GALLIPOLIS — The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre will be hosting a program titled “An Odd Book: How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York,” to take place on April 22 at 4:30 p.m., along with visiting author R. Scott Williams who will be publishing an upcoming Oscar Odd (O.O.) McIntyre biography.
At 7:30 p.m. that evening, a special concert honoring McIntyre is planned. In addition to a performance featuring tenor and Gallia native Philip Armstrong, The Ohio Valley Symphony will perform Meredith Willson’s O.O McIntyre Suite.
After a search of almost 30 years, Lora Lynn Snow, founder and executive director of the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre, discovered the original orchestral parts of the suite. The performance on April 22 will feature a new arrangement by Tim Berens, the principle arranger for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
McIntyre, who was raised in Gallipolis by his grandmother, overcame great personal and professional challenges to become the highest-paid and most-read columnist of the early 20th century. In his column, “New York Day by Day,” and in national magazines like Cosmopolitan and Life, McIntyre captured a city undergoing great transition and innovation in communication, politics, art and entertainment. His unconventional writing style, which frequently invoked his small-town roots, endeared him to readers across the country.
McIntyre, who died in 1938 at the age of 54, was close friends with many of the leading personalities of the day, including writers Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerqald; entertainers Fred Astaire, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Billie Burke and Will Rogers; composers George Gershwin and Meredith Willson; actors Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin, and many others.
“Odd McIntyre was incredibly proud of the town in which he grew up, and he often mentioned Gallipolis in his columns and articles,” said Williams, who is the chief operating officer of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “I can think of no better place to celebrate his life, career, and love of Ohio than in the theater where he first worked and was first exposed to the arts.”
According to Williams, McIntyre worked at the Ariel Theatre as a young boy before going on to become a household name in pop culture reporting.
The first performance of the O.O. McIntyre Suite was by Paul Whiteman’s orchestra in 1934. Whiteman was the bandleader of one of the most popular dance bands in the U.S. during the 1920s and 2930s. At Whiteman’s request, Willson composed an additional movement titled “Sunday Night in Gallipolis.”
Willson also composed the music and lyrics for the hit Broadway musicals “The Music Man” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and the songs “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You.”
“While many of the people in our community here in Gallipolis are proud of our connection with Odd McIntyre, he has been forgotten in many other places,” said Snow. “I’m hoping this concert will be an opportunity for us to celebrate his connection to Gallipolis while sharing his story with new generations.”
The 4:30 p.m. program with R. Scott Williams featuring a discussion of “An Odd Book: How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York,” is free and open to the public. More information about the book and Odd McIntyre, including high-resolution images, is available at AnOddBook.com.
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert and more information about the Ariel Opera House is available at ArielTheatre.org.
R. Scott Williams is the chief operating officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Williams earned his degree in journalism from the University of Memphis.