On Stage

“Sabrina Fair” brings a smile to the audience – and cheers!

"Sabrina Fair' at Westport Community Theatre, June 3 – 19, 2011

Cast of "Sabrina Fair"

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.

Sabrina Fair, Westport Community Theatre, June 3 – 19, 2011

Sabrina Fairchild (Debra Hanusick) and Linus Larrabee (Jeff Pliskin) – sparks fly...

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…

"Sabrina Fair" at Westport Community Theatre, June 3 – 19, 2011

Sabrina Fairchild (Debra Hanusick) and David Larrabee (Terry LaPolice) – a childhood crush is revisited...

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.

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Sabrina Fair

June 3 - 19

Sabrina Fair, Opening June 3rd

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

 

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“Cabaret 55” – Celebrate 55 Years of WCT, Friday May 20 at 7:00 PM!

Join us for a very special Gala Evening – “Cabaret 55” – celebrating Westport Community Theatre’s 55th anniversary! “Cabaret 55” will be held Friday, May 20 at 7:00 PM at the Westport Woman’s Club, 44 Imperial Avenue.

Tickets are $35, and include desserts by Westport’s leading restaurants, bakeries and confectioners – plus a ticket to the opening of our final production of the 2010 / 2011 season, Sabrina Fair.

We’ve assembled some of your favorite WCT performers – Priscilla Squiers (Master Class), Fred Tisch (Angel Street), Rosanne Nelson (Mixed Couples), Kimberly Lowden (The Women), Ruth Anne Baumgartner (Angel Street), Rob Pawlikowski (The Front Page), Marguerite Foster (Orson’s Shadow), Randye Kaye (Broadway Bound), Jessie Gilbert (Don’t Drink the Water), Linda Gilmore (Ice Glen) David Victor (Mixed Couples), Vic Terenzio (Don’t Drink the Water), Larry Greeley (A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum), Joan Barere (The Best Man), John Fatteross (The Best Man) and others for a cabaret-style evening of songs and classic comedy sketches from the 1950s, the era when Westport Community Theatre first began! The evening will be hosted by Robert Watts as Emcee.

We promise no novelty songs (!), just a fabulous musical evening of classic standards, torch songs, and old favorites, with comedy sketches celebrating that marvelous 1950s era when radio gave way to a new-fangled development called television and launched the careers of Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Jackie Gleason, Neil Simon…

Music throughout the entire evening will be provided by Bob Lasprogato’s Uptown Jazz Combo – if you haven’t heard them before, get ready for a sweet evening of cool jazz and then some by some of Westport’s most popular musicians.

The format for the evening is Cabaret-style – in addition to the entertainment, we’ll provide desserts courtesy of Great Cakes, CakeSuite, The Wild Pear, Garelick and Herbs and Nothin’ But Premium Snack Bars, along with coffee, tea and bottled water. Guests are invited to bring supper or snacks; BYOB (sodas and wine only, please).

“Cabaret 55” is a true celebration of all things Westport and Westport Community Theatre’s 55 years of commitment to the community by providing outstanding theatre at affordable prices. We’ve partnered with local businesses to underwrite this fundraising event (including Fairfield County Bank and Mutual Security), and look forward to having you join us!

Space is limited, so we encourage you to make your reservation soon by phoning the Box Office at (203) 226-1983.

 

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Director Jessica Denes – “Mixed Couples,” opening April 8!

 

Mixed Couples

Director Jessica Denes (seated, left), cast and production staff of "Mixed Couples"

One of WCT’s favorite directors, Jessica Denes, has assembled some of Fairfield County’s most talented actors for her upcoming production of Mixed Couples, opening April 8. What makes this production special to Jessica is that she either performed with, or worked behind the scenes on the crew for, all five cast members – over 10 years ago, when she made her WCT debut in Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced, directed by Davina Porter.

Directing credits include one of WCT’s most memorable productions, Master Class, and Veronica’s Room. Last spring she brought the gripping and provocative Orange Flower Water to the ETC stage – audiences are still talking about this staged reading one year later. Directorial credits for Connecticut theaters include Love, Sex, and the I.R.S, The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild, and Confessions of a Dirty Blonde at Eastbound Theatre; Summer Brave, Time & Time Again, The Other Side of Friendship, and Her Majesty Miss Jones for Crystal Theatre Company; and productions of Delicious Death & Other Desserts, Not Now Darling, and A Night of Shakespeare.

Directing is only one of Jessica’s accomplishments as she is also an extremely talented actress. WCT audiences were treated to great performances in the recent ETC staged reading of Collected Stories, in the memorable role of Joan Plowright in Orson’s Shadow, and in the aforementioned A Murder Is Announced. Jessica also has appeared in Cactus Flower as Toni Simmons at the Town Players of New Canaan; as Emily in Our Town at the Wilton Playshop; in Li’L Abner as Daisy Mae and as Bella in Lost in Yonkers at Crystal Theatre Company; and in “Boeing, Boeing” as Bertha at Eastbound Theatre. Jessica is a member of the WCT Administrative Board.

Mixed Couples – ready for opening night!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Set construction on “Mixed Couples” begins!

Construction is well-underway for our next production, the charming romantic comedy “Mixed Couples” by James Prideaux, directed by one of our favorite directors, Jessica Denes. We are so pleased to have Raymond Stephens return to WCT, this time in the role of Set Designer – and quite the job he has undertaken as “Mixed Couples” is set in an airplane hanger circa late 1920s! Ray is an extraordinary friend to WCT, and excellent manager of all things and people helping to get this job done!

We thought everyone might like to take a look at some of the earliest steps – Ray has advised:

We have started repainting the set.

The flats, soon to become the hangar doors, are being painted and dressed.
The hangar girders have been fabricated.
With help from:
Lisa Mellott
Bill Mellott
Ian Lander
Beth Flavin
Bob Laspogarto
More updates to follow!

The stage and seats are well protected in this early stage of construction –

Set construction for "Mixed Couples" at Westport Community Theatre

What you don't often see – the view "behind-the-flats"...

Set construction begins for "Mixed Couples" at Westport Community Theatre, April 8 – 24

In case you don't recognize this, it's the staircase that leads from the dressing room to the theatre – an impromptu workbench!

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