Dec. 15, 2016
R. Scott Williams
R. Scott Williams, author of upcoming Odd McIntyre biography, to hold launch program before historic performance of Meredith Willson’s “O. O. McIntyre Suite” at the Ariel Theatre in Gallipolis, Ohio
Washington, D.C. — R. Scott Williams and the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre announced today that the launch program for “An Odd Book: How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York,” will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. at the Ariel Opera House in Gallipolis, Ohio.
At 7:30 p.m. that evening, a special concert honoring Odd McIntyre is planned. In addition to a performance featuring tenor Philip Armstrong, The Ohio Valley Symphony will perform Meredith Willson’s O.O. McIntyre Suite.
After a search of almost 30 years, Lora Lynn Snow, founder and executive director of the Ariel Opera House, discovered the original orchestral parts of the suite. The performance on April 22 will feature a new arrangement by Tim Berens, the principle arranger for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Odd McIntyre, who was raised in Gallipolis, Ohio by his grandmother, overcame great personal and professional challenges to become the highest-paid and most-read columnist of the early 20th century. In his column, “New York Day by Day,” and in national magazines like Cosmopolitan and Life, McIntyre captured a city undergoing great transition and innovation in communication, politics, art and entertainment. His unconventional writing style, which frequently invoked his small-town roots, endeared him to readers across the country.
McIntyre, who died in 1938 at age 54, was close friends with many of the leading personalities of the day, including writers Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald; entertainers Fred Astaire, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Billie Burke and Will Rogers; composers George Gershwin and Meredith Willson; actors Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin, and many others.
“Odd McIntyre was incredibly proud of the town in which he grew up, and he often mentioned Gallipolis in his columns and articles,” said Williams, who is the chief operating officer of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “I can think of no better place to celebrate his life, career, and love of Ohio than in the theater where he first worked and was first exposed to the arts.”
The first performance of the O. O. McIntyre Suite was by Paul Whiteman’s orchestra in 1934. Whiteman was the bandleader of one of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. At Whiteman’s request, Willson composed an additional movement titled “Sunday Night in Gallipolis.”
Willson also composed the music and lyrics for the hit Broadway musicals “The Music Man” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and the songs “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You.”
“While many of the people in our community here in Gallipolis are proud of our connection to Odd McIntyre, he has been forgotten in many other places,” said Snow. “I’m hoping this concert will be an opportunity for us to celebrate his connection to Gallipolis, Ohio while sharing his story with new generations.”
The 4:30 p.m. program with R. Scott Williams featuring a discussion of “An Odd Book: How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York,” is free and open to the public. More information about the book and Odd McIntyre, including high-resolution images, is available at AnOddBook.com.
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert and more information about the Ariel Opera House is available at ArielTheatre.org.
About R. Scott Williams
Scott Williams is chief operating officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Williams earned his degree in journalism from the University of Memphis. He then held positions at several advertising agencies and organizations, including Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. He serves on the board of the Washington D.C. chapter of the American Advertising Federation and on the board of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Williams lives with his wife and daughters in Arlington, Va. Passionate about discovering and sharing forgotten stories from the past, in his spare time Williams explores the history of the American South, especially around his home in West Tennessee. His first book was “The Forgotten Adventures of Richard Halliburton: From Tennessee to Timbuktu.”
About the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre
The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre was built in Gallipolis, Ohio, in 1895. Luminaries like Will Rogers, Sarah Bernhard and Daniel Emmett performed in the theater, and ensembles like the Chicago Opera and the Ziegfield Follies performed on the Ariel’s stage in the early decades of the 20th century. In 1988, after years of neglect and decay, a group of volunteers undertook its restoration. The grand opening of the newly restored theater took place in 1990. In 2005, Ann Carson Dater purchased the entire complex including the opera house, and presented it to the community as a permanent home for The Ohio Valley Symphony and for use as a performing arts center.
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