Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mary Lawton Morgan, Theatrical Star

Mary Lawton Morgan in her mink coat in The Deadly Game (1964)

Mary Lawton Morgan, Theatrical Star

I was just eight years old when I saw my mom in a play at Lakewood Little Theater (now the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio). She appeared in The Deadly Game (1964). Her part was an important one but her appearance was at the end of the last act.  I remember her laughing and suggesting that the only reason she got the role was because she owned her own mink coat (which she wore in the show). Mom had been active in performing dramatic readings as a member or the Three Arts Club. I remember her rehearsing The Women in our living room. “Jungle Red Sylvia,” she read as her character had been to a manicurist at a salon in which the story revolves. I have since seen the 1939 movie The Women and read the play The Deadly Game. I can see why she was well cast in each.

Another movie helped me remember the plot of a play in which my mom appeared at LLT in 1964. The Best Man, of course, was a play before it was a movie starring Henry Fonda. Her next role at LLT was as star in Mary Mary in 1965 (Debbie Reynolds played Mary in the movie version). A few years later she was in Any Wednesday (1967) which was a comedy about marital infidelity.  Later she was in a play at LLT called What Did We Do Wrong? which was probably timely in 1968.

I remember mom preparing for her role in The Cactus Flower in 1970. She practiced the sort of sing-song-y phone reception her role called for as assistant to dentist Dr. Winston. “Doctor Winston’s Office,” she repeated as an efficient office manager. The role was played by Goldie Hawn in the movies.

Mom completed a Masters degree in Theater at Case Western Reserve University in her early 40s and refocused her energies on directing. She was named director in residence at Clague Playhouse somewhere around 1970. In that role she would direct The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd; Man of LaMancha; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and stay active in running the venue that seated fewer than 100 or so patrons a performance.

In 1977 mom returned to act at Lakewood Little Theater in Veronica’s Room. A role for which she was honored at best actress that season. (She had served as guest director for the play Gypsy at LLT but, I think, was happy to return to that stage.)

I saw my mom fill in for an actress who was sick once. Mom was director but was able to step-up like an under-study. She was a nun/school teacher in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. It was impressive to see her ability to perform at the drop of the hat like that.   

Of course, mom was a supporter of the Great Lakes Shakespeare (in fact, she was even invited to speak to a group about The Taming of the Shrew). Her talk was scholarly. She demonstrated her academic side. After all, she was now the holder of a Masters degree in Theater. (A thesis paper on Othello was part of her coursework so she was a student of Shakespeare.). I was proud of my mom that day and so glad to be among the audience (with my dad). The event was staged outside the auditorium and dubbed the Rose & Crown Inn for that event.

Somewhere around 1978 she played the part of Aunt Eller in Oklahoma. She was brave enough to even sing for that role. She also agreed to direct a production of West Side Story for St. Edward High School.  My parents started to spent more time in Key Biscayne, Florida and eventually moved there full time in 1985 when they sold their house at 15106 Edgewater Drive.    

Mom passed on in 2011. The wonderful people at The Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood dove in to the archives and recently shared some production stills from the Lakewood Little Theater period of which mom was so involved. (In addition to acting she was also a teacher in teen workshops/classes.)
Note: My brother Greg reminded me that mom also performed in Berea. My sister Lynn reminded me of mom directing a production of Laugh In at Wildwood.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Go John Caroll Blue Streaks!

In what was dubbed one of the most exciting and meaningful division III football games this season, the No. 1 Mount Union Purple Raiders narrowly defeated the No. 9 John Carroll Blue Streaks in front of a sell-out crowd of 8,104 at Mount Union Stadium, 42-34.

Both teams came into the game with undefeated records of 9-0, including 8-0 records in Ohio Athletic Conference play. The Blue Streaks and Purple Raiders also came into the game with the first and second ranked defenses in the nation, respectively. While the game didn't turn out to be a defensive showdown, it certainly lived up to the hype.

"Mount played very well, you have to give all the credit to them," said head coach Tom Arth. "I'm proud of our guys, I'm proud of the way they fought, I'm proud of the way they never gave up. They kept believing, but unfortunately we came up just a little bit short and that falls on me."
Myers, a Cleveland St. Ignatius alum, finished the game 31-56 with 451 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior quarterback also showed tremendous poise throughout the game, yet acknowledged that there is room for improvement from this game.

With the loss, the Blue Streaks will not enter the postseason as OAC Champions, but will likely earn an at-large berth. While players and coaches alike expressed disappointment, they also understand that the road doesn't end here.
"I've been telling you guys all year, it's a special group," said Arth. "Nothing has changed. They're still a special group. These guys have hearts like you wouldn't believe. They're confident, they have a lot of believe in themselves … They're going to come back, they're going to bounce back and this game's going to make us stronger. I believe that with my whole heart."

