We are so pleased to announce WCT’s 2012 / 2013 season! And this announcement has an added bit of intrigue as we’re not quite ready to announce the show that will fill our fourth slot, April 12 – 26, 2013… in the true style of our Bridgeport colleague, P. T. Barnum, whose motto was “keep ‘em guessing”…
Hours and hours went into the selection of next year’s season by our play selection committee, who searched for the right mix of comedy, mystery and drama to present a season subscribers will love. A good season has something old… something new… something funny… something creepy… We’re so pleased to have at the helm some of the best, and most popular, directors in Southern Connecticut – their resumes are awesome, and we know they will bring to the WCT stage outstanding evenings of theatre.
We are also so very pleased with our entire 2011 / 2013 season, critically acclaimed for performances and productions; Moonlight and Magnolias, The Seafarer, A Thousand Clowns and A Picasso brought some of the most talented actors and directors together for – in the words of one of our subscribers – “amazing theatre that rivals professional productions, anywhere.” Eagerly anticipated – our closing production of the season, Company, June 8 – July 1. WCT’s Board of Directors builds on this season’s accomplishments and quality by bringing you:
Laughter On The 23rd Floor by Neil Simon
Directed by Lester Colodny
September 14 – 30, 2012
“Old style comedy: fast and furious.”- The Wall Street Journal
“One of [Simon's] funniest…Comedy, comedy all the way.”- Newsweek
“Enough laughs per minute to assure [it] a long run and many happy audiences.”- USA Today
“The funniest comedy on Broadway in years and likely to remain the funniest comedy on Broadway for years.”- Variety
Playwright Neil Simon got his first big break in the early ’50s as a staff writer on Sid Caesar’s fabled television series Your Show of Shows, and this comedy (adapted by Simon from his play) takes a fictionalized look at the backstage chaos that went into producing one of the landmarks of television’s golden age.
We are so pleased to have longtime WCT director Lester Colodny at the helm of this play near and dear to his heart – it is a subject matter he knows very, very well. Lester’s Westport Community Theatre credits span decades – but he is known nationwide as an Emmy-Award-winning writer, producer and director from the Golden Age of Hollywood. He was a co-creator of “The Munsters” and worked on television classics such as “Get Smart,” “My Favorite Martian” and “Beetle Bailey.” In the early 70s, he co-wrote a Broadway play, “Fun City” with Joan Rivers. Later, he went into work in advertising for famed casino chain owner Steve Wynn, winning several CLIOs for his work for the company. To finish out his career, he worked in the eighties for a well-known billionaire New York real estate tycoon. Lester spent his early career working with some of the biggest names in show business, including Frank Sinatra, Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis, Peter Sellers, Florence Henderson, Cary Grant and many more. He was writer, producer and director of “The Baja Marimba Band” for which he won his Emmy. He was a writer on “The Today Show” with original host Dave Garroway, when the show was live and mistakes on the set were broadcast nationally. It was Lester who was ordered to get three barrels of monkeys to be opened live on television at the bequest of Garroway. The results were an instant classic and make up the first chapter of his autobiography, “A Funny Thing Happened,” released in July 2010.
The Woman in Black by Stephen Malatratt
Directed by Richard Mancini
November 23 – December 9, 2012
From comedy to thrills and chills… The framework of this spine tingler is unusual: a lawyer hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him concerning events that transpired when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse. There he caught sight of the woman in black, the mere mention of whom terrifies the locals, for she is a specter who haunts the neighborhood where her illegitimate child was accidentally killed. And anyone who sees her… dies. The lawyer has invited some friends to watch as he and the actor recreate the events of that dark and stormy night… and what emerges is a classic thriller that truly defines the genre.
“A real theatrical spine chiller…A truly nerve shredding experience.”- The Daily Mail
“Provides a pleasurable ripple of fear down one’s spine and an uncomfortable lurch in the pit of one’s stomach.”- Time Out New York
“A brilliantly effective spine chiller…The narrative is gripping.”- The Guardian
“A gripping tale, grippingly told.”- The Financial Times
Director Richard Mancini returns to the WCT stage where his numerous credits include last December’s hit “Old Time Radio Christmas” ETC staged reading, The Women, Orson’s Shadow and Broadway Bound among others. Both an actor and director, Richard has directed numerous productions at theatres throughout Fairfield County.
Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Brian Michael Riley
February 1 – 17, 2013
Some of our finest productions began as staged readings for our ETC staged reading series – Westport Community Theatre did a staged reading of “Rabbit Hole” a few years ago, and the audience reaction was electric and passionate – we’ve been looking to bring it to our mainstage ever since. The plot is simple… the play complex… and the audience embarks on an evening of laughs and tears, heartbreak and hope. Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. “Rabbit Hole” charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day. The play was the winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, and a recent film starring Nicole Kidman.
