GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY AND AURELIA NELSON SAVE THE DAY FOR MARBLEHEAD THEATRE!

Marblehead ‘Mockingbird’ production makes a comeback in Gloucester

By Mary Reines

Wicked Local Marblehead

Following lawsuit threat, Mugford Street Players relocate their production of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

It seemed as if the Mugford Street Players would have to completely abandon their production of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which was set to open at Marblehead Little Theatre on March 1, after receiving a cease and desist letter from Atticus Limited Liability Company last Wednesday.

“We took a big body blow last week when we were told we couldn’t go forward,” said Mugford Street Players producer Greg Mancusi-Ungaro.

In the letter, lawyers at Loeb & Loeb detailed a decades-old copyright agreement between the Harper Lee estate and play distributor Dramatic Publishing Company (DPC), which prohibited the production of “amateur performances” of the show within 25 miles of a major city during the “New York run” or “first class touring production” of the play.

The attorneys for Atticus asserted that these restrictions were being violated due to the current run of a new play adaptation of “To Kill A Mockingbird” written by Aaron Sorkin, which opened in New York in December 2018. The Players had been rehearsing an earlier play adaptation of the book, written by Christopher Sergel.

After the initial outrage and despair, the Players sent an email blast with their request for a theater more than 25 miles away from Boston that would be willing to host their production. According to Mancusi-Ungaro, Radio Host Aurelia Nelson, of North Shore 104.9 FM, spread the word and reached Chris Griffith, the interim manager at Gloucester Stage Company, who came forward and offered the space.

“John [Fogle, director] and I went and met him,” said Mancusi-Ungaro. “He’s been incredibly accommodating.”

Mancusi-Ungaro also discussed the relocation with lawyers representing the Sorkin play in New York, as well as the lawyers in Alabama representing the Lee estate, and was able to get the green light. He re-applied for a show license with DPC and was successful.

“It’s really been quite a process,” he said.

According to Griffith, Gloucester Stage Company is about 35 miles away from Boston, which is in accordance with the copyright agreement. He said he believes this is the first time that Gloucester Stage Company has come to the rescue like this.

“I think this is the first time that a situation like this has happened with a community theater production being caught between the Broadway production and the licensing company,” he said.

The Players’ near-cancellation has received national attention, as the theater company is among many others across the nation and the world that have been thwarted by this lawsuit threat, according to articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Mancusi-Ungaro thinks that the Mugford Street Players have been the only theater troupe to relocate its production, rather than cancel it altogether.

“A lot of companies have closed their shows,” he said. “I believe we’re the only company that adopted the strategy of taking our show outside the limit.”

The Mugford Street Players’ production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” will be playing at the Gloucester Stage Company on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from March 29 through April 14. Tickets are $15 for students, $25 for seniors and $35 general admission, available at http://gloucesterstage.com or the Arnould Gallery in Marblehead.

Read More Here

WINDY DAY IN GLOUCESTER BLOWS A THICK-BILLED MURRE TO SHORE!

Michelle Barton and Chris Anderson shepherded this little seabird back to the water after it was seen blown into a telephone pole and onto the ground. Many thanks to Chris and Michelle for taking care of the Arctic voyager and for sharing their photos..

Just like the Razorbill spotted earlier in the month, Thick-billed Murres are members of the Auk family. They are deep sea divers and seen off the coast of New England during the winter months. Thick-billed Murres are occasionally blown onto shore during intense storms.

I read that Thick-billed Murres have very pointy eggs and wanted to see what one looked like. Don’t you think they are beautiful? I love the shape, and patterns. Image courtesy Audubon.

THAT HECTOR REALLY GETS AROUND!

Cape Ann’s visiting Black Vulture Hector was recently spotted in Gloucester. He is enjoying reader Nancy’s food treats and her geese 🙂

SAVE THE DATE! Piping Plover Ecology, Management, and Conservation

Sponsored by the City of Gloucester Animal Advisory Committee

Nine Piping Plover Fledglings, Coffins Beach, Gloucester

On Saturday March 30, 2019 Dr. Katharine Parsons, Director, Coastal Waterbird Program for Mass Audubon will be giving a presentation on Piping Plovers. The talk will be held at the Library, downstairs in the Friend room.

