The Canton Comic Opera Company presents a special Civil War Sesquicentennial Film Series featuring two silent film comedies set during the Civil War with two of the silent screen’s most beloved comedians. The series starts on Friday, June 17 with Hands Up! (1926) starring Raymond Griffith, and continues on Friday, July 8 with The General (1927) starring Buster Keaton. Both films start at 7:30 pm and will be screened in 16mm at the Cable Recital Hall of the Canton Cultural Center for the Arts, 1001 Market Ave. N., Canton, Ohio 44702. The film series will feature live piano accompaniment by Joseph N. Rubin. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students and children for each film. To purchase tickets and for more information visit www.cantoncomicoperaco.com or call (330) 470-0835.
Hands Up! (1926) is a forgotten comedy gem starring an equally forgotten silent screen comedian, Raymond Griffith. Neither his name nor his trademark white tie, top hat and tails are well known today, as only a handful of his silent films have survived the ravages of time. In the film, Griffith plays a Confederate spy. His mission is to keep the gold of one Silas Woodstock (Mack Swain) out of Union hands. In the course of his mission, he tangles with Native Americans, a firing squad, the Union army and the affections of both of Woodstock's daughters (Marian Nixon and Virginia Lee Corbin).
The General (1927) directed by and starring Buster Keaton, is recognized as one of the greatest silent films ever made. Based on a true incident in the Civil War, Keaton plays Johnnie Gray, the engineer of the train, “The General.” When the Civil War breaks out, he is rejected for service because he is thought to be more valuable to the South as an engineer, making his sweetheart Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack) believe he’s a coward. Union spies capture “The General” with Annabelle on board, compelling Johnnie to rescue both his sweetheart and his train. The film first played Canton at the Loews Theatre the week of April 3, 1927.
Joseph N. Rubin is much in demand as a theatre organist and pianist. He has accompanied numerous silent films at venues throughout the country including the Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, OH), the Olympia Theatre at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts (Miami, FL), and the Hayesville Opera House (Hayesville, OH). Mr. Rubin also founded the Annual Lillian and Dorothy Gish Film Festival at the Lions Lincoln Theatre in Massillon, Ohio. The festival honored Massillon’s own Lillian Gish, “the first lady of the silent screen” and her sister Dorothy.
The Canton Comic Opera Company’s 2011 Summer Season culminates with a fully-staged production of Sigmund Romberg’s 1927 musical romance of the Civil War, My Maryland. This exciting, patriotic operetta has not been presented anywhere in 35 years and features a stirring score with “Your Land and My Land,” “Silver Moon,” and “Mother.” My Maryland will be performed on Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, July 17 at 2:00 pm at the Glen Oak High School Theatre, 1801 Schneider St. NE. Canton, OH 44721. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $10 for students. To purchase tickets and for more information call (330) 470-0835 or www.cantoncomicoperaco.com. In addition, a special free historical exhibit “Your Land and My Land” featuring rare original photographs and playbills of My Maryland will be displayed at the Stark County District Library’s Main Library, 715 Market Ave. N., from June 13 through July 17.
The Canton Comic Opera Company is a non-profit theatre company, based in Canton, Ohio, dedicated to the preservation and performance of American operettas. Founded and incorporated in 2003 by executive director, Joseph N. Rubin, the Canton Comic Opera Company is a volunteer-based organization providing talented singers and musicians in the Northeastern Ohio community with the opportunity to perform in operetta productions. The Canton Comic Opera Company is the only theatre company in the world dedicated solely to the performance of historic American operettas.