East Lynne Theater Company presents “The Great Tree and Other Tales by Zona Gale”


“Friendship Village ain’t ever looked much more like Christmas, than it did that December, in 1912.” Calliope March begins her tale “The Great Tree,” in which she does everything possible to get the big cedar tree in town lit with electric lights in time for Christmas.

This is one of three stories adapted and performed by Gayle Stahlhuth, in “The Great Tree and Other Tales by Zona Gale,” produced by East Lynne Theater Company (ELTC).

Since 2005, Stahlhuth has been presenting American classics in her memorized, unique tour-de-force storytelling style and has been praised by reviewers and audience alike for quickly shifting from one character to another, presenting over 30 characters in one show. She was in ELTC’s “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

The stories adapted are in Zona Gale’s “Friendship Village” (1908) and “Neighborhood Stories” (1914), in which, Calliope Marsh, Gale’s invention, is the storyteller. Calliope lived in Friendship Village, Wisconsin, not unlike the town of Portage, where Gale lived.  Gale adapted her novel, “Miss Lulu Bett,” for the stage, for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1921.

Performances will take place on Dec. 8, 12, and 13 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The performances will take place at The First Presbyterian Church, located at 500 Hughes Street in Cape May. Tickets are $28; $20 for students and military; and ages 12 and under free. For information and reservations, call 609-884-5898 or visit eastlynnetheater.org. ELTC is also taking donations for the Cape May Food Closet.

Season tickets for 2020 are available and make a great present! The price is $90 for four shows, if purchased by March 31.