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Speakeasy Project


Speakeasy Assignment 2016


You will be assigned one real or fictional figure from the 1920s.  Your job is to research and learn enough about this person in order to impersonate them during a 1920s speakeasy. 


During the Speakeasy you will:

  1. Come to class in character
    • You must have an appropriate costume (10 points)
      • Don’t spend a lot of money on a costume.  Borrow things. 
      • Make sure you are completely in costume. Do not just wear a hat or a boa.
      • Plan ahead!
    • Wear a decorated badge to let others identify you (5 points)
      • This must be neat, nice and about the size of a 3x5 card
      • Have your name large and clear
      • Have some symbol that represents you.
      • It must stay on your costume
      • This may not be done the day of the presentation. If you do not come with a formal badge, you will not receive credit


  1. Introduce yourself to the class in a memorized speech: (30 points)
    • 45-60 seconds (please do not go over a minute because we need to fit in all of the speeches)
    • includes a quotation from your person
    • includes at least 2 “Jazz words” (see the attached list)
    • in the speech, it must include a reason why should or should not be seen at this speakeasy
    • Do not:
      • mention your death! Remember, you are alive while giving the speech
      • talk about things that happen in the future.  If you want to suggest that things may happen, you can.
    • By 10 pm Thursday, March 3rd, e-mail me a copy of the speech.  I will put them on the website for everyone to see.  Note: if you make any edits before you give the speech in class, please note that when you turn in your final draft of your speech in your folder.


  1. In the end you will turn in neatly collected and stapled together
  • A cover sheet: that has your character’s name, photo and birth and death dates. (4 points)
  • 2 pages, single spaced, cited, well organized research notes (20 points)
  • annotated bibliography of minimum of 4 print sources (8 points)
  • hard copy of your speech  (1 point)


  1. Sign up to help with the party (15 points)
  • 1920s Food and Drinks:
    • bring these ready to serve
    • Make sure to include a handout for the item(s) you bring that explains why they would be found in a 1920s party.
    • Items should include:
      1. 4 bottles of sparkling cider and Yoo hoo chocolate milk and bottled water
      2. 1920s cake
      3. Sandwiches a la 1920s finger foods (enough to feed 10 people)
        • Cucumber and Cheese (1 person)
        • Jelly (1 person)
        • Ham (1 person)
      4. Home made Rice Krispie treats
      5. Fruit salad
      6. Caesar salad – already made
      7. Miscellaneous 1920s food (please look up ideas – Pineapple upside down cake has been a hit in the past)
  • Supplies and Set up (4 people) (2 from each block)
    • Paper cups, plates, plastic ware and napkins
    • Paper table cloths and table decorations
    • Wall decorations – 1920s appropriate
    • J block on Thursday, March 3rd to set up and J block on Monday March 7th to clean up.
  • Entertainment  – Due Thursday, March 3rd
    • 2 people to make a 3 minute set list and mix cd of the music from the time period with images of the performers on the screen behind.
    • 2 people to create a 3 minute “fashion” slide show on the screen, along with a script to describe what we are seeing
    • 2 people to create a 3 minute lecture on the art from the era with images and script


You will be doing research and a speech about one of the following: Look at this list and rank the people who you would like to be.  Numbers will be drawn randomly and you will get to choose who you would like to be.  If there is someone who is not on the list who you would like to be, please email me.


  1. Al Capone
  2. Al Jolson
  3. Amelia Earhart
  4. Anna Mae Wong
  5. Andrew Mellon
  6. Babe Ruth
  7. Bessie Smith
  8. Bill “Bojangles” Washington
  9. Bobby Jones
  10. Buster Keaton
  11. Calvin Coolidge
  12. Charles Lindbergh
  13. Charlie Chaplin
  14. Clara Bow
  15. Clarence Darrow
  16. Claude McKay
  17. Coco Chanel
  18. Countee Cullen
  19. Duke Ellington
  20. Edith Wharton
  21. Edna St. Vincent Millay
  22. Edward Hopper
  23. Ethel Waters
  24. Frank Lloyd Wright
  25. George Gershwin
  26. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  27. Georgia O’Keefe or O’Keeffe
  1. Gertrude Ederle
  2. Greta Garbo
  3. Groucho Marx
  4. Helen Wills
  5. Henry Ford
  6. Jack Dempsey
  7. James Van Der Zee
  8. James Weldon Johnson
  9. Jelly Roll Morton
  10. Jim Thorpe
  11. John Dillinger
  12. John Scopes
  13. Langston Hughes
  14. Louis Armstrong
  15. Marcus Garvey
  16. Margaret Sanger
  17. Mitchell Palmer
  18. Nella Larsen
  19. Paul Robeson
  20. Red Grange
  21. Rube or Reuben Goldberg
  22. Rudolph Valentino
  23. W.E.B. DuBois
  24. William Randolph Hearst
  25. Will Rogers
  26. Zelda Fitzgerald
  27. Zora Neale Hurston


Newton South High School Library

140 Brandeis Road
Newton, MA 02459
call: (617) 559-6561