‘Notable Heroines’ take the stage once again

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Front row, from left: Chrysta Bourne as Mary Baker Eddy; Mary Reckin as Lillian Hellman; Judy Elwood as Harper Lee. Back row, from left: Karlene Osorio Khor as Grace Stone Coates; Jo Lynn Yenne as Catharine McCarty; Mariah Gladstone as Elouise Cobell; and Joan Vetter Ehrenberg as Jeannette Rankin. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

“Notable Heroines of America” returns to the Flathead Valley for the third time in a decade.

Two matinée performances are Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Museum at Central School in Kalispell.

In 2008, the first local “Notable Heroines” production was born out of a meeting of a group of local women planning a fundraiser for the Flathead Democratic Women’s scholarship program. With an extensive background in theater, Mary Reckin suggested a theatrical performance, capitalizing on the success of her production, “Ladies First,” in 2005 featuring women portraying presidents’ wives.

But in the 2008 production the women performed in costume and spoke about their characters’ lives, challenges and conquests in an interview format, and Reckin allowed them to choose the characters they wanted to portray. Among the women whose stories they told were strong figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, with radio personality Leah Lindsay as both host and interviewer for the performances.

A second “Notable Heroines” show was performed in 2015 where the lives of conservationist Rachel Carlson, actor and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple, Maureen Mansfield, wife of Montana Sen. Mike Mansfield, Crow medicine woman Pretty Shield, and abolitionist and women’s activist Sojourner Truth, among others, were portrayed.

“Now, with three ‘notables’ we are still continuing to explore women of history and hoping that you will come along on our journey,” Reckin said. “We’re doing this to both entertain and educate our audience with the stories of these notable women of the past.”

Reckin will be emcee as well as portray controversial screenwriter and dramatist Lillian Hellman.

The other cast members of the 2018 Notable Heroines of America are:

• Mona Charles as independent U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

• Jo Lynn Yenne as Montana State legislator and author Catharine Calk McCarty who lived to be 107

• Judy Elwood as author Harper Lee will portray her early days in the South

• Karlene Khor as Montana author and poet Grace Stone Coates who died at age 95

• Mariah Gladstone as Blackfeet tribal elder and activist Elouise Cobell

• Joan Vetter Ehrenberg as Jeannette Rankin, first woman U.S. Representative from Montana

• Chrysta Bourne as Mary Baker Eddy who established the Church of Christ, Scientist

• Charlene Iannucci as Lady Liberty will present her views on yesterday, today and tomorrow

“I love this form of theater,” Reckin said. “And I love to work with women. These women have created their own characters through researching them and growing a greater understanding of them. This is too important an event to miss.”

Tickets are $20 available at the Kalispell Grand Hotel, and at the door if still available.

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