southern attack on Ft. Sumter resulted in the Civil War in another thirteen years, but the rebellion against the status quo envisioned on this pivotal night by a black man and a white man in a marathon meeting proposed an alternate future.

A future that, in part, did not happen, or was at least delayed. 

This event is the scene of my one-act play Insurrection in Springfield, written to be presented for middle and high school students, commissioned by Shera Cohen of In the Spotlight, Inc., and supported in part by a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 
John Brown and Frederick Douglass spent a long night of frank discussion and clashing opinions. Brown, one of the city’s leading abolitionists, would soon depart for Kansas, where he and his appointed group of vigilantes murdered several men in an attack on a pro-slavery settlement.

For these two men, their means to an end differed wildly, but on this night of tense debate, neither had a crystal ball. 

But we know what happened next, and that makes the historical event all the more striking.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Eleanor Powell at the Storrowton, West Springfield, Massachusetts

When Hollywood legend (and Springfield, Massachusetts, native) Eleanor Powell performed in summer theatre at the Storrowton tent in West Springfield, 1964.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Free Preview - Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.

Tap on the image of the book cover above and read the first few chapters of ANN BLYTH: ACTRESS. SINGER. STAR. for FREE!
From her 1976 appearance in West Springfield, Massachusetts, at the Storrowton Music Theater in Show Boat:

Show Boat closed the 1976 summer season at the Storrowton Theatre in West Springfield, Massachusetts.  Sam Hoffman of the Springfield Daily News reviewed the play:
Miss Blyth has lost none of her beautiful lyric soprano voice or any of her beauty.  She is a delight to see and to hear…Miss Blyth not only sings [the songs] for all their worth, she is capable of giving each a dramatic touch.
Magnolia just never looked as beautiful or was in finer voice than Miss Blyth.
Here Jay Garner filled in for an ill Andy Devine as Cap’n Andy, and Ed Evanko played Gaylord Ravenal.  In a follow-up article, Mr. Hoffman confessed his admiration for Ann Blyth was a torch he’d been carrying for some time.
…I remember her lovely lyric soprano voice that seemed to float right out of the screen in my direction.  I always managed to blot out the male star to make sure it was me she was singing to and not someone else. 
I was even a bit jealous when she upped and married a doctor for Ann Blyth has always been one of my favorite screen stars, someone I didn’t particularly care to share with another person.
He also noted in his interview with her, that she hoped to get in some tennis before the Thursday evening show.


Where do you suppose she played tennis?  Think she won?



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