• After the Axe

    (photo by Beau Allulli) “Nance O’Neil”: Rachel Brown (standing) and Jonna McElrath in this play at Access Theater

    Reviews still coming in for the new production by the Blue Coyote Group.  Much praise has been lavished on the costume designer, and word has leaked that a “theory” about the crime is suggested in the production.   The interaction between Lizzie and her sister Emma is praised by critics  as a strong element in the play, and the play in general is receiving positive reviews. Get down to the Access theatre soon , for the play closes October 9th!

    David Rooney’s review: http://theater.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/theater/reviews/21nance.html


  • New Play Makes a Debut

    The Huntsville Times- by Sara Cure  Dateline: September 9, 2010

    “HUNTSVILLE, AL. – A new play written by Wayne Miller called “The Ax” will debut at the Renaissance Theatre, 1214 Meridian St., this weekend. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, both at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

    Although the play’s title conjures up morbid images, Miller said it’s really a farce.

    Based on the Lizzie Borden case, an ax belonging to a famous serial killer in the early 1900s basically has a life of its own. It’s soon in the possession of a man who has a weird interest in collecting serial-killer memorabilia.

    The man’s wife is a stereotypical repressed housewife who is not satisfied with her place in life. To make matters worse, her husband is cheating on her. She then starts to hear the ax communicate with her and it offers a solution to all of her problems through violence.

    “Even though it sounds grim, it will be a fun and humorous experience,” Miller said.”

  • Chad Mitchell Trio to visit Lizzie Borden house

    You Can’t Chop Your Poppa Up in Massachusetts was a hit for the popular 1960’s folk group, and second only to “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” as Borden -related tune most people know.  Made popular in a Broadway production, Leonard Sillman’s New Faces of 1952 as the Fall River Hoedown, the single was released by the Chad Mitchell Trio in 1961. The trio will be visiting the Lizzie Borden house this week- should be great fun for everyone. Hopefully they will sing a chorus in the parlor where a copy of the sheet music has been on the piano since the house opened as a museum in 1996.


    Lyrics by Michael Brown

    Yesterday in old Fall River, Mr. Andrew Borden died
    And they got his daughter Lizzie on a charge of homicide
    Some folks say she didn’t do it, and others say of course she did
    But they all agree Miss Lizzie B. was a problem kind of kid

       ‘Cause you can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
       Not even if it’s planned as a surprise
       No, you can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
       You know how neighbors love to criticize

    She got him on the sofa where he’d gone to take a snooze
    And I hope he went to heaven ’cause he wasn’t wearing shoes
    Lizzie kinda rearranged him with a hatchet so they say
    Then she got her mother in that same old-fashioned way!

       But you can’t chop your mama up in Massachusetts
       Not even if you’re tired of her cuisine
       No, you can’t chop your mama up in Massachusetts
       You know it’s almost sure to cause a scene

    Well, they really kept her hoppin’ on that busy afternoon
    With both down- and up-stairs chopping while she hummed a ragtime tune
    They really made her hustle and when all was said and done
    She’d removed her mother’s bustle when she wasn’t wearing one

       Oh, you can’t chop your mama up in Massachusetts
       And then blame all the damage on the mice
       No, you can’t chop your mama up in Massachusetts
       That kind of thing just isn’t very nice

    Now, it wasn’t done for pleasure and it wasn’t done for spite
    And it wasn’t done because the lady wasn’t very bright
    She’d always done the slightest thing that mom and papa bid
    They said, “Lizzie, cut it out,” so that’s exactly what she did

       But you can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
       And then get dressed and go out for a walk
       No, you can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
       Massachusetts is a far cry from New York

       No, you can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
          Shut the door, and lock and latch it, here comes Lizzie with a brand new hatchet
       Can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
          Such a snob, I’ve heard it said, she met her pa and cut him dead
       You can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
          Jump like a fish, jump like a porpoise, all join hands and habeas corpus
       Can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
       Massachusetts is a far cry from New York

  • August 4th cast at Maplecroft

    The cast enjoyed a great day at the Lizzie Borden  Bed and Breakfast Museum as they, for the 14th year, adapted the facts of the case for performance to the public.  Tickets were sold out well before the afternoon, with starting times on the half hour this year.  An exit poll was given to the visitors and over 60 % of those who filled out the form decided Lizzie was the guilty party, with Uncle John Morse coming in a distant second.  There was a drawing at the end of the day for a gift certificate to the popular B&B.  Some of the cast is shown above after the day was ended, before being treated to a tour of all floors of Lizzie’s home on French St., Maplecroft.   It was a big day for all things Lizzie with the new exhibit also debuting at the Fall River Historical Society. For more about the day visit the Fall River Herald site article http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x84685033/Fall-Rivers-infamous-Borden-murders-reenacted-on-118th-anniversary

    More script details and cast photos coming soon!

