Last year’s production of The Story of Us at the Greenlawn Cemetery, was one of the best historical productions held in Portsmouth, but this year’s event looks to even top that one and will once again, mesmerize the audience with great portrayals of those who are buried in Greenlawn Cemetery.
On Oct. 13th and 14th, the historical Greenlawn Cemetery in Portsmouth will be transformed back to the 1940’s as the Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation (FOGCF) presents The Story of Us, “Portsmouth Goes to War”.
The production, under the direction of Linda Tieman, will highlight the contributions made by both individuals and industry during the war years. “This event will profile ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” according to Debbie Gambill, FOGCF Board Member. Tieman is the music director at Portsmouth West High School and has put on performances as tough as Les Miserables, The King and I, Peter Pan, and Beauty and the Beast, with each production receiving praise not just at West High School, but throughout the county.
“Last year we focused largely on the founders of our city and this time we wanted to honor the soldiers and their families as well as the industries that made such tremendous sacrifices during World War II,” said Gambill.
The two-hour event will offer a guided tour into the lives of many local individuals including the story of Carl Ackerman who was a prisoner of war. “Many have no idea the sacrifices made by Mr. Ackerman. He is best known as the always pleasant, always accommodating local historian whose photographs were the inspiration for many of the murals presently on the floodwall.”
This year’s event will transport all attendees back to the 1940’s from the minute they enter the gates. Local actors will portray featured individuals with authentic props along the tour route. The informative tour guides will bring this period to life for the 300 individuals who attend each night.
After the United States was drawn into World War II in 1941, Detroit Steel won a contract to produce casings for the bombs the Air Force would need. Over 500 women were employed at the New Boston facility. Overnight factories were being retooled to meet the demands of the war.
The Ohio Stove Company would work all shifts to manufacture containment stoves for the Army. Scioto County industries worked hard to meet the demands of the war effort as did the citizens through rationing and sacrifice. There were many other local industries that answered the call.
Over 290 soldiers from Scioto County were killed during World War II and hundreds were injured. Some of the families impacted by this will be profiled during the tour.
The story will show how countless selfless men and women rushed to join the armed services after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Sixteen-year old boys were forging necessary paperwork to join the service. There were no families untouched.
The walking tour attendance is limited to three hundred each night. The limited attendance is necessary to insure each of the nine groups of thirty-three individuals have an interactive, educational experience with the performers and the displays along the tour.
Gambill commented that due to last year’s lone performance selling out so quickly, this year the FOGCF added a second performance. “The community has really embraced this project and we wanted to meet the demand, if possible. The local talent is amazing and the attention to detail by Linda and the production crew is incredible. “
All proceeds from the event will go toward the restoration and preservation of the Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel. In May 2018, the FOGCF replaced the original slate roof and completed necessary stabilization and exterior repairs. This year it is hopeful the exterior doors and windows can be repaired and replaced. Established in 1884 for the funerals of Civil War veterans, the Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
The Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation prepare a show that is historical correct and overwhelmingly majestic through the performances of the actors who portray each and every character. You do not have to be a ‘history buff’ to enjoy a wonderful night of the historical account of those who are buried there in Greenlawn. After Last year’s performance those attending were talking and commenting about for days.
Tickets for the October 13-14th event, priced at $30 each, are still available at Neal Hatcher Real Estate and Sherman-Kricker Insurance.
(Debbie Gambill assisted with facts in this story)
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 EXT. 1928