Dramas and Tales by R. Rex Stephenson Compiled by Appalachian Dramas & Tales Other Published Plays Articles More Links Bibliography of Appalachian Folktales in Film, Drama and Storytelling Recordings
Appalachian Dramas and Tales
"Catskins." A story theatre adaptation performed by The Jack Tale Players, created in 2007, also performed in 2010 spring-summer tour. Ferrum College. Unpublished.
Charity for All. Available for loan to schools and nonprofit organizations from Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Resource Service. (VF79-18). VFH Catalog: "Surveying the dislocated world of post-Civil War Franklin County, Virginia, this drama, created by faculty and students at Ferrum College, focuses on the complex and volatile social relations with which a Union Army officer, who represents the Freedmen's Bureau, must contend. 60m; 1/2", 3/4"; $3." Videocassette by WBRA-TV, Roanoke, VA, 1980.
Faith of our Fathers: A Historical Dramatization of the Founding of Franklin County, 1986. 2 videocassettes (VHS, 135 mins.) Notes from WorldCat: Recorded live on September 25, 1986. Covers the period 1611-1786 in Franklin County history. "Though in the main true to the facts of history, the author has in some instances had to use his imagination in telling the story of Faith of Our Fathers." Presented by the Bicentennial Commission, Franklin County, VA.
Folklore to Theatre. 1 sound cassette from American Theatre Association Convention, New York, NY, August 1982. Abstract: Speakers discuss Ferrum College's project to dramatize traditional Appalachian mountain folklore. Participants: R. Rex Stephenson, chair; Roy Talbert and Lowell Swortzell, panelists.
Grandmother Tales: Mutsmag and Ashpet, Traditional Tales from the Blue Ridge Mountains. This play that includes the tales Ashpet (1998) and Mutsmag (2000) was performed in Dec. 2003 at Radford University's Pridemore Playhouse (photo of "Ashpet" at left). Short review in Radford's The Tartan. Radford PR page with rehearsal photo. Published as Grandmother Tales: Mutsmag and Ashpet, Traditional Tales from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Originally published Charlottesville, VA: New Plays for Children, 2004. Reprinted Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Publishing, 2012. With Background on the Tales and Questions for Discussion by Tina L. Hanlon. See also "Mutsmag," below.
"Jack and his Lump of Silver." ALCA-Lines: Journal of the Assembly on the Literature and Culture of Appalachia, Vol. VI (Fall 1999): 6-7. A retelling of the tale from Franklin County, VA, as told to Stephenson by Raymond Sloan in the 1980s. (Previously published in Blue Ridge Traditions.) Full text in AppLit.
"Jack and the Hainted House" in Nellie McCaslins Creative Drama in the Classroom and Beyond (editions 4–8). 8th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2005, p. 173. In story form with guidelines for dramatization.
"Jack and the Giants." Retold in 2010, based on script "Jack Fear-No-Man." Full text in AppLit.
"Jack and the Hainted House," in story form with introductory article by Joe Kennedy. Roanoke Times & World-News 31 Oct. 1992: Extra 1.
"Jack and the King's Girl." ALCA-Lines: Journal of the Assembly on the Literature and Culture of Appalachia, vol. IX (2001): 14-15. Tale collected in 1979 from a patient in a VA hospital in Louisville, KY. Also published with guidelines for dramatizing with children, in Nellie McCaslins Creative Drama in the Classroom, 5th ed. (New York: Longman, 1990). Also printed in Stephenson's 1994 "Teacher's Guide." Full text in AppLit with suggestions for using the story as dramatic play.
"The Jack Tale Players Presents The Jack Tales: Teacher's Guide for Use in Conjunction with the Performance of Jack Tales." Hurt, VA: Artistic, 1994. N. pag. Parts of this guide are reprinted in AppLit at Activities to Accompany Study of Dramatizations by the Jack Tale Players, The Script as Story Theatre, and Jack and the King's Girl. Revised as A Study Guide For The Jack Tales: Dramatizing Traditional Folklore Of The Blue Ridge Mountains. Orem, UT: Encore Performance Publishing, 2003.
The Jack Tales: Folk Stories from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Schulenburg, TX: I. E. Clark, 1991. Introduction by Nellie McCaslin. Dramatic adaptations as performed by Ferrum College Jack Tale Players. Contains "Jack Fear-No-Man," "Wicked John and the Devil," "Jack and the Robbers," "Foolish Jack," "Jack and the Witchs Tale," and "Jack and 01' Greasy Beard." See description at http://www.ieclark.com.
"The Jack Tales," in Eight Plays for Youth: Varied Theatrical Experiences for Stage and Study. Ed. Christian H. Moe and R. Eugene Jackson. American University Studies Series XXVI: Theatre Arts. Vol. 8. New York: Peter Lang, 1991. Stephenson's script includes three tales with background on the playwright, Jack Tales and story theatre: "Jack and the Robbers," "Jack and the Three Giants," and "Greasy-Beard."
Jack Tales Too! Stories from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Adapted by R. Rex Stephenson. Salt Lake City, UT: Encore Performance Publishing, 2004. "Jack's Mother's Second Marriage," "Foolish Jack," "Jack and the Mean Old Man," "Soldier Jack." Click on thumbnail at right for performance photo. Reprinted with title Jack in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Encore also published Jack Tales: A Songbook by Emily Rose Tucker and R. Rex Stephenson, 2004.
Jack's Adventures with the King's Girl. Orem, UT: Encore, 1999. Now published by Eldridge. Dramatic adaptation combining "Hardy Hard Head" and "The Hainted House." IUPUI National Youth Theatre Playwrighting Competition award for "Excellence in Playwrighting" for this script in 1996.
A Movement to Lead. Videocassette (VHS, 60 min.) produced at Ferrum College, 1993. Notes from WorldCat: "The meeting with Wilson depicted in the play is based on an actual meeting between Wilson and Monroe Trotter, Du Bois's close friend. Many of the speeches and all of the ideas are drawn directly from Washington's and Du Bois's writings and speeches. ...'A Movement to Lead' is a project that examines Booker T. Washington's and W.E.B. Du Bois's ideas regarding race relations. The project has several parts: this guide, a photograph and artifact display, and a dramatic enactment of an imagined meeting between the two men. The goal of the project is to stimulate discussion about race relations in the twentieth century and to increase understanding about this important issue." Participants in post-play discussion: Lewis Rogers (Chief Ranger at Booker T. Washington National Monument), Rex Stephenson (Playwright and Drama Professor), Michael Trochim (Project Historian and History Professor), and Jody Brown (Moderator and Fine Arts and Religion Chair at Ferrum College).
Mutsmag. Published in AppLit, 2002. Online picture book adaptation of the script, with illustrations by children in grades K-3 (Franklin County, VA), who saw the Jack Tale Players perform "Mutsmag" in spring 2000. See also Grandmother Tales, above.
"Mutsmag." In Crosscurrents of Children's Literature: An Anthology of Texts and Criticism. Ed. J. D. Stahl, Tina L. Hanlon, and Elizabeth Lennox Keyser. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006. 401-09. The script of "Mutsmag" appears in Part 3, Oral and Written Literary Traditions, with a reprint of "Munsmeg," the oral tale collected by Richard Chase from the James Taylor Adams Collection. See the Crosscurrents companion web site for more on Appalachian selections and oral traditions in this anthology.
