East Lynne Theater Company
 
 

SOME OF

OUR REVIEWS

THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

From Jay Reisberg, Culture Catch

     Washington Irving's venerable ghost story, first published in 1820, contains virtually no dialog, but abundant pondered ambiguities -- so it is up to the writer and director who is adapting the story in a performance medium to "dramatize" it. Many a writer has tried, in film, animation, stage, and musical versions.   

     Playwright James Rana has taken up the challenge and provided the freshest of takes on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a delightful production mounted by East Lynne Theater Company in picturesque Cape May, NJ. Deftly directed by Gayle Stahlhuth, the company's artistic director, and with a talented cast of seasoned professionals, the hour and twenty minute presentation breezes by on the wings of disarming charm and dramatic authenticity. 

     The story (for those pupils who avoided "required reading") is simple. In 1792, Ichabod Crane, a Connecticut native, arrives in Tarry Town, NY, to serve as the new local school master. Initially, the Dutch town folk aren't too keen on this English outsider, but he begins to get along with the locals -- or so it seems. Crane is highly interested in what we would now call "the occult," and is excited to hear a local legend about a headless horseman who roams a nearby hamlet called Sleepy Hollow, searching for his misplaced head. Crane is also infatuated with the notion of wooing Katrina Van Tassel, daughter of a rich farmer (with hopes of ultimately becoming the next master of the manor). Crane is thwarted by Brom Bones, who considers Katrina as promised to him since childhood, and who concocts a number of pranks, with ghostly overtones, to scare away the superstitious Crane. While traveling to his lodging after a harvest festival at Katrina's family home, in a state of dejection over Katrina, Crane has a terrifying encounter with what appears to be the headless horseman, and then Crane simply disappears. Did Crane really disappear? Was the headless horseman a ghost or an elaborate prank perpetrated by Brom? Later on a passerby tells of Crane being alive and quite a hit as a lecturer in Manhattan. Was that tale a hoax as well?

     Irving's story is so well known that it becomes the obligation of any new production to infuse the legend with something new. What this particular production brings is a refreshingly straightforward telling, with fine authentic characterizations, spirited ensemble playing, and a new slant here and there. For example: the character of Ichabod Crane, as sympathetically played by Matt Baxter Luceno, is an essentially well-meaning outsider who is subjected to xenophobic prejudice. The other characters, although they are "types," are never allowed to descend to total caricature. What could have easily slipped into cliché is checked by the skill of this able ensemble.

     Each of the play's six actors contributes something special to it. Matt Baxter Luceno, appealingly elegant and courtly as Ichabod Crane (on his good behavior), arouses our sympathy as the harassed and terrified outsider. In addition, Mr. Luceno possesses a wonderful singing voice. This is well displayed in scenes in which -- as a pretext for wooing her -- he teaches Katrina to sing. Elisa Pupko as Katrina is superlative as the sweet Dutch farmer's daughter, as well as other characters; Ms. Pupko gets to show that she too is an accomplished singer. Suzanne Dawson shows her mettle as a character actor, and as such is up there with the best of them as the village gossip, housewife, etc. She plays her comic rolls to the hilt, especially when Ichabod Crane gives her a singing lesson. As Brom Bones, Justin Bennett is certainly up to the task of portraying that ultimately disagreeable character. I know actors are good when I am induced to dislike the characters they portray, and I certainly loathed Mr. Bennett's! Thomas Raniszewski plays all his multiple roles wonderfully, with a decidedly sharp contrast from when he is the proper Pastor, to later as the outlandishly awkward farmer who lends Crane a horse for his ride with the headless one. John Cameron Weber shows he is a solid and convincing actor as Katrina's father, as well as in his other roles.

     Marion T. Brady's period costuming beautifully established the Dutch era backdrop of the play, and all the players appeared comfortably at ease in the attire she designed for them.

     Gayle Stahlhuth's direction is so natural that it creates the illusion of looking like it just "happened." However, I suspect that a great deal of work was required to have the seamless action of the play move with such fluidity and ease.

     This fine production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is child-friendly (and certainly adult-friendly as well). It reminds me of the teleplays of early television (which can be viewed on YouTube and at the Museum of Broadcasting): A time when, with good scripts, fine actors and direction, and with only basic scenery and props, delightful and enduring works were created.

-Jay Reisberg

          Culture Catch

                 NYC-based review site:

http://culturecatch.com/theater/sleepy-hollow


FROM

THE WALL
STREET JOURNAL

     Rachel Crothers wrote 24 plays that were mounted on Broadway between 1906 and 1937, most of which she directed herself. Today she's almost entirely forgotten, but the Mint Theater's Off-Broadway production of Susan and God and A Little Journey (which has just been extended through July 17) showed that Ms. Crothers was an author of considerable accomplishment. If you seek further proof of her gifts, head down to Cape May, the island resort town at the southern tip of New Jersey, where the East Lynne Theater Company is putting on a solidly satisfying revival of He and She, written in 1911 and last seen on Broadway in 1920.

