As true crime shows like “American Horror Story” and “MindHunter” rise in popularity, the Bordentown Historical Society (BHS) unveils its new performance event, Harrowing History.
The series, created by BHS Art Director Kristi Kantorski, will debut with six stories of murder, mayhem and tragedy pulled from the back pages of Bordentown’s rich history.
Playing on Bordentown’s moniker of the “Little City with a Lot of Charm,” Harrowing History aims to tell the truth behind that charm. Harrowing History will debut Sept. 19 at Joseph Bonaparte’s former Point Breeze property, located at 101 Park St., Bordentown. Performances will be offered through November. Check the website for times and seating information.
BHS has existed for more than 90 years with the mission to preserve, teach and inspire curiosity about Bordentown’s rich history, according to information provided by the organization. While the stories of Francis Hopkinson, Clara Barton and Thomas Paine are some of the most well-known from this town, this latest initiative dives into
dark passageways to expose Bordentown’s disreputable natives.
“Harrowing History is about people’s curiosity,” Kantorski said in the statement. “You’ve seen the quaint buildings, the stores and the shops—it’s charming and cool, but how about what you don’t see? What happened behind the walls? What didn’t we see in broad daylight?”
Harrowing History isn’t your average ghost story. In fact, every story is absolutely true: Kantorski painstakingly researched the historical facts from local and national newspapers, trial records, census data and obituaries to write the stories, according to the statement. This 90-minute storytelling showcase features the performance talents of Bordentown locals Ann Hay, Chris Campbell, James Parker and Stacy La Mell, along with Leann Testerman, Elyse Kiedaisch and Melissa L. E. Baker.
Each performer brings their own talents to embody the persona of their 19th-century avatar.
“There’s something about a dark epic that captures the imagination,” Baker, who co-founded her own professional theater troupe, Chaste Treasure, said in the statement. “When there’s real depth, people follow the story all the way.”
The Bordentown Historical Society’s flagship events—the Spring Garden Tour, Peach
Social and Fall House Tour, which annually welcome visitors to town—were disrupted by
COVID-19 this year, so Harrowing History arrives at a time when visitors can enjoy this
outdoor performance. The event will be hosted with all prescribed precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“I’m thrilled we’ve got something brand new to interest more people in history,” BHS
Trustee Suzanne Wheelock said in the statement. “It’s great for the community and the Bordentown Historical Society.”
This set of six stories is just the first series assembled by Kantorski, who already has plans for the future.
Tickets are $20. In support of local Bordentown businesses, attendees can save $5 off their ticket purchase if they show a recent receipt at the performance from a Downtown Bordentown Association member business in town.
Visit Harrowinghistory.bpt.me for tickets and more information.
For a teaser, visit Youtube.com/watch?v=Oal0KivUE7E