Thomas Edward Arth (b. May 11, 1981), coach and former player, currently the head coach of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He was head football coach at John Carroll University from 2013 to 2016. Arth was QB at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland and at John Carroll University, he started for four years at quarterback, and set 18 John Carroll football records.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brand Audit

Brand Recipe for Success
Just as any healthy firm reviews its financial health in terms of value, it is critical to audit your brand. Such an audit will not as well-defined as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or the formal requirements of publicly traded companies. A thorough evaluation of your brand is necessary and requires a close examination of all ingredients. Here’s a recipe:       

Start with a pinch of Strategy - Look at your business, marketing plans, brand positioning, creative briefs (internal and agency) and media plans.

A generous amounts of Research - Positioning, brand asset studies, brand equity measurement (awareness, preference, usage, value, accessibility, relevance, differentiation, vitality, emotional connection, loyalty, associations, personality). Concept testing and customer recall & recognition. Mine big data in social media and inbound marketing for clues. Leverage research to better evaluate strategy. Carefully assess brand asset, equity, positioning research. Include qualitative and quantitative initiatives. This will help you deliver your unique flavor.

Season with external information - External forces will always have an impact on your brand. Review competitors’ press releases, advertising and promotion. Read industry analyst reports. Solicit and learn from customers, business partners, marketing vendor relationships, shareholders, investors, key customer segments/prospects, associations and trade groups.

A dash of Communications - Presentation will help to assure your brand is appetizing. Advertising and promotion materials; brand marketing elements: pricing, packaging, merchandising, distribution, direct marketing, sponsorships, flagship stores, etc.; public relations: press kits, press releases, sales collateral materials, internal communications, business cards, web site, employee training programs, employee orientation, manager training and sales force training.

Just a taste of Internal Ambassadors - Interview corporate officer, marketing employees, sales representatives, customer service personnel, front line customer contacts and general employees. These people are among the most critical brand ambassadors you have.

Human resources - The kitchen needs careful cooks with the ability to function as a team with a shared vision. The utensils of proper alignment might be organization charts, recruiting criteria, competencies/assessments, succession planning, resource allocation, systems/processes. The right people make all the difference in putting it all together.

Make sure you organize and manage all ingredients. You have what you need to assure optimal brand equity. Pay attention to components. They come together (stir, simmer, blend) for optimal value. Repeat as needed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Amazing Grace


Bellefontaine Cemetery visit on November 8, 2013
87,000 souls are part of the legacy of this place in St. Louis and the mosaic it illustrates is a composition of American culture. Senators, Governors, Mayors, Steamboat Captains and Civil War Officers are among those who find their final resting place at Bellefontaine Cemetery, which was founded in 1849. It was the first rural cemetery back in the day. (It now enjoys an endowment of more than $90 Million. So it will be around for a while.)

Richard Lay, Vice President Customer Relations is happy to accommodate our group of docents from the Lauemeier Sculture Park with a guided tour that includes remarkable highlights. We visited the magnificent tomb of Adolphus Busch (which looks more like a cathedral than a burial plot). We visit the monument to General William Clark (of Lewis & Clark fame). The Wainwright Building downtown is an architectural treasure but Bellefontaine has a memorial to Wainwright that also has Louis Sullivan touches. Richard Lay assures us that the Lemp gravesite is not haunted. “Why would ghosts bother with this place? No-one to disturb, here,” he reasons.

Clearly, the story threats that weave their way through such a place are incredible and would indeed create a tapestry of our region and our nation.

Laumeier Docent Group at Lemp Tomb (l to r) : Front row, Jeanette Wamser, Tony Vonder Haar, Pamela Dern, Sari Frieden, Clara Coleman, Wes Morgan. Back row - Barb Flunker, Holly Goldfarb, Shelia Hoffmeister, Katy Mike Smaistrla, Maureen Jennings, Jahn Epstein, Ann Bauer, Marie Oberkirsch, Jennie Swanson

The Wainwright building was commissioned by Ellis Wainwright, a St. Louis brewer and completed in the early 1890s. Wainwright needed office space to manage the St Louis Brewers Association. It was the second major commission for a tall building won by the Adler & Sullivan.

William Clark with Meriwether Lewis, from 1803 to 1806 led expedition across the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean, and claimed the Pacific Northwest for the United States. He later served as governor of the Missouri Territory.

Colonel Adolphus Busch was the German-born co-founder of Anheuser-Busch with his father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser. He died in 1913.