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The Playwrights Forum > General > Question & Answer > Can Anyone ID A Play/Musical By A Photo Of The Cast?

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Can Anyone ID A Play/Musical By A Photo Of The Cast?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2014 10:56 pm
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elt
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Mana: 
I know... this is a rather bizarre question... more bizarre since the photo in question was probably shot somewhere between 1902 and 1912. I know this is a long shot, but maybe there are some history buffs out there.

The reason I'm curious is because the person playing Uncle Sam is my grandfather... and that might be my grandmother behind him.

http://postimg.org/image/6bnngzt2v/

My grandfather, then a recent Polish immigrant, was president of some Polish Singers Club. So this photo might be the cast of a musical.

I'm hoping the characters might provide some clues. We have Uncle Sam, a distinguished mutton chopped man (a President?), a military officer with sword, a girl with a feather duster, and an odd bearded man in the back... who reminds reminds me a bit of John Brown... or maybe not.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
 


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 Posted: Thu Aug 28th, 2014 04:55 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
Great photo! You are lucky to have it.

Where was it taken? Do you know the city? Do you know the theatre? Or where your grandparents lived?

There were tons of Irish and Jewish small theaters in NYC in that era. Were they Jewish? Lots of potential places to contact. And there are Irish Theatres in NYC.

The uniform looks more European. A lot of immigrants did plays to show their Americanism.

Here are two historical characters that may be in the show. Both involved in the American Revolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadeusz_Kościuszko

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_Pulaski

We celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day in Chicago and have a major street named after him.

Went to Kosciuszko, Mississippi and their little Museum there dedicated o him. (By the way, it is where Oprah was born!) Neat pocket Museum.

Essentially, The more info you have the more someone might know where to direct your query.

Do you know where it was taken?

Of course you know the names of your grandparents. That could be very helpful.

Let us know more and someone might be able to head you in the right direction.

Interestingly, I just saw a movie last week called "The Immigrant" starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner about a woman who immigrated to the USA in 1920 and out of desperation and cunning gets involved in a small theatre in a dumpy bar. There is a hell of a lot more to the story than that. But it would be of this era.

best,

IMR

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 Posted: Fri Sep 5th, 2014 09:39 pm
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elt
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Mana: 
Thanks for responding IMR... and sorry for the delay in getting back here.

My grandfather, Felix Furtek, lived in Chicopee MA... which at the turn of the last century had a growing Polish population that was just coming into its own.

I spoke to a Polish historian who believes the bearded man in the back was a Jewish businessman... a character that featured prominently in many Polish plays of the era. One prolific playwright went by the name of Jax but we can't find a list of his plays. If the military character is Pulaski, that might be a lead.

Last edited on Fri Sep 5th, 2014 09:42 pm by elt

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