Music Hall wins Gold Benjamin Franklin Award 2020

Music Hall Benjamin Franklin Gold Award 2020Great Life Press is pleased to announce that Music Hall, How a City Built a Theater and a Theater Shaped a City by J. Dennis Robinson, has won the prestigious top award in History from IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association.

The book is available directly from the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH, or from local independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

The judges’ comments were extraordinary, and they said that the book had some pretty stiff competition, winning over 100 other books in the History category.

“If anyone lets this book sit on the coffee table without reading the text, as Mr. Robinson predicts, they are missing a real gem. The writing is great, the photos are great, the research is superb. I don’t have suggestions for improving this book because there isn’t a thing I would change. Reading this book makes me want to visit Portsmouth, NH, something I never thought about before. What better compliment could an author ask for?”

“This book is much more than its title suggests. It is a beautifully illustrated and designed survey of the cultural activities that a landmark building has helped to foster. At the same time, its subject is presented against a richly informed context comprised of the an engaging narrative exploring the complex social factors and forces, such as the Lyceum movement of the early nineteenth century, the rise of pop culture in the later twentieth century, the historic preservation movement, gentrification of the urban core, etc. The author writes with great professionalism and confidence, showing deep respect for the advocates of the arts over time who first of all achieved construction of the landmark and have since sustained its role as the enduring centerpiece of a lively, innovative and enduring performing arts scene in the heart of the New England coastline.”

We’ve also heard great things from readers, including this review from Chef James Haller, of Blue Strawbery fame:

“MUSIC HALL, is more than memories of a wonderful time in a wonderful town. If you live in a town that has an old theatre this book will show you how to save it, re-do it, bring it back to life and reward the citizens with entertainers and shows that might never have stopped in your town. You cannot help but applaud the crowd who volunteered to make this happen. The Music Hall has gone from a seventy five cent movie house (with great popcorn) to this gem of a theater and brings opera, Shakespeare, ballet, writers, dancers, and anyone with a message of theatric eminence to centre stage for the delight of Portsmouth. Robinson’s photos, stories and legends bring laughter and an occasional tear to the corner of my eye. His writing is perfect and this book will delight, touch your heart and bring you wisdom beyond your expectations. Do yourself a favour, get this book and hold it close. It will, like the Music Hall, keep you applauding. Thanks J. Dennis. A beautiful book!!” — Chef James Haller

Check out J. Dennis Robinson’s website and his other books at:

Happy Reading!