We are so pleased to bring Brian Michael Riley to WCT as director of what promises to be one of our most powerful productions. Brian will be remembered by WCT audiences as an actor for several searing roles in ETC staged readings, including the provocative “Orange Flower Water.” Brian has extensive credits on both coasts, and locally has been very involved with the Bridgeport Theatre Company. Critical acclaim for Rabbit Hole includes:
“David Lindsay-Abaire has crafted a drama that’s not just a departure but a revelation—an in-tensely emotional examination of grief, laced with wit, insightfulness, compassion and searing honesty.” —Variety.
“Grade: A! A transcendent and deeply affecting new play, which shifts perfectly from hilarity to grief.” —Entertainment Weekly.
“Rabbit Hole presents a tragedy and its consequences with utter candor, and without sentimentality. The dialogue is most impressive for capturing the awkwardness and pain of thinking people faced with an unthinkable situation—and eventually, their capacity for survival, and even hope.” —USA Today.
“With Rabbit Hole, David Lindsay-Abaire has crafted the most serious, simply told work of his career—a painstakingly beautiful, dramatically resourceful, exquisitely human new play.” —BackStage.
“The highest praise to playwright David Lindsay-Abaire! Rabbit Hole is an entertaining and satisfying play—it might just be the year’s best.” —Show Business Weekly.
“Heartbreaking in its theme and details, Rabbit Hole is a beautifully crafted work of great sensitivity.” —Star Ledger.
Mr. Pim Passes By by A. A. Milne
Director Ruth Anne Baumgartner
April 12 – 28, 2013
A.A. Milne is known primarily for Winnie the Pooh – but he was also a very successful playwright for grownups in the early 20th century, produced as often as colleagues J.M. Barrie and Noel Coward. We’re so excited to debut one of his most beloved plays, Mr. Pim Passes By, directed by Ruth Anne Baumgartner – a rare opportunity to catch one of theatre’s “hidden” gem that earns rave reviews when it is produced. Mr. Pim Passes By is a bright, witty and delightful comedy. When it was originally produced in 1920 London (featuring a young Leslie Howard), The Times of London gushed that it was “one of the best plays in modern drama” with “tremendous implications — a whole philosophy of life and love.” Set in the 1919 drawing room and terrace of an English country home, the plot centers around the Mardens, who learn startling news during a chance visit from the eccentric Mr. Pim that leads to… well, one of the most amusing and entertaining evenings of theatre you’ll have this year. Don’t miss this rarely produced comedy treasure.
“Playgoers who appreciate gentle humor, quaint charm and amusingly drawn characters will enjoy it, too. As refreshing as a walk through Hundred Acre Wood…” —Houston Chronicle
“A. A. Milne wrote for grownups too… this is a farce, and things have a way of turning out so unexpectedly in a farce… Milne asks very thoughtful questions about the silly rules that make society go along smoothly… and Milne has somehow made his turn-of-the-century world feel as refreshing as a walk through Hundred Acre Wood.” —Houston Press
“Milne makes for a pleasant respite from the no-holds barred modern theater in which no expletive is ever deleted… aren’t (a couple) who hardly dare to kiss and hold hands a refreshing change from bar and Internet pickups – at least for a couple of hours?” —CurtainUp
Frost / Nixon by Peter Morgan
Directed by Bob Johnson
June 7 – 23, 2013
We close next season with Frost / Nixon, the type of play that WCT does so well – and we’re so pleased to bring one of the first productions of this play to Connecticut! We’re also excited to welcome back director Bob Johnson, who has directed some of WCT’s most memorable productions over the past 20 years including Copenhagen, Everything in the Garden, and Requiem for a Heavyweight.
Frost / Nixon is probably best known for its 2008 award-winning film treatment – which only came as a result of the play’s award-winning runs in London and New York. Riveting, compelling, funny, thought-provoking – and historical – the plot revoloves around British talk-show host David Frost, who has become a lowbrow laughing-stock – and Richard M. Nixon, who has just resigned the United States presidency in total disgrace over Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Determined to resurrect his career, Frost risks everything on a series of in-depth interviews in order to extract an apology from Nixon. The cagey Nixon, however, is equally bent on redeeming himself in his nation’s eyes. In the television age, image is king, and both men are desperate to out-talk and upstage each other as the cameras roll. The result is the interview that sealed a president’s legacy.
“Structured as a prize fight between two starkly ambitious men in professional crisis, “Frost / Nixon” makes it clear that the competitor who controls the camera reaps the spoils.” —NY Times.
“…a thoroughly modern Shakespearean tragedy…Peter Morgan has given us a behind the scenes look at a well-publicized event, and used his imagination to create a riveting entertainment…most notably, the midnight phone call from an inebriated Nixon to Frost that, like a show stopping song in a musical or an outstanding opera aria, has the audience bursting into applause.” —CurtainUp.
“…ripe entertainment…The cheerily oblivious limey lightweight and the brooding, mortally wounded political animal: Austin Powers vs. Macbeth.” —Washington Post.
“…nails the political, media and cultural fever of that era…” —AisleSay.com.