The Westborough Players’ Club officially started in 1937 and was active on the stage for eighty years, up until its last staged production in 2017. The Westborough Public Library owns the club’s records from 1937 to 1981, which are compiled into three scrapbooks and includes playbills, newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, and photographs.
This short exhibit highlights three significant productions staged by the Westborough Players’ Club during the first half of its existence: The Late Christopher Bean, The Crucible, and Hello Dolly!.
The First Production: The Late Christopher Bean
The very first play presented by the Westborough Players’ Club was The Late Christopher Bean, a three-act comedy by Sidney Howard, on Monday, October 18, 1937 at Town Hall.
The action of the play takes place in a small town outside of Boston and centers on the Haggett family after they learn that several canvases they own by the late, acclaimed artist Christopher Bean have greatly increased in value. Only Abby, the family servant who owns the most valuable work, is able to resist the corrupting effect of this new knowledge about the artworks, and the play ends when she is revealed to have secretly been Bean’s wife.
Anniversary Production: The Crucible
As part of the 250th anniversary celebration of the founding of Westborough and to mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of their club, the Westborough Players’ Club staged The Crucible by Arthur Miller on May 26 and 27, 1967 at the High School Auditorium.
The play chronicles the Salem Witch Trials and was an appropriate choice for the occasion, given that one of the characters in the play is Rebecca Nurse, whose family in real life moved to Westborough after her execution in Salem for supposedly practicing witchcraft.
Blockbuster Production: Hello Dolly!
On April 22, 23, and 24, 1971, the Westborough Players’ Club presented Hello Dolly! at the Junior High School on Fisher St. The production was a mammoth undertaking and involved 18 speaking roles, a song-and-dance chorus of 35, a large production staff, and a live nine-piece orchestra.
The musical takes place in Yonkers, NY and is about a matchmaker who lands her own husband after successfully uniting a small group of younger couples who at first seemed hopeless in their ability to find love. After staging this production, the club subsequently presented a string of musicals throughout the early 1970s, including South Pacific, Oklahoma, and Brigadoon.