Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Newcomerstown Ohio’

Chris Hart Performs One-Man Shows That Receive Rousing Reviews

Chris Hart

Chris Hart delights audiences with his repertoire of stories.

One-man performances require much research and attention to detail. Chris Hart has this down to a science. Not only does Chris do extensive research, but he writes all of the programs himself. This makes it easier for him during performances, as he is the only one who knows if he strayed from the original script.

Christopher Hart, museum curator and living historian at Roscoe Village, hales from the country in Tuscarawas County these days, even though born in Cambridge. Living on Steubenville Avenue for the first few years of his life, Chris indicated that he was a “good kid”, always a bit shy.

That shyness continued through school at Newcomerstown High School, where Chris didn’t participate in high school performances. Yet he loved going to the theater and watching.

sherlock (2)

Involved in Sherlock Holmes performances, Chris often portrays Sherlock’s sidekick, John Watson.

So where did the idea for one-man shows first appear? A few years after he married his supporting wife, Suzie, they visited a restored village in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. There, a man dressed in full costume told a living history story of a Confederate soldier, who never went home. Chris told Suzie, “That would be the ideal job. Fun!” The seed was planted.

Ohio Northern had become his college of choice to study in their pharamaceutical department. For many years, Chris played the real life role of pharmacist all over Tuscarawas County, but has since retired.

Now he had extra time. One day he noticed an ad for a person to portray a village doctor in Roscoe Village. Four people applied and took turns being doctor throughout the season. This was the first real person he had even done, but that was only the beginning.

Chris Hart

Captain Reynolds tells tales of life of the Ohio-Erie Canal.

A Canal Boat Captain on the Ohio-Erie Canal, which ran close to Roscoe Village, was the first character he fully developed himself. He became Captain Reynolds, who in his travels meets a photographer, snake charmer and even a witch.

While Chris began his one-man, first-person performance days at Roscoe Village, it didn’t take long for listeners to know they had a talented storyteller on their hands. He doesn’t just tell a story, he becomes the character in dress, voice, and emotion.

Queen Victoria and Chris Hart

During Dickens Victorian Village season, Chris performed “Audience with the Queen” with Queen Victoria.

His characters usually are drawn from famous historic events, but he doesn’t portray the main character. He finds it much more interesting to portray someone in the background of the event as he sees it through their eyes. Plus, everyone knows what Charles Dickens looked like, but nobody knows much about his close friend, James Fields.

The only famous person he has done is Neil Armstrong giving a press release twenty years after his walk on the moon. So far he has developed nearly forty different characters, and the list continues to grow.

Main Street Bar

Chris greets visitors to Olde Main Street at the original walnut bar from Sam Douglass Saloon in Newcomerstown.

He jokingly says his ideas come from the committee in his head. He takes ideas he personally likes and finds a character to fulfill that role, or he does a request for an organization. It usually takes about two to three months to research and write one of his performances. His best writing time happens at 5:00 in the morning.

Every story has three basic elements to reach the audience. It needs a little humor, the listener needs to feel a tug of emotion, and there’s usually a twist of some kind that makes the story surprising.

Titanic 001

This is a copy of the original boarding pass used for the Titanic.

His most popular show right now features “The Survivor of the Titanic”, where he portrays Peter Daley a first class passenger on the ship. Peter remembers that fateful day when the Titanic went down and how he survived.

Another favorite, “Shepherd’s Journey”, came to him while he was driving his car. A shepherd at the Nativity moves with Jesus through several major events in his life, culminating at the crucifixion and resurrection. This is a popular religious performance from Christmas through Easter.

Prof. Chris Hart

Chris prepares for another pharmaceutical lecture at Belmont Tech.

Even though Chris enjoys his work on stage, he now also teaches pharmaceutical classes at seven different colleges. His favorite class is at the University of Findlay, where he teaches the History of Pharmacy. As you might imagine his classes are fun as well as educational, since he often appears in costume to make the lesson real.

After seeing his schedule, it’s obvious that Chris makes good use of his time with little to spare. When he does have extra time, reading and hiking at Salt Fork provide relaxation. Mt. Everest tops the list of places Chris would like to visit. It’s the tallest mountain in the world with many stories to tell.

Chris a Salt Fork Festival.

