If you grow up in a family of storytellers, having brothers who write or paint or both, and if you’re fortunate enough to have an Irish tale spinner for a mother, one who was still telling tales on her death bed at 105, it’s probably preordained that you’ll one day pick up a pent write. Such is the history of playwright, actor and director Jim Gordon of Norwalk.
One added bonus, and a big one at that, is that Gordon grew up in a poor Bronx neighborhood of Mt. Vernon, New York that “was like a United Nations, with characters who were strange but lovable, Irish, Italian, Jews, German, Russians and blacks. It was a great time to grow up. The apartment building was full of accents and smells, mostly of cabbage.”
If Gordon wasn’t on the playground having fun, he could often be found at the local bars, interacting with an older crowd. His youth was filled with a flavarable and rich population, like the man who walked the hallways a full Robin Hood costume, complete with bow and arrow, and the German his dad hired to hag wallpaper who got it all up - upside down - with Eiffel Towers on their heads. His house was even a place old relatives came to die, like his Uncle Jack who drove up from Florida, walked in and took a nap on the couch never to wake up again,
For four decades, Jim Gordon was dedicated commercial insurance agent for the good hands people Allstate. That changed dramatically fifteen years ago when he broke his hip and couldn’t move. His terrific wife Maureen 9his words), an actress herself, suggested he start writing. The result was “Murder 1, 2, 3” that he submitted to a contest and won. Jim Gordon, playwright,was instantly born.
Gordon loves to write mysteries as well as comedies and character studies. He prides himself on insinuating surprises and twists, encouraging his audiences “expect the unexpected.” For years he has been testing his material at East Norwalk’s Theatre Artists Workshop, a collaborative efforts of “good professional people” who listen to your work and offer creative comments. The workshop has a great base of mature and seasoned actors and directors and writers but Gordon would like to encourage more young people to sign on to their unique theatrical bandwagon.
Every October the TAW holds a Festival and Gordon has contributed a play almost every time in the last seven or eight years. You don’t have to wait until the fall, however, to experience a taste of Jim Gordon’s humorous, ghostly or dreamlike tales, Music Theatre of Connecticut will hold a fundraiser at its new intimate location in Norwalk, at 509 Westport Avenue, behind Nine West, by offering “ Short and Sweet: The Plays of Jim Gordon” on Saturday, January 23 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 24 at 2 p.m. Call 203-454-3883 or go online to www.musictheatreofct.com for tickets ($30 and $40).
Discover a definitely different way to pay your debts “Making Ends Meet,” how not to win the job as a department store Santa in “If Only in My Dreams,”
learn how a tavern can close when the owner is the last one to know in “Starlight Ballroom,” and meet two art critics who differ dramatically on the meaning of a painting in “Untitled #2.” These are but a few of the stories on the merry and menacing menu.
Come learn for yourself how well Jim Gordon inherited his storytelling skills from his Irish mom.