FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2012
Contact: Rachel Flynn, 651.292.4323 x106, firstname.lastname@example.org
“My thirteenth birthday!
Mother gave me a new dancing school dress which is green taffeta.
At dancing school tonight, all the girls were pea-green with envy.
Everyone danced with me – even him
. Ye Gads!”
—Clotilde “Coco” Irvine, January 27, 1927
History Theatre’s new play Coco’s Diary proves that a teenager is a teenager, no matter what century they’re in.
SAINT PAUL, MN – History Theatre will brighten the mood with the world premiere of Coco’s Diary
, a new play with music that has been adapted for stage from the pages of a 13-year-old girl’s diary. The diary of Clotilde “Coco” Irvine was discovered by author Peg Meier when she was scouring through the archives of the Minnesota Historical Society. She was charmed by the way Coco’s voice jumped off the page so she brought the manuscript to History Theatre’s artistic director suggesting that he ought to translate it to the stage. The result is a script that follows Coco’s 13th year of life on Summit Avenue, in the home that is now the Governor’s Residence. Underscored by dozens of songs from the Jazz Age, Coco’s Diary
covers the archetypical year in the life of an American teenager: parents who just don’t understand, teachers who seem to have a vendetta against her, boys who are becoming more complicated and confusing by the day, adventures with siblings, and the struggles that come with living in the gray area between the ease and innocence of childhood, and the hard-won wisdom of young adulthood.
Opens: Saturday, March 3, 2012
Through: Sunday, March 25, 2012
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays @ 8:00 p.m. • Saturdays & Sundays @ 2:00 p.m.
(Complete performance schedule included, page 4 of PDF)
ASL/AD performance on 3/11/12 at 2:00 p.m.
Performing at History Theatre, 30 East Tenth Street | St. Paul, MN 55101
For directions and parking information visit: http://www.historytheatre.com/map-and-parking
TICKETS: Tier 1 $38; Tier 2 $34; Tier 3 $30
Seniors (60+ years old) get $2 off regular ticket prices
Students (5 to 18 years old): $15
Discount rates are available for groups of 15 or more.
History Theatre Box Office at 651.292.4323 or www.historytheatre.com/tickets/
Photos are available at www.historytheatre.com/about/press (after 3/2/12)
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About the Play
After coming across Coco’s diary, Peg Meier – formerly of the Star Tribune and author of a number of books on Minnesota history – set to work at getting in published. Last year, the University of Minnesota Press made the diary into a sweet little book with an introduction by Ms. Meier. She also presented the diary to her neighbor, History Theatre’s artistic director Ron Peluso, thinking that Coco is a character who deserves to be brought to life on stage. (Peg has a great track record of provided History Theatre with excellent stories which have become very compelling plays including Hiding in the Open and Sister Kenny’s Children).
“When Peg came to me with Coco’s diary thinking that it would make a delightful play – she was right! This quirky little diary from 1927, written by a spunky, bright and clever 13-year-old was a delight to read and a joy to adapt,” says Peluso. “A couple years ago, I gathered some friends and associates around the dinner table and had some actor friends just read the original diary and the response with marvelous! Everyone loved it! Two years, several workshops, and one Raw Stages reading later, here we are. Bob Beverage and I have adapted this work and infused the music of the 20’s while trying to keep the original tone and style of the diary (Coco’s voice) intact.” Using just a three-person cast, a piano, and some ingenuity, Coco’s Diary reincarnates 13-year-old Clotilde Irvine and her world using her own words.
was adapted for the stage by Bob Beverage and Ron Peluso, with music selected by Bob Beverage. It is directed by Ron Peluso, with music direction by Jake Endres, scenic design by Rick Polenek, costume design by Kelsey Glassner, lighting design by Pamela Kildahl, properties design by Kirby Moore, and stage managed by Janet L. Hall. Featuring Anna Evans and Kacie Riddle (on altering nights) as Young Clotilde “Coco” Irvine, Andrea Wollenberg as Adult Coco and Ensemble, and Jake Endres as Tom Irvine and Ensemble.