  • Cast for Annual Presentation at Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum

    Some of the cast will be appearing at the Fall River Public Library on Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:30 for a special reading by Richard Behrens from the new Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective!  Tickets are presently on sale at the museum 508-675-7333.  Advanced ticket purchase is suggested to avoid disappointment on the 4th.  Tickets are usually sold out by noon. First performance at 10: 30 a.m.

    Cast interviews and photos may be found at http://pearessentialproductions.org/

    Lizzie Borden:  Lorraine Gregoire

    Detective Seaver  Ben Rose

    Abby Borden:   Shelley Dziedzic 

    Andrew Borden: Logan Livesey

    Bridget Sullivan  Kathleen Troost-Cramer

    Emma Borden:  Barbara Morrissey

    Addie Churchill:  JoAnne Giovino

    Alice Russell:     Kristin Pepe

    Uncle John:  Joe Radza

    Officer Medley:   Justin Dunne

    Miss Manning from the Herald:   Molly O’Brien

    “Cub reporter and Girl Detective” from the Herald, and Miss Manning’s assistant: Kathryn Woods

    The Distinguished Undertaker Winward:  Michael Brooks

    Officer Harrington:  Will Clawson

    Marshal Hilliard;  Ray Mitchell

  • Book Reading

    Tuesday, August 3rd, 6:30-7:30pm



    Author Richard Behrens

    will be presenting a reading from his latest book

    Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective

    PLUS:  A visit from The Pear Essential Players

    The reenactment group from the Lizzie Borden B&B including :

     Marshal Hilliard, Miss Lizzie Borden, Mrs. Churchill, Alice Russell,  Abby Borden, Uncle John Morse, Officer Phil Harrington and Miss Nellie Drew (Girl Detective Reporter for the Herald)


    Fall River Public Library

    104 North Main Street,

    Fall River, MA

    Main meeting room, basement

    Light refreshments will be served

  • It’s Hot, It’s Summer, It’s Time Again

    With the arrival of scorching temps and high humidity, the cast of the Pear Essential Players (P.E.P.) layer on the petticoats, corsets and false beards in preparation for the August 4th re-enactment at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.  Rehearsals will begin in two weeks, and this year the script is new.  Written every year by night tour innkeeper Shelley Dziedzic, this year’s script will harness the flavor of popular CSI programs.  Here is what the B&B website has to say about the annual event:

    “Thirty minutes have passed since Abby Borden’s body has been found upstairs in the guest room.  #92 has become a beehive of activity with Fall River’s Men in Blue flocking to the crime scene.  Doctors, bystanders, policemen, newspaper reporters, neighbors and friends are all converging on the little drab house on Second St.   Inside on the Second Floor, Miss Lizzie Andrew Borden is reclining on her fainting couch, medicated with bromo caffeine.  Uncle John has wandered bewildered into the dining room, trying to make sense of what he has just heard.  Bridget Sullivan is frightened in the parlor, already planning to pack and flee that very afternoon. The lifeless bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden are covered with bloody sheets, awaiting procedures and the ministrations of the undertaker.  Sister Emma is rushing back home on her way from Fairhaven.  Helpful neighbors mill around looking for answers and trying to be useful in comforting Lizzie and assisting the police. Meanwhile, the police begin the questioning and searching.  Our visitors will be “deputized” as they begin their tour of the crime scene, and will be encouraged to “assist” the police with their photographic equipment and by carefully surveying the crime scenes.  They may even be motivated to ask a question themselves and to be on the lookout for CLUES! By means of the police questioning, the visitors to the house will hear the story as it happened, unfolding through the answers of the family members.  As the tour of the premises ends, visitors will be asked to cast a vote on the GUILTY PARTY, based on what they have seen and heard during their inspection of the scene of the crime. ”

     There will be a few new faces in the cast this year and a few new characters from out of the past.  Information on ticket sales, parking and times will be posted here and on the B&B site soon.  The first performance will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 4th.  This will be the fourteenth year that the house on Second Street has reproduced the historic details of the famous case in an entertaining and educational way. 
  • Living History-Laura Loew