My Travels with Cecil. Orem, UT: Encore, 2002. A play with music about British ballad collector Cecil Sharp's visit to Franklin County, VA in 1918.
Roar of the Silence. A play about race relations in Franklin County, VA, about minstrel shows and the only race riot in Rocky Mount, set in the late 19th century. Videocassette by WBRA-TV, Roanoke, VA, 1981 (58 min., 20 sec.).
The Three Old Women's Bet. Schulenburg, TX: I. E. Clark, 2002.
Too Free for Me. Venice, FL: Eldridge Plays and Musicals (replacing original publisher, Encore), 1998. Award-winning play based on local Franklin County history about a white woman who helped a former slave fight a court battle to prove she was free. This play was the first production of the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre in 1979. It won the American Alliance for Theatre and Education award in 1995. Available for loan to schools and nonprofit organizations from Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Resource Service (VF78-77). VFH Catalog: "Developed by faculty and students at Ferrum College, this program brings to life the trial of a black, female, Franklin County resident who, in 1851, brought charges of assault against a local landowner who had refused to acknowledge her free status and right to marry. 60m." Videocassette by WBRA-TV, Roanoke, VA, 1979. See also publisher's description and Review by Lana A. Whited and Ferrum College press release on 2004 production. (Discussion of play and background on main character Indiana Choice at Betty Choyce web site—no longer online.)
"Two Lost Babes." This is a folktale adaptation performed in the Jack Tale Players' summer tour, 2006, revised with new music in 2009. Study guide by Thomas Townsend at this link. For background and links to related tales, see also The Babes in the Woods and The Two Lost Babes and Hansel and Gretel.
White Column Mansions: Three Original Plays Based in Local History and Folklore: A Process for Developing Local American Historical Materials into Theatrical Productions. Ph. D. Dissertation. New York University, 1983. University Microfilms International, 1986.
Wicca. Published in online journal Nantahala: A Review of Writing and Photography in Appalachia. Issue 1:01. Nov. 2001. A drama about love and jealousy, revenge and witchcraft in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
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Rex Stephenson consults with Richard Chase in the late 1970s
Other Published Plays by R. Rex Stephenson
The Adventures of Huck Finn, with music by Jon Cohn and C. Michael Perry. Orem, UT: Encore Performance Publishing, 2002. Based on the novel by Mark Twain.
And the Rains Came. . . and Came, with music by Gary Evans. A musical in two acts based on the Noah story. Charlottesville, VA: New Plays for Children, 2000. Reprint Leicester Bay Theatricals, 2013. With Resource Guide by R. Rex Stephenson and Nellie McCaslin. See photo below near article by McCaslin.
A Christmas Carol. Adapted from Charles Dickens. Schulenburg, TX: I. E. Clark, 2000.
Daniel! The Musical Based on the Bible Story. Book and Lyrics by R. Rex Stephenson. Music and Lyrics by C. Michael Perry. South Jordan, UT: Encore Performance Publishing, 2005.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Venice, FL: Eldridge, 2000. Based on the novel by Mark Twain. (Eldridge Author Info on Stephenson). Click here for photo of original production at Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre.
Galileo: Man of Science, with co-author Mike Trochim. Charlottesville, VA: New Plays for Children, 1996.
Glorious Son of York: A Play for Two or More People about King Richard III. Orem, UT: Encore Performance Publishing, 2000.
Just So Stories—the Musical. Adapted by R. Rex Stephenson and Emily Rose Tucker. Venice, FL: Eldridge, 2006.
Kipling's Just So Stories. Adapted by R. Rex Stephenson. Venice, FL: Eldridge, 2006.
Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, with music by Jon Cohn. Orem, UT: Encore Performance Publishing, 1997. Based on the novel by Lewis Carroll.
The Liberated Cinderella, or, The Return of the Godfather, a One-act Comedy. Schulenburg, TX: I. E. Clark 1974. See description at http://www.ieclark.com.
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. Salt Lake City, UT: Encore Performance Publishing, 2004. An adaptation based primarily on Twain's Tom Sawyer, Detective, combined with material from Life on the Mississippi and Tom Sawyer Abroad. "The play celebrates the adventurous spirits of young men as they take on new challenges, conquer great barriers, and at the end, are the same two mischievous boys that are icons of American literature" (Stephenson, "Thoughts on the Play").
The Prince and the Pauper: Based on the Mark Twain Classic. Orem, UT: Encore Performance Publishing, 2002. Revised reprint 2012.
Rudyard Kiplings The Jungle Book. Charlottesville, VA: New Plays for Children, 1998. With Study Guide by R. Rex Stephenson and Tina L. Hanlon. Reprint Leicester Bay Theatricals, 2013. Click at right for photo.
Treasure Island. Adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson. Schulenburg, TX: I. E. Clark, 1995. Press release on Dec. 2001 production at Ferrum College, with photo from 1994 production. See also description at http://www.ieclark.com. Press release "Old Michie Theatre to Present Stephenson’s Treasure Island" (Jan. 2005).
The Vision: A Play about John Wesley and the Founding of Kingswood School, with co-author Mike Trochim. Nashville, TN: General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Division of Higher Education, 1998.
Rex Stephenson (left) performs with the Jack Tale Players
in Woodstock Georgia, May 2002
Articles and Other Background
Allen, Mike. "From Sunday's Column: Twain's Last Lecture at Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre." The Roanoke Times. Arts & Extras with Mike Allen. 6 Aug. 2010. Roanoke.com. Article with photo of Rex Stephenson as Mark Twain (photo at right), ending a 40-year series of performances based on Twain's last lecture tour in 1909. This year's performances mark the 100th anniversary of Twain's death.
"All American, All-Star USO Show, or, 'Who Needs Bob Hope?'" The Jack Tales. Facebook.com. 6 July 2012. Article with photos, in Facebook Notes, on Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre show July 5-7, commemorating 30th anniversary of USO tours by the Jack Tale Players. Compiled by Tina L. Hanlon.
"Alumni, Arts, and Ferrum." Ferrum Magazine Winter 2011-12. Web and print. This page on several alumni who had different majors in the arts begins with a brief history of the Jack Tale Players, photo of a fall 2011 performance, and profile with recent photo of freelance opera and theatre director Brian Robertson '83, who "credits the Jack Tale Players with giving Ferrum students 'a taste of professional theatre.'"
Angel, Gary and Faye. "A Review of 'Blue Suede Shoes II.'" The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 23 June 2010: 7-A. Review of new musical revue by Rex Stephenson and Emily Rose Tucker, directed by Stephenson.
"Bedford Youths Take Part in Ferrum College Drama." The Bedford [VA] Bulletin-Democrat 8 Jan. 1976. With a photo of Laura Davis and Ronnie Davis, both of Bedford, and Gail Epps of Fredericksburg. Article about the Jack Tale Players' first tour to about twenty schools around the state in January 1976, sponsored by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and Humanities. The article explains that Stephenson and eleven students, the actors in "Jack Tales: A Children's Participation Drama," perform "many roles in the play since the characters exchange parts at the beginning of each tale."
"BRDT to Hold Auditions for Upcoming Season." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA]: 19 March 2012. Article includes overview of 33rd season of BRDT and fall 2011 photo of The Jack Tale Players.
