Tales From the Yorkside
Author: Jim Morgan and Charles Wright
Reflections on a Time for Singing
JIM: Well, Charles, we’ve just finished Mufti Number Two — A Time for Singing.
CHARLES: It was a revelation, wasn’t it? I’m sorry it couldn’t run longer.
JIM: Definitely bittersweet.
CHARLES: I was glad to have an excuse to re-read Richard Llewellyn’s novel. I had fond recollections of reading it in high school, but my memory of the narrative details was hazy. Re-visiting it last month, I was struck by the beauty of Llewellyn’s authorial voice and the timelessness of his themes. I suspect a number of people noticed similarities to The Last Ship.
JIM: It makes me want to see the John Ford movie again. So many audience members brought up their fond memories of the movie before or after seeing the show. Clearly, all three works have a resonance that stays with you.
CHARLES: Llewellyn was ahead of his time. How Green Was My Valley is a call to preserve the earth’s resources. The novel appeared almost a quarter century before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and well in advance of the environmental movement that led to creation of the EPA.
JIM: To me, the highlight of doing this show was having both authors at the York on the same night, seeing their creation again after so many years. And they loved the whole experience. Just to be in the room with them and their friends and family and the cast and company was pretty magical. The amazing thing was the number of out-of-towners who came to New York expressly to see the show the nights that Jerry and John were there. They flew in from Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, North Carolina … Piper Laurie came from California.
CHARLES: I heard people say they’d been waiting years for A Time for Singing to be done again and that they were grateful so many people, including the authors, were able to see it performed so well.
JIM: And watching it grow over the beautiful ten performance run was inspiring. I am so proud of what we accomplished with this gloriously complex material in a short amount of time.
CHARLES: I know A Time for Singing is now being licensed for performance by Rodgers & Hammerstein … and, of course, the original cast recording is available on Bruce Kimmel’s Kritzerland label. Let’s hope all this exposure leads to more productions around the country.
JIM: This seems like a good time to look at the show’s history through the notes you wrote for the Mufti program.