In the autumn of 1816 a couple, thought to be man and wife, walked into the Gadsby’s Tavern Hotel in Alexandria Virginia. The woman was ill and the patrons assumed it was from Typhoid fever, common at the time.
The local doctor was called but the woman’s condition continued to deteriorate. Several hours into the ordeal, the drama thicken when the husband then summoned the doctor members of the hotel staff and the owner’s wife into the sick room to make a request that they would swear on all that is holy never to reveal the couples identities.
All of the assembled agreed and never spoke the couple’s names so long as they lived.
A few days later, on October 14, the woman died and the husband, before leaving, commissioned an extravagant headstone and buried his wife at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Alexandria Virginia.
The engraving on the headstone reads:
To the Memory of a FEMALE STRANGER whose mortal sufferings terminated on the 14th day of October 1816 Aged 23 years and 8 month’s. This stone is placed here by her disconsolate Husband in whose arms she sighed out her latest breath and who under God did his utmost even to soothe the cold dead ear of death.
How loved how valued once avails thee not. To whom related or by whom begot a heap of dust alone remains of thee tis all thou art and all the proud shall be to him gave all the Prophets witness that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. Acts.10th Chap.43rd verse
The Gadsby Tavern is still in business today and many people have reported seeing a ghostly figure of a woman standing by one of the windows looking out to the where the port had been.
The most popular explanation as to who this woman was is that she may have been Theodosia Burr Alston, the daughter of Theodosia Bartow Prevost and U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr.
Theodosia (above) disappearance was the talk of the nation for almost fifty years before memory of her faded away.
Highly educated and refined she married Joseph Alston, (below) a wealthy land owner and politician from South Carolina. They are the first recorded couple to spend their honey moon at Niagara Falls.
Alston was governor of South Carolina at the time and owned an enormous rice plantation. The gossip of the day was that the Burr family, always close to broke, designed and then pushed the marriage together. At any rate, the couple had a son, Aaron Burr Alston, born in 1802. At that point Theodosia grew ill and became “fragile”.
In 1806, Aaron Burr and a wealthy Irishman named Harman Blennerhassett, along with General James Wilkinson plotted to build an empire by separating Louisiana and parts of the western United States from America.
The charges were never proven but in the spring of 1807, Burr was arrested for treason. He was acquitted of the charges and self-exiled in Europe for the next four years with his ever loyal daughter Theodosia acting as his agent. Burr returned to the United States in July of 1812, and settled in New York.
That December Theodosia and Timothy Green, an old friend of the Burr family, to accompany her to New York since her husband couldn’t leave the business for an extended period of time.
On December 31, 1812, Theodosia sailed aboard the schooner Patriot from Georgetown, South Carolina and somewhere out in the ocean, the Patriot vanished, probably raided and sunk by pirates operating off the Carolina cost.
The rumors said that Theodosia had been captured. However in the early part of 1813, the dead body of a young woman "with every indication of refinement" had been washed ashore at Cape Charles, and was buried in a nearby farm.
Almost one hundred years later a researcher found some documentation in the State archives in Mobile, Alabama, said that the pirate John Howard Payne had taken the ship and killed all aboard including "a woman who was obviously a noblewoman or a lady of high birth". But the research was never documented as true and correct.
Another legend says that a Karankawa Indian chief on the Texas Gulf Coast was seen wearing a gold locket inscribed "Theodosia." When questioned, the warrior said that after a terrible storm, he found a ship wrecked at the mouth of the San Bernard River. Hearing a woman’s cry, he boarded the ship and found a white woman, naked except for the gold locket, chained to a bulkhead by her ankle. The woman fainted on seeing him. He pulled her free and carried her to shore where she revived she told him that she was the daughter of a great chief of the white men, who was misunderstood by his people and had to leave his country. She gave him the locket and told him that if he ever met white men he was to show them the locket and tell them the story, and then died in his arms.