Brown, Jody D. "25 Years of the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre." Followed by profile of theatre graduate and "In and Out of the Classroom: Spotlight on R. Rex Stephenson." Ferrum Magazine Winter 2004: 20-25. Available online at www.ferrum.edu.
Brown, Jody and R. Rex Stephenson. "The Folk Tales of the Eastern Blue Ridge." Blue Ridge Parkway: Agent of Transition. Eds. Barry Buxton and Steven M. Beatty. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1986. 167-72.
Brubaker, Tammy. Letter to The Drama Club, Ferrum College. Callaway School. Dec. 11, 1975. MS. After the Jack Tale Players' first official performance at her school, 4th-grader Tammy wrote, "I am really glad you could come and do all those Jack tales for us today. I hope you can come back again in the 76 year. I really appreciated it. I liked the dance, when Ma was getting married and when Jack was going to get her head chopped off best. You can act really good. I don't see how you do it. One of my classmates was a flowergirl in Ma's wedding. Her name is Teresa Nichols. She acted good, but not as good as you!" This letter is copied in the Jack Tale Players web site and "The Jack Tales" Facebook Notes.
Burchette, Linda. "MHS Drama Students Take First at Regional Competition." SWVAToday.com. 23 Nov. 2012. Another article "Marion's Hurricane Players Take the Lincoln Stage" appeared in the same publication 2 Jan. 2013, with quotations by Stephenson, Necessary and cast members. Although the performance date is unclear in this article, the performance at the Lincoln Theatre was Jan. 5, 2013.
Calos, Katherine. "Simple Jack Tales Educate." Richmond News Leader 16 Jan. 1976: 6. Several photos show actors performing in the round in "Foolish Jack," actor Wanda Edwards telling "children of origin of tales," and very young students at Clark Springs Elementary School who "find drama intriguing." The lead says "A simpleton named Jack has been giving some sophisticated lessons in play-acting to students in Richmond public schools." Tales in which Jack "outwitted a king, his mother, three more foolish people and a 'mean old man'.... help them learn the difference between fantasy and reality." The article explains the origins of the folktales and Stephenson's three adaptations. His research since the previous September had turned up "more than 40 tales....Stephenson started casting for the play in November and put it on the road in January." He is quoted as saying, "'The play is based on the best of the tales,...but the actual script was composed by the drama students. They reviewed the tales and then improvised to see what worked. Everyone had a part in writing the final draft.' There is only one copy of that final draft, he added, because he wants to copyright the play. To make sure the tales he included were authentic, Stephenson talked with mountain people who remembered the Jack tales." In 2011, the 36th year of the Jack Tale Players, Stephenson is still crediting this article and its headline with making his Jack Tale adaptations popular and acceptable to school principals in a time when regional folklore was not always viewed as a positive influence in the schools.
Campbell, David B. "'Mrs. California' is a 'Poignant' Comedy." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 20 June 2008: 2-A. Review of play by Doris Baizley, directed by Stephenson. Other articles on the same play include "Carter Bank Underwrites BRDT Production." The Franklin News-Post 19 May 2008: 3-B (article with photo about Mrs. California); "Mrs. California Opens This Week at BRDT." The Franklin News-Post 18 June 2008: 5-A (article with photo of actors).
Cook, Bill. "A Review of 'The Curious Savage.'" The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 4 July 2012: 4-A. Review of comedy by John Patrick, directed by Rex Stephenson at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre. In the "brilliant" cast, Jody D. Brown starred as Ethel Savage, who is admitted to a mental institution by her stepchildren trying to gain control of her fortune. The review also praises Rachel K. Blankenship, playing a haughty stepdaughter so angry "the audience can feel the heat beaming out her flushed face," and Emily Rose Tucker's "flamboyant depiction" of Fairy May, a lovable, child-like mental patient. The June 25 issue of the paper (p. 3-A) included a photo of Tucker and Brown in the play that started June 26.
Corwin, Rachel. "A Review of BRDT's 'Just So Stories.'" The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 3 Aug. 2012: 3-A. "This delightful stage adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's children's stories is a must-see!" The review pays tribute to retiring BRDT directors Rex Stephenson and Jody D. Brown and to the Jack Tale Players: "the BRDT has been a lantern of culture in the mountains of Franklin County....We are so grateful to Jack Tales and to Rex and Jody for their generous contributions to our community!"
"County Legend Produced Into Play." The Franklin County Times 25 Dec. 1975. With a photo of Stephenson, Mike Gish, and Nancy Ward. Local article about the Jack Tale Players in their first month of performances in schools. The article explains the origins of the Jack Tales, especially one from Franklin County that "came from an interview with Miss Elsie Turner. It involves the family of Jubal A. Early's brother who lived near Windy Gap Mountain in the 1800s." In the legend, Early's sons try to prevent the remarriage of his widow, their mother, by digging up their father's coffin and bringing it to the wedding. The mother marries the farm overseer anyway but the legend says "a light can be seen going back and forth between Early's burial place and the home," implying that he is still trying to stop his wife from remarrying. Jack is one of the brothers in the dramatized version. (See details on later remake of this tale at "Jack's Mother's Second Marriage.") The research and dramatization were supported by funds from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and Humanities.
"Drama Classes Offered at Jonesborough Repertory Theatre." A! Magazine for the Arts, vol. 14, no. 1 (Jan. 2007). Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. Includes account of Jonesborough Repertory Theater winning award of excellence for production of Stephenson's Jack Tales, with photo of cast and director.
Edwards, Laurie. "Play It Again and Again." Smith Mountain Lake.com. 25 June 2010. Article with two photos on continuing success of Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre and Jack Tale Players for over 30 years. Reprinted in AppLit at this link.
"Ferrum Drama Tour." Virginia Advocate 22 Jan. 1976. The United Methodist Church. Same photo as in "Two Performances" article (see below), of Wanda Edwards of Goshen, Julie Moore of Roanoke and Elliott Stone of Martinsville sharpening an ax in a scene from the show. Short notice about the Jack Tale Players' first tour of Virginia in Jan. 1976. "In addition to school performances, the cast appeared last week in special showings at the United Methodist Children's Home and the Hermitage in Richmond."
"Ferrum's 'Jack Tales Play' to Be Presented Locally." The Commercial Appeal [Danville, VA] 29 Nov. 1979: 17. Article with one photo of Patty Lenke, Ronnie Davis, and Gail Epps playing "old mountain tunes" arranged by Ronnie and Gail. A performance at Danville elementary schools "is part of a statewide tour financed partially by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and Humanities." In the second year of receiving state grants, Stephenson commented, "The interest we experienced last year and so far this year has been phenomenal."
"Five-Day Theatre Tour of New York City Planned." Ferrum College Bulletin Winter 1979: p. 11. Description of April 9-12 tour with photo of Rex Stephenson (copies archived in Ferrum College library).
"Folklore Comes to Layton Elementary." The Fairfax Times [VA] 12 Nov. 1998: A1, 3. Article on Jack Tale Players with photos.
"Good Feelings Come From Tour." Roanoke Times & World-News 5 Dec. 1978: C2. Jack Tale Player Leslie Draper reported after the first USO tour that "the students felt duly appreciated...when one member of an audience along the way shouted out, 'Who needs Bob Hope?'"
