East Lynne Theater Co. presents “The Leach Diaries”

Young Frank Leach’s musings on life, love, politics, Cape May vs. Philadelphia, and the social necessity of learning to dance.

On Thursday, August 20 at 4:00 p.m., the Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company presents “The Leach Diaries: The First Three Years” as part of its “Tales of the Victorians” series. The play is adapted from actual diaries kept by Cape May-born and raised Frank Leach, from 1870 to 1873, adapted by ELTC’s artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth. The location is The Leach House, 1011 Lafayette, one of the homes in which Frank Leach actually lived.

Cape May and Philadelphia personality, Frank Leach, kept six diaries for eleven years, from 1870-1881, covering ages 15-26. In the 1990’s, Anne Pratt edited these diaries for publication in
“The Cape May Star & Wave,” the newspaper once owned by Frank’s father. In 2002 and 2003, ELTC presented them as staged-reading performances. In 2004, Stahlhuth added another year for another performance, and compiled all four years into the book: “The Leach Diaries: The First Four Years” that was then published.

With “diaries” in hand, see three actors bring Frank and his friends to life. This is a must-see for anyone interested in taking a peak at everyday life, romance, and humor as seen through the daily lives of Victorians. This is the first time it has been presented since 2004.

The role of Frank Leach will once more be portrayed by Lee O’Connor, and the roles of Frank’s many friends will be played by James Rana and Gayle Stahlhuth. O’Connor is known to many Cape May audiences not only as East Lynne’s technical director, but also as taking on the title role in ELTC’s popular radio-style Sherlock Holmes’ adventures. Rana’s world premiere adaptation of “Huckleberry Finn” is currently performing on ELTC’s mainstage through September 5. This marks the fourth ELTC world premiere of Rana’s work. Also an actor, he recently appeared in television’s “Chicago Fire” and at NJ’s Luna Stage. Stahlhuth is in her 16th season of helming ELTC where she has produced over 80 different shows.

Tasty treats will also be served at The Leach House, and tickets are $10; ages 12 and under are free. Reservations are appreciated and may be made by calling 609-884-5898 or e-mailing eastlynneco@aol.com. Information about “Tales of the Victorians,” which runs every Thursday at 4:00 p.m. during the summer and ELTC’s season may be found at www.eastlynnetheater.org. On August 13, “Tales” are at The Chalfonte Hotel, and on August 27, at The Peter Shields Inn.

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