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Debra Conner to Perform One-Woman Show for Encore

May 2, 2011

05/03/11 Encore Performing Arts is pleased to bring writer and performer Debra Conner to the Marshall County audience as a part of the One Book, One Town initiative.  On Wednesday, May 4th, Debra Conner will be portraying Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the 20th century’s great American authors.  The one-woman show entitled “Must to Madness” is open to the public and will be staged at 7 p.m. in Lincoln Junior High auditorium, 220 N. Liberty Street, in Plymouth.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at 574-935-4987.  Admission is free for students and children.

In “Muse to Madness” Ms. Conner as Zelda tells the story of her glory and her disintegration. Zelda takes her guests on a journey through memory, recounting her life as wife and muse to one of America’s greatest writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby. It is, as one writer described it, “the saddest story you’ve ever heard.”

Ms. Conner will be in the community two days helping focus residents on the Roaring 20s, the Fitzgerald’s, and the arts.  This year the Friends of the Library formed a collaboration with Encore and the Marshall County Historical Society Museum to expand the impact of the One Book, One Town program.  Since December, the group has promoted a downtown scavenger hunt, several films, a 1920s tea party, a ragtime concert, and an interactive dance exhibition – all in celebration of The Great Gatsby reading challenge.  Before the performance, the planning committee will announce The Great Gatsby essay contest results and award scholarship money to the area high school student who most successfully completed the challenge of writing in response to reading.

One Book, One Town is a national movement through the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book that seeks to promote literacy by encouraging communities to read the same book and discuss it together.  This is the sixth year of the program sponsored by the Friends of the Library.  Local educator and author Anna Liechty has facilitated discussion for the last five years, including classics like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, current nonfiction like Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea, and new bestsellers like Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.  The title for 2012 will be announced this fall.

“Encore is pleased to be involved in expanding the community’s involvement in One Book, One Town,” says Deb Gidley, executive director for Encore Performing Arts.  “Bringing Ms. Conner who will interact with youth, families, and community members at the high school, the public library, and the museum helps fulfill our mission to celebrate the arts and reach a variety of audiences.”   This year Encore received a matching grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities that helped make the program possible.  The One Book, One Town initiative has also received support from U.S. Granules Corporation.

Debra Conner has performed for Humanities Councils in many states, including Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia. She has appeared at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Forbes Gallery in New York City and at the Lewis and Clark Commemorative Celebration in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2009, she portrayed Margaret Mitchell at the Margaret Mitchell/Gone with the Wind Museum in Atlanta.

As a writer, Debra also conducts workshops and residencies in creative writing. She is part of the Ohio Arts Council and the West Virginia Arts Commission’s arts in education program, and she has published essays and poetry in a variety of publications.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia and a MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College.

She and her husband Glenn, who works in commercial photography, make their home in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  Their extended family includes three dogs, three cats and a horse.

Debra will perform for students at Plymouth High School in the morning and will conduct an art workshop at 6:30 p.m. at the Plymouth Public Library, 201 N. Center Street, on May 3rd.  She will discuss the Roaring 20s and the lives of the Fitzgerald’s at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 4th at the Marshall County Museum, 123 Michigan Street, Plymouth.  Her one-woman show “Muse to Madness” will be open to the public at Lincoln Junior High, 220 N. Liberty Street in Plymouth at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4th.