By Lisa Carolin
An important part of Chelsea’s history is in the process of being turned into a musical. Longtime resident Jason Eyster is writing a musical about Frank Glazier, who started and was president of the Glazier Stove Company, and is still remembered for a variety of reasons including the Glazier Building located in downtown Chelsea.
The musical is called “The Only Man in Town” and through 17 tunes and plenty of dialogue, shares the ups and downs (bankruptcy followed by a prison term for embezzlement) of Glazier and his influence on the City of Chelsea, specifically during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Shelley Wheaton is the producer and Melissa Renwick is the assistant producer of “The Only Man in Town”, which is being performed by the Chelsea Area Players at Chelsea High School July 17, 18, and 19.
Eyster works as an immigration lawyer, but has always been interested in theater. He and Wheaton first met in the 1980s.
“In 1989, I wrote a New Year’s resolution that I was going to write a play about Frank Glazier, and I found it last fall,” said Eyster. “Frank’s arch to incredible heights and his dramatic fall in one year seemed like great material for a musical.”
All the action takes place at Main and Middle Streets in the early 1900s, and Eyster’s music, like the waltz he wrote for a string quartet, is all appropriate for the era.
Eyster said that Glazier brought in workers from all over, and eight saloons sprang up in Chelsea that offered gambling and more. He said that Glazier stoves were known worldwide.
“Jason is a fountain of Chelsea history,” said Wheaton. “Because I knew how smart and talented he is, I knew that he could create this musical, and the Chelsea Area Players seemed like a natural because this is a Chelsea story.”
“The Only Man in Town” will be the first original show that the Chelsea Area Players has done.
“We’ll need 60-80 actors complete with vintage costumes, sets from the time period, and we’ll use the big, beautiful auditorium at Chelsea High School,” said Wheaton. “We’re fundraising, and we’re not going to skimp on anything.”
Eyster says the musical offers an education about Chelsea’s history.
“It’s part of my interest in educating people about Frank Glazier and that time period,” said Eyster. “There were and are those who want to keep things the same versus those who want change. It’s a theme that’s still prevalent today.”
Anyone interested in getting involved with the production of “The Only Man in Town” or for information on tickets, can contact Renwick at 734-646-8226 or at [email protected].