At the Salt Fork Festival, Chris told the story, “Paws for the Cause”, about a Civil War soldier and his dog.

Throughout the year, Chris can be found throughout the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee entertaining audiences with his tales of years gone by. His most recent addition tells the story of a 9/11 survivor, “I’m Not a Hero”. Be sure to catch one or more of his one-man shows sometime soon. You’ll be a fan.

This season, 2017, he will be doing a new story for Friends of the Library during Dickens Victorian Village season. This time he takes on the role of Peter Cratchit, Scrooge’s office clerk, in a performance called “My, How Christmas Has Changed”.

When this fantastic storyteller stops to ponder, it’s not uncommon to hear him say, “That reminds me of another story.” Chris Hart brings history to life!

If you would like to contact Chris for a show at your event, phone him at 740–408-4608. You might find him at Olde Main Street in Newcomerstown or follow him on Facebook at Christopher Hart: History Comes to Life. Schedule ahead!

 

 

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Stroll Down Memory Lane at Olde Main Street

Main Street

Volunteer shopkeepers line Olde Main Street.

Take a walk down Olde Main Street and view life as it used to be in the early 1940s. Twenty-three store fronts take you back to businesses that served their customers in that era.

Through the inspiration of Barb and Vane Scott II, the Olde Main Street Museum in Newcomerstown opened its doors in 2009 after four years of much hard work and dedication to the project.Since opening, a dressing room and parking lot have been added.

Main Street Ford Garage

Shumaker’s Ford car dealership made its home here in 1915.

The Ford car dealership of Lell Shumaker was originally in this building back in 1915, followed by a factory making carbide tools. The carbide residue created an extensive cleaning problem when organizing the museum.

Today family members are still keeping up that tradition as Vane Scott III, and his granddaughter, Meredith, participate in the enactment of scenes. They both take great pride in carrying on this family inspired project.

Main Street Post Office

Ray McFadden talks to the postmaster regarding his late mail.

Ray and BJ McFadden have been instrumental in organizing this immense project.Their purpose was to restore an authentic village using only things that came from Newcomerstown.  They wanted to establish a Community Center where groups could be entertained and served a catered meal while enjoying the feeling of stepping back in time.

Main Street BJ

BJ McFadden plays a large role in helping the museum go forward.

Now bus tour groups frequently take a break here to have lunch while hearing tales of a bygone era. Class reunions step back to the era of their high school days as shopkeepers dress in costumes according to the time period.  Visitors sitting on Main Street feel like they’re reliving their teenage years.

Main Street Jail

This prisoner was a bootlegger.

Many of the store fronts have shopkeepers who tell a little about their line of work. There was even a prisoner in jail, who had been arrested for making some home brew out in the woods. Main Street came alive with memories of the days of WWII as shopkeepers complained of there being little male help at their business.

Main Street Shoe Repair

A shoe repairman, portrayed by Vane Scott III, complained because the blacksmith was repairing boots.He bellowed,”I don’t make horseshoes, so you shouldn’t fix boots.” 

Showcase Alley contains rotating collections of local people. Former area residents Cy Young and Woody Hayes each have their own showcase of memorabilia.

In 1948, there was great excitement in town as the whole town was invited to Cleveland Stadium where Cy Young was to be honored on his 80th birthday. Owner of the Indians, Bill Veeck, made it possible for the C&M Railroad to stop in Newcomerstown and carry the entire town to Cleveland at no cost to residents.

Main Street Circus

This detailed circus train collection is highlighted in Showcase Alley.

A miniature circus, purchased by Vane Scott II, was used as a traveling display by the Scott family. The fine details of this circus were first created in Germany, but Vane, the sign painter, touched them up to perfection.

It’s so pleasing to see a community cooperate on such a large project such as this with just volunteers. They take great pride in their museums and rightly so. Next door is a second historic stop, Temperance Tavern, which is packed with local history.

Main Street Music

The Music Room honors native son, Manuel Yingling, who played trombone with the John Philip Sousa Band.

When scheduling a tour there or attending one of their many events, enjoy time in this living history museum. Meander down Main Street of long ago and smile as the memories appear.

Olde Main Street Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10-4, and on Sunday from 1-4. If you would like to have your group visit for one of their many interesting programs, they will rearrange their schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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