Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Open Stage Dramatizes "City Beautiful" History

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | May 16, 2013 12:12 PM



Mira Lloyd Dock

Open Stage of Harrisburg is presenting the second in a series of productions based on the history of Harrisburg. The series is called Stories from Home, and this new production is called City Beautiful, a title taken from a movement in the early 1900’s to improve and beautify the city of Harrisburg.

Anne Alsedek is the Education Director at Open Stage. She directed and developed the production, dramatizing some of the key events related to launching the City Beautiful movement.

 One of those events was a speech given by Mira Lloyd Dock before the Harrisburg Board of Trade, the city leaders at the time. Dock was a member of an affluent Harrisburg family and a founder of the Harrisburg Civic Club. Her speech, presenting photos of European cities alongside photos of some of the squalor of Harrisburg of the day, was a galvanizing moment that rallied the support of community leaders behind the City Beautiful movement.


Susquehanna River in 1900's

Lisa Leone Dickerson portrays Mira Lloyd Dock in the production. Louis Bianco plays J. Horace McFarland, an influential leader of the time who was also a part of the City Beautiful movement and who made it possible for Dock to address the Board of Trade.

Performances are June 7 – 29 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8, and Sunday matinees at 2. Music and video will be a part of the production and there will be an interactive discussion following a number of the performances.

The theatre production is a kickoff event for a new movement called “City Beautiful 2.0, ” under the umbrella of the Historic Harrisburg Association but involving many different organizations.  The vision is to re-create some of the accomplishments of the original City Beautiful movement through grassroots efforts. Those interested becoming involved in a project can find out more by contacting the Historic Harrisburg Association at 717-233-4646.

Below you can hear our interview with Anne Alsedek about the Open Stage production.


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