     He and She is a proto-feminist play of ideas about two married sculptors (played with sympathy and verisimilitude by Tom Byrn and Molly O'Neill) who enter the same competition. You can probably guess what happens next, but you'll never guess what happens after that. Ms. Crothers makes their plight real, building to a denouement fraught with unexpected emotional complexity. Gayle Stahlhuth's staging is neat and direct, and the lovely period costumes, designed by Marion T. Brady, add greatly to the total effect of the production.

      East Lynne, incidentally, first produced He and She in 1997, several years before anyone in New York caught on to Ms. Crothers's quality. All praise to the company for bringing it back to the East Coast stage again. Are there other Rachel Crothers plays as good as this? Judging by the three I've seen to date, that would seem far more than likely. Artistic directors and dramaturges, take note

-Terry Teachout

           The Wall Street Journal

    Unlike the usual summer-theater mix, ELTC specializes in shows that 'deal with the uniquely American experience,' including revivals of forgotten American plays from the first half of the 20th century. This year, the company has exhumed To the Ladies!, a 1922 comedy by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly. All Kaufman- Connelly revivals are rare, but To the Ladies! hasn't been staged anywhere since 1926, which makes this production significant by definition. To be sure, I expected that To the Ladies! would be a historical curiosity, but it turns out to be thoroughly likable, well directed and with an excellent cast.  (FULL REVIEW)

- Terry Teachout
The Wall Street Journal


      Attending live theater is always a treat, but the East Lynne Theater Company makes the experience quite extraordinary, with gifted professionals, classic literature, and authentic settings.

- Cape May County Herald

 

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CAPE MAY SEASON 2013

  

  • LOST ON THE NATCHEZ TRACE  The year is 1825 and slave auctioneer Malcolm Jeters is headed home when he falls from his mule in Mississippi's Natchez Trace during a violent storm. Injured and starving, he yells for help. The only one who appears is a runaway slave. The question is, who will save whom? Written by Jan Buttram, co-founder and artistic director of Abingdon Theatre Company in NYC, the play was first produced at Abingdon in 2012. After seeing it, ELTC's artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, asked Jan if she would like to make further changes to the script and have another run. "Three actors, Tom Byrn, Leon Morgan, and Stephanie Garrett, led by director Gayle Stahlhuth capture the attention of the audience from the beginning to the end of the play and they never let go...Each of the cast members produces a performance that is literally a tour de force......thoroughly engrossing and deserves to be widely seen." - Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave 
  • THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW World Premiere  The townsfolk of Sleepy Hollow believe that the headless body of a Hessian soldier astride his horse haunts their isolated village.  When Ichabod Crane suddenly disappears, is it the fault of the Headless Horseman, or something else?  Washington Irving’s supernatural story is adapted by James Rana who so vividly created ELTC’s last season’s The Poe Mysteries, with a cast of six playing many roles to bring the tale to life. See the Culture Catch review in the sidebar.

              *This production also had a run at Ocean Professional Theatre in Barnegat, NJ

  • THE LATE CHRISTOPHER BEAN  After his death, Bean is heralded as “not merely a great American artist, but one of the greatest masters of all time,” and the art world now wants his work. But did a New England family destroy his paintings, misplace them, or hide them?  A 1932 Broadway hit written by Pulitzer-prize winner Sidney Howard, with a cast of nine. “It’s a play that has remained fresh and funny, proving once again that a strong script is rarely tarnished by time.” - Ken Jaworowski, The New York Times   
  • HOLMES AND CARTER MYSTERIES  ELTC’s popular vintage-radio style production, complete with live sound effects and commercials, with two great detectives! Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Copper Beeches about a governess in peril, and Nick Carter and the Strange Dr. Devolo, in which Manhattan millionaires are missing.
  • CHRISTMAS WITH HARTE AND O. HENRY Christmas tales from the old West written by Bret Harte and O. Henry, presented in storytelling fashion by Artistic Director Gayle Stahlhuth, who has been praised by reviewers and audience alike for her portrayals of 30-plus roles in the telling of one tale.

 

CAPE MAY SEASON 2012  

        

  • RUTH DRAPER'S COMPANY OF CHARACTERS Before the solo shows of Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg, there was the originator of the "character monologue," Ruth Draper. Draper created witty and touching scenes filled with characters – from charwomen to divas.  ELTC is only the second production company - ever - to be allowed to produce these scenes since Draper.  Performers are Karen Case Cook and Suzanne Dawson under the direction of Gayle Stahlhuth.  "The ride to Cape May is more than worthwhile for performances like ELTC's Ruth Draper...Suzanne Dawson and Karen Case Cook have the ability to transform themselves with only a scarf, hat, and a chair... It all makes for a very entertaining evening." - Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave
  • THE POE MYSTERIES, a World Premiere, adapted by James Rana, based on the first modern detective stories ever written.  From the brutal double murder in a locked house to the disappearance of a beautiful young woman and the dangerous secrets of a stolen letter, a cast of six portraying fifty characters bring Detective Dupin’s greatest cases to life. "Directed with crisp, clear simplicity by Gayle Stahlhuth…Detective Dupin, a wizened character, is played endearingly by Fred Velde….I could have found a stolen missive that led to blackmail, given Poe’s plot. Ah, but how to purloin it from the purloiner? That’s the sort of thing the cast pulls off well, in these little, delightful tellings.” – Howard Shapiro, Reviewer for The Philadelphia Inquirer  

              * This production also had a run at Ocean Professional Theatre In Barnegat, NJ

  • IT PAYS TO ADVERTISE by Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter C. Hackett, a Broadway hit decades before AMC’s Mad Men, demonstrates that an ad campaign might be better than the product.  A screwball comedy with a cast of 10.  "A delightful comedy, as well as extremely topical in our current world." - Victor Gluck, Theatre Scene  "It's fun, and fits the current times perfectly." - Karl Levitt, Back Stage 
  • SHERLOCK HOLMES: ADVENTURE OF THE NORWOOD BUILDER Our popular NBC 1930 radio-style production returns, with live sound effects and commercials. 
 