Adding to this mish-mash of stories was the writer Charles Etienne Arthur Gayarre who, in 1872, penned a novel called Fernando de Lemos (Truth and Fiction.) One chapter in the book is the confession of a pirate named Dominique You who admits to having captured the Patriot after he discovered it dismasted off Cape Hatteras following a storm. You and his men murdered the crew, while Theodosia was made to walk the plank: "She stepped on it and descended into the sea with graceful composure, as if she had been alighting from a carriage," Gayarre wrote in You's voice. "She sank, and rising again, she, with an indescribable smile of angelic sweetness, waved her hand to me as if she meant to say: 'Farewell, and thanks again'; and then sank forever." Because Gayarre billed his novel as a mixture of "truth and fiction" it was assumed by many that the story was real.
Then, in 1869, Dr. William G. Pool treated Mrs. Polly Mann for an ailment; in payment she gave him a portrait of a young woman which she claimed her first husband had discovered on board a wrecked ship during the War of 1812. Pool became convinced the portrait was of Theodosia Burr Alston, and contacted members of her family, some of whom agreed, though Pool conceded "they cannot say positively if it was her."
It is more probable that the ship was probably wrecked by a storm off Cape Hatteras. Logbooks from the blockading British fleet report a severe storm which began off the Carolina coast in the afternoon of January 2, 1813, and continued into the next day.
And then they vanished into thin air……………………………….
The strange case of Chicago’s Edward and Stephanie Andrews
On the evening of May 15, 1970, Edward and Stephanie Andrews, a couple in their early sixties drove the wrong way down Chicago magnificent Michigan Avenue and disappeared forever. In almost a half a decade later, no sign of the Andrews or their 69 Oldsmobile has ever found.
The couple arrived at the Sheraton-Chicago Hotel, then at 505 N. Michigan Ave., shortly after 5:30 p.m. for a cocktail party sponsored by the Woman's Association of Allied Beverage Industries. All the gusts agreed that the Andrews seemed to be in good spirits. But then guests noticed that a few hours later, Edward appeared to become ill. He complained of hunger.
They left the party at 9:30 p.m. and took the elevator to its underground parking garage witness testified to that much. The parking manager told police Edward Andrews was "staggering" and that Stephanie was crying and asking him not to drive home. He seemed to have trouble getting into his black and yellow 1969 Oldsmobile sports coupe. As he drove out he accidentally hit the garage door before pulling out on the street the wrong way down Michigan Avenue.
The police theorized that a disoriented Edward attempted a U-turn but instead plunged into the Chicago River at a point where there were no guard rails and drove into the Chicago River. However, an extensive search of the water turned up nothing. Ten years later, in 1980, a full clean-up of the river produced twelve vehicles, but none of them were the Andrews’ Oldsmobile.
Fourteen years after that the case came to the attention of the police again in 1994 when an informant, a 36-year-old man from north suburban Knollwood told police that he had suffered from amnesia and memories of the killings only recently returned. He said that the Andrewes’ had been murdered that night by gang members, who placed the couple’s bodies in their car and submerged it in a pond near the village Green Oaks, some forty miles north from they were last seen. The informant was 13 years old at the time and was at the lake when the car was buried there.
"About every third sentence he told us was true," said Cpl. Curt Corsi of the Lake County Sheriff's Office. "We verified some of what he said through police reports."
Divers searched the pond and recovered two pieces of metal that resembled pieces of the underside of a car and also found a large object several feet deep in the muck, but could not determine what it was. "It's the right size, but there is no way to get equipment in there to find out what it is," Corsi said. “We don't want to pull something up, unless we know it's the car"
He added that during the 1970s, the pond was privately owned and used for water skiing. The location, about 5 to 10 feet offshore, was marked with a yellow buoy but because the bottom of the pond is deep with mud and muck, police speculated whether it would have been possible for a car to sink low enough to escape detection and determined it wasn't probable.
It was not until the following Monday that the Andrews were reported missing when co-workers became concerned because they failed to arrive at work. Police officers thoroughly searched the Andrewes’ Arlington Heights home at 738 S. Vail Ave. but nothing was out of sorts. Everything that was supposed to be in the house, was in the house. All of their stocks, bonds, and credit cards were untouched since the day they disappeared. Neighbors described them as a happy, outgoing couple, always willing to help.
