ELEANOR, AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY (Thru Feb. 23)

“Eleanor’s” courage and compassion are as relevant today as they were in the 1920s.
Eleanor Roosevelt, one of America’s most courageous First Ladies, will be the Leading Lady on stage when The Media Theatre presents “Eleanor – An American Love Story.”
Artistic Director Jesse Cline takes an artistic turn from the traditional musical to this history-based musical that is a potent profile in courage and human compassion.
“Eleanor – An American Love Story” opens Jan. 29, 2020, and runs through Feb. 23. During today’s tumultuous political landscape, “Eleanor” is an ideal show for students, historical
societies, women’s groups, senior living communities and book clubs. Group discounts are offered for all of these groups.
While not many people have heard of this musical, “Eleanor” has been a favorite at regional theatres since the first production was staged in 1987 in Seattle, WA.
The musical is based on the early lives of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, from their passionate courtship, through their complicated marriage with a domineering mother-in-law, to Eleanor’s emerging role as a catalyst for social change in America.
Music is by Thomas Tierney, lyrics by John Forster and the book by Jonathon Bolt.

In Media, Eleanor is played by Maxwell Porterfield, previously seen in Media as Julie Jordan in “Carousel;” and Franklin is played by Patrick Ludt, who has starred in several Media Theatre productions including “Jekyll and Hyde” and “Spamalot.”
The role of Louis Howe, Eleanor’s political mentor, is played by Media Theatre’s Roger Ricker and Sara Roosevelt is played by actress Susan Wefel of Rose Valley.

Yes, this is a musical and the jazzy, ragtime-style songs chronicle Eleanor’s journey from a shy, insecure aristocrat to a strong First Lady. While riding a train, Eleanor is engrossed in a book that describes New York’s slums, and the song “How the Other Half Lives” conveys her concerns. When Eleanor’s uncle, President Teddy Roosevelt, gives the bride away, the song “United” is performed. After Franklin is diagnosed with polio, and Eleanor challenges him to return to politics, there is a reprise of the uplifting song “If We Go On.”
Like any personal drama, “Eleanor” touches on marital issues, the pressure of being an elected leader’s wife, raising five children, in-law contention, women’s rights, along with the broader scope of being a catalyst for social change.
The play opens in 1902 when 18-year-old Eleanor returns home from a progressive boarding school in England, dreading the expected rituals required of debutantes. By the curtain,
Eleanor is making her own speeches.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s views are as relevant today as they were in the 1920s. For young women in Delaware County, she exemplifies courage. Orphaned at the age of 10, withdrawn and shy, she overcomes many obstacles to emerge as a crusader for human rights.
“This play will surely resonate with young women who are finding their voice, and realizing their passion,” said Cline. “It may even inspire some to be engaged citizens in their own
communities or local governments.”

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