Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hauntings at The Mount

Hauntings at The Mount
Updated: 10/31/2008 04:58 PM
By: Ryan Burgess

LENOX, Mass. -- "I've been alone in the building, very late at night, dark and it is extremely creepy," said The Mount tour guide Laurie Foote.

Slamming doors and creaky floors, they're the spooky sounds of a haunted jaunt with ghosts who want to scare you. This is a real-life mansion in Lenox that some say has been haunted for years. It's the storied home of novelist Edith Wharton, called The Mount, a place where workers who lived on the fourth floor never wanted to be alone.

"They lived up in these rooms and downstairs and they were all absolutely convinced that there were ghosts here because they would hear huge creeks and slamming doors and people walking down the hallway," said Foote. [read more at the link above]

Glimpses of the Moon Musical

From Photo Flash:

GLIMPSES OF THE MOON, a Jazz Age musical with book & lyrics by Tajlei Levis and music by John Mercurio, choreographed by Denis Jones, and directed by Marc Bruni, premiered with a sold-out run in the Oak Room last winter. GLIMPSES OF THE MOON is back by popular demand for an ongoing run at Off-Broadway's Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel (59 West 44th Street, between 5th and 6th Ave.). Performances began Sunday, October 26.

GLIMPSES OF THE MOON is based on one of Edith Wharton's rare comedies. Set in 1922, an age of anything but innocence, GLIMPSES OF THE MOON follows the jazzy whirl of Manhattan society. With plenty of friends, but little money, Susy Branch and her friend Nick Lansing devise a clever scheme to live beyond their means. They'll marry and live off the wedding gifts, while they help one another trade up to suitable millionaires. The plan works perfectly - until they fall in love.

GLIMPSES OF THE MOON stars Autumn Hurlbert (Legally Blonde) as Susy, and Chris Peluso (Mamma Mia and Lestat) as Nick, also starring is Jane Blass (Hairspray Nat'l Tour) as Ellie, Laura Jordan (Cry Baby and In My Life) as Coral, Daren Kelly (Crazy for You, Woman of the Year, Deathtrap, South Pacific) as Nelson and Glenn Peters as Streffy. The understudies are Russell Arden Koplin (Les Miserables and James Joyce's The Dead) and Matt Lutz.

GLIMPSES OF THE MOON plays every Monday at 8 pm. Doors open at 6:00 PM and seating is general admission. Final seating for dinner service is at 6:30 PM. Doors close at 7:30 PM and there is no late seating permitted.

Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman design nurseries

From The Wall Street Journal:

This impulse isn't new or entirely bad. In "The Decoration of Houses" (1897), Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman devote a chapter to the design of the nursery and schoolroom. In a bossy but effective tone, Wharton laments the "superfluous gimcrack" and floods of "bric-a-brac" that dominated children's rooms in her day. "The daily intercourse with poor pictures, trashy 'ornaments,' and badly designed furniture may, indeed, be fittingly compared with a mental diet of silly and ungrammatical story books." She singles out for special opprobrium the "bead-work cushions" and "mildewed Landseer prints of foaming, dying animals" that dotted the nation's nurseries. Wharton refuses to pander to childish tastes: She suggests Bronzino's portraits of the Medici babies and a few reproductions of Italian frescoes for a child's walls, for example, all meant to surround children with objects of quality.

As Wharton well understood, the home is where children are socialized and where their taste is first cultivated -- or corrupted.

Glimpses of the Moon

From Huffington Post:

One of the more rueful lines in Glimpses of the Moon, a Jazz Age musical, is the carefree exchange between two women. The young, romance-seeking blonde asks: "Don't you believe in love?" Her more jaded friend snaps back: "I believe in Lehman Bros." In 1922, when Edith Wharton wrote those lines, everyone laughed. Today, they are met with a knowing sigh. Apparently, love is a safer bet.

At least, if you follow the Twenties romp now playing at the Algonquin's Oak Room.

Though the sight lines are a bit compromised, the musical was written specifically for the intimate room, long a cabaret favorite. Playing every Monday at 8 p.m. at the famed hotel, Glimpses of the Moon is a frothy concoction with a tart twist. The show is based on a Wharton book, an author known more for cutting social commentary than comedy. But there are lots of witty lines here, and the production nicely captures an era when the rich lived in a madcap whirl of money, affairs, endless champagne and a casual disregard for anything except their own fun.

Dance play of House of Mirth
Waltham: Choreographer Susan Dibble transforms a great work of literature into a dance play in her adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1905 novel "The House of Mirth." Titled "Tea and Flowers, Purity and Grace," the piece features 24 dances with a narrator (played by professional actor Nigel Gore). Shows Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday and next Sunday at 2 p.m. in Brandeis University's Spingold Theater, 415 South St. $18-$20. 781-736-3400.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saving The Mount

Saving The Mount
By Clarence Fanto, Special to The Eagle
Article Launched: 11/09/2008 01:00:00 AM EST

Sunday, November 09

She may turn out to be the savior of The Mount, the former home of novelist Edith Wharton that has been threatened with foreclosure since last winter over $9 million in debts.

Susan Wissler is seeking a solid financial footing by expanding the mission of Edith Wharton Restoration Inc., which owns the estate built in 1902. Wharton lived there until 1911.

That includes creating a new "Wharton Center for the Written Word," that will offer literary conferences, workshops and movies to the public, opening a terrace "cafe" to the public evenings in summer, and keeping the house open for tours on weekends through December.

Wissler was named interim executive director on March 29, after longtime chief Stephanie Copeland declined a Board of Trustees offer of a lesser position. In August, "interim" was removed from Wissler's title.

Although a six-month lifeline floated by The Mount's creditors, led by Berkshire Bank, expired on Oct. 31, "the threat of foreclosure has been forestalled as a result of the steady progress we've made this summer," Wissler said this past week. "Our banks and creditors have concluded that it makes the most sense to give us additional time to work out long-term restructuring plans.

Read the rest of the article at the Berkshire Eagle