Dr. Katharine Parsons received her Bachelor’s degree from Smith College and Ph.D. in Ecology from Rutgers University. She has 35 years of experience in coastal waterbird research, management and policy in the northeast. Since 2011, Dr. Parsons has directed Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program which works with coastal communities throughout Massachusetts to protect rare birds and their habitats. In addition, she has taught courses in coastal ecology and natural systems at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design since 2008. Her presentation at the Gloucester Public Library will cover Piping Plover ecology, management and conservation.

Gloucester’s Coffins Beach fledglings

RARELY SEEN ON CAPE ANN – A BLACK VULTURE!

Over the winter, a Black Vulture has been calling Cape Ann home. My friend Lois first alerted me to this back in December where he has been seen quite often in Rockport. I have been trying to capture some footage of him/her but only ever saw him soaring high above. The Black Vulture in flight is stunning and you can recognize the bird by its distinctive white wing tips.

As luck would have it, East Gloucester resident Larry shared a photo recently and his friend Frank generously allowed me to stop by and take some photos and footage!

White wing tips of the Black Vulture

Being found mostly in South America, Central America, and the southern US, the Black Vulture’s range does not historically include Cape Ann (nor anywhere in Massachusetts). The bird’s range has been expanding northward since the early decades of the previous century and it is safe to say there may even be a few pairs breeding in the furthest most western regions of Massachusetts!

Black Vultures feed primarily on carrion. They fly high above on thermal winds looking for dead creatures, and also follow Turkey Vultures, which reportedly have a better sense of smell and can more easily locate carcasses. Black Vultures also kill skunks, possums, Night Herons, turtle hatchlings, chickens, young livestock, and sickly small pets. And, too, they pick through dumps and dumpsters, and even wade into water for small fish and floating carrion. It’s no wonder their range is expanding!

The Black Vulture visiting Frank’s yard appeared to be communicating with Frank. Black Vultures lack a voice box; instead of singing, one of the sounds they make is a low ruff sort of bark. Frank can imitate the bark perfectly, and the bird barks back!

Black Vulture Historic Status in Massachusetts, from Mass Audubon:

The first Black Vulture identified in Massachusetts was shot in Swampscott in November of 1850. The second appeared in Gloucester on September 28, 1863, where it, too, was killed (Howe & Allen 1901). Throughout the next century, the bird was considered an accidental straggler in Massachusetts; and, by the middle of the nineteenth century, the species was on the move from its deep Southern roots, breeding in southern Maryland for the first time in 1922 (Court 1924) and in Pennsylvania by 1952 (Brauning 1992).

If you see Cape Ann’s Black Vulture hanging around your property, please let me know at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. Thank you so much!

Comparing Black Vulture to Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture Range Map

Gloucester Meetinghouse


1)  On Saturday, February 16th the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation presents a Free Family Movie Day at the Cape Ann Community Cinema from 10:00am to 4:00pm with games, prizes, face-painting and a pizza lunch.  There are two feature movies, the animation thriller ‘Spider-Man, Into the Spider-Verse’ at 11:30am and the hilarious Disney sequel ‘Wreck-It Ralph 2’ at 2:00pm.  The fun starts with refreshments and making decorated indoor snowmen from white socks at 10:00am.  Community partners Maritime Gloucester and Pathways for Children will participate with presentations, displays and program information. The movies and activities are best-suited for kids 6-12 years old.  Admission is free for children and their parents or adult guardians (no drop-offs please) thanks to the sponsors of the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation 2018-19 Winter Series as a special mid-winter treat.  Free-will donations to Pathways for Children to support their terrific early education programs are encouraged.  Popcorn with additional treats and refreshments will be available at the theater counter all day.  At 4:00pm we will take a short walk up to visit the historic (1806) Gloucester Meetinghouse for a brief educational tour, demonstration of the pipe-organ, and ringing of the Paul Revere bell. The Cape Ann Community Cinema is located above Mystery Train at 21 Main Street.  More information at gloucestermeetinghouse.org

