Support rare Bicentennial usefulness: “Henry Bain’s New Albany” performances coming on November 15, 16 and 17.


Back in August, we posted the casting call: Audition: Multiracial cast of 10 actors needed for “Henry Bain’s New Albany”. Now the production is ready to open, and I’m struck by one utter coincidence.

Aficionados of British television’s Rumpole of the Bailey will recall Samuel Ballard, the Head of Chambers and frequent victim of Rumpole’s rapier wit (from Wikipedia).

Samuel Ballard (Peter Blythe) (Series 3-7): Head of Chambers in later series; a very pious and priggish person. Rumpole refers to him as “Soapy Sam” which is an allusion to a much parodied nineteenth-century Bishop of Winchester, and generally addresses him as “Bollard”. Later became a judge in the ecclesiastical courts, while maintaining his role as head of chambers.

Look at the characters listed below, and there it is: Samuel Ballard, played not by Peter Blythe, by our very own bookseller, Randy Smith.

Yes, I know: Different continent, different production, different author … whatever. This shall not prevent me from addressing Randy as Soapy Sam.

You have been forewarned.

Now for the details about the play, and a genuinely useful Bicentennial occurrence amid so much forgettable pablum.

Henry Bain’s New Albany on Facebook

St. Mark’s United Church of Christ
222 E. Spring St., New Albany, IN

$10 general admission
For tickets call 502-380-6569

November 15, 16 and 17
Nov. 15 and 16 7:30
Nov. 17 2:30 and 7:30

Jambo Everyone! I’ve been raving about the talented actors portraying historical figures in HENRY BAIN’S NEW ALBANY, our docudrama about the charmingly old fashioned Southern Indiana city and it’s African-American community, 50 years up from slavery. You know ’em, you love ’em, you can get enough of ’em — And Here They Are!

Frank Goodloe is Henry Bain

Alexandria Sweatt is Fannie Wiley

Sherrick O’Quinn is Roland Hayes

Randy Smith is Samuel Thruston Ballard

Karen Hunter is Lucy Higgs Nichols

Tamika McDonald is Daisy Bain

Reed Wrege is C.C. Mengel Jr.

Erica Denise is Pearl Johnson

Ogen Buckner is Joseph Wiley

Michael Sands is Henry Watterson

Headwaiter at the venerable Pendennis Club and a member of Louisville, Ky.’s black aristocracy in the early 20th century, Henry Bain marries New Albany socialite Daisy Welch and sets up house across the Ohio River. He adjusts uneasily to small-town life. The daily streetcar ride back and forth to work annoys him. His residency and business interests in New Albany — he co-founds the city’s first Negro manufacturing company — cast doubt on his loyalty to Louisville high society. But under Daisy’s patient tutelage he succumbs to New Albany’s charms, learns of its abolitionist heritage and racial progress that rivals the larger Louisville’s, although he is tested when a Pendennis Club event falls on the same day his wife is hosting a party to celebrate the 100th birthday of her beloved hometown.

A love note to New Albany during its bicentennial and docudrama about its African-American community, 50 years up from slavery.

Proud recipient of the Arts Council of Southern Indiana Thomas Keith Peterson Fellowship