The Hope Players and the Clark Gable Foundation are joining forces to present a readers' theatre production of Clark Gable's first-ever stage appearance, with Gable's grandson, Clark James Gable, playing the character his grandfather portrayed at Hopedale High School in 1916.
The play, "Capt. Racket," by Charles Townsend, was adapted for readers' theatre by Charles Calabrese of Wintersville, who is directing the show. The comedy will be presented for one performance only on Friday, September 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Hopedale United Methodist Church, the church Gable attended in his youth. Advance tickets are available by contacting the Gable Foundation at (740) 942-4989.
"Capt. Racket" centers on a lawyer of the same name-his rank comes from his service in the National Guard-who gets in trouble for lying to his wife and his uncle. His best friend, Timothy Tolman, the character played by Clark Gable at Hopedale High, tries to help the Captain, an effort that gets him in trouble with his own wife.
Director Charles Calabrese researched the play, and confirmed that it was in the public domain before making the adaptation to readers' theatre. "The adaptation was relatively easy because the playwright, Charles Townsend, wrote vivid stage directions that were easy to adapt into a narrator's part," Calabrese said.
Hope Players' executive director Andrew Pelegreen III was approached by the Gable Foundation after Joanne Stives of Hopedale, whose grandmother, Virginia Hervey, was another original cast member, learned of the play and its Gable connection while going through some old family papers.
Stives wrote to a college theatre company that had produced "Capt. Racket." The director sent her a copy of the script, and the idea of recreating the show was born. Stives will portray the character her grandmother portrayed in 1916 at the September 23 staged reading.
Gable Foundation executive director Nan Mattern of Cadiz had been communicating with Gable's grandson through the young actor's agent about a possible visit to his grandfather's home town when the idea of having young Gable play his grandfather's part developed. The actor, eager to learn more about his family's roots, agreed to do the show and make other personal appearances at various venues Friday through Sunday
Those events include Tours of the Clark Gable Birth Home, Gift Shop and Museum, located at 138 Charleston Street in Cadiz on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. with souvenir tickets signed by Clark James Gable.
Gable fans also will celebrate the Hollywood legend with a Clark Gable forum and silent auction, beginning at 10:30 a.m. September 24 at the Cadiz Country Club. Clark James Gable will meet one-on-one with fans beginning at 4:30 that afternoon at the Country Club. That evening, a Gable film chosen by Gable's grandson will be shown at dusk on the grounds of the Clark Gable Bed and Breakfast, located at the Gable Birth Home, Gift Shop and Museum.
At all the weekend events, raffle tickets will be sold for a Sunday lunch with Clark James Gable at the Farm Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant and for a round of golf with young Gable at the Cadiz Country Club, beginning at 3:00 p.m. Proceeds from all the weekend events will benefit the Clark Gable Foundation. Further information is available by calling the foundation at (740) 942-4989.