By B. Witham
Started as an audacious scan, for thirty years the Hedgerow Theatre prospered as America's such a lot 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 by means of Jasper Deeter's idealistic and decided pursuit of 'truth and beauty.'
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Extra info for A Sustainable Theatre: Jasper Deeter at Hedgerow
Deeter knew and liked Rich and was convinced that he could become an important part of the Negro company that he wanted to build. While he was not nearly as powerful as either Gilpin or Rudd in the demanding role, Rich received dozens of good notices over the years and played the role in New York when Deeter took the Hedgerow company for an extended residence at the Phoenix Theatre in 1945. Ruth Esherick, who sometimes stage managed The Emperor Jones as a youngster at Hedgerow, recalls that he was fascinating in the role but was sometimes erratic from night to night.
Over the years he became one of the most celebrated of the Hedgerow “Emperors” as well as playing Enos in No Count Boy, Uncle January in The Man Who Died at Twelve O’Clock, and Hunnycutt In Abraham’s Bosom. Arthur Rich was born and raised in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, and was 35 years old when Deeter coaxed him into the Hedgerow family in 1931. His father was a chef at Cheltenham Military Academy in Philadelphia, and Arthur, after attending public schools, secured a position as valet for Maurice Bower Saul, a prominent lawyer in Media, Pennsylvania.
Talk polite, you heah me! I’m boss heah now, is you fergettin’? ) smithers (in a cowardly whine): No ‘arm meant, old top. jones (condescendingly): I accepts yo’ apology. 1 The impact of a black man speaking to a white man—even a slimy beachcomber like Smithers—in such terms was still shocking to a lot of theatregoers in 1920s America. Jasper Deeter recalls how he and Charles Gilpin weathered the audience storms. We always had to watch our timing in the first scene . . usually from the orchestra floor from eight to fourteen people would leave the auditorium.