A background check showed nothing abnormal. Edward Andrews was a semi-retired manager and bookkeeper for Miller-Peerless Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, and Stephanie was a credit investigator for Local Loan Co. The Andrews drank sparingly and witnesses do recall them having drinks on the night they disappeared. They never gambled. They weren’t rich but they were comfortable in a middle class way. They had apparent ties to any criminal elements. They had been married about seven years. It was the second marriage for Stephanie, whose first husband had died. Edward Andrews had been married five times before. A search of their backgrounds and family revealed nothing to indicate someone would want to harm them.
In the meantime, a dozen policemen searched the edges of the river and located a place on a bridge on Lower Wacker Drive where there were scrapes on a concrete pillar and skid marks on the road but no sign of a car going down into the river. Another team of detectives interviewed most of the 250 guests who attended the party.
Police dragged the river for 11 days after they found the car scrapes and tire marks. A grappling hook caught something and the next day, divers swam 15 to 20 feet down to the bottom of the river to investigate but it was random river junk. Stephanie Andrews' brother, John Rynak, had stepped in to help. He provided sonar equipment to help with the search. In November 1971, police returned to the river for another search with more sophisticated sonar equipment and metal-detection devices. Each of those searches revealed nothing.
MYSTERY: Half-eaten shark on Florida beach raises speculation about what killed it
Published February 21, 2017
A half-eaten shark that washed up on a Florida beach Saturday raised questions about a bigger fish possibly lurking in the water
A Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue lifeguard snapped a photo of the shark on New Smyrna Beach. Beach Safety spokeswoman Tammy Morris told News 4 Jax that the shark was “definitely” eaten by a bigger fish. She added that the shark was either a blacktip or spinner shark.
A 14-foot great white shark named Katherine was spotted off the Florida coast in January. Another great white shark was spotted in the waters on Feb. 1, Florida wildlife officials said.
Morris said half-eaten sharks do not wash up on the beach often, but she has seen it before.
Officials said the shark might have been about 5-feet long, according to Fox 13 News.
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
In modern times, a strain of salmonella called Paratyphi C. causes a typhus-like outbreak called enteric fever that can kill as many as 15 percent of those it infects, mostly in developing countries.
Now, evolutionary geneticists think this strain of salmonella could be what sickened and killed millions of natives in Mexico in the 1500s, essentially bringing about the collapse of the Aztec empire.
Reporting on the bioRxiv server, researchers say they sequenced fragments of DNA taken from the teeth of 29 bodies buried in the Oaxacan highlands of Mexico after an outbreak around 1550.
In those fragments, they saw evidence of the salmonella strain. "It’s a super-cool study," one ancient-DNA researcher not involved in the work tells Nature. "They make a really good case." For centuries, people have wondered what wiped out the native population of 25 million, which plummeted to 1 million within 100 years of the 1519 arrival of Spanish conquistadors.
During a second outbreak in 1576, the devastation was such that a historian wrote: "In the cities and large towns, big ditches were dug, and from morning to sunset the priests did nothing else but carry the dead bodies and throw them into the ditches." Researchers have ruled out typhus, measles, and smallpox, though one scientist not involved in this study is skeptical that salmonella is the primary cause of so many deaths; she contends that a virus could be responsible, given that the method used wouldn't have detected a virus.
A post at Science Alert advises caution until the research is peer-reviewed. (Salmonella brought down more than half the guests at this wedding.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Did Salmonella Bring Down the Aztecs?
By Walt Bonner
A giant flying reptile the size of a plane may have been the largest and most feared predator in ancient Transylvania. After examining the enormous neck vertebrae of a creature called Hatzegopteryx– a pterosaur with a 32–foot wingspan and giant beak– researchers now believe it was a fierce carnivore that preyed on dinosaurs and other animals in Romania during the Cretaceous period.“We've suspected that some giant pterosaurs were terrestrial foragers for a while now, but the idea that one could be a stocky, powerful apex predator is not something anyone would have predicted even a few years ago,” study author Dr. Mark Witton of the University of Portsmouth told Fox News. “Indeed, it wasn't that long ago that the idea of a pterosaur occupying a dominant ecological role would have been laughable!”
