Hooray for Sean Martin of High School Musicals -- the Origins who has two posts about this musical comedy. (It couldn't have been anything but comedy with those costumes, could it?!) In the first post, In Old Vienna, or Pickles, Sean explains the plot lines:
-- a businessman from the US, accompanied by his daughter, has come to Vienna to take a holidayIt all sounds crazy, confusing -- and fun. Can't you imagine these high school students of 1936, still in the middle of the Great Depression, enjoying themselves?
-- his "advertising expert" has also come along and makes it his mission to convert the entire city to "pickle mania"
-- an English widow has come to Vienna to search for her long-lost daughter
-- a corrupt Viennese policeman tried to engineer a "fake daughter" in the form of his own fiancee, thus assuring that, if his plan succeeds, he gets to cash in as well on the widow's fortune
-- a gypsy girl revolts from the domineering control of her father
-- and an impoverished American artist, ten years too early for the mania of going to Paris to be an impoverished artist, seeks recognition (not to mention monetary support) for his talent.
You may be wondering what this photo has to do with my family history. When I first looked at it I wasn't sure who I was looking for or if I'd recognize the person. It was my mother's sister, Geraldine Mae Meinzen - Aunt Jeree, to me - whose face I saw. She was a junior in high school at the time. After enlarging the photo, her face, even with stage make-up, couldn't be missed. A second look through the faces gave me another of my mother's sisters, on the far right, who was probably a freshman that year.
At the top of this post are the left and right sides of the photograph. At left is the center section and below is the complete photo. The last shows a beautiful view of the Mineral Ridge School Auditorium but it's so busy the actors almost disappear into the background.
Carrie Shaffer and Donald Barbe were the directors and the photo was taken by Gareg of Warren, Ohio.
Sean wrote another interesting post, I received a new one a week ago..., in which he discusses some of the challenges of high school play production in the 1920s and '30s. Today's directors and actors can easily go to youtube or find a video of a play to see how others interpreted and performed the roles, but 80 years ago each director had to decide how the actors should play the scenes. There was no "central repository of production information that could clue the director or his cast or his musicians or his design team. Sure, every script had a 'stage manager's manual' that would walk you through the scenic requirements and the dance steps, but you wouldn't know what it all looked and sounded like until it came together.... You didn't know what the original looked like, because there was no 'original'."
I'm sure it would have been fun to see this production's interpretation of "In Old Vienna." Impossible for us now, of course, but at least we have a great photograph.
The laughter's over and curtain's come down on this scene. For more entertainment visit Sepia Saturday where you can find other posts focusing on old photographs.
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