A play by Harley Erdman
Cast: 6m, 3w
Run time: approximately 110 minutes
Nobody’s Girl fancifully portrays, in the style of old-time screen screwball comedy, the true story of Mildred Walker, who was the first female manager of Northampton’s Academy of Music Theater. Appointed interim manager when the manager was called to military service in 1940, Mildred found herself in the crosshairs of the movie exhibition company that was leasing the Academy – and at the center of a scandal where she was accused of mishandling funds and double-selling tickets.
Based on meticulous documentary research, Nobody’s Girl combines helter-skelter, rapid-fire verbatim theater with classic elements of romantic comedy to create a kinetic screwball world that shows Mildred in her prime, at the helm of a struggling theater, doing battle with duplicitous businessmen, a cantankerous mother, disloyal employees, and two men who are in madly love with her. With World War II breaking out, she engages in her own small war to transform the Academy into a first-class venue.
This portrait of an unconventional, transgressive, assertive business woman, at odds with everything in her stodgy New England town, was commissioned by the Academy for its grand reopening in October 2014. It celebrates the moxie of a forgotten small-town heroine, with affection for a bygone era of motion pictures.
Photos from 2014 Academy of Music production by Jon Crispin. Director; Sheila Siragusa.