Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, October 1, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page B:2



Mountain Views-News Saturday, October 1, 2016 

On the Marquee: 

Notes from the Sierra MadrePlayhouse

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren 

A National Best Seller.The book is an 
illuminating memoir of a woman in 
science; a moving portrait of a longtime 
friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at 
plants that will forever change how you 
see the natural world.Acclaimed scientist 
Jahren has built 3 laboratories in which 
she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and 
soil. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, 
and the mountains that can be moved 
when those two things come together. It is 
told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: 
about her childhood in rural Minnesota 
with an uncompromising mother and 
a father who encouraged hours of play 
in his classroom’s labs; about how she 
found a sanctuary in science, and learned 
to perform lab work done “with both 
the heart and the hands”; and about the 
inevitable disappointments, but also the 
triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of 
scientific work.Yet at the core of this book 
is the story of a relationship Jahren forged 
with a brilliant, wounded man named 
Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best 
friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures 
in science take them from the Midwest 
across the United States and back again, 
over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of 
the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, 
where she and her lab currently make their 
home. Jahren’s probing look at plants, her 
astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute 
insights on nature enliven every page of 
this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens 
your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated 
mechanisms within every leaf, blade of 
grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent 
demonstration of what can happen when 
you find the stamina, passion, and sense 
of sacrifice needed to make a life out of 
what you truly love, as you discover along 
the way the person you were meant to 
be. Jahren completed her Ph.D. at U.C. 
Berkeley in 1996.In 1999 she was hired 
by Johns Hopkins University and went 
on to become the first woman ever to be 
promoted with tenure within their Earth 
and Planetary Sciences Department .In 
2008 she was hired to build the Isotope 
Geobiology Laboratories at the University of Hawaii. She 
is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been 
awarded both of the Young Investigator Medals given 
within the Earth Sciences. She has been the recipient 
of three Fulbright Awards and in 2005, Popular Science 
named her one of the ”Brilliant 10” young 
scientists in the United States. 

The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, 
FDR, and the Untold Story of 
the Partnership That Defined a 
Presidency by Kathryn Smith 

The first biography of arguably the 
most influential member of Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt’s administration, 
Marguerite “Missy” LeHand, FDR’s 
de facto chief of staff, who has been 
misrepresented, mischaracterized, and 
overlooked throughout history…until 
now.Widely considered the first female 
presidential chief of staff, Marguerite 
“Missy” LeHand was the right-hand 
woman to Franklin Delano Roosevelt—
both personally and professionally—
for more than twenty years. Although 
her official title as personal secretary 
was relatively humble, her power and 
influence were unparalleled. Everyone 
in the White House knew one truth: If 
you wanted access to Franklin, you had 
to get through Missy. She was one of 
his most trusted advisors, affording her 
a unique perspective on the president 
that no one else could claim, and she 
was deeply admired and respected by 
Eleanor and the Roosevelt children.With 
unprecedented access to Missy’s family 
and original source materials, journalist 
Kathryn Smith tells the captivating and 
forgotten story of the intelligent, loyal, and 
clever woman who had a front-row seat to 
history in the making. The Gatekeeper 
is a thoughtful, revealing unsung-hero 
story about a woman ahead of her time, 
the true weight of her responsibility, and 
the tumultuous era in which she lived—
an long overdue tribute to one of the most 
important female figures in American 

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude 
(Pitt Poetry Series) by Ross Gay 

Winner, 2015 National Book Critics Circle 
Award, poetry. The book is a sustained 
meditation on that which goes away—
loved ones, the seasons, the earth as we 
know it—that tries to find solace in the processes of the 
garden and the orchard. That is, this is a book that studies 
the wisdom of the garden and orchard, those places 
where all—death, sorrow, loss—is converted into what 
might, with patience, nourish us.


By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

We just learned today who will be our Sister in 
our exclusive LA County short run of Late Nite 
Catechism: Barbara Manning. Barbara played the 
role for over ten years at ACT in Seattle, making it 
the longest-running show in Seattle history! This 
show is incredibly interactive – Sister leads the 
audience through a Catechism class in such a way 
that Catholics (especially those who remember 
the Baltimore Catechism) and non-Catholics 
alike will have a night they will long remember. 
Having an actress who played the role as many 
times as Barbara has means that she has zingers 
for all occasions up the sleeves of her habit!