Green, Linda. "Play Shows United Methodists' 250 Year Involvement in..." Worldwide Faith News 19 June 1998. Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org. Article on 1998 premier of The Vision, Nashville, TN.
Griffin, Alison. "Jack Tales Put Children In the Mood for Action. Richmond Times-Dispatch 4 Mar. 1977: B-9. During a week-long tour of Virginia schools supported by the Virginia Commission of the Arts and Humanities, the Jack Tale Players had city children at Southampton Elementary School "yelling and laughing and clicking their fingers and dancing in the aisles with the players....Props were few and far between, there was no scenery or costumes, the food and the stairs and the deep well were imaginary, yet the troupe whisked the audience of 500 children off to fantasy land in a matter of minutes." Photo of children dancing on stage with performers.
Hailey, Diane. "Foundations of a Legacy." Article on retirement of President Jerry Boone includes Ferrum Timeline with "Rex Stephenson takes 'Jack Tales' to England," 1990, and "Jack Tales Celebrate 25 years," 2000. Ferrum Magazine Winter 2004: 12-17. Available online at www.ferrum.edu.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Blue Ridge Adaptation of Heidi Closes Season at Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre." 2011. Full text in AppLit. Parts of this article were presented at the Children's Literature Association Conference at Hollins University in June 2011, at the Virginia Humanities Conference in March 2012 at Roanoke College, and in a faculty reading for the Hollins University Graduate Program in Children's Literature on July 25, 2012. In its original version as a news release, it appeared in the Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA], Aug. 4, 2011. Many photos of this production, by Ken McCreedy, are available in the Ferrum College Flickr albums.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Capturing Characters on Stage for the College and Community: An Interview with Playwright Rex Stephenson." Virginia Libraries, vol. 54, nos. 3 & 4 (2008): 7-12. Available as pdf at journal web site. Includes discussion of research, Jack Tale Players history, Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre, past plays, and 2008 plays When the Lights Go On Again and Little Women: A Musical. Photos by Jeff Dalton (at left, Stephenson with John Isner, Kenny Barron and other Jack Tale Players at Rocky Mount Farmers' Market, July 2008). Reprinted at ilovelibraries.org, American Library Association, July 2009.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Chinese Students Learn Jack Tales." In The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 19 June 2006, with headline "China Students Learn about Jack Tales." Full text in AppLit at this link. Article on Jack Tale Player Thomas Townsend teaching Stephenson's Jack Tale adaptations to students in China.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Digging Deeper in the Oral Tradition: Faculty/Student Research on Appalachian Folktales." Presentation based on research by Tina Hanlon, N. Michelle Vincent, and Rex Stephenson at Appalachian Studies Association Conference, Dayton, Ohio, Mar. 18, 2006.
Hanlon, Tina L. "From Fool of the World to Regional Trickster: Adaptations of European-American Folktales in Appalachia." Paper presented at Congress of the International Research Society for Children's Literature, Trinity College, Dublin, Aug. 14, 2005.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Jack Tales." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature. Vol. 1. Ed. Jack Zipes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. (Reprint in MyWire accessed 12/6/09)
Hanlon, Tina L. "The Jack Tales in Appalachia." "On Writers and Writing": Papers Presented at the Virginia Humanities Conference, March 28-30, 1996. Charlottesville: U of VA, 1996.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Old and New Stories from Appalachia." The Five Owls, No. 3, 2003, issue on The New South. Formerly reprinted in The Five Owls web site (no longer online). Now reprinted in this web site. Overview of Appalachian fiction for children includes mention of Stephenson's folktale adaptations.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Oral Traditions and Modern Adaptations: Survey of Appalachian Folktales in Children's Literature." Paper presented at Appalachian Studies Association Conference, Knoxville, TN, March 26, 2000, revised in AppLit 2004.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Snow White and Mutsmag in Appalachia." Paper with PowerPoint slides presented at Children's Literature Symposium, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Feb. 3, 2012. Includes discussion of Stephenson's folktale adaptations, especially "Mutsmag." Abstract: Comparing Appalachian adaptations of “Mutsmag” and “Snow White” in various media reveals differences between retelling less familiar tales of strong women and girls, making them known to a wider audience, and adapting tales that are so widely known that adapters have more freedom, perhaps, to transform or complicate the plot and blend a variety of other intertextual and intercultural references into familiar frameworks.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Strong Women in Appalachian Folktale Dramatizations by R. Rex Stephenson," 2001-2002. Full text in AppLit.
Hanlon, Tina L. Strong Women in Appalachian Folktales. The Lion & the Unicorn, vol. 24 (April 2000): 225-46. Full text available through library services such as Project Muse.
Hanlon, Tina L. "Three Recent Developments in Appalachian Fiction for Children: Regionalism in a New Century." Paper presented at Children's Literature Association 36th Annual Conference: The Best of Three, Charlotte, NC, June 12, 2009. Includes discussions of Stephenson's adaptation of "Two Lost Babes."
Hanlon, Tina L. "Wedding Belles Rings in 30th Anniversary of Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre with Heartwarming Hilarity." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 15 May 2009. Review of Wedding Belles, a new play by Alan Bailey and Ronnie Claire Edwards, directed by Rex Stephensno at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre in May and June 2009.
Hanlon, Tina L. and R. Rex Stephenson. "Adapting Folktales for the Stage: Collaboration Between the Literary Critic and the Playwright." Papers presented at the Fourth Biennial Conference on Modern Critical Approaches to Children's Literature, Nashville, April 7, 2001.
Hanlon, Tina L. and Lana Whited. "Ferrum Performers Keep Jack Tales Alive." ALCA-Lines: Journal of the Assembly on the Literature and Culture of Appalachia, vol. V (1997): 2023. Full text in AppLit.
Hanlon, Tina L. and N. Michelle Vincent. "Studying the Oral Tradition with Folktales in the James Taylor Adams Collection." Presentation at Appalachian College Association Summit, Abingdon, VA, Oct. 27, 2005.
"Heidi Adaptation Coming to Ferrum College This Week." News 7 Sunday Morning. WDBJ-7.com. 31 July, 2011. Video and text. Susan Bahorich interviews Emily Rose Tucker and Jody D. Brown about upcoming BRDT musical by Stephenson and Tucker, with rehearsal photos of cast, including Rachel K. Blankenship as Heidi.
Hogston, Po. "Jacks Take Off." The Iron Blade [Ferrum College, VA]: 12 Feb. 1981. Archived in Ferrum College's Stanley Library. Article with photo of Stephenson, about success and travels of Jack Tales Traveling Theatre Troupe, at a time when two companies of twenty actors each traveled to locations ranging from nearby Floyd to Los Angeles and New Orleans. "Jack Tales is funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and Humanities and is the only such group on campus that is not funded directly from the college." The grant obtained seven years earlier was $1000 to fund expenses such as costumes. Tales mentioned in this article are "Jack and the Mean Old Man," "Foolish Jack," and "Soldier Jack." Stephenson comments on audiences of young and old. He is quoted as saying, "Our performances deal with moral lessons on such things as death or dealing with parents, and one of our shows deals with the use of solar energy." Stephenson notes that in seven years they had "entertained over 140 to 150 thousand people." Theatre Management major David Watson is quoted on benefits of performing and traveling.
Hudson, Mike. "Replay." The Roanoke Times 13 July 2004: Extra 1, 6. Article with four photos on new production of Too Free for Me.
