Entertainment » Theatre

Boston History in Song :: ’None But The Best’

EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday October 20, 2013

In Good Company, formerly members of the Revels Repertory Company, offers the premiere of "None But The Best," a musical play about Boston newspaper publisher Daniel Sharp Ford, for whom the Ford Hall Forum was named. Performances take place on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 3 at 4:00 p.m. at Lorimer Hall at historic Tremont Temple (88 Tremont St, Boston, Massachusetts). Tickets may be purchased in advance online at www.ingoodcompanytheater.org or at the door on the day of the performance.

With a mission of presenting music theatre inspired by New England history, In Good Company asked Patrick Gabridge to craft a work that sheds light on Ford, who was the ground-breaking publisher of the Youth's Companion, a family newspaper that guided the nation during turbulent times after the Civil War.

In Good Company Music Director Kay Dunlap provides musical direction, and Jeffrey Mosser is stage director. The play was commissioned by The Boston Baptist Social Union in celebration of its 150th anniversary.

Written by award-winning Boston playwright, Patrick Gabridge, the play takes place in Boston following the Civil War, a period of great turmoil from reconstruction and industrialization to labor struggles and woman's suffrage. The story is brought to life by samples of stories, poems and ads from the Companion, a family newspaper with a nationwide circulation of 500,000 that featured articles by poets and presidents, and about science and travel, and patriotism.

Ford's story is told by three main characters. Looming large is his daughter, Ella Ford Hartshorn, who assisted in Ford with charitable activities in the neighborhoods of Boston and with his work at the Companion. James Upham of Medford, editor of the premiums department at the paper, and C.A. Stephens, a staff writer from Maine, play vital roles.

During the play, the three provide a young New York Times reporter with background information for an article about Ford after his death. Period music by New England composers and popular songs from the day will be sung by the cast and chorus.

Son of a wallpaper manufacturer, Daniel Sharp Ford was born in Cambridge in 1822. Ford pursued a career in publishing and in 1857 -- along with J.W. Olmstead -- purchased The Youth's Companion, which became the most widely read publication of its day.

Ford quietly used his wealth to help thousands of disadvantaged Bostonians through missions programs of the Ruggles Baptist Church, and through his support for New England Baptist Hospital. After his death, the Boston Baptist Social Union that Ford founded used part of his bequest to start the Ford Hall Forum.

Founded in September 2012, In Good Company is made up of members of the former Revels Repertory Company. In Good Company [IGC] creates music theater productions that bring important stories from New England history to life.

Local playwrights are engaged to create works for audiences of all ages. Stories, crafted after conducting extensive research, are designed to provide a bridge from the past to the interests and concerns of modern audiences.

The auditioned volunteer ensemble of adults, teens, and children presents public performances throughout New England and school programs in the Greater Boston area. Period music by New England composers and traditional music and dance are selected to support the story.

"None But the Best" by Patrick Gabridge
Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 3 at 4:00 p.m.
Lorimer Hall at Tremont Temple
88 Tremont St, Boston, Massachusetts
Information and Tickets at www.ingoodcompanytheater.org

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