The toothless Haptzegopteryx belonged to a flying reptile group known as Azhdarchidae. Usually reptiles in this group have very long necks, some of which can measure over eight feet in length. The neck of Hatzegopteryx, however, is shorter and much stronger, with considerable muscle mass. This was one of the clues that helped Witton and co-author Dr. Darren Naish get a clearer understanding of the mysterious creature’s behavior.
“We compared the structural properties of its bones to those of other giant pterosaurs using the same principles that engineers use to design buildings and vehicles,” Witton explained. “Hatzegopteryx was consistently stronger in all our tests.”
The team also looked at the degree of scarring of muscle attachment on its bones and found they were very well developed— much bigger than previously realized— and deduced that this strong skeleton was under the control of extensive muscle power. It had reinforced limb bones and a foot and a half-wide skull. Combining these stats with what is known of Hatzegopteryx’s close relatives, it soon became clear the pterosaur was unlike any other in its group and was a serious force to be reckoned with.
It’s theorized that one reason Hatzegopteryx was able to become the dominant predator in ancient Romania is due to the dynamic of the area itself. At the time, it had a strange island ecosystem where few predators could compare in size to the winged reptile.
“The rocks yielding Hatzegopteryx fossils have been studied for hundreds of years and to date no evidence of a large predator (other than Hatzegopteryx) has been found,” Witton said. “There are no giant predatory dinosaurs, no enormous crocodylians… not even a single tooth from one of these guys.”
According to Witton, they have lots of other fossils from these sites— including small predators— so it stands to reason that, after generations of fieldwork, someone would have found some evidence of these animals if they were there. This led the team to conclude that, without any other large predators to compete with, Hatzegopteryx was Romania’s head honcho.
One thing is for sure: Cretaceous–age Transylvania was a scary place to be if you were a dinosaur or some other prehistoric critter who found itself in Hatzegopteryx’s crosshairs. With its huge beak, solid build and massive wingspan, this reptile was fast and lethal.
“These animals were huge, and their cruising speeds were impressive (40-60 mph depending on the model),” Witton said. “If in a rush, and they weren't concerned about energy consumption, they might have been pushing over 100 mph. Using a mix of powered and soaring flight, transcontinental travel would have been very easy for these giants.”
French presidential candidate Le Pen refuses headscarf to meet Lebanon's mufti
Published February 21, 2017
BEIRUT – France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen refused Tuesday to go into a meeting with Lebanon's grand mufti on Tuesday after his aides asked her to wear a headscarf.
Le Pen, who is on a three-day visit to Lebanon this week and has met senior officials, was scheduled to meet with Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, Lebanon's top Sunni Muslim religious authority.
Shortly after she arrived at his office Tuesday morning, one of his aides handed her out a white headscarf to put on. Following a discussion that lasted a few minutes, she refused and walked toward her car and left.
Le Pen has tried to raise her international profile and press her pro-Christian stance with her visit to Lebanon, a former French protectorate.
On Monday, she met with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, declaring that Syrian President Bashar Assad was "the most reassuring solution for France." She also said the best way to protect minority Christians is to "eradicate" the Islamic State group preying on them — not turn them into refugees.
On Tuesday, after walking away from the meeting with Derian, she said that before it, she had told the cleric's office that she was not planning to don a veil during the encounter and was not told not to come.
"They didn't cancel the meeting so I thought they would accept the fact that I wouldn't wear one," she said. "They tried to impose it upon me, make it a matter of fact. You can't put me before a matter of fact."
She later met with the Maronite patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rai, and Christian rightwing leader Samir Geagea.
The office of Lebanon's mufti issued a statement saying that Le Pen was told in advance through one of her aides that she will have to put a headscarf during the meeting with the mufti.
"This is the protocol" at the mufti's office, the statement said. It detailed how the mufti's aides tried to give her the headscarf and that Le Pen refused to take it.
"The mufti's office regrets this inappropriate behavior in such meetings," the statement said.
Le Pen said she had met in the past with Egypt's Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar, the head of the Sunni world's most prestigious learning institute, without wearing a veil. Photos of Le Pen with Ahmed al-Tayeb in 2015 in Cairo show her with the cleric without a veil.
