TFAC celebrates Tryon’s role in the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published 7:45 pm Sunday, November 17, 2013

The evening of Tuesday, Nov. 19 promises to be one of literary significance and Hollywood-style glamor at the Tryon Fine Arts Center.
It will begin with a champagne gala at 6 p.m. to welcome the evening’s special guest, as the one-time resident of Tryon and author of “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Gala attendees are encouraged, although not required, to wear appropriate dress.

Lavin Cuddihee as F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Lavin Cuddihee as F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Immediately following the gala and just before the movie at 7 p.m. will be a history-making performance on the TFAC stage of “Love’s Melody,” written by Fitzgerald while he was a resident at Oak Hall Hotel in Tryon in 1935.
This 10-minute one-act play was performed only one previous time at Little Orchard, the home of Nora and Lefty Flynn in Tryon.  The three parts in the play were performed by Fitzgerald, Nora and Lefty.
In the performance at TFAC, Lavin Cuddihee will play F. Scott Fitzgerald as Cedric the Sailor, with Mark Monaghan as Lefty Flynn as Bennie the Blood and Katie Cilluffo as Nora Flynn as Rummy Rose.
The 1974 film “The Great Gatsby” starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow cost more than $6 million to produce, making it one of the most extravagant movies of its time. It was the third film to be made of Fitzgerald’s classic 1925 novel.
It won Academy Awards for Best Costume Design (Theoni V. Aldredgy) and Best Music (Nelson Riddle) and BAFTA Awards for Best Art Direction (John Box) Best Cinematography (Douglas Slocombe) and also Best Costume Design (Theoni V. Aldredgy, with Ralph Lauren executing the male costumes and Barbara Matera the costumes for the female roles).  Karen Black, Bruce Dern, and Sam Waterston won Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actors.
Fitzgerald visited Tryon on numerous occasions between 1935 and 1937, often staying with his friends Nora and Maurice (Lefty) Flynn and at other times in residence at Oak Hall Hotel.
The Flynns were kind to the troubled author and also took care of his daughter Scottie while her mother Zelda was in hospitals in Asheville and Hendersonville.  While in Tryon he wrote the short story “The Intimate Strangers,” which was based on the Flynns and was published in McCalls Magazine in their June, 1935 issue.
In her autobiography, “Joyce Grenfell Requests The Pleasure”, the British actress Joyce Grenfell, a frequent visitor to Tryon and the daughter of Nora Flynn, said of the Flynns, “The best memorial to my mother and Lefty is the remembered pleasure and sheer enjoyment they gave their friends wherever they lived and in particular at Little Orchard in Tryon.
“People still living there tell me that an invitation from the Flynns was a guarantee of a good time… To this day old friends remember the particular enjoyment of summer evenings, on the terrace under the stars, and winter nights when they all sat long and late round the table… The small white house was a place of great sweetness and light.”
Long after her parents had died and her own marriage had dissolved, Scottie Fitzgerald returned to Tryon and took up residence at Oak Hall Hotel where she stayed for a number of years.
The Great Gatsby, sponsored by the Tryon Movie Theatre, is the fifth in the Tryon Fine Arts Center’s “Tryon Connections” film series.  Tickets can be purchased for the gala or the film or both.
Those wishing to attend the gala are encouraged to purchase or reserve tickets at the TFAC Box Office or online as soon as possible to allow for catering considerations.
Visit or call 828-859-8322 for more information.
– article written
by Frances Flynn

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