The news today is all good news about our current production, Sabrina Fair – an absolutely charming play with memorable performances from actors who are cast to perfection! The audiences for the first weekend of performances gave the most amazing feedback – in a nutshell, they loved it. And the actors. And the set. And did we mention the play? Tom Rushen is applauded for his excellent directorial eye.
Make no mistake about it, this is what we call an “ensemble” play as no matter the size of the role, every performance is excellent. We’ll start in this posting with three of the principal characters. Actors are always challenged when assuming roles that are widely identified with famous celebrities – it is inevitable that an audience member will remember a favorite film. And we’re proud to say that WCT has overcome that challenge three times this season with our productions of Enter Laughing, Angel Street (“Gaslight”) and now Sabrina Fair.
For Sabrina Fair, the challenge is even greater as it means two films etched into memory over five decades – and a very successful Broadway run. The character of Sabrina Fairchild was beloved, made memorable in film by Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s and then again in the 1990s by Julia Ormond – and yet on Broadway it was Margaret Sullavan’s performance that brought the attention of the world to a new play destined to be a hit.
We are so, so lucky to have Debra Hanusick create this wonderful role in the Westport Community Theatre production – audiences this first weekend have absolutely fallen in love with her. To quote an overused phrase, she has “made it her own” – she is beguiling and sweet, feisty and smart, impetuous and patient, in-depth and frivolous – and absolutely charming. If for no other reason, everyone should see this production to see Debra’s wonderful performance in her WCT debut.
We are so pleased to have Jeff Pliskin return to WCT in the role of Linus Larrabee after a string of hit roles at Curtain Call Theatre in Stamford. His challenge was having no less than Humphrey Bogart and Harrison Ford precede him on film – and Jeff’s superb talent has brought Linus Larrabee to life so convincingly, so intelligently, so sophisticated, so debonair… Linus is a terribly complex role that requires the actor to assume a rich “inner life” and take the audience with him in this endearing story. Jeff has the audience from his first line to his last, and we heard audience members wishing there was more when the play ended. We looked up the definition of “heartthrob”… and…
In this story there are two Larrabee brothers, Linus and David – and they are effectively polar opposites. David is somewhat of a ladies-man. He’s funny. Somewhat care-free. Maybe somewhat care-less… He’s sure of himself, in control and easily infatuated. We are very pleased to welcome Terry LaPolice to the WCT stage as David – an amazing actor who captures the heart and soul of David Larrabee, creating a different version of the character than William Holden or Greg Kinnear played. He shines in his scenes with Sabrina, goes head to head with Linus, is a sympathetic confidant of elder Larrabee family members – and is the epitome of the suave sophistication that the 1950s is so well known for. We looked up the definition of “playboy”… and…
There is much more to follow this week – as previously mentioned, this is a cast of 14 equally talented actors. Based on the reaction to this first weekend, we encourage you to make your reservations early – performances are Thursday, June 9 at 8:00 PM (great after-work outing!), Fridays and Saturdays June 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 8:00 PM, and matinees Sundays June 12 and 19 at 2:00 PM. WCT Box Office is (203) 226-1983.
The cast includes Michelle Blau, Jessica Denes, Andrea Garmun, Debra Hanusick, Terry LaPolice, Manny Lieberman, Andrew Morris, Sue O’Hara, Jeff Pliskin, Brendan Quinn, Tara Reuter, Catherine Samose, Nik Shpilberg and Fred Tisch.
It’s a whirlwind of activity this week at WCT as we put the finishing touches on the set, the lights, sounds, costumes, props, and of course our actors’ lines. It’s a hefty laundry list, but it’s also a veteran cast and crew. Tom Rushen is a regular here at WCT on stage, back stage and in the directors chair where he is currently sitting as I write this post.
“Sabrina Fairchild has reinvented herself after living for five years in Paris. Returning to her home with the wealthy Larrabee family, she struggles to find her identity between the independent, self-supporting woman she has become, and the chauffeur’s daughter she has always been. At the same time, a modern Cinderella story unfolds as suitors vie for her affection, until Sabrina must decide where her heart truly belongs.”
Performances are as follows:
Friday June 3 – 8PM
Saturday June 4 – 8PM
Sunday June 5 – 2PM
Thursday June 9 – 8PM
Friday June 10 – 8PM
Saturday June 11 – 8PM
Sunday June 12 – 2PM
Friday June 17 – 8PM
Saturday June 18 – 8PM
Sunday June 19 – 2PM
For tickets, call the box office at: 203.226.1984
WESTPORT COMMUNITY THEATRE
Announces AUDITIONS for
By Samuel Taylor
Directed by Tom Rushen
Auditions will be held on:
Monday, April 11 at 7:30 PM
Tuesday April 12 at 7:30 PM
Westport Community Theatre
Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue
Sabrina Fair is a modern Cinderella story. It is set on Long Island in the 1950s, and deals with the involvement of a very rich family named Larrabee with Sabrina Fairchild, the daughter of their family chauffeur. She is bright, well-educated, and has just returned from five years in Paris, where she has done a brilliant job as an executive in a U.S. government overseas office. She has come home to find out if she is still in love with the younger Larrabee son, David. The elder son, Linus, a cynical, good-humored tycoon who has taken control of the family fortune, detects Sabrina’s feeling for his brother, and for his own amusement lays a trap to bring them together. It works: David falls in love with Sabrina and wants to marry her. At the same time, a rich young Frenchman who has known Sabrina in Paris turns up and asks her to marry him. Faced with this dilemma, Sabrina discovers it is really Linus she wants. After an amusing scene in which Sabrina’s father, the chauffeur, makes a rather amazing revelation, Sabrina breaks down Linus’ resistance, and gets her man. An unusual number of fine character parts for actors: the beautiful mother of wit and perception; the father, whose one passion is attending funerals; the chauffeur who has been dabbling in the stock market and likes his job because it gives him time to read; the smart magazine editor who, as a house guest, is the interested observer. Director’s note: Paul needs to speak with a French accent. He and Sabrina also speak French. Sabrina and Julia sing French songs, although Julia’s song is apparently a little off-color. Performance Dates are June 3rd – June 19th, 2011 at 8pm.
Characters: Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Familiarity with the play is suggested.
Sabrina Fairchild (30): A beautiful, elegant young woman who has reinvented herself through her professional experience in Paris. Now facing the life and the childhood crushes she left behind. “…has fallen in love with the world and is having a passionate affair with it”
Maude Larrabee (58): Elegant and regal, she rules the family.
“A reigning beauty all her life…gives no sign of abdicating”
Julia Ward McKinlock (58): Maude’s best friend. A magazine editor, she is a woman ahead of her time. Witty, insightful and as blunt as she needs to be.“[a face] that shows intelligence and good humor and awareness.”
Gretchen Larrabee (30): David’s ex-wife who is now dating Linus. “…well-bred…knowing..tough.”
Margaret (Any Age): The family maid.
Young Woman 1& 2 (20): Partygoers.
Linus Larrabee Jr. (40): In charge of the family business. Better at business than life or romance. “…rugged-looking, and easy in his movements.”
David Larrabee (30): More carefree than Linus. “…easy good humor…sure control.”
Linus Larrabee (60+): Their father, a man of leisure who amuses himself by attending funerals. “….essentially a courtly and gracious man.”
Fairchild ( 60+): The Larrabees’ chauffeur. Quiet, humble, but with his own dignity. An avid reader.
Paul D’Argenson (30): A Parisian suitor of Sabrina’s. “With his affability, the man has authority.”
Young Man 1 & 2 (20): Partygoers.