Hunt, Kitty. "Jack Tales: Blue Ridge Folklore Comes to Life at Spencer-Penn Elementary School." Martinsville Bulletin 1 Nov. 1977: A1, 6. Photos of Dr. Nellie McCaslin of New York and Rex Stephenson wearing a dress in a Jack tale. He called "Jack and Old Greasy Beard" the "oldest ever" (6). McCaslin, president of the national Children's Theatre Association and Stephenson's professor in doctoral work at New York University, was visiting to conduct workshops and evaluations of the Jack Tale Players for the Virginia Commission of Arts and Humanities. Stephenson's show had been presented 150 times, with grants paying half the cost and the PTA of each school providing 25 cents per student. The show was performed in the round to allow for participation of children seated on the floor. McCaslin said, "They do an even better job than I'd expected to find" (1). She commented on Stephenson's research, the show's "good taste" in handling themes of death and violence, audience participation, the appeal of the folktales for all ages, and the advantage of bringing college groups into schools rather than more expensive professional actors. McCaslin commented, "I love the music," and said Stephenson "has a great love and respect for his material. I think that this comes across" (6).
"Jack Tale Players Always Entertaining." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 13 July 2012: 2-A. Editorial urging citizens to attend upcoming shows by the Jack Tale Players, who have "entertained countless children and adults" since the mid-1970s.
"Jack Tale Players Mark 37th Season." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA]16 May 2012. Article about summer season with photo of past Jack Tale show in the Farmers' Market in Rocky Mount. The same information is in a Ferrum College press release, May 11, 2012. The photo (at right) shows children from the audience performing with Stephenson and the Jack Tale Players in "Jack and the Robbers."
"Jack Tale Players to Perform at County Libraries." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 13 July 2012: 1, 4-A. Article announcing upcoming performances at Hollins University July 16 and two Franklin County Libraries July 17, with the photo at right.
"Jack Tales Plan Anniversary Performance for December." Ferrum Magazine Spring 2005: 36. Short piece on upcoming 30th anniversary of Jack Tale Players, which was celebrated at Callaway Elementary School.
"Jack Tale Players Set Show At Local Schools." The Register: Danville, Va. 29 Nov. 1979. Article with photo of Joan Steube, Dean Gates, and Jimmy Frye performing. "For two consecutive years the college's drama department has been awarded a state grant to research original mountain folktales and to organize the tales into a children's play, and then to take the play on a tour throughout the state." Stephenson estimates that it was "performed before approximately 8.000 elementary school children" the previous year and 20,000 children this year. Stephenson is quoted as commenting on the "phenomenal" interest the play generated: "This is creative children's drama at its best. It involves participation from the audience and it's a lesson in American folklore, all at the same time." Under the grant from the Virginia Commission of the Arts and Humanities, "another folktales play" was planned for the coming spring, to "most likely center around the historical character of Cecil Sharpe [sic--should be Sharp], an Englishman who toured Virginia's Blue Ridge in the early 1900's to record mountain folktales."
Jameson, Jannie. "Play Successfully Combines Music, History, Tragedy." The Iron Blade [Ferrum College, VA]: 23 Feb. 1984. Article on Stephenson's play The Roar of the Silence, about the only race riot in Rocky Mount, Virginia, in the late 19th century. Archived in Ferrum College's Stanley Library.
"John Wesley's Mission Brought to Life." Ferrum Magazine Spring 2000: 3. About The World Is My Parish by Stephenson and Michael Trochim.
Johnson, Florella H. "Gabriel's Honky Tonk Angels." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 8 July 2011: A2. Positive review of Gabriel's Honky Tonk Angels, new musical revue by Stephenson and Emily Rose Tucker, about stars of country music in heaven.
Johnson, Florella H. "A Review of 'The Night Loretta, Mother Maybelle, and Jeannie C. Spent in Jail.'" The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 13 July 2012: 3-A. Johnson praises the "fabulous creation by Rex Stephenson and Emily Rose Tucker," a musical revue about a fictional incident set in the imaginary small town of Pinetown, WV in 1970. While a group of musicians tries to get money wired to them to pay their bills after their promoter left with all the money, they tell true stories from their lives, sing many songs, and listen to local talent.
"JRT Presents The Jack Tales." Historic Jonesborough. Article about performances of Stephenson's The Jack Tales by the Jonesborough [TN] Repertory Theater, during the National Storytelling Festival. Sept.-Oct. 2006.
"JRT to Present 'The Jack Tales.'" Johnson City [TN] Press 21 Sept. 2006. Article with rehearsal photo. Same information as article above. See also The Jack Tales, web page about 2006-2007 productions in Jonesborough Repertory Theatre web site.
"Junior Playhouse Presents 'The Jack Tales.'" Oak Ridge Observer [Oak Ridge, TN] 6 Oct. 2005: 9. Notice of performances of Stephenson's The Jack Tales at the Oak Ridge Junior Playhouse.
"'Just So Stories' Ends Season at BRDT." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 23 July 2012: 1-A. Photo of 16 area youth who will be among the cast of "Just So Stories," adapted from Rudyard Kipling by Rex Stephenson, with original muic by Emily Rose Tucker. BRDT company actors Chris Wolfe and Jordan Estose are pictured playing a whale.
Kittredge, Kevin. "Jefferson Davis: The Man who would be The King." The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com. 16 June 2006: Extra. "In Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre's 'Jeff!,' the Confederate icon comes back as Elvis. It's one of two unusual works the theater is producing this summer." Article with photos and audio from Jeff!. Review of Stephenson's play about Jefferson Davis and preview of his new play, Jonah and the Big Fish.
Kittredge, Kevin. "Wickedly Good." The Roanoke Times 16 July 2003: Extra 1, 3. Article with photos on Stephenson's new Biblical play, Daniel, with performances by visiting New York actresses Nellie McCaslin and Vera Mowry Roberts.
Kozelsky, Holly. "Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre Holding Steady in Ferrum." Martinsville [VA] Bulletin 4 July 2010. Article based on interview with Rex Stephenson about the history and current season of the BRDT, with a photo of Stephenson with actors, and one of set preparation on the BRDT stage.
Kozelsky, Holly. "Director Finds New Purpose In Coordinating Children's Theater." The Martinsville Bulletin 25 March 2013. Article on Stephenson directing creative drama workshops for children at Spencer-Penn Center in spring and summer, collaborating with Elliott Stone, who was an original member of the Jack Tale Players in 1975.
Lauterstein, Ken. "From Basement to Center Stage: The Origins of the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre are Steeped in Area History and Folklore." Past Times column. Smith Mountain Lake.com. 29 April 2011. Article with two photos about Stephenson's plays, BRDT history, and collaboration with Emily Rose Tucker.
Loveland, George. "'Nunsense Jamboree': A Spirited and Rollicking Good Time." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 17 July 2009: A2. Review of Nunsense Jamboree, directed by Stephenson.
Mallory, Laura. "A Review of 'When the Lights Go On Again.'" The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 8 June 2012. Positive review of musical revue set in World War II, written by Stephenson and Emily Rose Tucker. A photo of Tucker, Rachel K. Blankenship, and Kristen Krak in their World War II USO costumes appeared about a week earlier in the newspaper.
