Lizzie Borden’s Favorite Hymn




Sung by Vida Turner at Lizzie’s private wake, many seem to find meaning in Lizzie’s requested and favorite hymn. Rev. Cleveland from the Church of the Ascension on Rock St. gave the prayers to a select few employees.  Miss Turner received a check for her services and was told not to repeat where she had been.  This version is from a period hymnal and the text is the text Lizzie would have known.  Do you see any hidden significance? Try it at home on your piano.

Sale at the Abbey Grille, Lizzie’s old church




Bidding was brisk today as the sale of equipment from the former Abbey Grille and Culinary Institute was put on the block.  Everything from cookie sheets to the handsome 6 foot fountain in the courtyard was up for grabs-even the liquor license.  The Fall River Herald News has the full story

The return of Lizzie Borden Live & The Mutton Eaters


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July 1st is getting mighty close to the big week in Fall River when Jill Dalton reprises her smash hit from June 20th- Lizzie Borden Live.  Also making a “comeback” will be the irrepressible Mutton Eaters on hand to add a bit of period dash to the streets of Fall River, the Borden’s house on Second St. and the trolleys.  The Mutton Eaters are an armchair sleuth group devoted to Borden research and interpreting the roles of key historical characters in the case.   It will be a big week for the little troupe as Tuesday August 4th will be the re-enactments at the house where it all began as the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum marks the anniversary of the famous crime.  Lizzie Borden Live will once again sparkle at the new -old Eagle on Friday and Saturday, August 7&8. Get your tickets early!

The Eagle Reopens and Lizzie Comes Home


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What a wonderful day for Fall River with the newly- renovated Eagle’s building reopening as an arts and events center and the Fall River performance of Lizzie Borden Live.  Fittingly, on the anniversary of Lizzie’s return to Fall River triumphant from her acquittal in the New Bedford court, Jill Dalton brings Lizzie home again.

The old Eagle restaurant, built to look like the interior of the elegant Fall River Line boats was the perfect venue for small stage theatre and Lizzie Borden Live in particular, which has an intimate rapport between actor and audience. 


The Mayor and many other city officials were in attendence to support the event as well as the Mutton Eaters in costume as Borden-related characters who manned the trolleys, served hors d’oeuvres and chatted with playgoers.


The period architecture, polished and restored interiors and wonderful food by White’s restaurant were enjoyed by excited guests mingling on the mezzanine with special Lizzie cocktails created for the evening.  Miss Dalton delivered an impeccable performance, filled with nuance and subtlety-  richness and texture, which ran the gamut of emotions. At times the audience forgot to breathe, at times bursting forth with laughter and applause at little comments which Fall Riverites appreciated especially, as most are familiar with the Borden story.

All too soon it was over, the audience was thrust back into 2009.  But for 80 magical minutes the Past came alive once more as we were all treated to a new perspective on Miss Lizzie Borden and her life at Maplecroft, and Fall River opened a new door to a brighter future for the arts in the city.  Come August, the Eagle will once again host Lizzie Borden Live during the second week of August.  Best wishes to the Eagle as they begin a bright new future, and continued success to Lizzie Borden Live, and Miss Dalton, wherever she and Miss Lizzie play.  Orchids and kudos to the Donovan family for bringing back a real treasure on North Main Street and to Miss Dalton for revitalizing a Fall River legend of a different sort!

Fall River Spirit on Lizzie Play at the Eagle



(photo by Rick Snizek-Fall River Spirit)

An excellent article in the Spirit proclaims the importance of bringing back “downtown” Fall River as a place for weekend fine dining and entertainment, citing the upcoming Lizzie Borden Live production as an important step in revitalizing Main St.  To see the entire article click on this link

Lizzie Borden Live to return in August



As more seating is installed at the old Eagle restaurant on North Main Street to accommodate the sell-out crowd for Saturday night, plans have already been finalized for an encore performance in August.  The play, written and starring Jill Dalton has been performed to wide acclaim in NJ, NY, RI and Arizona, and is at long last playing to the place where it all began- Fall River, Massachusetts.  The Saturday event will begin with trolley rides circulating among area restaurants and Lizzie sites, a special Lizzie cocktail will be featured, and when the doors to the Eagle open at 6:30, a light buffet and passed hor d’oeuvre supper will be served by the Mutton Eaters (a costumed Borden history society).  Here is a portion of the Mutton Eaters’ Saturday night cast release from their website:

“The old Eagle restaurant has been beautifully converted for the occasion and a flock of Mutton Eaters will descend to be on hand to meet and greet playgoers in the lobby.  Dr. Dolan has a new derby hat for the occasion and Mrs. Borden will be circulating with a tray of hors d’oeuvres and tips for flaky pie crust!  Alice Russell, Bridget Sullivan, Emma Borden and Mrs. Churchill will have something to say about everything, and undertaker, Mr. Winward will be glancing over the crowd for prospective future business! Best news of all- Miss Lizzie Borden Live  will be returning in August- that all-important month!!”

