[act-ma] Former DSA Maine State Legislator Harlan Baker stars as Jimmy Higgins

Roger Leisner rleisnerrfm at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 17 20:21:20 PST 2011

JIMMY HIGGINS: A Life in the Labor Movement - dramatic play about a labor activist - Saturday - November 19

Harlan Baker will appear as Jimmy Higgins in "Jimmy Higgins: A Life in the Labor Movement," November 19  at  Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center, 280 Water St., Gardiner, Maine at 7:30 p.m.  The play is set on the eve of the 1960 presidential race, and Jimmy Higgins is being interviewed by a college student about his life. Higgins dramatically recounts his days as a newspaper boy in Sandusky, Ohio during the first World War, his meeting with Eugene Debs and other radicals opposed to American participation in the war, his experiences in the LaFollette campaign for president in 1924 and his experiences a labor reporter covering the union organizing drives of tenant farmers and auto workers in the 1930s. "Jimmy Higgins" has long stood for the name of the rank-and-file union and socialist activist. While the play is not about Maine, it clarifies the same kind of historic events represented in the murals removed from the Labor Department last spring,
 such as child labor, charismatic leaders, and the violence against workers who organized unions.

Tickets are $19, Johnson Hall members $16, and children 18 and under are $10.  Reservations can be made at 582-7144 or info at johnsonhall.org. The play is part of the Center Stage series, co-sponsored by Kennebec Savings Bank, and the show is co-supported by McTeague Higbee law firm and Hallowell Antique Mall.

For more information, go to www.johnsonhall.org or www.harlanbaker.com

Baker wrote the play which was directed by Christopher Price, and premiered at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in 2008.  Since then it has been performed in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and last spring in Madison, Wisconsin at the dedication of the Madison Labor History Mural at the Madison Labor Temple.

Monique Devine, of Holderness Academy newspaper, wrote: “Mr. Baker’s acting was solid and he never wavered in his focus of performing this piece. His abilities as an actor were showcased in his portrayal of a variety of characters…Actual individuals who helped shape this movement were mentioned throughout the play along with facts about the era and cause. The students were enthralled by Mr. Baker’s skills and stamina as an actor, while they learned about a particular moment in history that is often overlooked.”

Baker has been an adjunct lecturer in the Theater department of the University of Southern Maine for 22 years. He is a former member of the Maine legislature, where he served on the Joint Standing Committee on Labor. He is currently a member of the Part-Time Faculty Association local 4593 of The American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO. As an actor, he has performed with numerous professional theater companies throughout New England including Portland Stage Company, Mad Horse Theatre, Acorn Productions, and The Stage at Spring Point and The New Century Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts.
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