24 September 2007

central high school theatre

is the (well, a) backdrop for a historical op-ed in the times today (thanks for the tip, al!). sure, the story ends with the intrepid reporter leaving the herald over his "political" content. (way to blaze that trail, Herald!) but it's nice as always to think of my high school, with its grander-than-we-really-need WPA auditorium, as host to the likes of louis armstrong. especially the louis armstrong who was willing, finally, to denounce orval faubus and the racist south more generally.

the article mentions that armstrong stayed in the dakota (iirc, more famous in later times as the slightly fleabitten residential hotel from which folks had to be evacuated in helicopters during The Flood) and was the first african american to do so; makes you wonder where paul robeson and marian anderson, each of whom had performed at central in years past, might have stayed.

oh, and of course there's personal nostalgia associated with that stage as well -- and not just because, many years later, i sang where marian anderson sang. it's the autographs and messages carved into the wood loft and the catwalks, the way it felt to know that people had been singing rogers and hammerstein there since rogers and hammerstein were writing, the general feeling of grandness associated with having the oldest most capacious house in town.