Leading Lady

Mae DesmondLeading Lady is a new musical by Charles Gilbert (composer and lyricist) and P. Seth Bauer (playwright) based on the life of Mae Desmond, a popular Philadelphia actress and theater manager in her heyday a century ago. Desmond, along with her husband Frank Fielder, ran a stock company called The Mae Desmond Players, a family business that enjoyed considerable success during the early days of the “Roaring Twenties.” The musical depicts the challenges of maintaining a family and a family business during this turbulent, colorful era.

A workshop production of this musical took place in 2013 at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where director Bill Fennelly is a member of the Performing Arts faculty. A previous workshop was held as part of the New Play Festival at the University of the Arts’ Ira Brind School of Theater Arts in February 2012. Dr. Mari Kathleen Fielder, granddaughter of Mae Desmond and former Adjunct Professor of Theater History at the University of the Arts, wrote her doctoral dissertation on her grandmother’s company, and her substantial archives provided the authors with fascinating insights into the life and times of this colorful figure from Philadelphia history. An article about Mae Desmond and Dr. Fielder appeared in the South Philly Review at the time of the February 2012 workshop. Dr. Fielder penned this program note for the February 2012 production, which provides both biographical information and historical context about the life of this remarkable woman.

This video, shot and edited by Kaysie Strickland, captures some memorable moments from that February 2012 workshop:

20 thoughts on “Leading Lady

  1. Pingback: Project 194, Day 9: Who Wants To Be Married? | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  2. Pingback: Maggie Fielder’s Laws, from Leading Lady (Day 29) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  3. Pingback: Hear My Song! (Day 32) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  4. Pingback: By God Gumption – that’s how you get to 100 Days! | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  5. Pingback: This Changes Everything, from Leading Lady (Day 127) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  6. Pingback: Only The Best, from Leading Lady (Day 128) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  7. Pingback: Good Show, from Leading Lady (Day 129) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  8. Pingback: The Drinks Are On Mae Desmond, from Leading Lady (Day 136) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  9. Pingback: Your Place Is Here, from Leading Lady (Day 138) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  10. Pingback: Leading Lady, from Leading Lady (Day 139) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  11. Pingback: Mae Dear, from Leading Lady (Day 141) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  12. Pingback: Things My Father Taught Me, from Leading Lady (Day 142) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  13. Pingback: from Leading Lady (Day 143) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  14. Pingback: A Few Improvements, from Leading Lady (Day 144) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  15. Pingback: Waltz for Miles, from Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Day 145) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  16. Pingback: A Man Around The House, from Leading Lady (Day 146) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  17. Pingback: Running the Show, from Leading Lady (Day 147) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  18. Pingback: Who Do You Think You Are, from Leading Lady (Day 150) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  19. Pingback: You Must Go On, from Leading Lady (Day 153) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

  20. Pingback: Looking for a Home, from Leading Lady (Day 134) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

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