A waterfront blog about Red Hook, Brooklyn. From Columbia Street to the Van Brunt Stores and from Valentino Pier to Red Hook Rec Center.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The American Theatre Wing in Red Hook

Okay, in truth Kurt Weill has only the most tangental relationship to Red Hook, but I think its kind of an interesting story. And it wasn't just Weill, but also George Kaufman and other theatre types. Anyway the story is, during World War II the whole country was mobilized in the war effort. This included the entertainment industry, which organized the American Theatre Wing. The Theatre Wing decided to produce a number of short, patriotic skits that would be performed in factories around the country during the lunch break. These were known as "Lunchtime Follies". The Follies were written and performed by major stars of the day, including Weill who was also one of the organizers of the productions. One of the first performances of the Follies was held in Todd's Shipyard here in Brooklyn:

From the June 23, 1942 New York Times article "Whistle While You Work"

"With its canteen for the allied enlisted man continuing in a flourishing state in Times Square, the American Theatre Wing is branching out a bit to take entertainment to factory workers engaged in the war effort. After a sort of break-in performance out Long Island way a week ago, it knocked yesterday on the gates of the Todd Shipyards in Brooklyn..."

There is a more detailed account of the American Theatre Wing at their website. http://americantheatrewing.org/ww2.php

Kind of interesting, no?


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