Katherine Bates’ true life tale, “The Manor,” opens at Greystone Hall in West Chester.
According to its owner and longtime family inhabitant Velda Jerrehian Moog, her Greystone Hall in West Chester, Pennsylvania is one of that region’s traditionally baronial living spaces, grand in its look, feel and overall décor. “We were always proud of this house,” said Moog, who – for the last many months – has opened her home to theater director Sam Barrett, costume director and actor Annaliese Grove and the rest of the cast of playwright Katherine Bates’ true life tale, “The Manor,” which runs from November 11-28.
“The property and the story is very much like ‘Downton Abbey,’” said Jerrehian Moog in regard to Greystone Hall as a totem of wealth and power, with its story (or Bates’ play) taking on a sense of political intrigue the likes of which keeps news junkies in rapt attention.
And, this is not the first time that the Colonial Playhouse crew has brought immersive theatrical political intrigue, mayhem, murder and mystery to the West Chester mansion, but rather its fourth season of hosting twelve actors leading patron/attendees through the rooms of Greystone.
Jerrehian Moog actually made the trek to the sister Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills in 2017 in order to see its real-life drama made fiction and played out. “I knew immediately that our Greystone in West Chester would be a perfect compliment to Kathy Bates’ story,” said Jerrehian Moog of a tale that was inspired by the true tragic events that took place in the mansion that Roaring 20s’ oil magnate, Edward Doheny, built for his son.
“Set in the 1920s, the play is a fictionalized account of the “triumphs and tribulations’ of the fabulously wealthy Edward Doheny family, renamed in Bates’ play as the ‘MacAlisters.’ Doheny (1856-1935) drilled the first successful oil well in Los Angeles, starting the oil boom of the early 1900s in Southern California. In the late 1920s, oil tycoon and philanthropist Doheny was accused of bribing the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in exchange for obtaining a lease of 32,000 acres of federal land in California. This was part of the infamous Teapot Dome scandal during the Harding Administration. Although the Secretary of the Interior was convicted of accepting a bribe, Doheny was ultimately acquitted. In its wake, however, a terrible tragedy took place in the grandiose Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills he had gifted to his son Ned.”
As for the legend of the home itself, for over a century, Greystone Hall has stood as an example of English Renaissance style and charm. Commissioned by inventor/businessman, P.M. Sharples, designed by architect Charles Barton Keen, Greystone Hall was completed in 1907 with its Foxcroft granite stone exterior, landscaped formal gardens, ornate detailed woodwork, and exquisite antiques transport visitors and guests to another time and place. In 1942, the mansion was purchased by the Jerrehian Partnership, a renowned Philadelphia-based oriental rug dealer.
“Since 1960, the Jerrehian family has hosted family wedding ceremonies and receptions. Velda Jerrehian Moog was the first to have her reception at Greystone in 1960. In 1992, the partnership decided to rent Greystone Hall as a Conference & Reception Venue to help cover some of the ongoing and increasing costs of maintaining and preserving it. Moog has been the managing partner for Greystone and resides in the private quarters of the mansion. Her daughter Elizabeth Moog, who manages all the events for the past decade, now lives in an apartment within the mansion, The Manor is a passion project for Moog, who personally sees to all of the arrangements to make the annual production a huge success – from personally selecting the intermission canapes to working closely with Colonial Playhouse on every detail is in place for actors and theatre goers. A goal of both the Colonial Playhouse and Greystone Hall is that future performance of the play will become a local theatrical tradition as has happened in LA.”
Tickets for The Manor are available HERE. All performances will be held at Greystone Hall, located at 2450 Aram Avenue, West Chester, PA 19380.