An attorney with a name that sounds a whole lot like Beshmesher plans to be in the audience for Saturday’s matinee performance of History Theatre’s “Glensheen.”
The production is a musical about the 1977 murders of Duluth heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse Velma Pietila, at the estate known as Glensheen. Congdon’s ingrate adopted daughter Marjorie Caldwell was set to receive $8 million upon her mother’s death. She and her lowlife husband, Roger Caldwell, were instant suspects. Roger was convicted of the crimes. Marjorie was acquitted, probably because she was represented by legendary defense lawyer Ron Meshbesher.
Earlier this month on Facebook, Ron’s wife, Kim Meshbesher, posted a portion of Dominic Papatola’s Pioneer Press review of “Glensheen” that noted: “Marjorie’s real-life lawyer — well-known criminal defense attorney Ron Meshbesher — is represented (with an explicit ‘disclaimer’ that the character is in no way meant to resemble anyone in real life) by a character named Beshmesher.”
“I don’t know why they changed his name,” Kim Meshbesher told me.
“Maybe because he’s being played by Wendy Lehr, a woman, obviously, and I think it’s more of a caricature; they’re not really representing Ron as Ron. But they made the name close enough,” she said, laughing. “Most people who know Ron and know the case will get the humor there. We haven’t seen it yet, because it’s sold out almost every night! We’re going to go to the matinee on the 24th. I mean, that was the only date I could get. It should be kind of interesting. I was wondering how they could make a musical out of horrible murders. Really. But I guess it’s quite successful, doing well.
“Marjorie Caldwell, you know she was quite the character,” Kim said.
Majorie was a fascinating miscreant, but what I found interesting while pulling together this column item was the evasive e-mail from History Theatre artistic director Ron Peluso. Is there a character by the name of Beshmesher? I e-mailed Peluso. He responded, “The [lawyer] character says, ‘the important thing to know, is that my name is NOT Beshmesher.’ ”
Cute dodge, Ron. The final performance is Sunday, Peluso noted in his e-mail. That part is true.
Good luck, designer dads
The Architectural Digest cover story about Nate Berkus, a new dad, doesn’t really give any insights into how Oprah’s favorite decorator is going to handle those things a baby can add to your design scheme.
There are the finger prints. Jelly stains created by those little finger prints. There’s food throwing. And then there is finger painting that babies do with a substance they produce.
The October AD is all about Berkus and his husband-designer Jeremiah Brent’s search for the perfect Fifth Avenue residence, a prewar edifice above Washington Square Park.
“We knew we wanted to have a family and that we wanted to raise our child in New York,” Minnesota-grown Berkus told the mag. They got engaged on a Peruvian mountaintop, married last year in front of 220 guests, and then in March Poppy was born.
A two-bedroom duplex penthouse with a terrace caught their eyes, but they needed more space, Brent told AD. Then, “the owner of the one bedroom next door opted to sell.”
The renovation went smoothly, as Berkus told AD: “Great design is like great love: You trust your gut.”
That’s beautiful but I wanted to know how many diapers Berkus has changed. “I’ve lost count!!!!” he replied via Twitter.
Franken lines up ‘serious fun’
Sen. Al Franken is getting his buddy David Letterman out of mothballs for a Sunday fundraiser for Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth. CQ-Roll Call reports, “The [NY] fundraiser is described on an invitation as a night of ‘serious fun.’ ” A minimum contribution of $1,000 to the Duckworth Victory Fund is labeled, “Kinda Serious.” To be “Totally Serious” and attend an exclusive reception before the event, “it gets totally expensive: The campaign has requested donors give $10,400 each.”
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