McBride, Michael. "Profile." The Star Press [Muncie, IN] Aug. 18, 2006. Newspaper interview with photo. Discusses influences from Stephenson's Indiana hometown and De Soto High School, his beginnings in drama at Ball State University, his teaching at Redkey High School, and his writing of plays.
McCaslin, Nellie. "The Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre: A Recipe for Success." Stage of The Art. Winter 2002: 16-17. Full text at this link. Photo of Nellie McCaslin as Noah's mother in Stephenson's play And The Rains Came at right.
McGowan, Thomas. "Beech Mountain Jack Tale." The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales. Ed. Donald Haase. Vol. 1. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2008. Dramatic adaptations at Ferrum College are mentioned in this encyclopedia entry.
Miles, Nancy L. "'Play Opens Next Week." The Iron Blade [Ferrum College, VA]: 30 Sept. 1982. Archived in Ferrum College's Stanley Library. Article on Stephenson's drama Wicca, about love and jealousy, revenge and witchcraft in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a cast list including Stephenson's young daughter Janice. The article mentions three local sources incorporated into the script.
Miles, Nancy L. "'Wicca': A Bewitching Success." The Iron Blade [Ferrum College, VA]: 14 Oct. 1982. Archived in Ferrum College's Stanley Library. Article on Stephenson's drama about love and jealousy, revenge and witchcraft in the Blue Ridge Mountains, including a photo of professor Wayne Bowman in the play. As listed above, Wicca was published in an online magazine in 2001.
Monk, Bethany A. "Summer Stars to Light Up SCT Stage." The Star-Ledger [Sutter Creek, CA]: 26 June 2009. Article with photo about children's theatre camp at Sutter Creek Theatre performing Stephenson's "Jack Tales."
Muse, Brenda Webb. "A Review of 'The Odd Couple.'" The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 22 June 2012: 5A. Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre production of The Odd Couple by Neil Simon, directed by Stephenson, starred Stephenson as Oscar and Michael Trochim as Felix.
Mushko, Becky. "Moonshine Express 2011." Peevish Pen. 17 April 2011. Blog entry on Franklin County Historical Society's Moonshine Express tour, with photo of Stephenson as Will Rogers.
"Not Quite a Saint, but Close Enough." No date. Teen Ink: Magazine, Website, and Books Written by Teens since 1989. The Young Authors Foundation (accessed in fall 2011). Categorized as memoir, by a teenager who is highly rated as a participant in this site, with an author's note that it was written for English 111. This article is a perceptive and amusing description of Rex Stephenson and the author's experience performing with the Jack Tale Players and in Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre plays. A scene in the 2011 production of Heidi is discussed with interesting detail about staging of the scene and participation of child actors.
Pillis, Peggy. "Demand High for Talents of Touring Groups." Ferrum College Bulletin Spring 1978: p. 12. Overview of college musical touring groups including the Jack Tale Players and Jack Tale Storytellers, "which perform dramatizations of original Blue Ridge Mountain folktales with traditional folk music accompaniments." Performances in a variety of places are listed: Atlanta, Richmond, Hopewell, Newport News Folklife Festival, Martinsville, Roanoke, and Floyd, with anticipation of "an invitation to perform in New Orleans in August for the American Childrens [sic] Theater Festival." "The two groups have performed approximately 30 times during the academic year." The drama department has also been working with WBRA-TV to produce educational videos (copies archived in Ferrum College library).
"Playhouse Presents 'The Jack Tales.'" Oak Ridge Observer [Oak Ridge, TN] 20 Oct. 2005: 12. Article with photo about young cast performing Stephenson's The Jack Tales at the Oak Ridge Junior Playhouse. The tales performed were "Jack Fear-No-Man," "Foolish Jack," "Jack and the Robbers," and "Jack and 'Ol Greasy Beard."
"Plays Selected to be Published." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 21 June 2002: A1, 8.
"Regional Folk Life Highlighter." Group Tour Magazine 18 May 2012. Group Tour Media. Article on exhibits and tours available at Blue Ridge Institute and Museum, with mention of Jack Tale Players in the Jack Tales Tour.
Renner, Craig J. "America's Jack: The Trickster Hero of Our Shy Tradition." The World & I: The Magazine for Lifelong Learning. Sept. 1998: 224-31. Contains brief history of Jack tales in Europe and America, citing mainly Lindahl and Perdue. Includes two pictures of Stephenson's Jack Tale Players. Full text available from Academic Index Expanded ASAP.
"Rex's Last Stand: After 35 Years as Mark Twain Professor Gives Final Performance." The Ferrum Magazine Winter 2010-2011: 32-33. Article with photos, available online and in print from Ferrum College.
Roberts, Kristin. "It's Showtime at BRDT." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA]: 22 July 2011. Review of Showtime at First Baptist directed by Stephenson.
Shoemaker, Deanna. "Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre: 'First Baptist of Ivy Gap.'" The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA]: 9 July 2010: A3. Review of play set in 1945 and 1970, directed by Stephenson.
Shoemaker, Deanna. "BRDT's Production of 'Blue Suede Shoes' Keeps the Audience Happy." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 22 June 2009: 7. Review of new musical review set in 1959, written and directed by Stephenson.
"Stephen Gordon Produces Video on Appalachian Oral Tradition for 2005 National History Day Project." Three articles reprinted in AppLit. Stephenson was one of the experts interviewed by Gordon for his award-winning video "Telling Tales: The Appalachian Oral Tradition."
Stephenson, Morris. "BRDT to Present a Musical Revue of WWII." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 20 June 2008: A3. Article with photo about local underwriting of new play When the Lights Go on Again: A Musical Revue of WWII, by R. Rex Stephenson and Emily Rose Tucker, opening July 2.
Stephenson, Morris. "Jack Tale Players." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 24 Dec. 2001: A1, B5–7. Discusses 25-year history of the Jack Tale Players with a number of photos.
Stephenson, R. Rex. "Aurand, the Mentor." Aurand Harris Remembered: A Monograph Celebrating America's Giant Playwright for Little People. Ed. Olin Corey. Louisville, KY: Anchorage Press, 1999. pp. 29-30. The article describes a visit to Ferrum by Aurand Harris (1915-96), late in his life, when he helped Stephenson with the scripts for Galileo and "Hardy Hard Head." They made plans for Harris to return and direct his play The Orphan Train in Ferrum, but he did not live long enough to return; Stephenson directed the play in Fall 1999 at Ferrum College.
Stephenson, R. Rex. "Drama Company Arrives for Work." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 13 June 2008: 7-A. Short article about 2008 Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre company of 20 actors from 10 different states.
Stephenson, Rex. "Feedback and Followup." The Ferrum Review, no. 7 (Spring 1988): 27-29. The article is introduced as an offshoot of Stephenson's work with John Hodgson and his writing of historical plays. It gives guidelines for obtaining feedback from audiences, including followup workshops with audiences after performances, and evaluating audience feedback in relation to views of the director and acting company.
Stephenson, R. Rex. " The Jack Tales of the Southern Appalachian Area." Ferrum Review, Spring 1976.
Stephenson, R. Rex. Review of Jack and the Devil's Purse: Scottish Traveller Tales by Duncan Williamson. Appalachian Journal 39 (Summer/Fall 2012): 356-58.
Stephenson, R. Rex. "Mark Twain." Children's Theatre Educational Resource Guide. Little Rock: Arkansas Arts Center, 2002-2003. p. 19. Available as pdf file 4/3/04.