Le Pen's refusal on Tuesday to don a headscarf would be in line with her strong support for French secularism, and a proposal in her presidential platform. French law bans headscarves in the public service and for high school pupils.
Le Pen's proposal aims to extend a 2004 law banning headscarves and other "ostentatious" religious symbols in classrooms to all public spaces. While the 2004 law covers all religions, it is aimed at Muslims.
Later, a group of Lebanese held a small protest in Beirut against Le Pen's visit. One protester raised a drawing of Le Pen's between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, with "Neo-fascists" emblazoned underneath.
I am on a protein diet so I make Cauliflower Au Gratin in place of my beloved potatoes. We buy “Cauliflower rice” because it easier to deal with than a stalk of Cauliflower.
Cauliflower Au Gratin
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg
Add all ingredients
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9-inch baking dish.
Heat butter in a small saucepan over low heat; cook and stir onion in the melted butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture just starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually pour milk into mixture, whisking into a smooth sauce. Cook until just simmering.
Remove sauce from heat and stir in half the Cheddar cheese until melted; sprinkle with pepper and nutmeg.
Place cauliflower in the prepared baking dish; pour cheese sauce over cauliflower. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and browned, about 25 minutes.
Baked chicken is simple to make and economical. After I’ve eaten the white breast meat, I toss all the left overs into a pot with chicken broth, carrots and celery and you have a nice soup.
But a Perdue chicken. I’ve met the family and toured their facilities and they’re clean and modern and only use top grade materials.
Toss it in the oven. Smear with whatever you like (I used salt, pepper and melted butter) when the white plastic thing inserted in the chicken pops up, it down.
Chicken gravy is simple. Before you place the chicken in the oven, elevate it on a rack over a dripping pan of some sort and pour in some chicken broth. When the chicken is done, pour the broth and drippings into a frying pan and cook, add some flour and stir.
1: of or resembling Proteus in having a varied nature or ability to assume different forms
2: displaying great diversity or variety: versatile
Proteus was the original master of disguise. According to Greek mythology, the grizzled old shepherd of Poseidon's sea creatures possessed the gift of prophecy but didn't like to share his knowledge. Proteus would escape those who wanted to question him by changing his shape. The only way to get a straight answer from him was to sneak up behind him during his midday nap and hold onto him (while he frantically changed from shape to shape) until he eventually revealed what he knew. The adjective protean describes anyone or anything that is as mutable and adaptable as the mythological sea-shepherd.
Bacchanalia 2017 New Play Readings Festival
One play from the festival will be selected for a full production
This year’s theme is Protest Plays.
Show us your discontent and artistic ire with the coming regime! All new plays adhering at least broadly to the theme will be accepted, but preference will be given to plays with:
Five or less actors required
Multiple speaking roles for women
Less than an hour running time
Four Quarter Theater, a NYC based theater ensemble, is currently accepting 10 minute musicals for our spring season Musicals.
In each quarter of the year, and aligning with the seasons, Four Quarter Theater aims to produce a new set of ten-minute plays. Each season is framed around a theme, which relates to the season in which the quarter falls. Each theme is open to artistic interpretation and is provided as a thematic framework to guide the playwright. The format of the performances will be staged readings in New York City.
The Headwaters program is the source of new plays of the West: plays set in the current, historic, or mystic western United States; plays by playwrights originally from or living in the West; plays that deal with themes connected to the real or mythic West; and plays that re-imagine what “West” means.
To be considered for the Headwaters New Play Festival, a play must never have had a professional production and the playwright must be available to attend the workshop week ( - Creede Colorado). Since 2015’s festival, our goal has been to more accurately reflect the diversity of human experience by reserving one of our two slots for a female playwright. We will continue this at this season’s festival.
*** FOR MORE INFORMATION about these and other opportunities see the web site at http://www.nycplaywrights.org ***
*** FROM PAGE TO STAGE ***
The challenge of teaching Drama: From page to stage
Many Drama teachers are grappling with the demands of the process of taking a dramatic text from page to stage. The prominence of theatrical text in new specifications appears to align the teaching of Drama with its sister subject, English. There are many advantages to this alignment of the two disciplines, including the opportunity to develop an understanding of narrative patterns as well as genres. A ‘play’ can mean both the written output of a playwright and the staging of their work. The verb ‘to play’ also references the element of anarchy and misrule latent in the imaginations of the spectators. The many genres of the theatre also reflect the socio-political and cultural movements of their time. From the morality plays of the medieval period to the comedies of the Restoration and the tragedies of the Jacobean periods, playwrights have sought to fashion text from the tapestry of life around them.
