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Bittersweet chocolate tales

By Julieta Moreno

Dale Eby, Julieta Moreno and Joseph Toone

The Director of Art and Culture of La Biblioteca, Julieta Moreno, recently sat down with storyteller, Joseph Toone. They chatted about Toone’s upcoming one-man show about growing up in Hershey, performed to benefit La Biblioteca’s cultural and educational programs. This is the first in a series of three interviews.

The show is one night only on December 18 at the Teatro Santa Ana at 5pm. Tickets are 50 pesos.

Julieta Moreno: So Hershey is a place? Is it like Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory?

Joseph Toone: Yes, Hershey is a city in central Pennsylvania created to manufacture Hershey chocolate.

JM: Yum, does it smell like chocolate?

JT: Well, not anymore. Ironically the factories of my childhood have moved here to Mexico. One is just outside of Guanajuato. Chocolate follows me wherever I go! Though the streetlights are still oversized Hershey kisses!

JM: What made you start telling stories about growing up there?

JT: Well, I’ve always been focused on the written word and stories. I started, and later sold, a writing company, wrote two books, taught English, but this was my first foray into autobiography. I just found myself writing short stories about growing up in Hershey that I performed and fine-tuned each week at the Shelter Theater over the last year. Once I determined the best stories, it seemed a natural fit to combine them into a show.

JM: So it is all about Hershey?

JT: No, some of the best-received stories are about adventures here in San Miguel, so the third mini-act will include a chocolate sampler of those.

JM: I hear you have a special guest star.

JT: Sure do! Knowing I needed eye candy, I was able to hire one of Santa’s more adventuresome elves, Vixen. She sometimes goes by her stage name of Emma from the House and Garden tours. She’ll be slinking about the stage in some of the prettiest dresses from Katy Perry’s candy-inspired clothing collection.

JM: So your show is a stand-up act or more of a play?

JT: Neither, as I’m not a comic nor an actor. I tell stories. Most are funny, though some are more than that. I’ve been introduced at other shows as San Miguel’s Will Rodgers or Jean Shepherd, which is hugely flattering.

JM: I can’t wait!

Growing up in Hershey
By Joseph Toone
Wed, Dec 18, 5pm
Teatro Santa Ana
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50A
50 pesos
To benefit La Biblioteca

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