Miz Liz-home again!


Today’s Fall River Herald offered two articles about the upcoming weekend performance of Lizzie Borden Live at the former Eagle restaurant.  The Mutton Eaters, armchair sleuths devoted to the study of the Borden case, will be on hand in costume as characters from the Past to mingle with guests and assist on trolley tours.


For more news about Lizzie Borden Live and Saturday’s activities click  on this link

Welcome Home Miss Lizzie

Lizziedover1The Eagle Performing Arts Center

35 North Main Street  

Second Floor


Lizzie Borden is coming back home to Fall River on the 116th anniversary of her acquittal in New Bedford Superior Court this June 20th.    New York writer and actress, Jill  Dalton,  resurrects the spirit of Fall River’s most infamous character in a chilling, solo performance entitled,

Lizzie Borden Live 

            “I wanted to give Lizzie a voice to tell her own story following her day in court,” stated Ms. Dalton.  “That’s something she was not able to do when she was doped up on morphine during her famous murder trial.”
    Lizzie Andrew Borden was found innocent in a court of law, but judged guilty in the court of public opinion.  She was condemned by society and shunned in her hometown.  Ms. Dalton powerfully evokes Lizzie’s emotional turmoil and psychic trauma. She wrote the play from Lizzie’s point of view so that “the audience can hear her side of the story for the first time.”
      The legend comes to life with humor, empathy and insight when Lizzie steps on stage at the Eagle Performing Arts Center on 35 North Main Street at 8 PM on Saturday, June 20th.   This production, sponsored by the Luso American Gallery of Antiquities, is funded in part by grants from the John and Abigail Adams Program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Four Cities Collaborative of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.  
      “In addition to this state support, the Mayor’s Office and the Arts Uniting Fall River collaborative have participated in the planning and promotion of this community event and fundraiser,” noted LAGOA curator, Stephen L. Cabral. “Our organization is committed to promoting the arts, preserving our cultural history and providing scholarship funds for promising students. Lizzie Borden Live will help support these goals.”
      Jill Dalton is an award winning New York actress with a long list of television and theatre credits.  She has appeared in Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, As the World Turns, All my Children, One Life to Live and Saturday Night Live.   The East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May, New Jersey commissioned this play, which opened to standing ovations from the audience and critics alike.  Ms. Dalton won the 2007 Jacoby Award for her portrayal in Lizzie Borden Live. This dramatic crime thriller is set 13 years after the double murder at Maplecroft, the Highlands mansion Lizzie bought with money inherited from her father.  According to the Red Rock News of Sedona, Arizona: 
      “Dalton gives a compelling performance capturing the humanity, humor, irony and sadness of a woman who had time to reflect on horrific events.  She enacts a Lizzie that has never been portrayed anywhere in stage, screen or literature. ”
Fall River native son, Jack McCullough, is the director of the show, which has toured New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Arizona.  Mr. McCullough, a graduate of the Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Providence, RI, has also made his mark on stage and screen, but prefers to work behind the scenes of Lizizie Borden Live.  Jack has envisioned this homecoming since the play first opened.  He insists that this production will make the audience think twice.
      “We are very excited about performing on stage in the heart
      of Lizzie’s old neighborhood.  Jill and Lizzie have a compelling
      story to tell.  People come to see Lizzie expecting to find a monster and instead they discover themselves.”
    Check your calendar and order your $40 tickets from LAGOA, Inc. by calling 508-673-6624.   Seating is limited to 160 so make your reservations now.  The doors of the Eagle Performing Arts Center will open at 6:30 PM.  Harpist, Judy Mitchell will set the musical tone for the night, and members of the Mutton Eaters, dressed in period garb, will greet and engage the guests at the light buffet and cash bar prior to the show.
Lizzie Borden Live challenges the audience to rethink the legend that is Lizzie Borden.  Think you know her?  Think again!  
Stephen L. Cabral, Ph.D.
Luso American Gallery of Antiquities, Inc. (LAGOA)
484 Highland Avenue, Fall River, MA  02720
Tel.  508-673-6624

Brownell House Happenings




A visit on April 24th revealed a great change to the house on Green Street where Lizzie Borden’s sister Emma was staying at the time of the murders.  The house is undergoing extensive renovations. The back kitchen annex is demolished, the heavy vegetation is removed, and the house has received siding recently. The interiors have been gutted and rewired with the walls stripped back to the studs.  The graceful staircase to the second floor just inside the front door will remain, as well as the handsome wide-planked floors and the original wide granite base slab for the front exterior stairs.  The lightening fixture shown in the entry foyer was of course added on some time after the original construction. The owner of the property who is ordering the renovation plans to move in soon.  Neighbors out on the street seem happy something is finally being done to clean up the old property.

