The Price of Thomas Scott
By Elizabeth Baker
Directed by Jonathan Bank
January 24th through March 23rd
- Tuesday – Saturday 7:30pm
- Saturday & Sunday 2:00pm
- Wednesday: 2/6, 2/13, & 3/20 at 2:00pm
- No performance: Tuesday 2/5 at 7:30pm
Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.
The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd St.
Mr. Scott and his wife, son and daughter have long hoped to sell the declining family business so they can pursue dreams now out of reach. When a buyer finally appears and makes a rich offer—Scott hesitates. If he sells, the old shop will become a dance hall—and Thomas Scott believes that dancing is immoral.
The Price of Thomas Scott poses probing questions about prejudice, principles, pretense and progress. Whether you find Thomas Scott inspiring or enraging—you’re sure to find Elizabeth Baker’s drama entertaining and provocative.
The Price of Thomas Scott has had only one production (at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester, 1913.) The Guardian praised Baker’s “very considerable merits as a dramatist,” and her “careful realism…a minute study of the surface detail of life, leaving the audience to draw what conclusions they liked from what was before them.” The Era agreed, describing the play as a “delightful piece of realistic drama…There is much interest and food for thought in the picture of Thomas Scott.”
Spirited and independent, Annie Scott trims hats in her father’s shop, but longs to study fashion in Paris, despite her father’s disapproval. Like Annie, Elizabeth Baker grew up in a strict, religious household. She described her childhood in a 1927 magazine profile: “I was absolutely ignorant about the theater,” she told the journalist, “but I think I had a feeling for dramatic pictures.” Still living at home, Baker first started going to the theatre at 30, when Granville Barker was producer at the Court, and “was so much inspired by the productions there that she attempted to write a play herself.”
Just a few years later, in 1910, Elizabeth Baker’s play, Chains, was sharing the stage with Granville Barker, J.M. Barrie Shaw and Galsworthy as part of Charles Frohman’s season at the Duke of York’s. “A remarkable play,” the Times declared, “—all the more remarkable if, as we believe, it is the first attempt its author has written.” Baker may have even upstaged her most famous colleague that season. The New Age declared, “there are some respects in which I think Miss Elizabeth Baker might well challenge even Mr. Shaw’s supremacy,” calling her a “new playwright of unmistakable dramatic genius.”
With The Price of Thomas Scott Mint Theater Company will launch our most ambitious undertaking since the inauguration of the Teresa Deevy Project in 2010. “Meet Miss Baker” will bring new attention to this long forgotten, much deserving author. We will follow The Price of Thomas Scott with overlapping productions of two Baker plays at two theaters within Theater Row in the summer of 2020. Our Theatre Row twin bill will include Baker’s surprising comedy Partnership, about an ambitious professional woman who receives a tempting business proposition, and Baker’s claim to fame, Chains. We’ll offer readings of many of her other plays over the course of the next two years. Publication of Elizabeth Baker Reclaimed will coincide with our Baker twin bill two in 2020.
Sets: Vicki R. Davis
Costumes: Hunter Kaczorowski
Lights: Christian DeAngelis
Sound & Musical Arrangements: Jane Shaw
Props: Chris Fields
Choreography: Tracy Bersley
Dialects & Dramaturgy: Amy Stoller
Casting: Stephanie Klapper, CSA
Production Stage Manager: Jeff Meyers
Stage Manager: Kristi Hess
Illustration: Stefano Imbert
Graphics: Hey Jude Design, Inc.
Press: David Gersten & Associates
“Do you really want to go away?” Elizabeth Baker--her life and work.
Maya Cantu, Bennington College
Sunday, January 27, after the Matinee
Cantu is on the Drama Faculty at Bennington and Dramaturgical Advisor to the Mint. She received a D.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama. Her book American Cinderellas on the Broadway Stage: Imagining the Working Girl from “Irene” to “Gypsy” is now available through Palgrave Macmillan.
“Where’s the Nonconformist conscience?” Nonconformists and Liberal Politics.
George Robb, William Patterson University
Saturday, February 2, after the Matinee
Professor Robb will talk about Nonconformists (or Protestants) at the turn of the last century in England. Robb received his PhD in History from Northwestern University. He was a Fulbright Scholar in the United Kingdom. His most recent books are British Culture and the First World War (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015) and Ladies of the Ticker: Women and Wall Street from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression (University of Illinois Press, 2017).
“I forgot, you used to be a Puritan, Tom.” Thomas Scott’s Beliefs.
J. Patrick Hornbeck, Chair and Professor of Theology, Fordham University
Sunday, February 3, after the Matinee
Hornbeck teaches and writes on the history of Christianity, on religion in the contemporary U.S., and on the relationship of religion and law. A frequent commentator in the national press, Hornbeck is author or editor of eight books, including most recently Remembering Wolsey (Fordham University Press). He holds graduate degrees from the University of Oxford and attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate.
“Times have changed:” Thomas Scott’s London.
Judith Walkowitz, Johns Hopkins University (Emeritus)
Sunday, February 10, after the Matinee
For more than three decades, Walkowitz, a British historian, has concentrated her research and writing on nineteenth-century political culture and the cultural and social contests over sexuality. Her latest book, Nights Out: Life in Cosmopolitan London extends her interest in the cultural and social history of London to mid-twentieth century.