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July 25, 2013

"Rainmaker" kicks off Stage's new play readings

Gloucester Stage kicks off its summer reading series on Monday with a new play featuring local ties.

The first reading will be “The Rainmaker” by the late playwright N. Richard Nash on July 29 at 8 p.m. He is the father of Amanda Nash, a former president of the Rocky Neck Art Colony and avid support of the arts on Cape Ann.

This play reading celebrates the 100th anniversary of the playwright’s birth. The evening includes a casual reception and conversation with Nash following the reading.

The play takes place during the time of a devastating drought in the West. The play focuses on a girl, whose father and brothers are worried about her becoming “an old maid” as well as the drought killing their cattle. The brothers try every possible scheme to marry her off, but without success. Into the setting comes a sweet-talking man claiming to be “the rainmaker,” who not only promises to bring rain for $100, but also persuades the girl that she is a real beauty of her own.

The playwright grew up in Philadelphia and later settled in New York City as his successful career evolved. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.

”The stories he told that I liked the most were about the antics he and his friends got up to during the Depression,” Amanda Nash recalled. “(A) $10-a-match boxing (appearance) was one — I guess he got the $10 but he was pretty well bloodied.”

Growing up, Nash attended a lot of theater in Manhattan.

”He was adventurous theater-wise. He would have loved Gloucester Stage,” Nash said of her father. “He liked theater in all its forms, and he particularly liked it when it was fledgling. He was not a shiny glamorous kind of guy. He liked real people. He taught me a love of letters, and I have been in publishing for a lot of my life.”

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