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December 10, 2022
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
SoNo Friends of NPL Community Room
10 Washington St.
Norwalk, CT 06854
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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Three Stories: The Christmas Sing in Our Village by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman Their Dear Little Ghost by Elia W. Peattie Gift of the Magi by O. Henry plus... a surprise, from Louisa May Alcott

In this unique program, professional actress Michèle LaRue brings to life a quartet of vintage holiday stories about love, joy, and giving: The Christmas Sing in Our Village, by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (1898); Their Dear Little Ghost, by Elia W. Peattie (1898); The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry’s well-loved favorite (1906) . . . and a surprise from Louisa May Alcott.

The Christmas Sing in Our Village is a lighthearted, gossipy tale of small-town New England anticipation, celebration, and romantic intrigue. Their Dear Little Ghost tenderly remembers a child who enchanted in life and returns to bring comfort at Christmastime. In The Gift of the Magi, struggling young newlyweds search doggedly for two perfect Christmas presents . . . astonishing each other and themselves, and discovering the true spirit of giving. That surprise from Alcott begins the afternoon.

Michèle LaRue has specialized in performances of literature from America’s Gilded Age for 30 years and tours nationally with a varied repertoire of TALES WELL TOLD. Rave reviews from nearly 500 sponsors include, “What you have to offer is priceless” (Pennsylvania); “You could hear a pin drop!” Kentucky; “Spellbound!” (Seattle); “Perfection” (New York City). The SoNo library has hosted several of Michèle’s programs, including Someone Must Wash the Dishes: An Anti-Suffrage Satire, Gettysburg: One Woman's War, and The Bedquilt. She’s delighted to be back.

A Chicago native, Michèle has lived in Secaucus, New Jersey, for . . . oh . . . a very long time. She is a member of both actors’ unions—Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA; as a writer and editor, she has collaborated on many notable theatre books and periodicals.

Elia Wilkinson Peattie (1862 – 1935) grew up in her native Michigan. With her husband, a fellow journalist, she made her home, first in Chicago, then in Omaha. She was the Chicago Tribune’s first woman reporter, and wrote fiction as well as observant editorials and reviews for major papers in both cities.

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (1852 – 1930), a popular and prolific short-story writer, was born and lived most of her life in Massachusetts, continuing her work after marrying and moving to Metuchen, New Jersey. She wrote insightfully and with sympathetic humor about her fellow small-town New Englanders. O. Henry (in 1862 – 1910), born William Sydney Porter, authored 400 short stories. His most intense writing period began in 1902, when he moved to New York City—via South Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Adored by readers, often panned by critics, he gained international recognition and is credited with defining the short story as a literary art form.

Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888) is best remembered for Little Women and its sequels, but wrote in various genres, from poetry to memoir, to (as “A. M. Barnard”) sensational novels. Her childhood and education, in Boston and Concord, were determined by her father’s Transcendentalist teachings and poverty.

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