(2)   On Saturday, March 2nd at 3:30pm the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation will host a concert by the Albany Pro Musica with Camerata Coral from Puerto Rico in a choral program called ‘The Americas, Land of Many Cultures.’ Making their first appearance in Massachusetts, the combined choral groups of Albany Pro Musica and Camerata Coral will present a stirring and inspirational concert in Spanish as well as English with distinctive harmonies and thrilling rhythms that will transport you in a journey celebrating the diversity, multiculturalism, inclusiveness, and acceptance: the values that hold the Americas strong. The program will consist of carefully selected works from the best contemporary composers in the western hemisphere. With the ravages of hurricanes and political discord that afflicts all countries in our hemisphere, this concert provides the beauty of classical choral music that can overcome turmoil, warm the heart, and provide hope.  Tickets: $45 Preferred seats, $30 General, $10 Students, Under 12 free (note: no one turned away for lack of funds) available at the door and on-line.  The Gloucester Meetinghouse is located on the green at the corner of Middle and Church Streets with accessible side entrance at #10 Church Street.  More information and advance ticket purchases at gloucestermeetinghouse.org

Charles L. Nazarian, president

Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation

10  Church

Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

cell: 978-821-5291

NILES POND EAST #GLOUCESTERMA KIDS ICE SAILING!

The beautiful wooden ice sail boats that Andy Lee is generously sharing with the neighborhood kids are his family’s boats. Andy grew up ice sailing on Chebacco Lake with his Dad.

Michelle Barton pointed out that there aren’t too many places in the area where the ice and wind are just right for ice sailing, and Niles Pond happens to be one of those unique places. Andy shares they were sailing at 40mph today!

Andy Lee (from Lee Tree) and Geoff are restoring the ice boats at Geoff’s woodworking studio and I think they are planning to build more!

Andy (left) and Geoff (right).

 

ICE SAILING UNDER THE WOLF MOON

Lovely to see ice sailing at Niles Pond under the twilit January Wolf Moon last week. The sun was setting while the not-quite-full moon had risen early.

Ice Sailing at Niles Pond

I took Charlotte out Friday at dusk to look for the moon and we found it at Niles Pond, along with hockey players and ice sailors. We can thank her favorite storybook Good Night, Moon for her lunar passion.

SUPER BLOOD WOLF MOON #GLOUCESTERMA

Super Blood Wolf Moon January 20, 2019

It was way too slippery for me last night to venture very far to photograph. The above photo was taken last night from my back door kitchen stoop and there were clouds swirling across the moon, but you can still see how beautiful.

There’s something very spectacular about these January full moons. The photos below were taken last January, during the first full moon of the month, which took place on the first, and during the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse, which took place on the 31st.

GLOUCESTER MAKES TOP ONE HUNDRED LIST OF NATION’S SAFEST CITIES!

Top 100 Safest Cities in the U.S.

January 2, 2019

By Andrew Schiller

The safest cities in America are not remote, rural places. They are closer than you think. They may not be big, but often they are just minutes from the largest cities in the U.S.

One of America’s safest cities is just 3 miles from Manhattan, and 7 miles from Central Park, in the heart of New York City. That city is Fort Lee, New Jersey. Fully eleven of them are within the New York Metro area.

In many ways, these cities serve as neighborhoods within the large metro area.

Similarly, NeighborhoodScout’s research revealed nineteen of the safest cities are in the Boston metro area, and eight are in California, including Danville, which is a scant 22 minutes from Oakland, one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. This is a common pattern our researchers have noted: the safest and most dangerous parts of America’s great urban areas are often just a few miles apart.

Lake in the Hills, IL, the safest city in America for 2019, is a well-to-do community in the Chicago area, while Chicago itself is one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. In his book The Big Sort, author Bill Bishop describes how America is sorting itself by income, education, and lifestyle into isolated communities. The pattern of crime and safety reflects this social sorting, not just by region but by city and neighborhood within the same commuting zone.

READ MORE HERE

 

The nineteen Massachusetts towns and cities and their ranking are as follows:

2. Franklin
3. Shrewsbury
6. Marshfield
19. Reading
22. Needham
23. Billerica
24. Arlington
28. Newton
32. Beverly
33. Wellesley
39. North Andover
47. Milton
50. Belmont
52. Melrose
59. Wakefield
68. Gloucester
76. Andover
87. Bridgewater
91. Watertown