New Jersey Repertory Company presents the world premiere of the musical Bookends by Katharine Houghton, Dianne Adams McDowell, and James McDowell. Ken Jenkins directs.
Madeleine Stern and Leona Rostenberg, celebrated rare book dealers for over sixty-five years, have just finished writing their memoir. Leona feels that the time has come to quit. The book business is no longer committed to the beauty and magic of books. Books are regarded now as commodities simply to be bought and sold, not read, loved and passed on. Madeline disagrees. Flashbacks to their youth reveal them as two spunky, unusually bright and appealing young girls, growing up in conventional German Jewish families in the Manhattan of the 1930s. They are expected to follow in the path of their forebears - marry a doctor, a lawyer, have two children, live in Manhattan - but obsessed by their unusual passion for old and rare books, they ultimately resist convention, carve out their own unique destiny, and against all expectation, achieve enormous success. As ninety year old women, will they once again overcome obstacles, this time the obstacles of old age, loss, and a changing world, to continue their success, or will they give up? Based on a true story, this hauntingly beautiful musical will stay with you forever.