  • LOUISA MAY ALCOTT'S CHRISTMAS  Three of Alcott’s tales, including the opening of Little Women are beautifully brought to life in storytelling fashion by Gayle Stahlhuth.  A holiday treat for the whole family.

      

CAPE MAY SEASON 2011

  • HE AND SHE When ELTC first produced this Rachel Crothers' comedy-drama in 1997, The Newark Star-Ledger awarded it “The Best Play of the New Jersey Season.” He and She begins with Tom Herford entering a competition for a $100,000.00 prize for the best work of art.  After hearing comments about “men’s work being better than women’s,” Tom’s wife, Ann, decides to go after the prize, too.  See The Wall Street Journal review in the sidebar.
  • THE WORLD OF DOROTHY PARKER (World Premiere) Based on the writings of the famous Algonquin Round Table personality, it is adapted and directed by Gayle Stahlhuth. The evening includes "A Telephone Call" (1930), "Here We Are" (1931), “The Lovely Leave” (1943), and other tales by the woman who quipped about “women who wear glasses."Long story short, “The World of Dorothy Parker” is a night of entertainment beautifully orchestrated and wonderfully brought to life." - Tom Sims, Exit Zero

  • HELPFUL HINTS based on Putnam’s Household Handbook written by Mae Savell Croy, adapted and performed by Susan Tischler, directed by Karen Case Cook. Join Mrs. Croy as she instructs the busy housewife how to be efficient in the home so that more time can be spent at suffrage rallies. Joining Mrs. Croy is Mrs. Wilcox, a stage manager who tries to keep her topics on track, played this time, by Karen Case Cook.

           

  • DULCY "This is probably the first weekend party on record that ended on Friday night,” says Dulcy’s brother, William, to his brother-in-law, Gordon.  Only Dulcy believes she’s created the perfect atmosphere in her home for a lovely weekend where her husband can make a brilliant business deal - but an innocent person could go to jail and all of her plans could go awry in this screwball comedy written by Pulitzer Prize-winners George S. Kaufman (1889-1961) and Marc Connelly (1890-1980). Not only did Dulcy establish these two journalists as playwrights, but it made a star of Lynn Fontanne, who played the title role. It was one of 21 plays that opened on Broadway in August of 1921. In 2008, ELTC produced To the Ladies!, the second play written by Algonquin Round Table regulars Kaufman and Connelly. Not only did our production receive a lovely review by Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal, but Kaufman’s daughter, Anne, was so taken with the production that she allowed ELTC to produce, royalty-free, the only play her father wrote without a collaborator: The Butter and Egg Man, which the company presented in 2009.  "I loved seeing the play for the first time and watching the audience enjoying it, too!"  Anne Kaufman, the daughter of playwright George S. Kaufman after seeing ELTC's production of DULCY. 
  • SHERLOCK HOLMES ADVENTURE OF THE NORWOOD BUILDER Step back in time, as ELTC presents this tale in the style of a vintage radio broadcast, complete with live sound effects and commercials, just like the 1930s NBC radio shows. All of the evidence points to a young lawyer as the murderer. But is he being set up, or is he the murderer after all?  It’s an exciting puzzle fit for Holmes and Watson.
  • CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FROM THE PAST (World Premiere) Classic American Christmas stories by Louisa May Alcott, O. Henry, and Mark Twain told in storytelling fashion by Gayle Stahlhuth, who has been praised by reviewers and audience alike for her many portrayals in the telling of one tale. Christmas Presents from the Past includes Mark Twain's "Susie's Letter from Santa Claus," "The Christmas Masquerade," by Mary Wilkins Freeman, "What the Bells Saw and Said" by Louisa May Alcott, and perhaps the most famous American Christmas story of all time, "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry. “Stahlhuth mesmerizes audiences as she moves seamlessly from character to character.” -Catherine Dugan, Exit Zero

