Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay is proud to present Black Orchids, an exhibition of photographs by Ellen Gottlieb Steele, in the Mezzanine Gallery, March 12 – April 22, 2013, with open reception Tuesday, March 12 at 4:30 – 6:00pm.

Ellen Gottlieb Steele has been a printmaker-photographer for many years. Her works hang in many private collections throughout the United States and Europe. In 2006, one of her photographs was chosen to be shown in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.  Steele has had two one-woman shows in New York and this is her second show in the Mezzanine Gallery at Plymouth Harbor.

All of the images in this show are photographic. None of them have been altered by any computer-generated process. Their abstract nature is a result of the actual printing process itself. Some of them have been enhanced with the application of watercolor. The photographs were taken in Sarasota at Selby Gardens in 2012.

Black Orchids, an exhibit of photographs by Ellen Gottlieb Steele – at the Mezzanine Gallery at Plymouth Harbor, March 12 – April 22, 2013. Open reception, Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 4:30-6:00pm.

It’s not Broadway, Off or even Off-Off Broadway, but the Plymouth Harbor Players is on a streak of smash hits with this latest production,” The Bride on the 17th Floor.”  This is the fourth in the series of Don Wallace’s “..on the 17th Floor” adventures with residents at, ahem, ‘Puritan Cove,’ where there’s always a bit of humor, and this time, a who-done-it  with some suspense. Did the ending take you by surprise?

The Plymouth Harbor Players - The Bride on the 17th Floor

The Courtroom in "The Bride on the 17th Floor"

The charm of community theatre on any stage is the courage shown by amateurs in the spotlight. Some of the actors in “The Bride…” courthouse scene had to memorize 20 consecutive pages of script and lively dialogue.  That’s a tough assignment, even when you have the safety net of an off-stage prompter.

Those stars included Bill Brackett  as Lionel Willet, the defense attorney, and Arnold Freeman as Philip Bostwick, the accused gold-digger or mourning newlywed, take your pick.  The ornery Judge Stanley L. Bernstein got some extra laughs with Bobby Broderick’s characterization. Heather Shaw played the sharp prosecuting attorney, Leslie Giles.   Stage Manager Jeanne Nunn also provided advice to keep the courtroom scenes realistic.  Former stage manager Peggy Wallace had some fun this year as the ingénue, the lovely and well-to-do Virginia Brown who married Phil and then disappeared on their honeymoon cruise.

Over 25 residents were involved in making this production a success, many of them behind the scenes.  Naomi Wittenberg pulled things together as the producer and several volunteers created sets, managed props and assisted costume changes with limited space and resources.

Plymouth Harbor Players on Stage

Congratulations to the cast & crew!

Anyone involved would quickly credit their success to the inspiring professionalism of the show’s writer and director, Don Wallace, who’s done a bit of this before.  He started working with soap operas on radio and television after WWII. Perhaps you saw his early directing on The Edge of Night,or the two shows that he helped create, All My Children and One Life to Live.

Don says writing the story is not so tough, but directing is exhausting!  There were three rehearsals a week since early January and auditions just before the holidays.

“Our amateur actors have something in common with all the professionals I’ve worked with,” says Don. “As soon as they get the script, they have changes to suggest!”  But seriously, he says it is very meaningful to work with the Plymouth Harbor Players.  Urging them to keep up the pace of action is more of an issue than acting skill or lines, but that’s not the reason this is important.  Both he and his wife Peggy were in agreement, the stimulation of acting keeps everyone young and it’s often a much needed escape from all other daily worries.

Does Don have something in mind for “something on the 17th Floor” for next year? “Perhaps,” laughs Don, “If we’re not on a cruise to Antarctica!”

The Cast

Barry Dobson, CEO – Harry Hobson
Samantha Tobin –  Ann Williams
Lionel H. Willett – Bill Brackett
Philip Bostwick – Arnold Freedman
Chiquita Mathews – Francie Jones
Virginia Brown – Peggy Wallace
Millicent Murgatroid – Anne Moore
Leslie (Les) Giles – Heather Shaw
Bailiff – Louis Schneider
Honeybunch – Carol Lawrence
Jury Foreman – George Spelvin

Kudos to everyone ‘behind the scenes’ as well!  Residents: Naomi Wittenberg, John DeJongh, Bruce Wallace, Peggy Wallace, Jeanne Nunn, Alida DeJongh, Robert Lawrence, Pauline Thoms, Bev Wright, Nancy Gross and Norma Schatz.  Staff:  Maryanne Shorin, Karen Smith, Hugh Kelly and Jeanne MacArthur.

A “Zest for Life” Snapshot

This Fall the Asolo Repertory Theatre kicked off its American Character Project, which runs from 2012 – 2017.  The project  opened with  the Tony-award winning musical “1776,” which brings to life the Second Continental Congress, and its work in declaring American independence. It was must-see for any lover of American history.

One Saturday night, Brian Becker, a Riverview High School student and member of the local CAR (Children of the American Revolution), escorted Plymouth Harbor resident Joanne Hastings to the Asolo Rep to see the show.

When asked about his evening with Joanne, Brian enthusiastically answered, “I feel that there is still so much more to learn from Joanne. She is truly a fascinating person who has a lifetime of experiences to share.”

Joanne Hastings

A Zest for Life

Joanne was equally impressed with her new young friend.  “I felt an incredible rapport with Brian,” exclaimed Joanne, “We had great discussions – Brian’s interest in Germany, and mine in France. We share interest in European culture and languages.”

Joanne was a long time member of the Colonel David Hall Chapter of the DAR in Delaware and remains active with the local Sara De Soto DAR chapter, which arranged this intergenerational outing.   “As a Delawarian, I felt Caesar Rodney was portrayed beautifully in the play,” Joanne confirmed. “He rode 70 miles on horseback July 1, 1776 in a blinding thunderstorm in order to cast the breaking vote for the Declaration of Independence.”

One of the distinguishing qualities of the residents of Plymouth Harbor is their drive to remain active in the community and follow their passions.  It’s what they call their “zest for life!”   Joanne is no exception as she has always sought to explore and enjoy life and the company of friends.

Joanne moved here from Delaware 8 years ago, first to The Glenridge to join friends Dr. Russell and Fran Seibert.  Despite the many attractive assets of The Glenridge, she felt drawn to Plymouth Harbor and now enjoys what she calls the “million dollar view” from her home on the 16th floor.

Prior to moving to Sarasota, Joanne lived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – where she and her husband retired after their careers. She had been an interior designer at DuPont  and he had been an engineer at Hercules, another of the chemical giants that make Delaware the capital of the world’s chemical industry.

An artist from her youth, Joanne studied at the Philadelphia College of Art and enjoyed a long career with DuPont as one of the pioneers in corporate interior design.  She says one of the highlights of her career was managing the restoration/redecoration of the Hotel DuPont using all the new DuPont nylon fibers and fabrics.

She and fellow resident Vera Kohn , both devoted Francophiles and members of the Alliance Francaise, have organized a monthly brunch where only French is spoken. Joanne has always enjoyed cultural interactions, a pastime she recalls fondly from her Delaware days where a group of couples met regularly for gourmet dinner and lively discussion about the arts. They called themselves “The Eclectics.”

No wonder Joanne feels so at home at Plymouth Harbor!  Would you care to guess how soon we’ll see a renaissance of The Eclectics at Plymouth Harbor? If Joanne has her wish, it’s right around the corner.