The beloved family musical The King’s Road will be performed this fall, Oct 3-5, in participation with the Haddonfield 300th anniversary celebration. Written in 1963 by Haddonfield’s venerable Harry T. Kaufmann the story follows the lives of Mary Hopkins, Joshua Cresson, Jonas Cattell and others as they discover patriotism and fall in love amidst the intrusion of the British and Hessian armies.
The musical style is a blend of Rogers & Hammerstein with John Philip Sousa. At its heart is the conflict between the Quaker residents, the local militia, and the love in their hearts. An ensemble story about the moments they share along King’s Highway, it is filled with singing, dancing, marching and merriment, and it all takes place in front of the historic Indian King Tavern, a New Jersey Historic Site and the location where the colony became a state. This poignant tribute to the history of Haddonfield has touched hearts and entertained audiences for generations.
Harry was President of Haddonfield Plays & Players and served as the Director of Public Relations for the National Dairy Council for many years. He wrote songs about the virtues of drinking milk, which he would play on his accordion and perform with his puppets as he toured schools and community groups. In 1963 he finished writing The King’s Road. Former mayor Bill Reynolds recalls stories from his childhood of Harry charging through the front door script in hand to preview the latest songs for his parents, the music from the piano entwined with laughter filling the house with warmth. The King’s Road is a proud achievement and a lasting tribute not only to Harry but to his influence on so many throughout the region.
The show has run only twice before, once in 1964 and once in 1976 for the nation’s bicentennial. And now, 37 years since its last performance, Haddonfield Plays & Players will bring to the stage all the drama, comedy and romance of The King’s Road. This Haddonfield 300th performance will be performed at the majestic Haddon Fortnightly, a short walk from downtown and the historic Indian King Tavern.
We are celebrating this production in grand style. The show is directed by Pat DeFusco, an award winning actor and director in regional theatre. The all-star cast features talented performers from throughout South Jersey including Haddonfield, Moorestown and Cherry Hill. Children of cast members from the ’76 and ’64 shows are rounding out the chorus, and King’s Road alumni will grace the stage on closing night for a rousing rendition of the final anthem, “This is the Land where Freedom Dwells”.
Our publicity includes “The King’s Road and Banquet” promotion, where ticket holders will receive a discount at participating Haddonfield restaurants on the day of the performance. Our first staged reading on Aug 10 at 11am will be a media event inside the Indian King Tavern. During the performance we will have display boards showcasing the history of the show and the people who have contributed to its enduring appeal.
Optimism, faith and community defined the life of Harry Kaufmann, and his spirit lives on through this musical performed once every generation.
This is truly a wonderful and singular production and we thank you for your participation! “♫ With a rat-a-tat-tat … “ and with warmest regards,
David Stavetski, Producer The King’s Road