Remember Summer Stock? That wonderful training ground, the best training ground for actors and artisans that allowed you to hone your craft over a period of twelve weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day – performing up to ten shows both musical and straight in that short period of time?
A time that once you had experienced you would never ever forget? Where every moment was shared with a resident company of fellow thespians living and breathing theatre 24 hours a day? And then some?
Theatrical producer Mitchell Maxwell (Damn Yankees, Dinner with Friends and Stomp!) obviously has remembered it well. In his refreshing new novel “Little Did I Know” Mr. Maxwell has created Sam August – a brash young man straight out of college, with the highest ideals inherited from his hero Frank Capra and a love for theatre matched only by that of the Red Sox and pretty young women.
Passionate, arrogant and driven with a force equal to that of a tornado Sam August takes us on a delightful journey where he must overcome many obstacles which he does in the most romantic of ways filled always with “courage, tenacity and an innate refusal to fail.”
Answering an ad in Variety he sets out in his ’69 Mustang for Plymouth Massachusetts to rent a long vacant, historic, dilapidated barn – The Priscilla Beach Theater on (spoiler alert) Rocky Hill Road with the dream of revitalizing it with his productions of Cabaret, Funny Girl, Anything Goes, Company and The Fantasticks during the summer of ’76 along with his cadre of dedicated school chums.
But to succeed Sam must first face stiff opposition from the theatre’s elderly and stoic owner Dr. Anderson Barrows – powerful and rich (very old money) and his much younger wife Lizzy (oozing with the scent of lilacs) and discover the hidden secrets of his new girl friend Veronica Chapman (Miss fresh picked strawberries) – It’s Peyton Place meets Glee!
Boners, booze, boobies and Joe DiMaggio make this a summer to remember. Little did I know that when reading “Little Did I Know” that I would so fondly recall my Summer Stock experience at Canal Fulton, Ohio – 1968.
But you needn’t be an aficionado of theatre to love this novel. The dialogue is fresh and sparkles with wit. This coming of age story might just bring on a few tears if you are a helpless romantic and fan of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Just read the first chapter and you’ll be hooked.
Published by Prospecta Press on October 5th, 2011 www.mitchellmaxwell.com
Click here for FIRST PAGES www.cromarty.com
NOTE: While reading the book I thought of who might make the ideal Sam August and three names came to mind: Josh Grisetti, Noah Robbins and Adam-Chanler-Berat. And then I heard from another actor and eureka! His name is Erik Liberman.
Read “Little Did I Know” and let me know who you think should portray Sam August when and if it reaches the stage or the screen.
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