Wartime Wednesday: The Stage Door Canteen
Fast forward to 1939. By request of the U.S. government, Playwright and director Rachel Crothers reestablished the organization as a branch of the British War Relief Society but called it the American Theatre Wing. Founding members were a “who’s who” in the industry including Josephine Hull, Gertrude Lawrence, Theresa Helburn, and Mary Antoinette “Toni” Perry, who would eventually be the inspiration for the Tony Award.
The group initially conducted fundraising events and clothing drives to send overseas to the British
Two days prior, the public was invited to view the establishment for the price of donations to the kitchen. More than one thousand pounds of sugar was collected! Recruiting was serious business, and applicants were told they would be expected to work through the entire war and required to provide a substitute if they had to miss a shift.
Unusual for the times, the canteens were open to servicemen of all Allied nations from every branch of service, mingling men of all nationalities and colors, creating “one of the few democratic institutions in existence anywhere.” (Theatre Arts Magazine, 1943).
Murder of Convenience
May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.
Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice.
Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/4Ax9aN