CAPE MAY SEASON 2010

  • EMMA GOLDMAN: MY LIFE (World Premiere commissioned by ELTC and available for touring) Written and performed by Lorna Lable, directed by Karen Case Cook. Emma was a fascinating woman in a fascinating time: America in the early 1900s, teeming with immigrants like herself, all longing for a better way of life.  "You're witnessing one of the greatest activists in history answer questions from phantom colleagues sitting next to you.  She is a masterful speaker, answering questions with authority and ease.  She's passionate, insightful and from her answers, you soon realize she is eternally pulling for those who are lacking an advocate.  And that's what you learn to love about her." - Tom Sims, Exit Zero (NJ)   "Emma is superb!  When Gayle Stahlhuth commissioned Lorna Lable to write and perform Emma Goldman: My Life, it was one of Stahlhuth's wisest decisions ever." - Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave   
  • PAUL ROBESON THROUGH HIS WORDS AND MUSIC (One of ELTC popular touring productions) Performed by Derrick McQueen, and written by Gayle Stahlhuth, is an interweaving of two dozen songs that were sung by Robeson ("The House I Live In," "Joe Hill," etc.) with a narrative of his life as actor, activist, and humanitarian. This is the story of the son of a former slave who became one of the most popular performers of his day, and of an American whose government so feared his belief in universal equality, that the FBI took his passport.  "Superb performance! The applause afterwards went on so long that Mr. McQueen had to deliver an encore!"  - Jennifer Rees Schulze, Dir., Westfield Memorial Library
  • THE DICTATOR a comedy by Richard Harding Davis. Ethel Barrymore challenged Davis, a famous journalist, to write a play, and he composed one of the funniest ELTC has ever produced!  Brooke Travers flees NYC by jumping aboard a ship, which lands him in Puerto Banos, in Central America. Believing he could be arrested at any moment, he assumes different names, and even swaps identities with the American Consul.  Meanwhile he still manages to fall in love!  Who's in charge of this Banana Republic, where revolutions are a way of life, is anyone's guess in this 1904 Broadway hit that ELTC first produced in 2001. "The High-energy cast gets plenty of laughs as things unravel.....The Dictator is a showcase for Davis's firsthand knowledge of Central America and his general worldliness. It's glib and everyone is easily corrupted by money. - Howard Shapiro, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • BERKELEY SQUARE Written by John L. Balderston. An American who inherits a home in London's Berkeley Square becomes so fascinated reading letters and diaries of his ancestors that he's sent back to 1784.  Engaged to a woman in 1928, he meets two enchanting sisters in 1784.  Is life better in the past or the present? This highly original romantic fantasy based on The Sense of the Past, an unfinished novel by Henry James, opened on Broadway in 1929, starring Leslie Howard. "Berkeley Square is the finest play of the season - a play that casts a spell" - Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times (1929)  "It's easy to understand why the play is so well-received. It's a fantasy with witty and poignant lines inspired by a time-traveling scenario that only ELTC could conjure - namely a character from the distant past going to an even further point in history.  Yet there are themes and elements that are as timely as they are timeless.... High recommendations for a play well-written and directed, a cast well-assembled, and visuals masterfully designed. - Tom Sims, Exit Zero (NJ)
  • A TRIBUTE TO TWAIN  (One night only) In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's death and the 175th anniversary of his birth, ELTC presented Twain Tales - A staged reading of "Literature in the Dry Diggings," "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," " A Complaint about Correspondence," "Is He Living or is He Dead?" and "Eve's Diary" along with famous quotes and an after-show Q&A, and Mark Twain in Film, with The Prince and the Pauper shown by The Cape May Film Festival.  Cast of Tales:  Michael Kirby, Megan McDermott, Drew Seltzer, and Gayle Stahlhuth who created the adaptation and directed.
  • HELPFUL HINTS (One of ELTC's popular touring shows, at The Mad Batter Restaurant and The Grand Hotel for the First Annual National Red Hat Convention) Written and performed by Susan Tischler, Helpful Hints is based on Mae Savell Croy's Putnam's Household Handbook, published in 1916. Join Mrs. Croy as she explains everything from cleaning clothes with kerosene, to leaving babies outside when they cry. Also in the cast, Rob LeMaire.  Directed by Karen Case Cook. "A comedy stand-up routine, circa 1916!" - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette
  • SHERLOCK HOLMES: Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, adapted from the work by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Craig Wichman. Step back in time, as ELTC presents this tale in the style of a vintage radio broadcast, complete with live sound effects and commercials, just like the Sherlock Holmes radio series on NBC that premiered on Oct. 20, 1930. To save an innocent man from prison, Holmes and Watson must find the thief who stole a valuable gem. "This is live theater done right!" - Sherry Hoffman, New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine
  • THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS Adapted from the L. Frank Baum ( The Wizard of Oz) 1902 classic, presented in storytelling fashion by Gayle Stahlhuth portraying thirty-plus roles in this charming tale about Claus' early years to how he became immortal.  The production was chosen by the NJ State Council on the Arts to be part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ American Masterpieces Series for “introducing Americans to the best of their cultural and artistic legacy.”  This was the third year in a row that ELTC has been so honored, and the final year for this program.."Stahlhuth is an absolute delight, bringing Christmas cheer to the audience as she switches from one characterization to the other." - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette

              *Selected to be part of The American Masterpieces Series, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

    

East Lynne Theater 2009

  • ALICE ON THE EDGE, four deliciously witty one-acts by cutting-edge playwright Alice Gerstenberg: "Fourteen," "Illuminati in Drama Libre," "Overtones," and "He Said and She Said." Directed by Karen Case Cook with Suzanne Dawson, Mark Edward Lang, Shelley McPherson, Alison J. Murphy, and Gayle Stahlhuth. "Alice on the Edge is a show that all should see and enjoy, and you'll have a really good time. Be prepared to laugh uproariously and often. Oh how I love to be able to give a show a smash review. ELTC's season is off to a wickedly funny start!" - Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave

  • THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF (World Premiere) An adaptation by Gayle Stahlhuth of the popular O. Henry comedy, riddled with other O. Henry stories and passages, along with Appalachian tunes played by a fiddle-playing member of the cast! Directed by Gayle Stahlhuth with Tom Byrn, Karen Case Cook, Aidan Koehler, Bobby LeMaire, and Rob LeMaire. "A new, charming adaptation...thoroughly entertaining, well-polished...ranks right there at the top in a season of outstanding theater taking place in Cape May this summer...This play is for the young and old." - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Star and Wave

  • HELPFUL HINTS, Last year's comedy hit is back! Susan Tischler, who also performs, adapted Mae Savell Croy's Putnam's Household Handbook.  "A comedy stand-up routine, circa 1916" - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette

  • THE PEOPLE OF CAPE MAY vs. JOHAN VAN BURENWritten by well-known Dutch television personality, Judge Frank Visser, who also performs with members of ELTC, this is a comic look at Cape May in the 1600s. This event was chosen to help celebrate the founding of Cape May 400 years ago.

  • THE BUTTER AND EGG MAN, by Pulitzer Prize-winner George S. Kaufman. Before Mel Brooks' "The Producers," there was Kaufman's 1925 comedy about two producers who need funding for their Broadway show. What they're looking for is a wealthy person who can be parted from his cash: a "Butter and Egg Man." Anne Kaufman, the daughter's playwright, came to Cape May for a special Q&A. Directed by Gayle Stahlhuth with Suzanne Dawson, Justin Flagg, Mark Edward Lang, Tiffany-Leigh Moskow, Alison J. Murphy, Morgan Nichols, Stephanie Ouzts, Gayle Stahlhuth, Tommy Raniszewski, and John Cameron Weber. "What a wonderful reception it received from this season's largest audience of 150 theatergoers, who gave it a deserved standing ovation... The cast excels in ensemble playing in this hilarious comedy." - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette

             *Selected to be part of The American Masterpieces Series, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • PRESIDENT LINCOLN AND THE SAWYERS OF CAPE MAY, The viewing of a documentary about students rehearsing and performing *Henry Sawyer and the Civil War* under the direction of Gayle Stahlhuth who also wrote the play; a staged reading of the play with professional performers; an explanation of how this documentary came to be made by Tom Sims, Executive Director of the Cape May Film Festival, and his plan to produce a 30-minute documentary based on this play, using professional actors; and a presentation by James Stephens, Lead Interpreter at Historic Cold Spring Village and a Civil War-era historian, about Cape May hero Captain Henry Sawyer and President Lincoln.  Made possible by a grant from the NJ Council for the Humanities (NJCH), a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

  • SHERLOCK HOLMES: Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, adapted from the work by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Craig Wichman. Step back in time, as ELTC presents this tale in the style of a vintage radio broadcast, complete with live sound effects and commercials, just like the Sherlock Holmes radio series on NBC that premiered on Oct. 20, 1930. Holmes and Watson try to discover how a precious blue stone came to be in a goose on Christmas Eve. "This is live theater done right!" - Sherry Hoffman, New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine

  • CHRISTMAS IN BLACK AND WHITE (World Premiere) Adapted and performed by Gayle Stahlhuth and Stephanie Garrett based on works about the African- American and immigrant holiday experience from the following: Zora Neale Hurston, Edward Everett Hale, T. Thomas Fortune, and Chester Himes. Told in storytelling fashion, these tales involve an unusual African-American Christmas celebration, a wedding, a young boy who learns the meaning of Christmas Missionary Money, an unusual solution to house the homeless in 1895 Boston, and how a young woman finally found her brother after a long voyage from Europe. "East Lynne's holiday shows are always a treat!" - Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave

East Lynne Theater 2008

  • YOU AND I, a 1923 comedy by Philip Barry. After the children are grown, do parents get to do what they want to do? Maitland gave up painting to become a successful businessman, so his wife, Nancy, and his children would be financially secure. When his son declares he’s going into business instead of pursuing his passion for architecture, Nancy suggests that Maitland leave the business world, and paint. They can live off the money they would have spent on furthering their son's education. Or can they? Cast: Mark Edward Lang, Kevin Mahoney, Alison J. Murphy, Robert LeMaire, Merritt Reid, Karen Case Cook, and Erin Callahan. Directed by Gayle Stahlhuth. "Delightfully timeless...This is a play the entire family can enjoy; it reminds us that families and friends who love one another dearly are willing to take turns making sacrifices in order to bring out the best in each other, and that laughter is what binds us together and helps us through difficult times." -Susan Krysiak Avadissian for The Cape May County Herald    "A theatrical treat. Everything in this light comedy, the acting, the direction, the costuming are top drawer. The entire cast makes for good ensemble playing." - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette

  • ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE: The Music of Jerome Kern, a World Premiere with NYC cabaret performers Michael and Anne McFrederick. Jerome Kern (1885-1945) was a master of melodywho published more than 650 songs for 117 musical shows, plays,and films. Lyricists with whom he worked include Otto Harbach(“She Didn’t Say Yes”), Dorothy Fields (“A Fine Romance”), and Oscar Hammerstein II (“All the Things You Are.”)

