Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Welcome Ute Carbone today

A Tale of Two Theaters

My new romantic comedy, Searching for Superman, is set in and around an old theater that’s being renovated. The Rialto exists only in my imagination, but its history and some of its details were derived from two actual regional theaters. Both were built in the earlier part of the twentieth century as vaudeville theaters.

The Palace Theater was built in 1914 and was part of Manchester New Hampshire’s “Great White Way” which included twenty two theaters. It was modeled after a theater of the same name in New York City and had all the latest engineering of the time, including a thick fire wall (theater fires were common) and an “air conditioning system” that consisted of fans being blown over large blocks of ice under the stage.

The Palace hosted vaudeville shows until 1930, when these variety road shows began to decline. The new big thing was movies, and the Palace was turned into a movie theater. To increase revenue in the late 1960’s, it became an adult movie theater for a time. But even porn couldn’t save the day and by the early 70’s the seats had been removed and it was being used as a warehouse.

Rescue came in 1974, when a group of prominent lawyers and the city’s mayor teamed up to restore the theater. It was reopened later that year. Since then, it has withstood both flood and fire. A burst pipe in 1980 flooded out the auditorium. In 1984, fire engulfed the street and destroyed many of the buildings around the theater. Those long ago fire walls are credited with saving both the theater and rest of the block from burning down.

Today, the Palace has been beautifully restored and is the sole surviving theater from Manchester’s past.

Proctor’s theater, in Schenectady New York was built in 1924. It was designated a ‘working man’s palace’ with its guild trim and chandeliers, anyone could feel like king for the night for the price of a ticket. Schenectady is also the home of the General Electric company and in 1930, GE used Proctor’s as the venue to host the first ever demonstration of an exciting new technology called television.

Sadly, that same medium coupled with the Great Depression spelled curtains for vaudeville and Proctor’s theater. It was closed down for decades and nearly torn down in the early 1970’s.

A group of local citizens, the Arts Center & Theater, raised funds to restore the property and it was reopened in 1979.

Today, Proctors is fully restored and is a large part of Schenectady’s reinvigorated downtown.

More about Searching for Superman:
Stephanie Holbrook has finally found a job she really loves: working as an assistant to Conrad Finch in a small regional theater that’s about three dollars and a power outage from being torn down.  Stephanie wishes her love life would be as perfect as her job. She’ll be thirty on her next birthday and she still hasn’t found Mr. Right.  According to Stephanie, Mr. Right has to be strong and brave, with great values and good looks. A guy a lot like Superman. 
            When Doug Castleberry shows up at her niece’s birthday party dressed as Superman, Stephanie is positive he’s not the real deal. Sure, he’s great with kids and he’s kind of cute.   But he’s just a high school teacher making extra money by dressing up for kid’s parties. Hardly the strong, brave, and drop-dead gorgeous guy she’s looking for.
      As the theater teeters ever closer to the edge of disaster, Doug proves to be a better man than Stephanie had ever imagined. Could he be the Superman she’s been looking for all along?

When Stephanie met Doug; a taste of Searching for Superman
As though her frustration had been carried across the airwaves, a white van with a castle stenciled to its side pulled into the Spellman’s driveway as Stephanie hung up. None too soon. She surveyed the damages. All the balloons had been popped. The presents had been opened in an attempt to restore order among the birthday guests. Wrapping paper was strewn across the floor in three
rooms. Some of the girls were playing catch with a new Barbie doll. And several other children were using a new jump rope as a makeshift whip.
    Steve had taken Max, who had somehow fallen asleep despite the ruckus, upstairs for a nap. Liz was attempting to clean
bits of cookie dough from the counters and floors. Stephanie squared her shoulders, ready for a showdown with the belated Cinderella.
She marched down the driveway, ready to tell the Castle Creature just what she thought of abhorrently tardy behavior, when
out of the van jumped Superman.
    He didn’t look so much like Superman as a man dressed for a Halloween party. He was too short for a superhero, for one, only a
few inches taller than Stephanie. He was more wiry than muscular.He was cute, though. He had a full head of light brown curly hair and
nice eyes. Not blue, like Christopher Reeve’s had been, but hazel. The eyes were looking right at her.
    “Spellman?” he asked. When she didn’t answer, he smiled apologetically. “The GPS in the van isn’t working. And this
development is a maze. I felt like I was in an episode of Lost. In which I was really lost. I figured I’d eventually run out of gas and
Jane would have to put out an APB.” He looked at Stephanie with those hemlock eyes again. “Sorry.”
    “You are not supposed to be Superman.”
    “What?” He went to the van and drew a paper off the seat.
    “I’m sure. Yup. Says right here. Superman.”
    She took the paper from him and crumbled it. “You are supposed to be Cinderella.”
    “No.” He looked at her with a combination of horror and confusion. “Cinderella?”
    “It’s a princess party. So you better have Cinderella in that van of yours.”
    “It’s not my van. And, no, I don’t have Cinderella hiding under the backseat.” He gave her a no-harm-no-foul sort of shrug.
“Let me call Jane.”
    Stephanie waved her cell phone at him. “What do you suppose I’ve been doing for the last hour?”
    “Okay, okay. She’s probably... Let me go back to the shop, see what I can do.”
    He turned to get back into the van. She gave his cape a tug. “You are not leaving. You can’t leave. There are twenty-five
children terrorizing my sister’s house and you have to stop them.”
    “You’re not Liz Spellman?”
    “No. I’m her sister. It doesn’t matter. You get in there and do whatever it is you do or I’ll get you fired.”
    “That would be great,” said Superman. “Seriously, if you could get me fired.” He smiled. She glared at him. “Twenty-five?”
She nodded and he shook his head. “No offense to your sister, but is she nuts? The kid is five, right? All the magazines say age plus one.”

Buy Searching for Superman

Ute Carbone Biography

Ute Carbone is a multipublished author of romantic comedy, women’s fiction, and romance. Her romantic comedy, The P-Town Queen, was chosen as Champagne Book’s Novel of the year for 2012.
Ute, who pronounces her name oohtah, was born in Germany and grew up in upstate New York. She and her husband reside in Nashua, NH. They have two grown sons. Ute enjoys hiking, skiing, and generally anything that involves being outside. She loves chocolate, wine, and, of course, books. 

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1 comment:

Ute Carbone said...

Thanks for having me guest today, Dawn.

Cover Reveal and Giveaway~ The Guardian by Sarah Fine