“Classic Tales at the Dormer House” is presented in the Cape May, June through October

originally published: 06/03/2024

(CAPE MAY, NJ) — From June 20 to October 10 Classic American Stories (CAT) once again presents “Classic Tales at the Dormer House.” Guests are treated to lemonade and tasty treats as they listen to stories from American authors such as O. Henry, Zora Neale Hurston and Mark Twain, as well as contemporary scenes and stories that resonate through time.

The schedule is every Thursday at 4:00 PM at the historic Dormer House Bed and Breakfast, 800 Columbia Avenue in Cape May, NJ, except there is no show on the 4th of July. The performances take place on the veranda, weather permitting. Otherwise they stay indoors. The cost is only $12.00, cash at the door, and guests of The Dormer House and children 12 and under are free.

The first “Tales” is on June 20, in which Gayle Stahlhuth will read from her new solo show “One Step at a Time,” about the caregiving experience with her husband, Lee O’Connor. A portion of this script was selected for a staged reading on April 28 at Premiere Stages in Union, NJ.

Next up on June 27 are Stephanie Garrett and Frank Smith, who will focus on the black and white heroes of the Civil War, including Captain Henry Sawyer, who built the Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May after the war, and Harriet Tubman.

There will be no performance on July 4, but on July 11 Stahlhuth will be back and she will read from her solo show ‘Fabulous Ferber’, about Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Ferber (1885 – 1968). Most of Ferber’s novels have been adapted for other media, including “Show Boat” (musical) and “Giant” (film). Plays she co-wrote with George S. Kaufman include “The Royal Family” and “Dinner at Eight.” Stahlhuth received a commission from the Illinois and Missouri Humanities Council to create “Ferber” for the Chautauqua Circuit. In 2000, after turning “Ferber” from a 45-minute play into a 90-minute play, she performed it for East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May.

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On July 18, Michele LaRue will read stories from Elsie Singmaster’s “Gettysburg: One Woman’s War” (1913). In Singmaster’s powerful exploration of the physical and emotional terrain of a Civil War icon, fictional townswoman Mary Bowman experiences the war and its legacy—from the first shots at Willoughby Run, to the comfort of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, to the healing of the land half a century later.

CAT will celebrate “Christmas in July” on July 25, with performances by Garrett, Smith and/or Stahlhuth. Other artists and topics will join those mentioned here in the coming weeks.

Reservations for “Classic Tales” are appreciated and can be made through CAT by calling 609-884-5898 or emailing [email protected].

After serving 23 years as the Producing Artistic Director of East Lynne Theater Company, Gayle Stahlhuth founded Classic American Stories in 2023 to tell America’s stories “one story at a time.” Through CAT she gives acting and playwriting workshops, with the aim of having these participants perform classic and new works for an audience.

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