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You Cannot Eclipse Ann Harding

On Monday, August 21st, the day of the total solar eclipse, The Turner Classics TV Network will dedicate an entire day and night to showing 15 of Ann Harding’s 40 movies, starting at 6 a.m. The eclipse, on that day, is “one star allowing another star to shine”.

Ann first appeared on the stage at the East Orange High School, in New Jersey, where she surprised the audience with her interpretation of the seductive spy, Theda Bara. She also spent a year attending Bryn Mawr College. Inspired by her time there and wanting to continue, she moved to New York where she met Jasper Deeter.

After attending a play by Provincetown Players (where Deeter was a leading actor/director), Ann discovered that the acting company was holding auditions for a part, and she decided to give it a try. Asked to come back the next evening and read for a larger part,  to her surprise, she won it. She subsequently received critical acclaim for her role in “Inheritors” (1921) and decided she would continue her budding career, that included a total of 72 plays on and off Broadway.

Deeter returned from New York to Rose Valley, bringing with him seven actors including Harding, blue cheesecloth, 16 light bulbs, some wood paneling, nine dollars, and the idea of an independent repertory theatre. Hedgerow Theatre was born.  

Harding perfected her craft at Hedgerow and attained national recognition; in addition to stage performances, she acted in 40 movies, 28 radio programs, and 44 TV programs, and has two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame, for film and TV. She was the 16th star to leave her footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, that now has more than 200 stars so honored. Ann was one of only a few stars to address their fans directly. In the cement she wrote, “Whatever Success I Have, You Make Possible”.

She was signed by Pathe Studios in 1929 and made her debut with Fredric March in “Paris Bound” (1929).  As she was trained before microphones were invented, she could project her voice beyond the 10th row. This ability was an asset in the introduction of the early “talkies”. Some silent stars could not make the transition because of their voice quality. She became a Hollywood leading lady and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Holiday” (1930). In “The Animal Kingdom” (1932) she was the gentle refined heroine, when she played Daisy, the rejected fiancée of Leslie Howard which came to be her “type”. She also starred with leading men Basil Rathbone, Ronald Coleman, William Powell, Herbert Marshall, Robert Young, Richard Dix, and Gary Cooper in a wide variety of movies.

She quit films in 1937 when she married conductor Werner Janssen, but she could not stay away, and came back five years later in “Eyes in the Night” (1942) with Gale Storm and Edward Arnold. For the next five years she played mature character roles. Another break, another 3 films and then in 1956, she appeared once again with Fredric March, the man with whom she started her career in “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” (1956). She continued to appear sporadically on TV in the 1960s and died at age 80 in 1981.

Throughout her career she would make return appearances to Hedgerow, where she even provided the funds for the actor residence now known as Hedgerow theatre school and house.

More information: Ann Harding Bio

 

Patrick Derrickson

Patrick Derrickson ( Development & Audience Development Fellow) Patrick is an award-winning director and critically acclaimed lighting designer who has worked internationally with renowned artists from Germany, South Africa, and New Zealand. He joins Hedgerow as a Development Fellow after running around his home in D.C. directing, stage managing, lighting, and administering. He graduated cum laude from Washington College with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Philosophy and studied physical theater at Rhodes University in South Africa while pursuing independent research into non-European performance practices in theater. He is excited to make Rose Valley his home for the next two years after successfully circumnavigating the globe.

Lisa VillaMil

Lisa VillaMil ( Acting Fellow) Lisa is an acting fellow with Hedgerow Theatre Company.  Her first production with Hedgerow is Storytime: Peter Pan. Training includes: The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Masters in Classical and Contemporary Text (Acting); Shakespeare’s Globe Higher Education Acting Residency (director Nick Hutchison); Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Summer Professional Training Program 2015 acting apprentice. Theatre credits include: The Other Place (Tampa Repertory); Let the Bitch Burn (RCS); 20 Plays in 40 Minutes (RCS On the Verge Festival); Hamlet (RCS); Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey SPTP); Julius Caesar (Ithaca Shakespeare Company); The Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers (Kitchen Theatre, Kitchen Sink Prod.).Lisa is a certified actor combatant with the BASSC, and is certified in additional weapons through the SAFD.  She choreographs violence for stage and screen.  Lisa is an internationally produced playwright, and is co-founder of Now What Theatre.

