Prendergast Library sets ‘Spoon River Project’ signing

JAMESTOWN – James-town native Tom Andolora will sign copies of “The Spoon River Project” from 7 to 8 p.m. on July 16 on the main floor of Prendergast Library.

“The Spoon River Pro-ject” is a play with music based on “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters.

Andolora adapted Mast-ers’ work into a theatre piece with music that is often performed outdoors at night in a cemetery as well as in a traditional indoor theatre setting. The show recently opened in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and is being presented all over the country. The State College at Fredonia has slated a production for September.

“Sometimes site-specific theatre can seem like a gimmick. I believe with ‘The Spoon River Project’ it is organic. It is the perfect blend of literature, theatre, and location,” Andolora said.

“The Spoon River Pro-ject” was created and first presented in Jamestown, where it was produced by the Fenton History Center, Lake View Cemetery Association, and Terreberry Productions in the cemetery during the summers of 2009 through 2011.

“I would like to thank these organizations along with Margie and John Fuchs, Ann Thorpe, and the very talented local actors and hard working crew members who, literally, brought ‘The Spoon River Project’ to life,” Andolora said.

Masters’ original work, published in 1915, is a collection of monologues by residents of a fictional community named for a river near the author’s hometown. Masters presents 212 characters in 242 short free-form poems.

“The wrinkle here, however, is that each of these characters is dead and speaking from the grave. No longer burdened by the proprieties of life, they can be unrelentingly honest and frank as they reveal their secrets, stories, fears and aspirations,” Andolora said.

The son of Frances Andolora, the author was born and raised in James-town. He graduated from Jamestown High School, attended Jamestown Com-munity College and graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a bachelor of fine arts degree in musical theatre. For the past 30 years, he has lived in New York City, where he is a composer, teacher, pianist, performer, director, musical director, private voice instructor and acting coach.

As the director and founder of The Dickens Victorian Carollers, he has performed at state Christmas parties at The White House for four administrations.

He was most recently on the staff at Brooklyn College, where he taught acting and musical theatre. He is a member of The Dramatists’ Guild and the New York State Singing Teachers’ Association.

“I think the real story here is how this show was created in Jamestown, in a very small production, on the hills of The Lake View Cemetery and ended up on the front cover of the NY Times Friday Arts Section two years later .,” Andolora said.

“The Spoon River Project” is published by Playscripts and sells for $10. For the Jamestown signing, Andolora will donate copies and divide the proceeds from their sale between Prendergast Library and the Fenton History Center.

The library is located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown. For information, call 484-7135.