    Photograph courtesy of JENNIFER KARPUS/SUN NEWS

    Laura Loew lives what she loves.  The Medina, Ohio woman offers classes and lectures in various Victorian-era topics including Lizzie Borden, one of the most popular presentations. Ms. Loew presents programs on many aspects of Victorian fashion from hats to needlework to mourning customs including hairwork jewelry. Her company, Lost in the Past,  has a web site at http://lostinthepast.com/ where she may be contacted to book a lecture, date a photograph, advise on period costume, plan Victorian teas and  myriad other fascinating services related to the Victorian era. Her next class will take place in her restored Italianate Victorian home and will be a craft session in making a fan, a presentation on the language of the fan, and a tour of her home filled with period antiques on April 10th.

  • After the Axe

    hatchet-700381The number of post-trial, post-hatchet, Maplecroft plays is ever- growing. The public never wearies of imagining the possibilites of Lizzie’s life after the acquittal.  If she was guilty, did she suffer twinges of conscience? Was she depressed- lonely?  If she was innocent- how horrible was it living under the cloud of suspicion all those years? Why did Emma leave her sister?  Who were Lizzie’s few friends who continued to call at the house on French St. ? So many unanswered questions opens up a rich field for exploration.

    Here is the Nick Pelino offering on the subject, written in 2006, available now on Amazon.com in the 10-12 dollar range.

    Lizbeth of Maplecroft- After the Axe

     2006 by Trafford Publishers

    Paperback, 243 pages

    isbn1425113893    (isbn13: 9781425113896)

     “This is the two act play, available in print! It is based on the later life of the accused axe-murderess, Lizzie Borden, years after her acquital. A three woman play that has performed to great success. By the author of THE FINAL WORD: THE HALL-MILLS MURDERS and its sequel and equally popular THE HALL-MILLS TRIAL, Nick Pelino, Jr. 

  • Halloween Lizzie-Dressed to Kill?

    LizzieBordenFSWith the proliferation of Lizzies popping up at haunted hayrides, ghost tours and Halloween venues all over the country,  Lizzie duds are in demand for the season.  The same fashion ensemble used for the Living Dead Dolls series is now available up to a woman’s size 12 in a “dead ringer” three piece in black and scarlet, selling for $44.95.(hatchet not included).

    Those leg o’ mutton sleeves are de rigeur of course, but the rest of the costume is easy to manage from your closet and tool bench, being a long skirt, boots and weapon-in-hand.  Lizzie’s frizzie bangs and tight little bun complete the look, and perhaps a slightly crazed glint in the eye.  Internet tips on Lizzie costuming urge red hair, but of course Lizzie was not a redhead- light brown hair is listed on her passport from 1890. 

    Don’t forget the costume contest Saturday night at the Eagle on North Main Street, a special feature of Lizzie Borden Live ! , the award-winning play starring Jill Dalton.  First prize will be a night’s stay at the famous house on Second Street.  Strap on your corset and come on down!

  • Another Lizzie Ditty

    axeTo the growing catalogue of Lizzie-related tunes, here’s one from a “thrash metal” band album called Doomsday for the Deceiver. To learn more about this band and their music, visit the link at http://www.flotsam-and-jetsam.com/band.html or listen to the Lizzie song, She took An Axe at this Youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_Jq35QPWVE


    A young maiden with a demon in her soul,
    A twisted mind with secrets to unfold.
    An innocent face, a deceiving smile,
    Under no suspicion, servant to Belial.

    The axe came down…Blood all around…

    She lurks possessed, without a sound,
    Butchers her Dam when no one is around.
    The next day her Sire feels her wrath,
    She has no remorse in her merciless bloodbath.

    She’s Miss Lizzy, she feels no pain
    The axe came down
    She’s Miss Lizzy, she strikes again,
    The axe came down…Blood all around

    Lizzy Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks,
    When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.



    Now before the jury with a solemn face,
    These legendary murders…she left not a trace.
    Lizzy found it so simple to take their lives,
    Today she walks free…Axe by her side…

  • Lizzie Acquitted one more time

    lizzieheadLizzie was acquitted in her own home town tonight at Superior Court in a repeat of the mock trial redux which was so well attended last month in New Bedford.  Will she make it three in a row next month in Taunton when the excellent cast takes the stand again?  Read all about tonight’s trial in the Herald News article by Debbie Allard with some superb photos by Jack Foley.http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x637610488/NOT-GUILTY-Lizzie-retrial-falls-in-line-with-history