  • MAGIC by Robert Aberdeen. Robert has appeared in several Broadway shows, including Fiddler on the Roof, on film and in television, all the while working on, perfecting, and performing his illusions. He has appeared in several ELTC productions in Cape May, and has enchanted East Lynne’s audiences at fundraisers and on tour. “Aberdeen shines . . he has stage charisma that establishes a rapport with the audience." - Cape May Gazette

  • THE GUARDSMAN, by Franz Molnar, this 1924 comedy, originally titled Playing with Fire, established Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne as Broadway stars. The location is Vienna, during the Belle Époque, the “beautiful years” before World War I, when love, not war, was in the air. Two actors have been married for six months, and everyone knows that the actress habitually changes men every twenty-six weeks. So the actor goes to great lengths to discover whether or not she is faithful. This well-beloved tale was the basis for the 1940 Louis B. Mayer film, The Chocolate Soldier. With Mark Edward Lang, Alison J. Murphy, Edward Furs, Thomas Raniszewski, and Gayle Stahlhuth. Directed by Karen Case Cook. "A pleasant souffle of an evening in the theater!" - Cape May Gazette

  • HELPFUL HINTS (World Premiere, commissioned by ELTC and available for touring) written and performed by Susan Tischler, based on Mae Savell Croy's Putnam's Household Handbook published in 1916. Join Mrs. Croy as she explains everything from cleaning the stove and your clothes with kerosene, to leaving babies outside when they cry because children should not be spoiled and screaming (outside) is good for the lungs. She also discusses the sick room, architecture, invitations, and the comfort of the gymnasium suit! It's an evening that is both witty and wise. Robert LeMaire is also in the cast, under the direction of Karen Case Cook.

  • TO THE LADIES!, written by Pulitzer Prize winners George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly, was the second of eight plays on which they collaborated. This charming comedy is about Leonard Beebe of Nutley, NJ, who wants to get ahead in the world. With the help of his young bride, Elsie, he might just do it. In 1922, To the Ladies! was on Broadway starring Helen Hayes, but after 1926, no other productions can be found. The cast of eight includes Suzanne Dawson, Ken Glickfeld, Terry Harris, Rob LeMaire, Tiffany-Leigh Moskow, John Morton, and Morgan Nichols, under the direction of Gayle Stahlhuth.  (See sidebar review)

             *Selected to be part of The American Masterpieces Series, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • SHERLOCK HOLMES: Adventure of the Speckled Band, based on one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's favorite stories, and his rarely produced play The Stonor Case, adapted by Craig Wichman, the Founder and Producer of the nationally acclaimed Quicksilver Radio Theater, by permission of Dame Jean Conan Doyle. Step back in time, as ELTC presents this tale in the style of a vintage radio broadcast, complete with live sound effects and commercials, just like Sherlock Holmes’s radio series on NBC that premiered on Oct. 20, 1930. The Great Detective and The Good Doctor are pitted against a psychotic villain in a race against time to stop the bizarre murders in an eerie country manor. Winner: National Federation of Community Broadcasters’ “Gold Reel” for Radio Drama

  • O. HENRY'S CHRISTMAS STORIES (World Premiere) ELTC’s Artistic Director Gayle Stahlhuth, portrays twenty-plus roles as she spins O. Henry's tales. "Her performance is one of the highlights of the 2008 theater season in Cape May." - Cape May Gazette

East Lynne Theater 2007

  • WHY MARRY?  This remounted 2006 production broke all ELTC box office records!  Written by Jesse Lynch Williams, it was the first play ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. This delightful comedy explores marriage vs. living together, through the lives of three sisters. Why Marry? opened on Broadway in 1917, at a time when more women were attending universities, entering the workforce, and struggling to obtain the vote. Cast: Ken Glickfeld, John J. Isgro, Megan McDermott, Shelley McPherson, Thomas Raniszewski, Tom Tansey, Caitlin Wallace, and Mark Edward Lang and Alison J. Murphy.  Winner of the 2006 Jacoby Award for Most Outstanding Production and Director, featuring an excellent ensemble cast: "A theatrical treat that audiences loved." - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette   "Gayle Stahlhuth has deftly directed her well-chosen cast through this comedy that is filled with lines about love and marriage that still ring true today." - Cape May County Herald

  • OVER THE RAINBOW: The Music of Harold Arlen (World Premiere) Written, directed, and performed by NYC cabaret performer Lennie McKenzie, with Michael McFrederick, Julie Willis, and Doug Spagnola. Among Arlen's 400 compositions, is all of the music from The Wizard of Oz, including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." "RAINBOW is not staying long enough! - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette

  • LIZZIE BORDEN LIVE (World Premiere, commissioned by ELTC, available for touring) Written and performed by Jill Dalton, directed by Jack McCullough, with original music by three-time Tony nominated Larry Hochman. Jill Dalton brings the legend to life in this provocative play that has audiences rethinking the sensational murders of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Borden on Aug. 4, 1892. The only one tried for the murders as Andrew's daughter, Lizzie, who maintained her innocence and as acquitted. To this day, the case is considered unsolved, although many do believe that "Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41." Did she do it or not? You decide. "I heartily recommend LIZZIE BORDEN LIVE. It's unlikely you will arrive at any conclusions, but you'll have spent a short spell with a complex and most interesting Lizzie, in the person of Jill Dalton... Dalton is nothing less than superb in her depiction, alternating between sweet, innocent, witty, and savagely murderous." - Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave

  • YOU AND I, a 1923 comedy by Philip Barry, who later wrote The Philadelphia Story. After the children are grown, do parents get to do what they want to do? "Delightfully timeless." - Susan Krysiak Avadissian, Cape May County Herald

  • SHERLOCK HOLMES: Adventure of the Speckled Band, as a 1930's radio broadcast.

