Patriotism felt at Mercyhurst performance of 'Tintypes'

Jill Barrile photoJill Barrile photo

The After Dinner Opera Company (ADO) performed “Tintypes,” a patriotic musical revue conceived by Mary Kyte with Mel Marvin and Gary Pearle this past Sunday at Mercyhurst’s Walker Recital Hall.

“Tintypes” was originally scheduled to be performed in New York City at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on Aug. 27, but the destructive forces of Hurricane Irene had other plans.

Just as ADO was ready to leave for the city, The Big Apple was virtually shut down by high winds and subway closings, which caused the cancellation of the long-awaited performance.

The show’s new performance date falling on Sept. 11 was thought to be very appropriate.

“We are hoping that it will rekindle patriotism and hope for the future of this country even as we remember the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001,” said Louisa Jonason, when asked about her choice to perform the show on that particular date.

Richard Flusser founded ADO in 1950, and since then the company has been regularly performing quality, American operas.

In 2004, after the death of Flusser, Jonason was asked to become the artistic director for ADO.

Jonason is the chair of the D’Angelo Department of Music at Mercyhurst and was once the leading soprano at The New York City Opera.

Since she accepted the job of artistic director, Mercyhurst and ADO have been working together as one.

Jill Barrile photoJill Barrile photo

“Tintypes” is a musical revue set between the turn of the 20th century and the beginning of World War I.

In this period of time the population of America doubled, expanded by increased immigration. During this time, the country was undergoing visible changes that would forever alter the way Americans lived. The transcontinental railroad and Carnegie Hall were constructed along with the introduction of electricity and telephones to almost every American home. Theodore Roosevelt became our president, and gas-powered cars joined horse-drawn carriages on the city streets.

The show opens with an immigrant who, throughout the show, introduces the characters of the show that includes both common citizens and also more famous characters such as Emma Goldman, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Teddy Roosevelt.

Even without seeing the show before, audiences are still familiar with a variety of the show’s musical numbers such as “The Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Along with these more popular numbers, the show features a captivating combination of patriotic and romantic tunes that are true to this time period.

The show featured a plethora of talents that Mercyhurst and the community had to offer.

Performers included Robert Frankenberry as an immigrant, Matthew Tolbert playing the role of Teddy Roosevelt, Kirstan Orgel as Anna Held, Krista Lamb as a factory worker and former Mercyhurst student Natalie Pertz as Emma Goldman.

One thing is definite: The show was a huge success judging by the reactions of all who witnessed the performance.

After the show, post-baccalaureate student Lynn Dula commented, “Tintypes was the perfect way to remember 9/11.

“The show reminded us all of the values America was built upon and still holds dear: patriotism, hard work and equal rights for all,” she said.

The success of “Tintypes” at Mercyhurst was apparent as the audience left the theatre with smiles on their faces and a rekindled sense of patriotism.