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About Clotilde Irvine and Her Diary
From Peg Meier, editor of Through No Fault of My Own
“One of the biggest joys of my work life was finding Coco’s diary. It wasn’t in a garbage dump or in a moldy old attic. It was right where it should have been – safely in the archives of the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.
“Coco Irvine was a 13-year-old St. Paul girl in 1927 when she kept her diary. She was funny, spunky and often in trouble, ‘through no fault of my own,’ as she put it. A delightful, colorful writer, she recorded every ‘disaster’ in her life. Plus, she wrote about each encounter with the boy she called ‘He,’ the love of her young life.
“But who was this girl? I had to find out. Using my training as a longtime newspaper reporter, I found out Coco was special in more ways than keeping a hilarious diary. She was the daughter and granddaughter of wealthy lumbermen, back when Midwest forests were harvested for the nation’s westward expansion. Her father, Horace Irvine, built a 20-room mansion on St. Paul’s luxurious Summit Avenue in 1910, about three miles from the Capitol and Cathedral. As older adults, Coco and her younger sister, Olivia Irvine Dodge, donated the home at 1006 Summit Avenue to the state of Minnesota. The home is now the governor’s residence.
“When Coco was a grandmother, she reread her handwritten diary. She thought her family might get a kick out of reading it and set about to have it printed as a simple book. She wanted to give copies as Christmas gifts. But ill with cancer, she was not able to finish the project. Coco died in the summer of 1975 at the age of 61. Her sister Olivia carried on the task and hired a printer make about 100 copies. Apparently, the original diary was tossed then.
“Fortunately, some of Coco’s possessions were donated to the Minnesota Historical Society after her death. That gift included a printed copy of the diary, enabling us to read her words and see her story on stage.”
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(Complete performance schedule is included on page 4 of the PDF)
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Friday, March 9
Bring your friends and make a night of it! Perfect for a Girls’ Night Out! One price includes six drink tickets to use at the concessions stand and six tickets to the 8:00 p.m. performance of Coco’s Diary.
$210 for Tier 1 / $180 for Tier 2
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PIZZA AND A PLAY
Friday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Transition from the hectic workday into an evening of fun with happy hour drink prices, and delicious pizza and salad from Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza before seeing the 8:00 p.m. performance of Coco’s Diary. Test your trivia knowledge about the Jazz Age and compete for prizes!
$45 for Tier 1 / $40 for Tier 2 or Tier 3
AFTERTHOUGHTS DISCUSSION SERIES
Sundays: 3/4, 3/11, 3/18, 3/25 at 4:00 p.m.
Patrons are invited to join a discussion series that will immediately follow Sunday matinees. Afterthoughts will feature guest speakers to talk about topics related to Coco’s Diary as well as the artists who brought the show to life on the stage. Guests will include Clotilde Irvine’s daughter, members of the 1006 Summit Avenue Society, and the editor who brought Coco’s diary out of the Minnesota Historical Society’s archives and into the hands of History Theatre’s artistic director. Check www.HistoryTheatre.com for a schedule and details about special guests and topics.
FREE to ticketed patrons
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About History Theatre
For 34 years, the History Theatre Experience has created:
• Inspiration. The History Theater Experience brings real stories about real people to the stage in an immediate experience that touches our lives.
• 111 world premiere performances, more than any other theater in the Twin Cities. The History Theatre is one of the country’s most impressive new play development homes – bringing to full production new work by Jeffrey Hatcher, Melanie Marnich, Craig Wright, Kim Hines, Dorie Baizley, John Olive, Kira Obolensky, and more.
• Brave, entertaining explorations of all the histories that make up our diverse community. From Farm Boys to Snapshots: Life in the City, from the celebratory Wellstone! to the dark, complex Piece of the Rope about Minnesota’s first public execution, HT has moved Minnesotans to rediscover, relive, and respect every piece of their history. More than 200,000 students have connected with history through performances at HT.
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History Theatre is equipped with an FM hearing enhancement system. We offer ASL interpreted and Audio Described performances. We have complimentary wheelchairs for those patrons who need extra assistance into the building. The handicap-accessible entrance is on Cedar St. Just inside the entrance is an elevator that will take patrons to the theatre level. Patrons are asked to indicate any special needs that when ordering tickets.