from the Footlights

December 2005                                


Spoon River, December 15 @ Thai Chef


“All are sleeping,” said the poet, “sleeping on the hill.”


Edgar Lee Masters published Spoon River Anthology in 1915 to great acclaim. The poet made a portrait of his home town community by writing an epitaph for each of the people buried “on the hill.” The country’s defining experiences — the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the waves of pioneers and immigrants, the relentless industrialization that transformed the way people thought as well as the way they earned their livings — all are reflected in the ordinary lives Masters turned into poetry, and in the connections he made visible between them. Masters was a lawyer and a playwright as well as a poet, and each of the epitaphs is a miniature drama, for courtroom or stage.


Fifty years later, in the early 1960s, Charles Aidman adapted these poems for the stage and brought the show to Broadway, earning a Tony Award. Struck by the theatrical potential of the material, Aidman took some seventy of Masters’ poems, arranged them in an order where they would illuminate one another, and surrounded them with music.


The American Century Theater will produce Charles Aidman’s adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology in January 2006. Shane Wallis, actor and fight choreographer, and director of TACT’s production will be Footlights’ guest speaker for our December meeting. John Glynn will moderate our discussion.


We meet on Thursday, December 15 at 6 p.m. for our dinner-discussion at Thai Chef, 1712 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 3rd floor, a very short walk north of the Dupont Circle Metro stop. Dinner is $15, and includes a spring roll appetizer, choice of 5 entrees, iced tea, tax and gratuity. Cash bar is available. Cash payment is preferred. A minimum additional $5 donation to Footlights (tax deductible) is encouraged.


Our use of the lovely, spacious meeting room is included at no additional cost, however we need a minimum of 30 people. Footlights needs your support. This is a central location, convenient for all of our members.


Please reserve with Mark Gruenberg, 202-898-4825 or [email protected]. If you must cancel be sure to notify Mark so that someone else can attend.


It will help us plan ahead if you let Mark know your choice of entree when you make your reservation with him. You may specify mild or spicy. The choices are:

A.  Cashew chicken: sliced chicken breast stir-fried with tomato, onion, green bell pepper & cashew nuts in tomato-based sauce with a drizzle of wine;

B.  Vegetable Phad Thai: Thai style noodles stir-fried with egg, peanuts, bean sprouts & scallions;

C.  Pineapple Fried Rice: stir-fried with egg, shrimp, chicken, scallions, onions, tomato & cashew nuts;

D.  Gai Sarm Ros: three flavor chicken sauteed with sweet tamarind, chili garlic & basil sauce; or

E.   Thai Chef Lomein: egg noodle stir-fried with shrimp, chicken, beef, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts & scallions.


You may come for the discussion only at 7:30 p.m. (although we really hope you’ll try the dinner).


Read the play. Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, adapted by Charles Aidman, is available at Backstage Books (202-544-5744), 545 8th St. SE, Washington, DC (Eastern Market Metro stop). Call first.



Spoon River, January 8 @ TACT


We will go see Spoon River Anthology at the American Century Theater, performing at the Gunston Arts Center, Theater II, 2700 South Lang Street, Arlington, Virginia on Sunday, January 8 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, and include a post-performance discussion. Send your check, payable to Footlights, to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct, Rockville, MD 20852. For questions or to check ticket availability, contact Robin at 240-669-6300 or [email protected]. Directions to the theater may be found at


Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig


In January Footlights has planned two combined events with The Ushers group. On January 10, 6 p.m., at Thai Chef, we will meet for a dinner-discussion of Fat Pig by very contemporary and controversial playwright Neil LaBute. Lead actress in Studio Theatre’s upcoming production of Fat Pig, Kate Debelack, will be our guest speaker for the discussion. Robin Larkin will moderate. Reservations may be made with Mark beginning December 15.


We are joining The Ushers to see Studio Theatre’s production of Fat Pig on Saturday, January 28, 2 p.m. This event is sold out. Ushers and Footlights members will have dinner following the post-show discussion at Thai Tanic, 1236 14th St., NW — a 5 minute walk from Studio Theatre. For dinner reservations on January 28, contact Joel Markowitz, [email protected] or 703-447-8805.


About Footlights


To get Footlights updates on-line, send any message — even blank—to [email protected]. Subscribers can post to our on-line list by sending brief messages to [email protected]. Visit our website at for updates. Address inquiries to Mark Gruenberg at 202-898-4825 or [email protected].


Please support Footlights, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Send your tax-deductible contributions to Footlights, c/o Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct, Rockville, MD 20852. You still have time to make a contribution for the 2005 tax year.


You can also help Footlights by volunteering to assist with a myriad of tasks. Just ask Mark.




Thursday, December 15, 6 p.m., dinner-discussion of Spoon River Anthology at Thai Chef.


Sunday, January 8, 2:30 p.m., see Spoon River Anthology at the American Century Theater (TACT). Tickets: $20


Tuesday, January 10, 6 p.m., dinner-discussion of Fat Pig at Thai Chef.


Saturday, January 28, 2 p.m., see Fat Pig at Studio Theatre. Sold out.

      Contact Joel Markowitz, 703-447-8805 or [email protected] for after-show dinner reservations.



Dinner-discussion reservations:     Mark Gruenberg, 202-898-4825 or [email protected]

Theater tickets:                                Robin Larkin, 240-669-6300 or [email protected]