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Happenings—Mary Hogan’s Latest Novel Uses Johnstown Flood As Background For Family Saga, And More…

David Castillo

Posted: Friday, September 30, 2016 – 7:07 PM


Johnstown Flood Inspires Novel Of Resilience

Mary Hogan’s historical novel, The Woman In The Photo (William Morrow Paperbacks; $15.99) is a story about love, resilience, class and catastrophe, based on the actual events of the Johnstown Flood of 1889, the greatest single-day loss of civilian life before 9/11.

Hogan (Two Sisters) delves into the genre with a saga of two women bound by legacy, history and tragedy. The first is Elizabeth Haberlin of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, who lives a life of wealth and privilege in 1889. She spends every summer with her family at Lake Conemaugh, the man-man lake in the Allegheny Mountains which is part of an exclusive summer retreat for Pittsburgh’s wealthiest.

The lake, contained by a dam, sits perched above the working-class town of Johnstown, whose workers make the steel that built America, and line the pockets of the area’s upper crust.

On May 31, 1889, after a night of hard rainfall, the poorly-maintained dam that contained lake Conemaugh bursts, wiping out Johnstown and killing thousands in a matter of minutes. When Elizabeth discovers the dam is on the brink of destruction, she risks everything to warn the townspeople in the lake’s shadow.

In present day California, 18-year-old Lee Parker fins a photo in her adoption file. The snapshot of a 19th century woman standing with Clara Barton—founder of the American Red Cross—in a pile of rubble, leads Lee to her past. Lee embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about her unknown ancestor and discovers the woman in the photo is Elizabeth Haberlin, her great, great, great grandmother. This life-changing discovery alters Lee’s sense of herself, helping her cope with the setback and family misfortunes in her life.


Baritone David Castillo To Be Featured In All Saints’ Tribute To Martial Singher

Baritone David Castillo will be featured in Hommage a Martial Singher: The Mélodie and the Maître, at 5 p.m., Sunday Oct. 9 at All Saints Episcopal Church, 504 N. Camden Dr.

Pianist Victoria Kirsch will accompany the program of readings and songs in honor of the French baritone that will include music of Maurice Ravel, Gabriel Fauré and Claude Debussy.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 students/seniors. For information, call 310-275-0123, ext 112 or visit


Stoppard’s Witty, Complex And Touching Arcadia At Pasadena’s A Noise Within

 A gripping production of Tom Stoppard’s intellectually challenging yet moving play Arcadia has launched Pasadena repertory theatre company A Noise Within’s 25th season.

Arcadia, which concerns the relationship between past and present, order and disorder, and certainty and uncertainty, is set in Sidley Park, an English country house in Derbyshire, and takes place in both 1809 to 1812 and the present day. The activities of two modern scholars and the house’s current residents are juxtaposed with those of the people who lived there in the earlier period – Thomasina Coverly, the daughter of the house, is a precocious teenager with ideas about mathematics, nature and physics, well ahead of her time. She studies with her tutor Septimus Hodge, a friend of Lord Byron (an unseen guest in the house).

In the present, writer Hannah Jarvis and literature professor Bernard Nightingale converge on the house: she is investigating a hermit who once lived on the grounds; he is researching a mysterious chapter in the life of Lord Byron. As their studies unfold and eventually overlap – with the help of Valentine Coverly, a post-graduate student in mathematical biology – the truth about what happened in Thomasina’s time is gradually revealed.

Director Geoff Elliott says, “This play beautifully illustrates the intersection between science and art,” Elliott continues, “It’s funny, clever, and this production really examines the incredible sexuality bubbling beneath the surface of all the characters, past and present.”

Remaining performances at the theater, 3352 E Foothill Blvd., will be: Saturday, Oct. 1 at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2 and 7 p.m. (Conversations after 2 p.m.), Saturday Nov. 5 at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. (Conversations) and Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 and 7p.m. Tickets are $44.

To purchase, and for more information, call 626-356-3100, ext 1 or visit;


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