Shaun Yates

Shaun Yates (Actor, Teacher) has been a proud member of the Hedgerow Theatre extended company for five years. In that time he has performed numerous roles from John Brown in John Brown’s Body and Tournell in A Flea in Her Ear, to Mr. Willy in Two Into One and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Shaun also serves as the music director for Hedgerow’s children’s musicals and other shows when necessary. To find out more and see what else Shaun is up to visit his website: http://www.shaunyates.com

Susan Wefel

Susan Wefel (Actor, Marketing, Member since ‘78) is a graduate of Boston University’s Theatre School and is a 37-year veteran actress and Company Member of Hedgerow Theatre. She has studied under Dolores Tanner, Rose Schulman, Janet Kelsey, Louis Lippa, and Penelope Reed. Susan teaches our Children and Teens in camps, Saturday classes, and our performance classes, and with Chester Charter.

Brock Vickers

Brock D. Vickers (Actor, Writer, Playwright, Marketing Manageris a second-year Resident Fellow at the Hedgerow Theatre. Originally from Georgia, Vickers is a professional actor and writer who has appeared in multiple productions in the Tri-State area. He has been seen at Hedgerow in A Christmas Carol, Sense and Sensibility, Communicating Doors, Hamlet, Tales from Edgar Allan Poe, and On the Verge. Past performances include The Boss in Kerrigan and Lowdermilk’s Flash of Time for the 2013 PIFA Festival, The Raven in Fractured Mirror’s Shades of Poe, and the Bartender in Bye Bye Liver: Philadelphia. He has also taught classical theatre for the Philadelphia Shakespeare Company, performed improvised and devised works with PRF Productions, and entertained children with Family Stages and the Garden State Discovery Museum. Vickers studied acting at Darton College and later attained a B.A. in Theatre and a BS in Journalism from Georgia Southern University where he appeared in over twenty productions. Favorite performances at GSU include The Commandor in Fuenteovejuna, Nikos in Big Love, and Stephano in The Tempest.  www.brockdvickers.weebly.com. 

Darlene McClellan

Darlene McClellan (Business Manager) Darlene graduated from Shippensburg University, where she majored and earned her B.S. in English and Library Science. She worked as a substitute teacher in the Ridley, Interboro, and Wallingford-Swarthmore school districts. She began her career at Hedgerow Theatre in 1998 when she volunteered as a backstage helper during children theatre productions. Still volunteering, she worked as a stage manager in both mainstage and children’s shows and an assistant director of Tiny Tim’s Christmas. She has coordinated the rehearsal and production schedules of many productions and has directed many children both at the theatre and at Strath Haven Middle School where for the past 2 years she has been assistant to the director in the production of the spring musical. Darlene serves at Hedgerow’s Board Liaison to facilitate and maintain a strong and active communication between the board of directors and company departments.

Art Hunter

Art Hunter (Group Sales and Outreach Director) resides in Media, Pa. He  graduated from St. Francis University with a B.S. in Education and Villanova University with a M.A. in Educational Administration. He was involved in all aspects of Medical Sales working for Johnson & Johnson, Siemens Medical and General Electric. He enjoys all sports and broadcasted Drexel University Men’s Basketball for 16 years.

Ari Baker

Ari Baker (Production Manager)  is originally from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. in Theatre Arts and History as well as her M.A. in Teaching in Secondary Social Studies Education from the University of Pittsburgh. While she started in theatre as a performer, she is particularly fond of administration and theatrical lighting. Ari has participated in all aspects of theatre with the exception of rigging. She is currently the Production Manager of Hedgerow Theatre. She enjoys spending time with her family, playing guitar, singing, and painting.

Jared Reed

Jared Reed (Producing Artistic Director) has been proudly associated with Hedgerow since 1990 and is tremendously excited to be a part of this wonderful company. A Juilliard School graduate, Jared has appeared nationally at the Old Globe in San Diego, The McCarter Theatre, The Huntington, Cleveland Playhouse, The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and others. He appeared off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane before making his home in the Philadelphia region, co-founding Curio Theatre Company, and starting a family.