200th Anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted Celebrated in Play on Portland Waterfront


Jared Mongeau, A Newspaper Reporter, with Daniel Noel, Playing Frederick Law Olmsted.

Some of the Audience at Tonight’s Outdoor Performance of: “Meeting in Central Park”

Jared Mongeau (L) with Playwright Frank E. Reilly and Daniel Noel (R) Following the Performance.  In the Background is the New Sunlife Insurance Headquarters.

The 200th anniversary of the remarkable  Frederick Law Olmsted was respectfully and insightfully celebrated with the premiere of a 20-minute imagined interview this evening written and directed by west end playwright Frank E. Reilly.  The stage for this two person portrait of Olmsted was the Amythyst Lot overlooking Casco Bay near Ocean Gateway.

A writer turned landscape architect out of necessity, Olmsted “fell” into the job as the designer of New York’s Central Park, where the play “Meeting in Central Park” takes place.  It’s an imaginery interview conducted by a “New York Times” young reporter played by Jared Mongeau with a reluctant Frederick Law Olmsted played by Daniel Noel.  The interview occurs on Olmsted’s birthday – April 26.

With eagerness,  this young reporter cajoles Olmsted into talking about growing up in Hartford, Connecticut through his career as the nation’s dominant landscape architect – winning him the nickname:  The Father of Landscape Architecture.  He designed 500 parks in the United States according to Mr. Reilly this evening. When he was growing up in Hartford, Connecticut,  there was no need for parks. There was plenty of open spaces for youth to enjoy.

The design of Central Park with its trees, grass and benches that Olmsted and his business partner Calvert Vaux envisioned, was not a popular idea with New York City officials.  The two had to take the Park’s development “step by step.”  But its establishment was the beginning of a prosperous and influential career. Following his death in 1903, his sons formed a firm that designed the Eastern Promenade on the east end of Portland.

Although Mr. Reilly does not expect this play will be produced again in this location, he is seeking other venues for its performance.

Jared Mongeau is a Portland-based actor, comedian and musician with an extensive background in appearances in Portland Stage, Good Theater, Mad Horse Theatre Co., Portland Theatre Festival, Camden Shakespeare Festival, Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble, The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine. He presented his award-winning original work at PortFringe   Daniel Noel has appeared in dozens of workshops and MaineStage as PSC, “A Christmas Carol, Papermake, Drawer By.  On Broadway, The Human Comedy, BAM New Wave Festival, New York Shakespeare Festival, Life From The Public, Lincoln Center Institute, Stonington Opera and MUCH more!  An all star cast for certain.

Frank E.. Reilly worked in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  He is the President of the Friends of Lincoln Park and has written dozens of plays during long winters.  Prior to Portland, he perfomred in and directed many plays in California and  appeared in about two dozen films.


One thought on “200th Anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted Celebrated in Play on Portland Waterfront

  1. It’s remarkable that 200 years after his birth that Olmsted is remembered for his contributions to America. Central Park in NYC is a lasting tribute to his creative genius!

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