John Paul Jones
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John Paul Jones Onstage!
Portsmouth, NH 2002
PHOTOS BY RALPH MORANG
 
Newmarket Historical It was a smashing success. Over 2000 people saw John Paul Jones live onstage at the Portsmouth Music Hall in a dramatic recreation of Jones famous battle scenes about the RANGER and the BONHOMME RICHARD. The hour-long drama, written by James Patrick Kelly, fleshes out the often told, but rarely understood connection between Scotsman Jones and his adopted town of Portsmouth, New Hampshires. Performed largely before NH school children, the theatrical retelling was the latest living history performance by the cityís NH Theater Project .

Veteran photographer and student of maritime history Ralph Morang went behind the scenes to document the making of "I Have Not Yet Begun to Fight" for this SeacoastNH.com archive. The following pictures give just a taste of the independent project. Itís haunting to think that the real Jones walked this very lawn at the Purcell House (now known at the John Paul Jones House Museum) in 1777 and again in 1782. Here Capt. JPJ (Jim Burkholder) strikes a pose with French ambassadors John Adams (Mike Walsh) and Ben Franklin (Joe Domingguez) during a publicity shot as Jones French mistress (Lyndsay Becker) looks on. This version of the Jones story is narrated by folksinger Jeff Warner who played the Captain's arch rival -- John Langdon, NH politician, whose mansion is still open to the public just down the street in Portsmouth.  -- JDR

"Itís for you, Captain!" Actor Burkholder, alias JPJ, takes a cell phone call at the Paul Jones Museum while actor Walsh, author James Patrick Kelly and Garet Warner a documentary cameraman look on.

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Dress rehearsal in the green room of the hisotrical Music Hall of portsmouth where vaudeville performers once prepared for shows.

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A mirror for a vain man. Captain Jones gets one last look at himself before stepping onstage.

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Director Blair Hundermark checks details at dress rehearsal. All four showings of "I have Not Yet Begun to Fight" were filled to near capacity.

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Poor John Langdon (played by Jeff Warner at right) gets no respect. It was Langdon who built the ship RANGER and selected Jones for Captain when his own man was unacceptable to Congress. Here Langdon instructs his cousin Lieut. Simpson (Mike Walsh), who sailed with Jones and the crew made up mostly of Piscataqua men who went into "harm's way" in the Revolution.

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The riflemen of the Ranger try out the new stage design as Captain Jones comes on deck inthe background.

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Theresa and an aged Ben Franklin play a game of chess while waiting for Jones at the court of Louis XVI in France.

What's This? A Singing Paul Jones?
Click the photo for much more on a recent Scottish musical production of the life of Jones. The production was staged with full cast and 16-piece orchestra in Edinburgh. A compact-disk of the musical by Julian Wagstaff is available from the web site which has a large detailed photo gallery of the performance. See Scottish versions of Ben Franklin, Jones French lover, the sailors of the New Hampshire ship Ranger, and Jones mother and sister who also appear as characters. Click below for the Freedom Company web site..

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All Portsmouth images copyright (c) Ralph Morang.
Final photo courtesy of Julian Wagstaff.
Page copyright © 2002 SeacoastNH.com. 

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