Did you know the premiere awards show in American Broadway theater was named after a Christian Scientist? In this episode, we’ll look at the impact of Antoinette Perry, an actor, director, producer, and lifelong supporter of the theater—and the namesake of the Tony Awards. We’ll explore how Perry’s actions contributed to theater as an uplifting force for the American public during the challenging years of the Great Depression and World War II. Sarah Schelde, archivist at The Mary Baker Eddy Library, and Tony-Award-nominated composer Peter Link join us to reflect on Perry’s life. Link also discusses the theater’s healing impact in his career on Broadway and beyond.
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Photo of Antoinette Perry courtesy of Denver Public Library Special Collections. Photo of the Stage Door Canteen courtesy of Library of Congress.
Peter Link is a two-time Tony Award-nominated New York composer and record producer. He won the Drama Desk Award for his musical Salvation, which brought his first gold record, selling over two million albums. He received Tony nominations for his musical scores of Joseph Papp’s Much Ado About Nothing and Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor. His Broadway credits also include Ulysses In Nighttown (Zero Mostel), Lysistrata (Melina Mercouri), The Mighty Gents (Morgan Freeman), Trelawny of the “Wells” (Meryl Streep, Michael Tucker, Mandy Patinkin, John Lithgow), and King Of Hearts. Link served as composer-in-residence at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater, writing music for over 40 dramatic productions. He is also creative director of Watchfire Music and record producer of the Julia Wade Catalogue.
Sarah Schelde is The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s archivist. She processes and preserves historic materials within the Library’s Special Collections—including the Mary Baker Eddy Collection. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania and master’s degrees in library science and history from Simmons University. Her historical focus includes the colonial and early national period of American History, particularly the history of women and religion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.