Reynolda Presents the Southern Premiere of ‘In Love with the Arrow Collar Man’

Play celebrates the true love affair of iconic American illustrator J.C. Leyendecker and his partner Charles Beach

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (September 27, 2019) —Reynolda House Museum of American Art is proud to host the first performances of Lance Ringel’s moving drama following its New York City premiere. “In Love with the Arrow Collar Man” features 20th-century illustrator J.C. Leyendecker and his life partner, the model and ‘arrow collar man’ Charles Beach. The period piece combines meticulous historical research with vivid characters to bring to life Leyendecker’s extraordinary career and groundbreaking art. “In Love with the Arrow Collar Man” also explores the difficulty of balancing love, art and commerce at a time when homosexuality was a crime, and how Leyendecker achieved an unlikely triumph on all fronts. 

Phil Archer, deputy director at Reynolda House, asks, “How is it that artists are inspired to create works that seem both new and true? The ancients credited the muses, goddesses who moved people to create through a mysterious force. In Leyendecker’s case, his Charles Beach became his model, business manager, and bosom companion. Together, these two gay immigrants created the ultimate symbol of sophisticated American masculinity. It’s said that love blinds us, dupes us; but Oscar Wilde pointed out that ‘To look at a thing is very different from seeing a thing. One does not see anything until one sees its beauty. Then, and then only, does it come into existence.’ Leyendecker made people see what he saw in Charles, and if they couldn’t meet the man, they could at least buy his shirt.” 

Reynolda has partnered with The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem and director Mark Pirolo on the production.  The play stars New York-based actor Jackson Mattek as Beach and Winston-Salem- based actor Brian Joyce as Leyendecker. 

Pirolo explains, “I find myself in the enviable position of directing a marvelous play based on the life of one of my favorite artists, J. C. Leyendecker. The playwright, Lance Ringel, has done a remarkable job providing us with an intimate and compelling glimpse into the world of Joe Leyendecker, Charles Beach, Joe’s siblings and the various famous folk they meet and interact with. The talented cast and I must now rise to the challenge of  bringing to life a story that spans almost 50 years in the life of this brilliant and all but forgotten artist.”

“In Love with the Arrow Collar Man” director Pirolo has been active in theater for almost forty years as a designer, director, playwright and actor. He served on the design and production faculty at University of North Carolina School of the Arts for 32 years and spent two seasons as Executive Director of The Little Theatre.

Reynolda’s exhibition Leyendecker and the Golden Age of American Illustration showcases the work of Joseph Christian (J.C.) Leyendecker, one of the most prolific and sought-after artists of the Golden Age of American Illustration and will be on display through Dec. 31, 2019 at Reynolda House at 2250 Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem.  Guests are invited to explore the exhibition Leyendecker and the Golden Age of American Illustration prior to show time.

“In Love with the Arrow Collar Man” is sponsored by Wells Fargo. Performances will be held in the Reynolda House auditorium on Fri., Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.) and Sat., Oct. 12, at 2 p.m. (seating begins at 1:30 p.m.) Guests are invited to view the exhibition prior to the show. All tickets are $20. Buy tickets here

About Reynolda
Reynolda, in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a rare gem among the nation’s cultural institutions and historic greenspaces. The 50-year-old museum at the center of Reynolda’s 180 acres, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, presents a renowned art collection in a historic and incomparable setting: the original 1917 interiors of the country manor of R. J. Reynolds. Spanning 250 years, the collection is an uncompromisingly selective one, a chronology of American art, with each artist represented by one work of major significance. The Reynolda experience includes a free app called Reynolda Revealed; touring exhibitions in the museum’s Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing; formal gardens, conservatory and walking trails of Reynolda Gardens; and more than 25 of the estate’s original buildings repurposed as shops and restaurants in Reynolda Village. Reynolda, located at 2250 Reynolda Road, is adjacent to Wake Forest University. For more information, please visit

Connect at and @CurateReynolda on Instagram. 

About The Little Theatre
Founded in 1935, The Little Theatre is the oldest performing arts organization in Winston-Salem.  It produces affordable, professional-quality plays and musicals for audiences of all ages. It also offers acting classes for grades K-12 and adults, as well as summer camps for children and teens.  For further information about The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, please visit


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