Classic American Tales presents “Tales in the Dormer House” in the fall

Original publication date: 09/05/2023

Presents classic American tales

Gayle Stallhouth reading a story on the balcony of The Dormer House. Photo by Stephanie Garrett

(Cape May, NJ) – Hear stories from Chester Himes, O.J. Henry, Katherine Ann Porter, and other famous American authors while enjoying the breeze on the porch of a historic bed and breakfast, drinking lemonade, and enjoying homemade desserts. It’s all part of Classic American Tales (CAT)’s popular “Tales in Dormer’s House” in Cape May, NJ, every Thursday at 4:00 PM from September 14 to October 12, 2023.

A new company founded by Gayle Stallhouth, CAT takes on what the East Lynne Theater Company (ELTC) has done for 33 years under the name “Tales of the Victorians”. Due to the success of “Hakayat” this summer, the company decided to bring it back in the fall.

The Dormer House is located at 800 Columbia Street and shows will take place regardless of the weather. If it rains, the Tales will be inside. The cost is just $12.00, cash at the door, and guests at The Dormer House and children 12 and under are free.

On September 14, Stephanie Jarrett and Frank Smith will read “A Moral Play for the Entertaining Class” (1920) by John L. Balderston (1889-1954) who wrote “Dracula” which was produced by ELTC several years ago. Garrett has been on ELTC’s “Lost on the Natchez Trace” and “Rain” and is known for introducing the writing of Black Americans including Langston Hughes and Alice Childress. Smith has been performing “Tales” since 1998 and has been the ELTC storyteller on “The Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides”, co-sponsored with Cape May MAC, for 10 years.

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On September 21st, Megan Dean reads chapter one of My Chinese Marriage (1921) by Kathryn Ann Porter. In 1907, Mae Monroe Watkins met Tiam Hawke Franking while they were both attending high school in Michigan. They later married and moved to China. Working with interviews and writings with Mae Franking, Porter wrote My Chinese Marriage. Dean is an actor, director, playwright, and school artist who has worked with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, People’s Light Theater, and Springville Arts Center.

Stephanie Garrett and Frank Smith will perform on September 28, but they haven’t settled on a theme yet.

Next, on October 5, Suzanne Dawson continues to read highlights from Marion Davies’ autobiography, The Times We Had. I began reading from this tell-all book for Tales in July, and will continue to delve deeper into Davies’ relationship with William Randolph Hearst and his castle in San Simeon. Dawson has performed in New York City, for regional theaters and on national tours, and has appeared several times for ELTC including “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Dorothy Parker: A Certain Woman” this past summer.

Gael Stallhouth and Phil Pizzi read ghost stories on Oct. 12. As artistic director-producer of ELTC for 23 years, Stallhouth has produced over 120 shows, most of which he directed. In the past few years, she has been on the ELTC program “Who Am I This Time?” and “Arsenic and the Old Lace”. Pizzi began his career in broadcasting at WCMC AM/FM in Wildwood in 1977. In 2018, he retired as host of “The Morning Show” on 98.7-FM The Coast, WCZT. He has performed for the Sea Isle Players and his performances for ELTC include “Why Do You Get Married?” and many other radio-style Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

We welcome “Tales at the Dormer House” reservations, made through CAT by calling 609-884-5898 or email classicamericantales@aol.com. Details of this and other CAT events, including those held at the End of the Road Theater in North Cape May, were found ClassicAmericanTales.org. CAT intends to tell the stories of America one story at a time.


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(tags for translation) NJ

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