Thursday, February 25, 2010

“Stage Door Canteen”

Relive the Big Band Era at “Stage Door Canteen

Benefit Premiere Performance March 16

Stony Brook, NY – The Ward Melville Heritage Organization will present “Stage Door Canteen,” interactive musical performances in a lively WWII canteen setting, at their Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook Village, a St. George Production. Special guests include the likes of “Martha Raye” and “Frances Langford” and visitors are sure to enjoy this journey back to an era when big band was king.

The performances will salute the fascinating life of pioneer Toni Frissell (1907-1988), who was the first woman war photographer and the first woman on the staff of Sports Illustrated. Remembered for her high-fashion photography forVogue and Harper's Bazaar, she also volunteered her photographic services to the American Red Cross, Women's Army Corps and Eighth Army Air Force during WWII. She flew for two weeks with the Tuskegee Airmen and her photographs are possibly the only ones taken of those brave men. An exhibit of some of these magnificent photos will also be on display throughout the performance dates courtesy of The Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Toni Frissell Collection. The exhibit itself is free.

Benefit Premiere Performance will take place Tuesday, March 16 at 6:30 pm with food and wine and the performance at 7:15 pm. One of the original Tuskegee Airman, Colonel Edward Monroe, who now resides in Freeport, will attend the premiere, along with Sidney Stafford, daughter of Toni Frissell. Servicemen and women are encouraged to come in uniform! “Comfort foods” accompanied by wine will be served, just as they were to the servicemen and women at the canteens during WWII, including corned beef and mustard on rye, ham salad on white, pimento cheese on roman meal bread and spam with cheese and pickles. A present day menu will contrast “then” and “now” and will include sliders, buffalo wings, pizza, frankfurters, baked beans and cole slaw. The premiere issponsored by GSE Dynamics and partial proceeds will be donated to the USO. Cost is $55 pp.

Ongoing performances take place March 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 and April 6, 7 and 8 at 11 am. General Admission: $20; Seniors: $18; free donuts & coffee will be served 30 minutes prior to performance and a minimum of 25 attendees is needed; Students: $12 pp (groups up to 35); $8 pp (groups 36 & over), free donuts & milk will be served 30 minutes prior to student performances. The program is BOCES Arts in Education reimbursable and will be aligned to NY State and National Learning Standards. It will also be offered via distance learning.

Pictured: Elizabeth Taylor, Mike Todd, Liza Todd, 1957
courtesy of The Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Toni Frissell Collection.

Founded in 1939, WMHO is a not-for-profit corporation that develops and fosters community enrichment through cultural and educational experiences. WMHO accomplishes this by enhancing and interpreting its historic and environmentally sensitive properties and by utilizing state-of-the-art technology. For more information, please visit

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