North Oregon Coast Celebrates 100th Birthday with Mark Twain
(Astoria, Oregon) - The Netel Grange will celebrate its 100th birthday this October, and it intends to do so in style – historic style.
Over the past century, the hall (near Astoria and various Lewis & Clark landmarks) has been the scene of countless community celebrations, dances, weddings, and theatrical performances.
In celebration of its centennial year, Grange Master Joseph Stevenson is writing and directing, "Mark Twain Out West," a musical revue that will open in October and run for two consecutive weekends. The production combines live music with stories, in this case tales Mark Twain wrote about his adventures in the Wild West of the 1860's, originally published in his book "Roughing It" in 1872, just a few years after Twain suddenly found himself a national audience with the story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
While "Roughing It" is not Mark Twain's most famous book, it is Stevenson's personal favorite. "So many times I've collapsed laughing while reading these stories," he says. "I've been planning this show for over ten years now, and the 100th anniversary of The Grange seems like the perfect time."
As it happens, this year also marks the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's death, and a new autobiography is poised to be released, which includes material Twain did not want published for 100 years after his demise.
Performing in "Mark Twain Out West" will be Mark Erickson as Twain, and the musicians include Hobe Kytr, Ray Raihala, Dinah Urell, and Randy Weese. "Mark [Erickson] and I have been talking about this Twain role for years now," Stevenson says. "Combining the Twain stories with the great music of the Old West seems like a natural. These are some of my favorite performers, and I'm so excited that it's all finally coming together."
Grange Secretary Dave Ambrose has found the actual minutes of the first meeting held in the new building on October 16, 1910, and is planning a Grange birthday party for the afternoon of Saturday, October 16th with historical exhibits and oral history presentations. In recent years the Grange has gotten a new roof, new windows, updated bathrooms and fresh paint, largely thanks to the efforts of Grange Treasurer Craig Holt and many wonderful volunteers. The hall now boasts a new roof, new windows, updated bathrooms and fresh paint. The stage is set for another century of good times at the Netel Grange.
"Mark Twain Out West" runs October 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, with Friday and Saturday shows beginning at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door: adults $10, students and seniors $8. Netel Grange is located at 90525 Logan Road, Astoria (3.9 miles south of Miles Crossing). For more information call 503-440-3998.
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