VIENNA – For the 26th consecutive year, the Vienna Historical Society will present three humorous plays that take audiences back to the days when life was simpler and neighbors knew each other’s business.

The shows – “Professor Perkins’ Singing Lessons,” “Romance in Vienny,” and “The Buzz” – will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 24-25, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26, in Vienna Union Hall.

“Professor Perkins’ Singing Lessons,” a children’s play, takes place in the 1930s at a Vienna farmhouse. It stars Levi Smith as a professor who claims that “singing helps drive away ailments.” He also tells his pupils, “It’s good for anyone to learn something new every day.”

The professor sparks his students’ interest when he asks if they’ve heard of Perry Pond and goes on to tell them why its name was changed. The students express amazement when they hear about the year without a summer – “eighteen hundred and froze to death.”

Written by Beverly Wight Smith, “Professor Perkins’ Singing Lessons” is directed by Laura Church, who wrote some of the music and lyrics. Other cast members are Lindsey Smith, Ashley, Ben and Allie Emery, Greta Stuart and Brook Burnham.

‘Romance in Vienny’

“Romance in Vienny,” also written by Smith, is set in the 1920s in Vienna at Jasper and Partheny Boody’s farmhouse, where a zany assortment of characters come and go. Judy Dunn directs and also plays Beulah Belle Bean, who has invited two conceited friends, Annabelle and Louella Bachelder, and their distinguished nephew, Bentley Bachelder, for an afternoon’s visit. The hope is that Bachelder will become interested in her niece, Bonita.

To Beulah Belle’s annoyance, uncouth Hettie Pease pulls a chair up as close to Mr. Bachelder as possible, and a while later, Hettie’s equally uncouth cousin enters and is more enthused in meeting Arabella and Louella than they are in meeting him. “So, the both of you are old maids. Well, ain’t I in luck,” he blurts out. “Hettie told me Vienny would be a good spot to land a woman. She says it’s just swarmin’ with old maids and widders.”

Although not everything works out as planned, eventually several romances begin to blossom. Included in the cast are Andrea Brann, Kitty Gee, Laura Church, Rebekah Church, Courtney Gilman, Leona Carpentier, Beverly Smith, Barbara Gilman, Quimby Robinson, Craig Stevens, Val Dunn, Arnold Daggett, Steve Mellen, Carole O’Connell, Roger Reville, Eileen Lord, Trish Keef and Jim Gajarski, with Helen Wilkey prompting.

‘The Buzz’

“The Buzz,” written and directed by Beverly Shaw, harkens back to the days of the Mount Vernon Telephone switchboard. The storyline involves a pending disaster at the phone office and a commotion out at a local farm, which keep the townsfolk on tenterhooks. Why is Ray so secretive as he talks to Minnie, and what has upset the townsfolk and prompted them to go door to door?

Honest values make the town “stick together like glue” and win the day. The cast of performers includes Allan Harville, Muffy Floyd, Alice Olson, Don Petersen, Peter Diplock, Dodi Thompson, George Dunn, Cheryl Herr Rains, Megan Burnham, Kathy Stern, Don Warren, Bruce Inch and Chris Crocker. The prompter is Hannah Faulkner.

Arguably, the biggest star of “The Buzz” is the authentic switchboard from the Mount Vernon Telephone Office on loan from Paul Crockett.

Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children under 12. Refreshments will be sold by the Mill Stream Grange.


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