• UNLOCKING YOUR INNER POET—GRANT-WOOD-COUNTRY-STYLE—Virtual presentation featuring Grant-Wood-related context, readings from the recently published folio, Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems, as well open discussion and group poem writing activity. Held in conjunction with Anamosa Library & Learning Center's Grant Wood Through Local Eyes online series.
• POETRY IN THE PARK, downtown Grinnell, hosted and sponsored by Solera Wine Bar, Reading and Signing event with music. Kickoff event for the release of Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems. Select musical accompaniments by composer/pianist John Mattingly.
• POETRY ON THE LAWN, with Newton Public Library, Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems release event. Select musical accompaniments by composer/pianist John Mattingly.
• POETRY ON THE PLAZA, with Gezellig Brewing Company, followed by Bob Dorr & the Limestoners. A Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems release event. Select musical accompaniments by composer/pianist John Mattingly.
• CREATIVE COMMUNITY BUILDER: Founded and hosted the Jasper County Writers' and Composers' Forum at Newton's first coffeehouse in the early 2000s.
• AUTHOR SUPPORTER/BOOKSELLER: From 2001-2007, with composer/pianist husband John Mattingly, we operated Mattingly Music & Books on the square in downtown Newton. During that time, we hosted or co-hosted/partnered to present many, many author signings and other cultural events in the community.
PAST PROJECTS: Theatrical
I have been fortunate to receive many opportunities to develop and stage original work, from short sketches to full-length presentations. Much of my work has benefitted enormously from the stellar musical compositions of John Mattingly. Below are descriptions.
Sugar Grove Presents Dinner Entertainment Series—
Wrote and co-produced Sugar Grove Presents dinner entertainment series which featured carefully orchestrated theatrical, musical and culinary arts, all held in a Silos & Smokestacks National Park Service Heritage Attraction venue (Sugar Grove Gatheringplace, Newton, Iowa). For more than five years, the series entertained public and private groups. Offerings included:
• House of Iowa: Real Iowa Ghost Stories Brought Back To Life, based on historical research conducted by Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk in their publication The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations (by permission). A musical theatrical odyssey through the haunted Iowa landscape, as told through the experience of a pair of unsuspecting newlyweds.
• Dog Days of Winter, a campy send-up of a Mississippi Riverboat excursion, complete with down-on-their-luck Southern belles, gamblers, and even Mark Twain, whose authentic text is woven into the adventure.
• The Ghouls Next Door: Class warfare never was so macabre in this all-original musical comedy. Watch out for otherworldly neighbors, stolen art, spoiled children, romance and bells, bells, bells.
• Magically Delicious, features the rich and playful traditions of Ireland, which run headlong into a generous helping of fairy-tale-laced musical farce. A combination of familiar Irish tunes frolick through the show alongside surprising parodies of pop & Broadway tunes. Expect the unexpected on this visit to the Emerald Isle!
• Sugar Grove Babies, a fast-paced music and comedy romp offering up original and classic quick bits, sketches and musical numbers inspired by great vintage comic traditions like Laugh-In, Hee-Haw, Saturday Night Live, Carol Burnett, Vaudeville, and other variety show favorites. Enjoy myriad props, costumes and shenanigans.
• Diners On the Storm: This parody show played to acclaim, largely due to the enduring dramatic quality of music by The Doors. When their theatrical sensibility converges with supernatural elements, it’s time to “Break On through to the Other Side.” Weird Al surely would approve.
• The Raven’s Wrath. It’s time for the rest of the story. The prequel to the classic Poe poem went something like this, complete with classic rock send-ups set in the Wild West, and the still-alive Lenore.
OTHER PLAYS, SKETCHES, LIBRETTI, VIDEO:
• American Dream, a full-length original musical with environmental themes. Received Iowa Arts Council funding to be produced, in conjunction with a public education component, and a workshop by environmental artist Laurie Miles of Ipswich, Massachussettes.
• Emerging Spring, a revue show featuring original music and sketches, among other environmentally-themed fare. Included a piece entitled Nature Walk that was offered by high school speech students in competition.
• A Day In the Life of an Urban Tree, original sketch written for 2nd Annual Alliance for Community Trees Membership Conference.
• Trees In Any Language, served as lead writer/producer for this artful public education video project offered by Trees Forever. The project was nominated for three Iowa Film Awards (Art Direction/Productions Design [Elaine], Music Score, Editing). It won one for Editing.
Over the course of many years, it has been a delight to collaborate by writing lyrics for music by composer/pianist John Mattingly. Some are currently performed from time to time with John's band, The Washer City Agitators (Newton, Iowa). To name a few:
• This Ain't No Jazz Kind of Town
• Private Boogie-Woogie Man
• Next To You ( see Lyrics/Music page for a music video treatment of this tune)
• Capital Crime
• River Dance
OTHER THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE:
• The Foreigner, actor, roll of Catherine Simms
• Mame, actor, roll of Agnes Gooch
• A ... My Name Is Alice, actor and co-director
• The Apple Tree, director/musical director
• Neil Simon's Rumors, publicity
• The Odd Couple, publicity
• A Night in Jones County, vocalist, choral
• The Boys Next Door, publicity
• Pain, Passion & Perseverance, a showcase, pianist/coordination
• The Secret Garden, publicity
• South Pacific, drama coaching
• CURRENT: Washer City Agitators, vocalist/harmonies
• Speech Competition Coach for Newton Senior High
• Speech Competition Judge