Story Share by: Betty Stirling, East Bridgewater, MA
I grew up in the village of Elmwood, a suburb of East Bridgewater. In the late 1940s, we welcomed Madge Wainwright Alger to our town. Madge and her sisters were musical performers in Vaudeville years earlier. Aside from giving the “Tune-Agers” our start in 1951, she was also well-known in the musical industry. When a group performing “Carmen” came to Brockton in the early ’50s, some of their troupe became ill. The director contacted Madge to supply three young ladies to fill in for them. I got a call from Madge, as did Sandra (Doten) Harlan and Sally (Flagg) Aldrich. (We were juniors at EBHS.) The three of us were thrilled at the prospect of performing in “Carmen” at the former Brockton Theater. We arrived backstage and changed into appropriate Spanish dresses and had make-up applied to our faces. We adopted the names Frasquita, Micaela, and Mercedes.
Imagine our thrill as we emerged onto the stage, mingling with other “real” performers, pretending to know what to do! We just made small talk among ourselves. We held cigarettes in our hands, but did not smoke them! We found out later that two Elmwood residents (Damon and Thelma Leavitt) were in the audience and were so surprised to see three Elmwood girls waltz onto the stage in the middle of the production. In one particular balcony scene, we were the only ones on stage!
We will never forget our one day of stardom. It was quite a thrill for 16-year-old girls from the little village of Elmwood!