Stephenson, R. Rex. "A Way to Begin: The Narrative Story Expansion." Virginia English Bulletin, Spring 1992.
Stephenson, R. Rex. "Not All Road Shows Tour Europe: Lukewarm Coffee and Endless Roads are Overshadowed by the Audience's Response." Geriatric Nursing, Winter 1987. Article about the Jack Tale Players' nationwide USO tours to VA medical centers 1978-82. Pdf. copy at this link.
Stephenson, R. Rex, and John Hodgson. "Feedback and Follow Up." Virginia English Bulletin, Spring 1995. See article with the same title listed under Stephenson above.
Stephenson, R. Rex, and Emily Rose Tucker. "The Making of a Musical." Aquila Review, vol. 1 (Fall 2008): 61-67. Article about collaborative writing of musical plays. Available as pdf online.
"Stephenson Publishes Three Plays." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 6 Dec. 2000: A1, 8.
Stone, Nancy. "Children 'Take to' Jack Tales." Martinsville Bulletin [VA] 18 Jan. 1976: B1, B4. With a photo of three Jack Tale Players and children in a "lively warm-up session." The continuing page has the headline "Area Pupils Like 'Broadway Life' Jack Tales Offer." The lead calls the "'audience participation play' ... one of the hottest and newest movements in drama appreciation around, especially for kindergarten and primary school aged children." Five area elementary schools were part of the Jack Tale Players' first tour around Virginia. This article discusses the participatory performance in the round, with Stephenson quoting "children's drama author Peter Slade who said, 'Actors should act with and among the children, not at them.'... "In 'Jack Tales,' the children dance, carry things, and help the actors solve problems." Students from Fieldale-Collinsville High School also performed a comedy about the creation of the earth. Their sponsor and Stephenson comment on the developmental and educational benefits of this active, improvisational type of theatre for children. In a warm-up square dance, actors pull anyone into the dance, provoking extra howls when the principal at Sanville Elementary joined the dance. The article mentions the background and teachers' guide prepared by Stephenson. (See Activities to Accompany Study of Dramatizations by the Jack Tale Players, The Script as Story Theatre, and Jack and the King's Girl.)
Stone, Nancy. "'Jack Tales:' Nervous Ferrum Actors Face Folklore Collector." Martinsville Bulletin [VA] 13 Oct. 1976: 1, 8. Article on Richard Chase's visit to Ferrum, with two photos.
"35 Years of Jack Tales." The Ferrum Blog. 14 Dec. 2010. Posted by John Carlin. Photo and text of faculty resolution presented to Rex Stephenson by Lana Whited, Ferrum College Faculty Council chair, congratulating the Jack Tale Players on 35 years of service to the college and community. Also "35 years of Jack's Antics" acknowledged with photo in Ferrum College Merry Christmas video/year in review. YouTube.com. Dec. 22, 2010.
Tuckloff, Joyce. Review of The Wizard of Oz. The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 26 July 2010: A3. Review of musical production at Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre directed by Stephenson.
Tuckloff, Joyce. "Revisit your Childhood with 'Alice in Wonderland.'" The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 31 July 2009: A9. Review of Alice in Wonderland: The Musical, adapted and directed by Stephenson, with music by Jon Cohn. Photo of cast children in roles of playing cards appeared in 27 July issue.
"Two Performances Set At Ferrum." The Franklin County Times 8 Jan. 1976. With a photo of Wanda Edwards of Goshen, Julie Moore of Roanoke and Elliott Stone of Martinsville sharpening an ax in a scene from the show. Local article about the Jack Tale Players in their first month of performances in schools. See also "County Legend" article above. Two performances of the 55-minute play were scheduled on campus Jan. 8 and 9. "This week the play was taken to elementary schools in Henry County, Roanoke, Martinsville, Franklin County and Richmond. The play will be presented today (Thursday) at Burnt Chimney Elementary and Rocky Mount Elementary. Friday the play will be presented at Ferrum Elementary."
"USO Show Set Tuesday at Altoona VA Hospital." 24 Nov. 1978. Newspaper clipping in Jack Tale Players scrapbook with no newspaper title given.
Vincent, N. Michelle. "Father and 14-Year-Old Son Interview Professors for National History Day Project." Originally published in The Iron Blade, Ferrum College, VA, 21 Feb. 2005. Article on award-winning video by Stephen Gordon discusses Stephenson as consultant who appears in the video
Wentworth, Anna. "Blue Ridge Dinner Theater Opens Season." The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com. June 2001. Article and interview with director Stephenson.
Wentworth, Anna. "Casting, Direction Make The Nerd a Hoot." The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com. June 9, 2000. Review of Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre production directed by Stephenson.
Wentworth, Anna. "Creative Drama: Weekend Spent at Mountain Lodge Full of Improvisation and Awareness." Southern Theatre: Quarterly Magazine of the Southeastern Theatre Conference. (date?) 26-29.
Wentworth, Anna. "The Foreigner at Home at Ferrum." The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com.8 June, 1999. Review of play by Larry Shue directed by Stephenson at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre.
Wentworth, Anna. "Old-Fashioned Play Makes Sweet Fantasy." The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com. June 2001. Review of The Enchanted Cottage, directed by Stephenson at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre.
Wentworth, Anna. "Rarely Done Noel Coward Play Opens at Ferrum." The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com. 13 June, 2002. Review of Waiting in the Wings, and interview with director Stephenson, with three photos of at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre production.
Wentworth, Anna. "Shakespeare Got it Wrong on Richard III, or so He Says." The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com. 1998 archives. Review of Glorious Son of York, with "How a Rose Led to a Play," background from playwright Stephenson.
Wentworth, Anna. "This Show Rewards a Drive to Ferrum." The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com. 1997 archives. Review of Twelve Angry Virginians, directed by Stephenson at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre.
Whited, Lana A. "BRDT Stages Visit of Famous Musician." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] 22 May 2002: A4. Article on development of the 2002 play My Travels with Cecil.
Whited, Lana A. "Jack Tale Players to Honor Children's Theater Pioneer McCaslin." The Iron Blade [Ferrum College, VA] 20 Feb. 2006: 1, 2.
Whited, Lana A. "Too Free for Me Concludes BRDT Anniversary Season." The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount, VA] July 2004. Review of revival of play based on Franklin County history. Full text reprinted in AppLit.
Willis, Trudy. "Jack Tales To Do Tour." The Roanoke Times 9 Nov. 1978. Article about Stephenson's Jack Tale Players preparing for their first USO tour to VA hospitals during Thanksgiving vacation. The 13 performers prepared four hours of material for the two-week tour. The USO changed focus by signing Ferrum's college group as the USO program was expanded to reach the 172 VA hospitals across the U.S. Geri Washburn, a talent scout from the USO, saw the tours for patients who could not get out for entertainment as "a part of home that can be brought to the veterans." She observed that college groups "go over well in VA Hospitals...because of their attitude: 'Their freshness and excitement exudes. They express a sincere interest in the patients,'" while overseas shows for younger GIs are more polished and contemporary. Looking for "personality and ability to relate to audiences," Washburn stated that "'I can tell almost immediately when a group has what it takes.' She signed the Ferrum troupe the day she auditioned them." This article was reprinted in The Ferrum College Bulletin, Fall 1978, p. 7. Five photos show John Van Patten playing the banjo, a performance at the recent Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, and Rex Stephenson talking with classroom teachers while filming one of ten television shows about creative drama at WBRA in Roanoke.
