New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Tune into Radio Jersey with Lee Mrowicki every Monday through Friday from 6pm to 8pm
Broadcast on Asbury Music!

Within The Law: East Lynne Theater Revives An Early Broadway Hit

By Gary Wien


This article was originally designed to be read in the September 2014 issue of
New Jersey Stage magazine. To read it in its original format, click here

The theme of this year's season at East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May is "What is legal?" That theme continues with Bayard Veiller's "Within The Law". It's a play that was one of the most popular on Broadway in the early 20th century but is rarely produced today. The plot involves Mary Turner, a store clerk who is wrongly convicted for stealing and given a prison sentence to make her an "example" to other employees. While behind bars, she learns how to be a real criminal. When her prison term is over, she seeks revenge on those who wronged her while staying within the boundaries of the law.

Performances are at The First Presbyterian Church (500 Hughes Street) in Cape May from September 17 through October 12. New Jersey Stage spoke with Artistic Director, Gayle Stahlhuth, about the play which she describes as a crime drama as relevant today as it was when written 100 years ago, filled with mystery, romance, humor, and unforgettable characters.

"Within the Law" was a highly successful play on Broadway over a hundred years ago, but rarely done today. What attracted East Lynne Theater Company to the play? 
Looking at today's television shows and films, it's apparent that criminals and lawyers are popular subjects, so in 2011, I began looking into early American plays involving such characters. One name that came up early in the Internet search was playwright Bayard Veiller. Online, I easily ordered copies of his plays "The Trial of Mary Dugan" and "The Thirteenth Chair," but "Within the Law" was not so simple. The book version was available through Project Gutenberg. Many plays first opened on Broadway, and then were adapted into novels in the early 1900s.

My next go-to source [for a copy of the play] was the New York City Library system, and since I live there half the year, I have a card. Again, this proved futile.

I then explored the theatrical licensing companies, and Samuel French had this 1912 play listed in their archives. Happily, I ordered a copy, and waited. And waited. Since these plays are old enough to be royalty-free, French does not keep them on the shelf. After a year, I called French to ask what happened to "Within the Law," only to be told that they didn't have it, which seemed odd since the year before they had it listed. I tried again a few months later, and this time, the woman answering the phone was not so dismissive. She was curious why the script had been listed in 2011, but was not in 2012. In a few weeks, she found it, and mailed me a copy. When I read it – finally – I was struck by the still relevant themes of social inequality, the pursuit of a living wage, and a legal system that favors those who have enough money to hire the best council. As the lawyer in the play states, "Nowadays, we don't call them ‘courts of justice.' We call them ‘courts of law.'"

The play is often seen as a story of income inequality, a subject that has been dominating the news for the past few years again.  Do you see parallels between the time period the play was written in and today?
I certainly do. With the rise of industrialization and people moving from farms to cities in this country in the late 1800s, a different type of society was being formed, along with a heightened set of social problems that included poverty, class warfare, violence, greed, and racism. "Progressives" like Jane Addams, believed that life would be better for everyone if corporate greed was exposed, immigrants were not despised, everyone had the opportunity for a good education, and the workplace provided a clean and safe environment with a living wage. The Progressive Era was beginning to make strides until the movement was overshadowed by The First World War.

Currently, those working for fast-food chains are speaking up for a decent wage. In "Within the Law," Mary Turner pleads the case for better wages to Edward Gilder, wealthy owner of a Manhattan department store when she says, "And when you're real sick and have to stop work, what are you going to do then? Do you know that the first time an honest girl steals, it's often because she needs a doctor, or some luxury like that?"

I love the play's concept of someone innocent being jailed and returning to society as a criminal.  What do you think of the character of Mary Turner?
I admire her. She's brilliant – and flawed. Her thirst for revenge for being sent to prison for three years is paramount. Will true love save her? After all,



For more by this author, click here






The Panto Company Presents "Beauty and the Beast" at The Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- When you think of a dying rose and a clock, candlestick andteapot who talk... you are thinking Beauty and the Beast. One of this season's spellbinding family shows from The Panto Company USA stars Dame Dotty Potty, Loopy Louie, Gaston, Belle and of course The Beast!  The company brings their show to The Newton Theatre on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00pm.
La Strada Ensemble Theater Presents "La Bella Familia" by Edwin Sanchez
(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- La Strada Ensemble Theater presents La Bella Familia by Edwin Sanchez from January 18-20.  The play deals with a Puerto Rican hit woman and the gentlest man in the world move next door to the neighbors from hell and everyone learns, the hard way, that family comes first.
Art House Productions Presents "The Passion Project" by Reid Farrington
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions presents the unique theatrical experience that is Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project performed by Laura K. Nicoll.  Eight performances will take place from February 21st to March 3rd. The Passion Project is a 30 minute vibration between performance, film, and installation. Carl Th.Dreyer’s 1928 immortal masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is the main narrative along with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, the story of making this project, as well as Joan’s own story –– her trial, torture, and execution. The Passion Project explodes the film into the three dimensions; placing the audience inside the film, sitting next to Joan, subjecting them to the relentless rhythm of 35 mm film projection.
4th Wall Theatre Presents "Intimate Apparel" by Lynn Nottage
(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) -- 4TH WALL THEATRE continues its 22nd season with a one weekend run of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel.  The show will be presented as part of the Black History Month celebrations on February 22, 23, and 24 at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, NJ.  The show is directed by 4th Wall Executive Director Gwen Ricks-Spencer.
East Lynne Theater, the Henry Sawyer Inn, and Twin Gable's Inn present Murder Mystery Weekends
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning East Lynne Theater Company, with The Henry Sawyer Inn and Twin Gables Inn, present Murder Mystery Weekends on February 15-16, March 8-9, March 22-23, March 29-30, and April 5-6. Participants can test their crime-solving skills while staying in one of these lovely Bed & Breakfasts. East Lynne Theater Company's Murder Mystery Weekends were cited among one of the top five in the country by "AM NY."  


It's "Apple Season" at NJ Rep
Every family has stories. Some are funny. Some are sweet. Some are sad. And some are never shared. Those are often the most powerful.
Rise of the Goatman
Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.
PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30. 
REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre
Nestled in a corner of Hoboken, on the second floor, lies the studios of radio station WMST.  It’s a wonderful art deco studio, replete with fine wooden walls, embedded with colorful lights an applause sign.  On stage, we’ve got a few chairs, several microphones and a whole corner wedged with all the necessary props – piano, men’s shoes, sheet metal – to create the audio effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Betsy Aidem Puts A Woman's Touch On George Street Playhouse's "A Doll's House, Part 2"
Betsy Aidem is a veteran actress you might have seen on Broadway. Or maybe on an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Or maybe on the big screen last year in “The Greatest Showman.” But over the next few weeks in New Brunswick, Aidem is adding a brand-new section to her résumé — by helming a sequel (of sorts) to a classic play that’s more than 100 years old.






Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


MUSIC


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


THEATRE

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


KIDS

AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events
























New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.