Concept and Music by Thomas Sweitzer, Book by Meredith Bean McMath
1944, Altoona, Pennsylvania - America’s railroads are crucial to the war effort, and here in Altoona everyone works for "the Pennsy", the Pennsylvania Railroad
Not far from the tracks stand four porches - four neighbors - uncomfortably close to one another: here is widower and Railroad Foreman, Daniel Dunio, who has two young sons and way too many memories. Next door to him: Sharon McKenzie who's thinking of her husband stationed in Italy, wondering when he’s getting back, and how she’ll explain why she's taken in two foster children? And then there's Helen Tramonte, a waitress - now divorced - with a young daughter, Jessica, who never speaks. Jessica’s silence is a mirror into the brutal past of her violent father and a key to the deep distrust of men that her mother holds. And then there's the crowning glories of the neighborhood: spinsters Violet and Ethel Beck, both long retired from The Pennsy. Miss Ethel is meddlesome, but Miss Violet? She's something altogether different. Violet knows there are ghosts along those railroad tracks - ghosts and angels - that can help her neighbors heal in ways they’d never imagined.
The concept and music of this Musical drama, based on the World War II-era civilian history of Altoona, PA, is by Tom Sweitzer, and the original book by Meredith Bean McMath. The premiere was directed by Tom Sweitzer for its premiere production at Hill Playhouse, Middleburg, VA, followed by a production at The Mishler Regional Theatre in Altoona, PA and then again at Middleburg, VA (1999 and 2005), Porches was once more produced in August, 2018 at The Mishler Regional Theatre in Altoona, PA by the Blair County Arts Foundation to benefit ongoing restoration of the Mishler Theatre.
SET: Four Pennsy Railroad row homes in Altoona, Pennsylvania
TIME: Summer 1944
JANE HIRSCHFIELD, 30s
ANNA MAY, 30s
DANIEL DUNIO, late 30s
TRUMAN DUNIO, 10
D.J. DUNIO, 16
SHARON HEINZ McKENZIE, 30s
ARLENE HIRSCHFIELD, 15
SOPHIA HIRSCHFIELD 7
JOE McKENZIE, late 30s
HELEN TRAMONTE, early 30s
JESSICA TRAMONTE, 10
VIOLET BECK, 70s
ETHEL BECK, late 60s
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
PERFORMANCE RIGHTS MAY BE AVAILABLE.
For Further Information, including music, email Meredith.McMath@gmail.com, and she will contact Thomas Sweitzer.
U.S. Copyright: PAu002427065 - 1999