Blog Post #11: Our History: Northampton Welcomes Frank Morgan - ACADEMY OF MUSIC

Frank Morgan

By Executive Director Debra J’Anthony

Frank Morgan, who would eventually play Oz in the film The Wizard of Oz, joined William Powell as a cast member of the Northampton Players in September 1917.  He seemed to make quite the impression with the Northampton locals and felt most at home. In this brief announcement on September 15, 1917, the Gazette describes the latest addition to the community:

“This season we are to have the tallest leading man we yet have had, to lead the Northampton Players. Frank Morgan is a New Yorker and a robust, athletic, college-man type, who, when he is not in the theatre, is fond of outdoor, manly interests – camping, fishing, hunting, riding, and roughing it generally. This is no theory with him for, not long ago, he came near quitting the stage and going in for ranching on a large scale in New Mexico, just out of Las Vegas. He had nearly a year of the life and would have liked to continue it. He is much in demand, however, both for stage and picture work.

“Being familiar with the life of a man’s college town (for so we see to think of Cornell, notwithstanding it is “co-ed”) he is looking forward with interest to life in the home of the largest women’s college in the world. He is a fraternity man and finds this a pleasant introduction in towns that he visits on tour or has played in as a stock actor.

“He has a charming, genial personality and is looking ahead with interest to his work here. It is noticeable, he says, how the people make an actor feel at home here – to a degree that he recalls nowhere else, and also noticeable, how big an interest the theatre is in the city’s life.”

The Academy has been part of what makes a strong arts community for 122 years!

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