From Page to Stage
How a Play Goes From Concept to Production
The curtain falls. The audience applauses. The lights rise. Theatre patrons stream out the doors a buzz with discussing the performance they've just witnessed. But the performance is the end product of a long involved process beginning with the playwright.
Even the longest running play The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie was at onetime a new play. Most theatregoers have at one time seen a world premiere of a new play. However, it is a select few that actually know how a play goes from concept to production.
The process of putting pen to paper (or hands to keyboards) varies from playwright to playwright. The idea for a play can come from a current event, something that has happened to the playwright in the past, or even just an overheard conversation on a train. From there, it can proceed in different directions. Some playwrights prefer to complete an outline before they write down a single line. Others go through drafts and drafts before they have their final product. And some playwrights sit down to write and do not stop until they have finished. Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) was recently asked how many drafts does he write of a play. He answered, "I don't write drafts. A draft could give someone a cold. No, I think you should write the entire play down the first time, and then fix it with a few touches here and there."
INDEPENDENT LENS: FROM PAGE TO STAGE
Playwright: From Page to Stage is a cinema vérité documentary that takes an intimate look at the development of two new plays, showing how creative teams are assembled and collaborate, detailing everything from the intense rehearsal process to achieving one of theater's ultimate goals: the arrival on a Broadway stage in New York City.
The film follows two young playwrights, Rajiv Joseph and Tarell McCraney, as they burst onto the scene, bringing real-world perspective to create theater that is fresh and new. Their success ignites tremendous interest in their work, and we follow as one of the plays, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, reaches Broadway, with Robin Williams in the lead role of The Tiger.
From Page to Stage
Center Theatre Group Presents Of Equal Measure
Commissioning a play and mounting a new theater work onstage are two very different endeavors. In 2005, Michael Ritchie, artistic director of Center Theatre Group (CTG), commissioned a new work from up-and coming playwright Tanya Barfield. The commission was a milestone for two reasons. It is the first script Ritchie ordered via his New Play Production Program after taking over the Los Angeles theater consortium from its founder, former National Council on the Arts member Gordon Davidson. And second, Ritchie was backing only an idea in Barfield's head: a play about segregated federal offices in the Wilson administration.
"Once CTG decided to commission me, they let me develop my own structure for working on the piece," Barfield said. "They let me lead my development and agreed to produce it before it was finished. That's rare." But such an open arrangement can make fundraising for a new production difficult because so many questions remain unanswered: How long will it take the playwright to craft a script? What if the new play needs five workshops before it's ready for a full production? When will the finished product best fit into the theater's season?
From page to stage: tricks of the trade in adapting theater from books
“We express who we are not just by telling stories but by re-telling the stories of others, emphasizing different details, putting our own spin on things,” says writer/director Aaron Posner. “The re-telling of stories is a basic human need.”
But one particular way of re-telling stories, turning literature into theater, is especially tricky. In some ways, classic and popular novels provide ideal source material for plays — familiar titles, characters and settings, thoroughly developed stories, proven appeal. But the two forms work by different rules and reach us in different ways. The love a reader has for a book quickly can turn bitter if the stage version doesn’t fit the version in her imagination.
Such are the promises and pitfalls in a project such as Seattle playwright Kevin McKeon’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” which has its world premiere at Portland Center Stage.
From Page to Stage – the Making of a Musical
This holiday season the Arvada Center produced a brand-new musical work – the first in our 41-year history. Arvada Center Artistic Producer of Musicals Rod A. Lansberry and I’ll Be Home for Christmas co-creators, David Nehls and Kenn McLaughlin offer their perspective to what it takes to build a new musical from the ground up.
Describe what it feels like to create a new musical like I’ll Be Home for Christmas from concept to completion?