Willis, Trudy. "Players Present 'Too Free for Me.'" Ferrum College Bulletin Summer 1979: pp. 6-7. With ten photos. The article reprinted from The Roanoke Times in early July describes in some detail the process of creating the play in an intensive summer theater session in which actors directed by Stephenson studied historical documents and used improvisation to develop their roles.
Willis, Trudy. "The Tall Tales They Tell Would Make Jack Proud." The Roanoke Times 9 Mar. 1977: Tempo. Article with several performance photos explains Appalachian version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" that the Jack Tale Players performed. In their second year, Stephenson's dramatizations were in so much demand that he formed two groups, the Ferrum Jack Tale Players and the Jack Tale Storytellers, with a second year of support from the Virginia Commission of the Arts and Humanities. In a performance at Northside High School in Roanoke County for gifted upper elementary students, many children volunteered to dance and play instruments along with the performers. All of the college student performers were required to conduct research on the tales. James Taylor Adams' collection of thousands of pages of folklore from Wise County was on loan to Ferrum from Clinch Valley College at this time. Debbie Scott from Ararat commented on performing the tales "with the children, not at them." Leo Grover from Nelson County was planning to research a woman who had told his grandfather many tales. Helene Idels of New Providence, NJ discussed concern about her accent after an audience member gave her the book "How to Speak Southern." J. P. McNally from Roanoke talked about learning the tales without much use of scripts and telling them a little differently each time, like traditional storytellers.
Top of Page
The Jack Tale Players Web Site
Study Guides for Jack Tales Dramas
Photos of performances of Jack Tales, "Mutsmag," "Ashpet," and "The Three Old Women's Bet"
(Photos at top of this page, by Ken McCreedy, are from "Mutsmag.")
Jack Tales Last Performance Photos by Ken McCreedy. July 24, 2012. Ferrum College Flickr albums.
Article on The Jack Tale Players
Article on Strong Women in Appalachian Folktale Dramatizations by R. Rex Stephenson
Photos of 2011 Heidi production, by Ken McCreedy, in Ferrum College Flickr albums.
R. Rex Stephenson Web Page
Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre Web Site
R. Rex Stephenson Honored at Start of 25th BRDT Season. Ferrum College press release with photos.
Southeastern Theatre Conference, Inc. Scholarships and Awards. Sara Spencer Child Drama Award, 2007
Author Information at Eldridge Plays Web Site
BRDT Revives First Play for 25th Season. Press Release on Too Free for Me, July, 2004.
Grandmother Tales performed in Dec. 2003 at Radford University's Pridemore Playhouse, directed by Aaron Davis. (Short review in Radford's The Tartan. Radford PR page with rehearsal photo.)
Jack Tale Players Benefit Performance March 1. Press release and Iron Blade article and Pictures from performance.
Jack Tales Comes to Life on Stage at LMST. Notes and photo of June 2004 performance. Lees-McCrae College, Banner Elk, NC. (link not functioning 1/14/07)
Tradition Will Never Die. One-man show on Richard Chase, written and performed by Ferrum College drama senior Tony Pica. Includes a retelling of "Jack and the Robber." Feb. 2003. Directed by Stephenson, who played the off-stage character of Marshall Ward introducing Chase to the Jack Tales.
Ferrum College Press Release Index:
Includes photos of The World is My Parish, The Odd Couple, Waiting in the Wings, Treasure Island, other theatre news.
"Noah to be Published." Ferrum Magazine, Winter 2000. Available online at www.ferrum.edu.
Ferrum Alum to Premiere New Stephenson Play on Peninsula (Apr. 18, 2004)
BRDT Revives First Play for 25th Anniversary - Too Free for Me (July 6, 2004)
Old Michie Theatre to Present Stephenson’s Treasure Island (Jan. 2005)
30th Anniversary of Jack Tales to be Celebrated Dec. 9th (2005)
Jack Tale Players Perform Tribute to Nellie McCaslin (photos Mar. 1, 2006)
BRDT Recipient of VFH Discretionary Grant (Mar. 10, 2006)
Odd Couple to Open BRDT Season (2006)
Auditions for Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre (Mar. 5, 2007)
R. Rex Stephenson Receives 2007 SETC Child Drama Award (March 2007)
The Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre at Ferrum College To Hold Auditions March 29 (Mar. 19, 2008)
Nunsense II: The Second Coming Opens at Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre (Mar. 28, 2008)
Ferrum College Fe Newsletter Sept. 2008
Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre Experiments with Rocky Mount Venue (Oct. 17, 2008)
Also in The Iron Blade 27 Oct. 2008
The Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre Presents: "Arsenic and Old Lace" (July 1, 2009)
Rex's Last Stand, in Ferrum Magazine Winter 2010-11, pp. 32-33
Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre Opens 2011 Season with Radio Gals (June 8, 2011)
Ferrum College Well Represented at Children’s Literature Conference (June 21, 2011)
Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre Offers Free Tickets to Kids Who Read (June 27, 2011)
Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre on WDBJ-7 - Gabriel's Honky Tonk Angels (July 11, 2011)
Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre Presents Showtime at First Baptist (July 15, 2011)
Blue Ridge Adaptation of Heidi Closes Season at Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre (July 29, 2011)
Cast of Heidi Interviewed on WDBJ7 (Aug. 1, 2011)
The 1998 "Anna" Awards include The World is My Parish as one of the year's best plays in the region. This page also contains a "very special recognition" to "Dr. R. Rex Stephenson for best use of history in original drama, comedy and musical productions." Upstaged! with Anna Wentworth. Roanoke.com.
The 1999 "Anna" Award Nominees include Glorious Son of York by Stephenson and We Band of Brothers by Stephenson and Mike Trochim as two of the year's best plays in the region. Also Cliff Todd in We Band of Brothers and Jon Cohn in Twelve Angry Virginians are named among the year's best actors. Upstaged! with Anna Wentworth. Roanoke.com.
Feminist Fairy Tales by Nancy J. Keane lists The Liberated Godfather and "Mutsmag." 1999-2001.
Ohio River Festival of Books, Huntington, WV, May 1, 2004. Featured Authors pages.
Story-Lovers SOS: Searching Out Stories. Pages on Jack Tales and Silversmith/Silver Stories list "Jack and his Lump of Silver." 2004.
Swortzell, Lowell. Cinderella: The World’s Favorite Fairy Tale. Charlottesville, VA: New Plays Inc., 1992. The play, combining 4 Cinderella tales from different cultures, was first directed in its present form by Rex Stephenson at Ferrum College, 1991. The Multicultural Study Guide by Nancy Swortzell contains drama workshops conducted by Rex Stephenson with groups of third to fifth grade students.
The Story Tellers: Documentaries/Dramatic Presentations/Movies/Videos. The Orphan Train Collection. Notice of first performance of Aurand Harris's Orphan Train, directed by Rex Stephenson in Nov. 1999 at Ferrum College.
This page created May 2000 | Links checked 6/07/02 | Site Index | Top of page | Last update: 4/30/13
Appalachian Folktales in Film, Drama, and Storytelling Recordings
Complete List of AppLit Pages on Folklore