Carleton Carpenter to Discuss New Memoir
Bennington native Carleton Carpenter returns to his home town as part of a nationwide tour promoting his new memoir, ‘The Absolute Joy of Work.’ Carpenter starred on Broadway, in regional theatre, film and TV, and is also a dancer, magician, songwriter and novelist. He will be celebrating more than 70 years in show business at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, at Oldcastle Theatre.
Carpenter was born in 1926 and appeared in two Broadway shows before returning to graduate from Bennington High School in 1944. After a stint in the Navy during World War II, his career took off with a series of Broadway productions working with such actors as Ray Bolger, Mary Martin, Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury and Bert Lahr. Hollywood called and he quickly gained fame in ‘Three Little Words’ and ‘Two Weeks in Love,’ both with Debbie Reynolds. He acted in westerns, comedies and musicals.His many television credits include performances in the musical ‘Lady in the Dark’ with Ann Southern, as well as episodes of Perry Mason, The Rifleman, Father Knows Best, Wanted Dead or Alive, McHale’s Navy and The Millionaire. As a composer, his songs have been recorded by the likes of Billy Eckstine. His musical, ‘Northern Boulevard’ was produced in New York and later by Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington. He wrote nine mystery novels; one even later became a Broadway musical. ‘The Absolute Joy of Work’ begins with his childhood in Bennington and includes stories about his work and friendships with some of the leading lights of show business – including Stephen Sondheim, Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, Robert Walker, Elsa Lanchester, Rod McKuen, James Garner, Jack Benny and Janet Leigh. Copies of the book will be available to purchase at his talk at Oldcastle.
“It was a delight and an honor when Carleton began working with Oldcastle Theatre more than 20 years ago. He has now acted with us in numerous plays, directed for us and we opened our downtown theatre with his musical ‘Northern Boulevard,’” said Oldcastle producing artistic director, Eric Peterson. “He is universally loved throughout the theatre community. He is a joy to work with and we all greatly enjoy hearing his fabulous stories. His book is entertaining, informative and often funny,” Peterson continued. “We invite the entire community to join us in this celebration of his life and work.” Tickets are $25, and are available at 802-447-0564 or oldcastletheatre.org. Seating is limited. Oldcastle Theatre is located at 331 Main Street in downtown Bennington.