Rod Lansberry (RL): The idea to have a world premiere on the Arvada Center stage is something we have worked on for many years, and we are happy to have this chance to bring something new and fresh to our audience.
Kenn McLaughlin (KM): It is a very hard thing to describe! Rod and (director) Gavin Mayer have been champions of the work from the start and have offered great direction and feedback that have helped shape where we are.
FROM PAGE TO STAGE: TAKING YOUR STUDENTS THROUGH THE THEATRE PROCESS
We can’t tell you everything we know about putting on a school play in a single blog post, but we can try to hit some quick highlights. Here’s the basic process of taking a play from the script you’ve selected to that first public performance, as smoothly and enjoyably as possible.
FIGURE OUT THE TECH FIRST
You can do most plays, especially when the scripts are geared towards school plays and educational theatre, without any serious set building. There are plenty of plays that have minimal costume and prop requirements, too—and plenty that can definitely benefit from a little extra assistance in the technical department.
A bumpy transition from page to stage for ‘Confederacy of Dunces’
On one level, “A Confederacy of Dunces’’ is ideally suited to adaptation for the theater.
After all, there are few fictional protagonists more theatrical than Ignatius J. Reilly, the bellowing, supercilious, misanthropic, lavishly eccentric, morbidly obese man-child who lurches through the pages of John Kennedy Toole’s picaresque novel as if in perpetual search of a stage.
Yet the Huntington Theatre Company’s world premiere of “A Confederacy of Dunces,’’ starring Nick Offerman as Ignatius and directed by David Esbjornson, ultimately adds up to less than the sum of its sporadically entertaining parts.
In Leap From Page To Stage, UK's Take On 'Catch-22' Gets It Right
Catch-22 is widely considered a great novel; until now, it has been a disaster as a play. Though Joseph Heller adapted his work for the stage decades ago, every production had been a failure. Now, however, a new production of his play seems to have broken the curse: It is touring the UK and receiving strong reviews.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
"Catch-22" is one of those rare books that's so successful, its title has taken on a meaning of its own. As in, catch 22 - a no win situation - damned if you do, damned if you don't. The novel has sold more than ten million copies since it was published half a century ago. The play has been much less successful, until now. NPR's Ari Shapiro has the story from London.
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: In one sense, "Catch-22" feels made for the stage. The World War II novel is intensely verbal. One reviewer in 1961 famously complained the book did not seem to have been written, quote, instead, it gives the impression of having been shouted onto paper. Even the audio book sounds like a movie without the sound effects.
From Page to Stage : the hero’s journey
Writing is a superpower, and it comes with its own high stakes.
It was hard for me to imagine that words on a page—mostly written for my private entertainment—would be projected on the stage of Symphony Hall, a gorgeous theater with high ceilings and velvet cushioned seats. I had no idea what it would feel like to see the characters that I had written four months ago strut around stage, taking audiences on an emotional journey. I couldn’t fathom what it would be like to be transported into the setting I had scrawled on a piece of paper. And I was definitely not prepared for the overwhelming sense of pride I felt as applause, whoops, and cheers filled the house.
Nero Wolfe: From Page to Stage
Joseph Goodrich talks process for his new stage adaptation of The Red Box.
My adaptation of The Red Box, the fourth novel in Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series, just had its world premiere at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, this June. It marks the stage debut of Stout’s corpulent, orchid-fancying crime solver and his irrepressible Man Friday, Archie Goodwin. Moving the inhabitants of a certain brownstone on West 35th Street from the page to the stage was a process that’s taken, from first thought to lights-up, three and a half years.
The initial part of that process reminds me of the great lyricist Ira Gershwin, who was once asked, “Which comes first? The words or the music?”
Gershwin’s answer: “The contract.”
Before I set pen to paper, I needed permission from the Stout estate to dramatize one of the Wolfe stories. It turns out that Rex Stout’s younger daughter Rebecca Bradbury manages the estate, so we were soon corresponding. Obtaining the dramatic rights took the better part of a year, and I understand why. It was not a small decision to make. Legal documents do not grow overnight. But they do grow, and eventually terms were agreed upon, and a contract was signed.
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