  • LOU: The Remarkable Miss Alcott, written and performed by Gayle Stahlhuth.

  • LOUISA MAY ALCOTT'S CHRISTMAS, with Gayle Stahlhuth, as Louisa, relating the stories of the March family Christmas from Little Women, and the stories "How It All Happened" and "Tessa's Surprises." Gayle has performed her one-woman play on Louisa May Alcott for over 20 years, but this is the first time she has acted out any of this famous American authors short stories.  "Stahlhuth is an absolute delight, bringing Christmas cheer to the audience as she switches from one characterization to the other - 25 in all!" - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette   "Stahlhuth is renowned for her ability to bring characters to vivid life." - Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave

East Lynne Theater 2006

  • TWO-HEADED (New Jersey Premiere), written by Julie Jensen, begins in Utah on Sept. 11, 1857, when over 100 California-bound immigrants were killed in what would become known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. With high jinks and humor, in horror and outrage, Hettie and Lavinia's friendship survives the secrets of the massacre and the strain of plural marriage. Winner of 3 L.A. Weekly awards. Co-production with The Women's Theater Company.  "MOST OUTSTANDING FEMALE ACTING PERFORMANCE: 2006 JACOBY AWARD ( Karen Case Cook)... Cook brought paths and some humor to the demanding showcase role." - Jacob Schaad, Cape May Gazette    "MOST ACTING RANGE AWARD 2006: Karen Case Cook and Gayle Stahlhuth for playing frontier women who go from childhood to AARP status." - Bill Westhoven, The Daily Record (Morris County, NJ)   "Jensen's thought provoking play is receiving a spirited production. Stahlhuth as Hettie and Cook as Lavinia, are exemplary." - Newark Star-Ledger

  • THE LEACH DIARIES 1875 (World Premiere) is a continuation of a young man's musings on Life, Love, Politics, Cape May vs. Philadelphia, and the social necessity of Learning to Dance, adapted from the diaries of Victorian Frank Leach. For four years, East Lynne has performed various sections from these diaries, and published a book in 2005 titled The Leach Diaries: The First Four Years (1870-1874). With 'diaries' in hand, three actors bring Frank and his friends to life.

  • CIVIL WAR SPY: Elizabeth Van Lew (New Jersey Premiere), written and performed by Annette M. Baldwin. When the Civil War broke out, Richmond, VA born and bred Elizabeth Van Lew remained in the Confederate capital, so she could retrieve valuable information for the North. On her grave stone is written: "She risked everything that is dear to man, friends, fortune, comfort, health, life itself, all for one absorbing desire of the heart, that slavery might be abolished and the Union preserved."  Ms. Baldwin has performed extensively in the Chicago area where she lives, and throughout the country, to critical acclaim.

  • PAUL ROBESON THROUGH HIS WORDS AND MUSIC, written by Gayle Stahlhuth and performed by Derrick McQueen, is an interweaving of two dozen songs that were sung by Robeson.Past performance venues include Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick and the Wildwood Convention Center for an NAACP Fundraiser.  "Derrick McQueen?s voice is phenomenal . . .  the text emphasized what a multi-talented Renaissance man Robeson was." - Cape May Star & Wave

  • RAIN, based on Somerset Maugham's story "Sadie Thompson," adapted by John Colton and Clemence Randolph. When free-spirited Sadie appears at Horn's General Store on the South Seas?island of Pago-Pago, she excites the interest of the Marines and the animosity of a missionary. So popular was this 2005 production, directed by Emmy Award-nominated Bruce M. Minnix with a cast of ten, that ELTC is proud to bring it back. "RAIN is an excellent production!" - Cape May Star & Wave

  • WHY MARRY?  Written by Jesse Lynch Williams, this was the first play ever to win a Pulitzer Prize.

  • SHERLOCK HOLMES: Adventure of the Copper Beeches, adapted from the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Gayle Stahlhuth. Step back in time, as East Lynne presents this tale in the style of a vintage radio broadcast, complete with live sound effects and commercials for G. Washington Coffee, the first sponsor of the Sherlock Holmes radio series on NBC that premiered on October 20, 1930. It's the story of a governess, who, after encountering strange happenings at the Rucastle household, calls upon Holmes and Watson.

  • DICK SPINDLER'S FAMILY CHRISTMAS.   The townsfolk of Rough and Ready were surprised that Dick Spindler was going to host a big family Christmas party. He had the funds, having made a handsome strike on his claim, but no one knew he had a family. A comic reading of Bret Harte's humorous Western Christmas tale, complete with his usual cast of rustic, but endearing characters.