 Barbara was honored with the “Blessed Mother 
Marie Rose Award” from the Sisters of The 
Holy Names for her work in the show. Though 
wonderfully funny, the show is not a lampoon 
or a travesty and it has been booked into many a 
Catholic Diocese over the years.

 I can’t wait. I’ve seen three different versions of 
the show (there are eight) and I’ve enjoyed them all. 
Being able to book this show into our season when 
we had to reschedule Bee-luther-hatchee to January 
was a lucky coup. I’m hoping that audiences enjoy 
it as much as I think they will – I’m hoping we can 
bring Sister back with other versions of the shows 
over the next few years. Tickets are selling well 
already, and I do hope we’ll give Sister a run for her 
money with full houses – and we certainly want to 
keep Sister happy, don’t we?! The show will only 
play 6 performances: October 14, 15 (Friday and 
Saturday evenings), and 16 at a Sunday matinee; 
and, Friday, October 21 and two shows on the 22nd. 

 I’m looking forward to our next free reading next 
Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Playhouse. We’ll 
read The Quality of Life by Jane Anderson. It will 
be directed by Gary Reed (he was a past Artistic 
Director of The Actor’s Coop) and will feature 
four wonderful actors, including D.J. Harner who 
is helping me curate the series. D.J. was Mother/
General Cutter in our production of Battledrum 
three years ago. I’m thrilled that she’ll be back on 
our stage.

 Our next reading is Foxfire on Monday night, 
October 17. This one is directed by Karesa 
McElheny who played Helga in Deathtrap. I’m 
excited about these readings, these are all plays I’m 
thinking would be a good fit for a full production. 
Come and hear them and tell me what you think.

As always we do it for you – our SMP family – 
whose support and loyalty mean so much to us 
and for whom we hope we bring pleasure and joy 
and moving experiences in the theater. For tickets 
please call Mary in the box office at 626.355.4318. 
Hope to see you soon!

All Things By Jeff Brown


In 1965, Hilary enrolled at Wellesley College, 
where she majored in political science. During 
her freshman year, she served as president of the 
Wellesley Young Republicans;she supported the 
elections of Mayor John Lindsay and of Senator 
Edward Brooke.She later stepped down from 
this position, as her views changed regarding the 
American Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam 
War.In a letter to her youth minister at this time, 
she described herself as ”a mind conservative and 
a heart liberal”. In contrast to the 1960s current 
that advocated radical actions against the political 
system, she sought to work for change within it.In 
her junior year, Rodham became a supporter of 
the antiwar Democrat Eugene McCarthy.In 1968, 
she was elected president of the Wellesley College 
Government Association and served through early 
1969. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, 
Jr., HIlary organized a two-day student strike and 
worked with Wellesley’s black students to recruit 
more black students and faculty.In her student 
government role, she played a role in keeping 
Wellesley from being embroiled in the student 
disruptions common to other colleges.A number 
of her fellow students thought she might some day 
become the first female President of the United States.
To help her better understand her changing political 
views, Professor Alan Schechter assigned HIlary to 
intern at the House Republican Conference, and she 
attended the ”Wellesley in Washington” summer 
program. Rodham was invited by New York 
Representative Charles Goodell to help Governor 
Nelson Rockefeller’s late-entry campaign for the 
Republican nomination. HIlary attended the 1968 
Republican National Convention. However, she 
was upset by the way Richard Nixon’s campaign 
portrayed Rockefeller and by what she perceived as 
the convention’s ”veiled” racist messages, and left the 
Republican Party for good.In 1969, she graduated 
with departmental honors in political science. 
She became the first student in Wellesley College 
history to deliver its commencement address. Her 
speech received a standing ovation lasting seven 
minutes. She was featured in an article published 
in Life magazine, due to the response to a part of 
her speech that criticized Senator Brooke, who had 
spoken before her at the commencement. She also 
appeared on Irv Kupcinet’s nationally syndicated 
television talk show as well as in Illinois and New 
England newspapers. That summer, she worked 
her way across Alaska, washing dishes in Mount 
McKinley National Park and sliming salmon in a 
fish processing cannery in Valdez (which fired her 
and shut down overnight when she complained 
about unhealthful conditions).The above from 

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