The History Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, has a hit play, “Glensheen,” running until July 31. Based on Cable Publishing’s best seller, Glensheen’s Daughter, by Sharon Darby Hendry, the play focuses on the misdeeds of Marjorie Congdon, the adopted daughter of heiress Elisabeth Congdon, and the brutal murders of Elisabeth and her night nurse at Glensheen mansion in Duluth, Minnesota.
I attended “Glensheen” on July 16 and had flashbacks to the time when my husband and I worked as estate managers for Elisabeth Congdon at Swiftwater Farm on Wisconsin’s Brule River. I cooked Elisabeth’s dinner for her one Sunday in late June many years ago, then bid her good-bye as she and her nurse were driven back to Glensheen. That night, Elisabeth was smothered with a pillow as she lay in her bed after her night nurse had been bludgeoned to death. Seeing Elisabeth walking and talking again brought tears to my eyes, making me realize how much that slice from my past is still part of my life.
“Glensheen” is an excellent play, and it will probably be back at the History Theatre next summer. Its initial run in 2015 broke all records with a sold-out run. The returning cast is all fantastic in both their acting and singing talents, and the musicians couldn’t have been better. Jeffrey Hatcher wrote the play, and I consider him a genius for creating a mesmerizing, humorous musical based on the life of a woman who leaves a trail of arson, mayhem, and mysterious deaths wherever she goes.
Sharon Darby Hendry attended the play on July 20. She was announced as the author of Glensheen’s Daughter before “Glensheen” began and autographed her books during intermission. The photos show Sharon signing books; with her husband Bruce; and with Jen Maren, the fabulous actor who played the femme fatale, Marjorie.
by Sharon Darby Hendry
In 1932, Elisabeth Congdon, an unmarried heiress to a mining fortune, adopts a three month old baby girl. The child, Marjorie, grows up in the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota, given everything she could possibly need, or want.
Forty-five years later, Elisabeth, who is beloved throughout the community, is found smothered in her bed. Her night nurse has been bludgeoned to death with a candlestick. Evidence points to Elisabeth’s son-in-law, Roger Caldwell and her adopted daughter Marjorie. This is the inside story of Marjorie Congdon and the stream of mysterious arsons and murders that have followed in her wake.