East Lynne Theater 2005

  • ANNA CHRISTIE, by Eugene O'Neill, brought back by popular demand. "Katherine Puma's Anna is riveting. Kevin Mahoney has the raw animal magnetism that makes him convincing as her lover." - Cape May Star and Wave

  • THE LEACH DIARIES: The First Four Years.  A young man's musings on Life, Love, Politics, Cape May vs. Philadelphia, and the social necessity of Learning to Dance! Adapted from the diaries of Victorian Frank Leach, this event is presented with "diaries" in hand by a talented cast of three creating many roles, and celebrates the publication of this two-act play adaptation.

  • HARRY RESER AND THE BANJO (New Jersey Premiere), written and performed by St. Louis banjo player/musician Michael M. Mason, who first appeared with this show on The Heartland Chautauqua circuit. Harry Reser was a famous musician, composer, bandleader, radio producer, and banjo virtuoso during the 1920s and 30s. A Chautaqua-style Q&A after every performance!   "A most enjoyable performer." - Cape May Star and Wave

  • FOUR BY FOUR, an evening of comic one-acts from 1847-1913: "Bianca" by Louisa May Alcott, "The Smoking Car" by William Dean Howells, "The Painful Predicament of Sherlock Holmes" by William Gillette, and "The Passing of Chow-Chow" by Elmer Rice. Join in the fun of seeing two women portray many roles in an Alcott play that she performed with her sister; see what happens when a baby is given to a stranger on a train; enjoy Gillette's spoof of Sherlock Holmes; and see how a dog can cause a marital problem.    "FOUR BY FOUR is as pleasant as the breeze that comes off the nearby Atlantic... with four talented performers on hand to enact the quartet" - The Newark Star-Ledger

  • RAIN, by John Colton and Clemence Randolph, based on W. Somerset Maugham's story "Sadie Thompson."  First produced on Broadway in 1922, it was so popular that four movies have been based on this sensational play about a missionary who confronts a woman with a past at the port of Pago Pago.

  • SHERLOCK HOLMES: Adventure of the Copper Beeches in the style of a 1930s radio broadcast, complete with sound effects. Another "Sherlock Holmes Weekend!

  • THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS, L. Frank Baum's classic, presented as a staged reading. In 1902, two years after his Wizard of Oz, Baum chronicled the story of Santa Claus, explaining everything from Claus' early years to how he became immortal. A holiday treat for the family!

East Lynne Theater 2004

  • JEALOUSY by Eugene Walter, a sensational play, first produced on Broadway in 1927-'28, when there were 268 Broadway attractions. This mystery not only held its own with Dracula and Show Boat in nearby theaters, but has also had its share of Broadway revivals. It's the tale of two Parisian newlyweds. He's a struggling artist and she will do anything to help him. Will he kill for her, or will she kill for him?

  • THE LONG ROAD TO VICTORY (New Jersey Premiere), written and performed by Annette M. Baldwin, is based on the struggles and triumphs of Suffragettes Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, and Carrie Chapman Catt. This is a fitting tribute during an Election Year to honor those who fought for Women's right to vote. The play takes these extraordinary women from persecution and imprisonment, to the convention in Atlantic City in 1916 where Ms. Catt unveiled her "winning plan" that was largely responsible for the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

  • TALES BY TWAIN, adapted by Gayle Stahlhuth, based on the writings of Mark Twain, this play with music returns due to last year's successful, but short run. This production, featuring a talented cast of four, includes such well-known works as Tom Sawyer and "The Diaries of Adam and Eve," and lesser- knows works like "Is He Living or is He Dead?" Songs include "Sweet Betsy from Pike" and "Buffalo Gals."

  • ANNA CHRISTIE by Eugene O'Neill, the second of his Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, was first produced on Broadway in 1921. It tells the story of an embittered woman who, in 1910, leaves the Midwest where she has been raised, to join her father who is the captain of a barge along the Northeastern shore. When a sailor falls in love with her, Anna is forced to reveal her past to him and her father. Anna Christie had its first out-of-town tryout in Atlantic City under the title Chris Christopherson. In 1930, the play was made into Greta Garbo's first talking picture. Her first words: "Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side. And don't be stingy, baby."

  • SHERLOCK HOLMES by William Gillette, based on the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, performed as a staged reading with live piano accompaniment. Since 2002, this event was part of "Sherlock Holmes' Weekends." The versatile cast of nine portray sixteen characters including Holmes, Watson, Moriarty, the evil Mr. and Mrs. Larrabee, and the fair Alice Faulkner.

CAPE MAY SEASON 2003

  • THE AWAKENING, based on Kate Chopin's 1899 novel about a woman who awakens to her life.

  • THE NEW YORK IDEA, written by Langdon Mitchell in 1906, was the first comedy to deal with divorce.

  • THE VOICE OF THE CITY, written by East Lynne's founder, Warren Kliewer, is based on O. Henry.

  • TALES BY TWAIN  (World Premiere play with music), adapted by Gayle Stahlhuth from the writings of Mark Twain.

  • Fostering Communities Through Dance with The Martha Graham Ensemble, with dancers from the Graham Company

 
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