One of the best attractions to come to the Opera House during the season of 1903 was Yager and Rheinstrom’s beautiful production from the pen of Clyde Fitch entitled “Lover’s Lane” which came to the Opera House November 5,1903. The scene was laid in the village of Amherst in 1886 and the cast portrayed the peculiarities of the usual village folks and in the drama the minister, the church bell ringer, the store keeper, the church deacon, the village fat boy, the boy from the city, the lady social leader of the village, the chairwoman of the sewing circle, the village dress maker, the lady leader of the church choir, the schoolmistress, the elderly woman from the poorhouse, the girl from the orphan asylum and Bridget, the cook in the ministers house hold, and of course, the manager of the village opera house and the young lovers from New York in love with the young lady art student who gave lessons in the village.
Act 1 showing the interior of the parsonage with the usual callers who protested this and that and expressed their ideas about various members whose activities did not meet w9th the favor of the members of the congregation was beautifully acted and very droll.
Act 2 depicted happenings on the Main Street of the village in which the fat boy and his companions started a fight with the lad from the city, but with the fat lad on the side lines urging his companions but careful not to mix in which suddenly ceased with the appearance of the minister.
Act 3 was one of the most beautiful scenic bits ever shown on the local stage, Autumn in the Orchard, with the trees hung with ripened fruits and the invasion of the fat boy and his companions intent on plundering fruit and prevented by the lovers entering the orchard and overhearing a lover’s quarrel which they reported to the village gossips whose tongues made a great ado of this happening.
Act 4 was the Orchard in the Spring with the trees ladened with pink and white blossoms under which the reconciliation of the lovers took place and ending happily.
W.F. Haddock as Reverend Thomas Singleton, Harry Mayo as Herbert Woodridge, Morris Felix as Uncle Bill, this church bell ringer, Frank P. Stone as Hosea Brown the store keeper, J.D. Walsh as Mr. Skillings, the manager of the Opera House, Herbert Marion as Deacon Steele, head deacon of the church, Edward Cadieux as Dick Woodridge, a lad from New York, Maurice Wilson, the village fat boy, Mabel Walsh as Mary Yarkin, an instructor from the Student’s Art League of New York, Jack Harrold as Harry in love with Mabel, Pauline Baxter, who leads and sings alto in the church choir, Dollie Richmond as Simplicity Johnson from the Orphan Asylum. Madeline Cadieux as Aunt Melissy from the poorhouse, Anne Morton as Matty the minister’s housekeeper, Martha Hansford as Bridget the cook in the minister’s household. Helen French as Mrs. Lane from New York, Rhoda Block as Mrs. Hosea Brown, wife of the store keeper and social leader in the village, Patricia Claire as Miss Mollie Mealey the school mistress, Grace Chester as Mrs. Steele, the chairwoman of the sewing circle, Maude Iverson as Mrs. Jennings, the village dressmaker whose shop shows the latest styles from Boston twice a year and her gossip of the elite of Boston was retailed to the sewing circle after bi-yearly visit to the horrified but eager listeners of the circle, all were excellent. The entire cast of this beautiful drama was in the
most competent hands and the characters portrayed were true to life in a small rural village where all the people know each other and are ready to gossip about those who sidestep proprieties, The comedy parts were in the hands Bridget, the cook, and Simplicity Johnson, who knew all the gossip concerning the social set in the village and their conversations about the doings and Simplicity imitations of the leaders of the village were an amusing piece of character acting that was appreciated by the audience.
“The Parish Priest” a drama that was one of the most interesting plays ever shown on the local stage came to the Opera House November 12, 1903, with a fine. Cast of splendid actors, who fitted the parts cast for them in the most admirable manner. It showed the constant problems the Priest was confronted with by almost endless flow of parishioners to his door with their cares and troubles which he was called upon to straighten out and untangle and which he did to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. When the last caller had departed. Patrick, the servitor to the priest, breathed an audible sigh of relief as he closed the door and remarked: “It has been a busy day Father! I think I will take a smoke.”
As the curtain descended, the Priest and Patrick were compelled to come before the curtain and bow their acknowledgment to the applause for their excellent work in this play.