House of Secrets




One by one, over the years, the homes on Second Street between Spring and Borden streets have been demolished.  Miraculously the Andrew Borden house has survived as well as the neighboring house to the south.  Emma and Lizzie’s good friend Alice Russell had lived in this unpreposing cape-style home and thus became well-acquainted with the Bordens.  Alice was a key witness at Lizzie’s trial, stayed with the family for some days after the murders, and testified about Lizzie burning a dress in the kitchen woodstove the day after the funerals of Abby and Andrew Borden.

On the day of the murders, Mrs. Caroline Kelly, wife of pediatrician Dr. Michael Kelly,(new occupants to the house next door) saw Andrew Borden trying to enter his home around 10:45.  She was on her way to the dentist and was probably the last non-family member to see Andrew Borden alive.  Most Borden historians still refer to the house as the “Kelly House”.

Several decades before the Borden murders, a Mrs. Ladowick Borden, depressed and at wits’ end, threw three children in the old cistern at this house.  The two young boys died, but her daughter survived. Mrs. Ladowick Borden went upstairs and slit her throat with her husband’s straight razor. Who knows why.  This is a house with dark secrets and tragedy to rival that of #92 Second Street.  And today the two houses of death and horror remain-sole survivors of the wrecker’s ball. The Kelly house is for sale-for anyone who wants a house with a history.

A banner year for Mass. Superior Court



2009 markes the 150th anniversary for the Massachusetts Superior courts.  lady-justiceMany events and displays are on tap for the year . Of particular interest is this notation on their web site

“Lizzie Borden, Redux ~ Multiple dates and locations

 New Bedford Superior Courthouse ~ September 24

Fall River Superior Courthouse ~ October 22

 Taunton Superior Courthouse ~ November 19

 Ms. Borden was acquitted of the murder of her father

and mother and no other suspect was ever identified.

The trial, which took place in 1893 in the New Bedford

Superior Court, continues to interest and intrigue the

public. Not a re-enactment but in a mock trial, Ms.

Borden will be tried again with two lawyers serving as

team prosecutors and two lawyers as team defense. The

audience will vote a verdict.”

To see a listing of all the big doings for the year visit

Lizzie Borden’s Morgan Street School

Lizzie Borden was fortunate to come of school-going age after Fall River’s post-Civil War school reform wave hit the city. The Morgan Street, School, which became the N.B. Borden School on Morgan  St. was built in 1868 and is an imposing structure.  The front roof cupola is gone now, but the wonderful woodwork still survives.  The school was closed two years ago and is now vacant and awaiting a new purpose.  There are no plans for demolition at this date. Lizzie was at school here until she was 14 ( 1874) when she went on to the Fall River High School. She became a high school drop out in her junior year.

She’s back . . . . .







Friday the 13th   thru   The Ides of March

“Sweet, innocent, witty and savagely murderous.”

Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave


 ~ Columbus Theatre ~

270 Broadway, 2nd floor ~ Cinematheque

Providence, RI  02903

(Accessible by stairs only)

 …Think you know her?…Think again….


Written & Performed by: Jill Dalton

Directed by: Jack McCullough                       Music by: Larry Hochman

Lighting Design by: John P. Boomer


 Friday March 13, 2009 ~ 8:00 p.m.

 Saturday March 14, 2009 ~ 8:00 p.m.

Sunday March 15, 2009 ~ 3:00 p.m.

Advance Tickets ~ $25.00


Click on “SCHEDULE “

or purchase at the door


 JILL Dalton As: Lizzie Borden

Winner 2007 Jacoby Award:


“The nod goes to Jill Dalton for her Lizzie Borden in “Lizzie Borden Live.” She runs the gamut of emotions in her performance from that of a mild Christian woman to a ruthless murderer. Her reenactment of the murder of her mother (it was my stepmother!) and father is a chilling scene in this play and Dalton, who also wrote the script, vividly brings it to the audience.”

Jacob Schaad Jr., The Cape May Gazette



Dalton is nothing less than superb in her depiction of the character, as her Lizzie is alternating sweet, innocent, witty and savagely murderous. The audience is left to decide which Lizzie is the real one.”   Cape May Star Wave

“I heartily recommend you see Lizzie Borden Live. . . . complex and most interesting Lizzie, in the person of Jill Dalton.   

Cape May Star Wave

“Absorbing performance . . . Dalton runs the gamut of emotions from supposedly mild Christian woman to that of a ruthless murderer.” 

Cape May Gazette

“Everything from Jill’s facial features (like Lizzie herself) to the way her voice can change throughout the play makes for compelling and oddly sympathetic viewing.”   Exit Zero

“Truly superb . . . the script is fascinating. Jill Dalton is an astonishingly talented actress – she changes her mood and characters in a split second. The play should get a Pulitzer.”   

Charles Alexander, writer for Time Magazine


“Miss Dalton’s performance is a tour de force” 

 Richard Behrens, The Hatchet: Journal of Lizzie Borden Studies


“Our audience comes to see Lizzie Borden Live expecting to find a monster….

and instead they find themselves.” Jack McCullough, Director of Lizzie Borden Live



Lizzie Borden Live was originally commissioned by: East Lynn Theater Company, Cape May, NJ