Assassination of John F. Kennedy
[Text] To Perform Or Not to Perform on November 1963

Author: Frances V. Zerbe

On the night of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, members of the “Gilbert and Sullivan Players” from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania gathered at the Plays and Players Theater for their performance of “The Gondoliers.” 

Some of us came directly from work, stunned by the horrific news. Our director, Bruce Montgomery, was considering whether we should cancel or perform. All the professional theaters had decided to keep them black. A few of our audience members arrived, and urged us most entreatingly to go on stage, to help them endure the nightmare. It was eventually decided that with all the other theaters closed, we should also keep our stage empty for the night. We were a small troupe, limited to the size of the original G & S casts. Enough of us are still here to remember that cold night waiting in the dark lobby with heavy hearts.

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Submitted by: Virginia Choi
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