Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Making History

Tonight (10/10/08), my daughter had the tremendous privilege of participating in an historical first: the premier of an opera at the Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton, Connecticut. Built in 1908, the facility originally served as a recreation hall for employees of the Comstock-Cheney factory. By 1930, the building had become a theater, opening operations with a Broadway play called “Broken Dishes.”
The theater gained in prestige to the point that invitations to work there were highly prized in the theater profession. Its reputation grew nationally and Paramount Pictures produced a short film showing its complete operation.

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Ivoryton’s fame as one of Americas leading summer showplaces continued to grow until the outbreak of World War II when the theater went dark for several seasons, mainly because severe tire and gasoline rationing made it virtually impossible for audiences to get to Ivoryton.
The Playhouse reopened after the war, hosting an array of well-known stars that included the likes of Marlon Brando, Art Carney, Talullah Bankhead, Helen Hayes, Betty Grable, Groucho Marx, June Lockhart, Gloria Vanderbilt, Kitty Carlisle, Don Ameche, John Forsythe, June Allison, Alan Alda, and Treat Williams (just to name a few). It continued to operate successfully until the late 1970’s when the owner, Ken Krezel, decided to sell the property.
It was then, amid rumors that the historic theater might be torn down to make way for a discount drug store that the non-profit Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation was organized and with the help of The Essex Savings Bank, came up with a mortgage to buy the property…for $115,000.

Over the course of the past 28 years, the Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation has completed a total renovation of the building, including new shingles, a new heating and air-conditioning system, new seats and state-of-the-art theatrical sound and lighting systems. The Playhouse has maintained its reputation as a first-class summer theatre and now produces a year-round professional season of musicals, comedies and dramas. well as opera; kudos to The Salt Marsh Opera Company for adding such a distinction to an already important historical venue for the arts in America. Congratulations on a job well done!

All quotes in this article are from the website of the Ivoryton Playhouse.

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