By B. Witham
All started as an audacious scan, for thirty years the Hedgerow Theatre prospered as America's so much winning repertory corporation. whereas recognized for its recognized alumnae (Ann Harding and Richard Basehart), Hedgerow's legacy is a dwelling library of over two hundred productions created through Jasper Deeter's idealistic and made up our minds pursuit of 'truth and beauty.'
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Extra info for A Sustainable Theatre: Jasper Deeter at Hedgerow
Courtesy of the Hedgerow Theatre. vaudeville, Chautauqua performances, and stock at the Little Theatre in Philadelphia. All without particular distinction. But he was passionate about acting and performing. His mother, who aspired to a singing career, had given him vocal training and he performed as a choir boy at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where he grew up. She also encouraged him to attend acting classes taught by Silas Clark—Barrett Clark’s father—at Chautauqua, New York, where he deferred part of his tuition by working as a cook’s assistant.
He occasionally drank a bit before the show, and she kept an extra prop pistol backstage that she would fire in case he nodded off. She also remembers with great fondness when he took her to a matinee film at the Media movie theatre, and they had to use a special entrance 36 A Sustainable Theatre reserved for the coloreds. ”19 The audacity of Jasper Deeter integrating both the stage and the audience at Hedgerow was courageous and controversial. Pennsylvania at the end of the 1920s, like many northern states, was deeply segregated in its public facilities, and Negroes were simply not allowed in the best hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, or swimming pools.
3 Deeter and Gilpin became good friends through the Broadway run and subsequent tour, and Deeter was often in awe of the power and presence that Gilpin brought to the role. He watched The Emperor Jones dozens of times from backstage before making an appearance in the last scene when the scheming Smithers watches the natives drag the dead emperor out of the forest. Deeter was very fond of the play and would never tire of reprising it at Hedgerow where he played Smithers to a variety of Joneses.