logoIn the Wings
The Newsletter of The Concord Players
July 2016                                          Robert Runck, Editor
for Around the World in 80 Days. By appointment: Tuesday, July 26, and Thursday, July 28, starting at 8:00. Callbacks: Sunday, July 31, at 2:00. Actors should come prepared with a BRIEF (1 minute-ish) comedic monolog or alternative solo performance (clowning act, stand up, acrobatic, etc.). At the audition, they will be also be given a cold reading or improv exercise. Auditions will be in groups. Looking for an ensemble of 5-6 actors (2-3 women and 3-4 men) of contrasting ages and types who will portray an astounding array of characters. We are especially interested in individuals with improv, physical theater, or dialect skills/experience.The director's primary focus will be on pulling together a diverse, dynamic and delightful ensemble. A SIGNUP link will be posted on our website concordplayers.org

Joan Wood passed away at age 92 on June 23. Joan acted in many productions, from school plays through a television stint in Toledo, Ohio, to community theatre. She played Vita in Harvey at the Wellesley Players and Olivia in the Lincoln Players' Night Must Fall. She performed in or was otherwise involved with 17 productions of the Players, from 1958 to 1992. Her Concord Players' roles include Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Josephine in The Madwoman of Chaillot, and she appeared in three productions of Little Women: Aunt March in 1962, Marmee in 1972 and Aunt March again in 1992. Gifts in her name may be made to The Concord Players, 51 Walden St., Concord. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit concord funeral home

It's time to renew your yearly membership.  Corinne Kinsman will be sending out a renewal  letter in the next couple of weeks, so watch for it in your mailbox!


Irving Berlin, born Israel Isidore Baline in 1888 Russia, knew all about the value of freedom. At the age of five, in his native Siberia, he shivered by the side of the road, watching his house burn down in a pogrom. His family survived, and escaped to the safety of New York's lower east side-no pogroms, but not much opportunity for a decent living either. His father did his best as a kosher butcher and synagogue cantor, but after his death in 1896 the young Berlin took to the streets of his new home to help support his family by singing on the sidewalks and in local restaurants for loose change. He embraced the democratic principles of his adopted country and was soon to embody the American dream.
    As one of the country's most beloved and prolific songwriters, Berlin wrote more than 900 songs, 19 musicals and the scores of 18 movies. His tender ballads, Always and What'll I Do written for his first wife, who died just one year after their marriage, are among the most esteemed compositions in the American musical canon. "I'll be loving you, always," he wrote to his cherished bride. "When I am left with only dreams of you, that won't come true, what'll I do"? 
    This capacity to love and remain steadfast extended beyond romantic love for Berlin. Grateful for the opportunities his new country gave him, he joined the army during WWI, and eventually wrote the country's most popular and well-known anthem, God Bless America.
Released in 1938 as "an anthem for peace," it has been revived over the decades during national crises, and despite his intentions is often a rallying cry for conflict. Berlin wrote the song 20 years before its release, but deeming it at the time "a little too sticky," he stored it in a trunk.
Craig Howard, chair of the Play and Director Selection Committee (PDSC), is pleased to welcome back ongoing committee members Laura Gouillart and Jay Newlon! In looking forward to beginning our work on another season, we are also very happy to have Carly Evans (The Scarlet Pimpernel, She Loves Me, Cinderella, Honk!, and Into The Woods), Tom Sullivan (Amadeus and 1776) and Jenn Bubriski (Follies, Les Mis, and Honk!) join our committee! Here's to another productive, challenging and fun year of planning for our 2017-2018 season! 

July 13, at 7:30 p.m. "American Songbook Concert," presented by the Savoyard Light Opera Company. Free admission, donations accepted.
July 27, at 7:30 p.m. "Spacious Vision Song Project." Critically acclaimed singers Barbara Kilduff (soprano) and Gerald Seminatore (tenor) will join their voices for "Tears of Gold," a recital of Spanish, French and English songs and duets. Brian Moll will partner with them at the piano. $15 for adults, $10 seniors and students. 
The Sounds of Summer 2016. After its traditional Fourth of July performance at Picnic in the Park at Emerson Field in Concord, The Concord Band will take its talents to the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard for its popular summer series. The concerts will be held on Thursdays, July 7, 14, 21 and 28 at 7:15 p.m. Themes for the concerts are an American Salute, Wonderfully Warm, Broadway's Best, and A Summer Retrospective. So pack a picnic, grab a blanket (and bug spray) and head out to Harvard for a memorable summer evening. The concert is free but there is a parking fee of $15 for a car ($10 for Fruitlands members). In the event of rain, call 978-897-9969 for status.
The song made its debut on November 11, 1938, when Kate Smith sang it on the radio. It was the 20th anniversary of Armistice Day, ending World War I, and a day after the murderous Kristallnacht when Nazi thugs burned down stores and synagogues in Germany and Austria, smashing windows and beating Jews in plain sight of local police and ordinary citizens.
Though the song was 20 years old, in the minds of Americans on the eve of WWII, it became a counterpoint to the strident militarism of the Nazi regime. 
    No doubt the marriage of God and patriotism appealed to the sensibilities of a primarily Christian America at the time, but Berlin intended no religiosity in the song. He was an avowed agnostic, according to his biographer Laurence Bergree. "Patriotism was Irving Berlin's true religion," wrote Bergree. "He quickly shed his religious roots and fell in love with America." 
    Berlin's stint in the army, his donation of proceeds from some of his songs to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, to services for the armed forces, and the many patriotic songs he wrote throughout his life attest to that patriotism. He even considered the title "Thanks America," for one of his tunes.
    Berlin knew better than most that life could be unkind: the pogroms, the early death of his first wife, the fortune he lost (but later rebuilt) in the Depression: none of them dampened his spirit. His songs could be funny, lighthearted, irreverent and always entertaining. "Let me sing a funny song, with crazy words that roll along, and if my song can start you laughing I'm happy, happy..."
    So, at the time of another celebration of American Independence, we salute a patriot whose life and work are etched in our cultural identity.
Thank you Mr. Berlin, we'll be loving you ... and your songs ... always. 
-Linda McConchie