Posts Tagged Peter Wood

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!

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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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“Angel Street” – a.k.a. “Gaslight” – opens Friday, November 26 at 8:00 PM

"Angel Street" at Westport Community Theatre, November 26 – December 12

The Manninghams – Jack (Peter Wood) and Bella (Ann Kinner)

“Angel Street” opens tonight, Friday, November 26 at 8:00 PM. “Angel Street” (also known as “Gaslight”) by Patrick Hamilton is one of the all-time great thrillers, a night of theatrical magic that captivates the audience from start to finish and keeps you guessing right up to the end. If you’ve never seen the play that the famous 1940s movie “Gaslight” was based on, this is the production to see! You may know “who” does it… but what keeps you guessing in this story of unfolding psychological terror are the whys and hows.

A diabolical killer… lost rubies… a charming, insistently persistent detective… mysterious footsteps and light shifts… locked drawers and rooms… secrets… intrigue… all part of an edge-of-your-seat mystery that keeps the audience in suspense until the end. To give away the plot is a crime in itself… Bellla Manningham may be losing her mind… and her husband may be a killer enacting a plot to slowly drive her insane – or is he?

Directed by Alexander Kulcsar, “Angel Street” features sensational performances by Fred Tisch, Ann Kinner, Peter Wood, Ruth Anne Baumgartner and Sarah Smegal, – charming, beguiling, vulnerable, saucy, funny, stoic, villainous, duplicitous… – with cameo appearances by Bob Lasprogato and Al Toth. Jack and Bella Manningham’s world on Angel Street stays with you long after the final glow of the gas light…

Opens Friday, November 26 – December 12, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm, and Thursday, December 2 at 8:00 pm. Westport  Community Theatre at Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport. Tickets are $14 – $20; for reservations and information go to (203) 226-1983 or go to westportcommunitytheatre.com for directions.

Check back for profiles, behind-the-scenes information and more!

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“Trumbo – Red, White & Blacklisted”

Westport Community Theatre’ ETC  presents a staged reading of  Trumbo – Red, White & Blacklisted on Friday, October 22 at 8:00 PM; FREE to members and subscribers, $5 all others at the door.

Peter Wood and Alexander Kulcsar in "Trumbo"

Mark your calendars and join us for a timely, very special evening of theatre on Friday, October 22 at 8:00 PM.

Award-winning local actor Alexander Kulcsar portrays screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, in “Trumbo – Red, White & Blacklisted,” bringing the dark days of the 1940s and 1950s Hollywood blacklisting to life in the first staged-reading production of the 2010 / 2011 ETC season at Westport Community Theatre. Free to members and subscribers, $5 all others at the door (no reservations necessary). This staged reading will also be presented at Bare Bones Theatre, Pequot Library in Southport, on Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 PM.

This is a special guest presentation of Square One Theatre Company’s staged reading in association with the Stratford Library, directed by Square One Theatre’s artistic director, Tom Holehan. Peter Wood, who will be starring in WCT’s next production of “Angel Street,” plays Christopher Trumbo, the narrator of the piece.

When famed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo defiantly stood up against the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, refusing to answer questions about his political affiliations, he was thrown in prison and blacklisted as one of the “Hollywood Ten.” Written by Trumbo’s son, Christopher, the play is derived from a collection of Dalton Trumbo’s brilliant and razor-sharp letters to friends, former friends, and family throughout his lifetime. Trumbo reveals how the author of such legendary films as “Spartacus,” “Roman Holiday,” “Exodus,” “Papillon” and “Johnny Got his Gun” (as well as “The Brave One,” which forced him to write under the pseudonym Robert Rich) took on Congress, Hollywood, and the “Red Scare”— and won.

Trumbo enjoyed a very successful Off-Broadway run with many well-known actors in the title role – Nathan Lane, F. Murray Abraham, Brian Dennehy, Gore Vidal, Richard Dreyfuss, Roger Rees, Robert Loggia, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Richards and Chris Cooper. It was produced by the Westport Country Playhouse in 2004 starring Paul Newman in one of his final roles.

Alexander Kulcsar as Dalton Trumbo

Alexander Kulcsar is well known to Westport audiences for his mainstage performances of Orson Welles in “Orson’s Shadow,” physicist Niels Bohr in “Copenhagen,” and The Man in “The Turn of the Screw.” He has performed in or directed ETC readings including “On an Average Day”; “The Reeducation of Horse Johnson”; “Rabbit Hole”; “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia”; “A Picasso” (playing the infamous Pablo Picasso); and others. He will be directing WCT’s next mainstage production, the classic thriller “Angel Street,” having previously directed critically acclaimed productions of “The Best Man,” “Sherlock’s Last Case,” and “The Turn of the Screw.” Alexander is the recipient of five Square One Theatre Subscribers Awards, including Outstanding Actor (“Moonlight & Magnolias,” “The Shop at Sly Corner,” “Camping with Henry and Tom,” and “The Business of Murder”) as well as Outstanding Featured Actor (“Later Life”). He will be appearing next May in Square One Theatre’s production of “Art.”

Peter Wood as the Narrator

Peter Wood is also well known to Westport audiences; ETC roles include David in one of the most talked-about of our readings, last season’s Orange Flower Water. He was also seen in “Apartment 3A” and in mainstage productions of “The Best Man” and “Death and the Maiden.” Peter has been nominated for a number of Square One Theatre Subscribers Awards, including “The Rainmaker” and “The Best Man.” He has produced and acted in several productions at Putney Gardens in Stratford, including the Prince in “Romeo and Juliet”; other lead roles with Putney include Orlando in “As You Like It,” Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Orsino in “Twelfth Night,” Don Pedro in “Much Ado About Nothing,” and Alonso in “The Tempest.” He played Elyot in Eastbound Theatre’s (Milford, CT) production of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” last fall, and Tom in Pound Ridge Theatre Company’s “Dinner with Friends” this past spring. This past summer, Peter drew on his musical talents in a production of “Guys and Dolls” with Musicals at Richter.

We look forward to seeing you for what promises to be an entertaining evening of theatre! Go to www.westportcommunitytheatre.com for directions to the theatre.

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“Orange Flower Water” Friday, April 30 at 8:00 PM

FREE for subscribers and members

Westport Community Theatre’s ETC presents a staged reading of

Orange Flower Water

by Craig Wright

directed by Jessica Denes

Friday, April 30 at 8:00 PM

Westport Community Theatre’s Experimental Theatre Company (ETC) is dedicated to bringing a genre of alternative theatre to the Westport stage – original plays, plays straight from their Broadway or off-Broadway runs, and edgier, critically acclaimed contemporary plays that are not suited for the main WCT stages due to language or content. Director Jessica Denes (Master Class and Veronica’s Room for WCT) brings critically-acclaimed playwright Craig Wright’s sizzling play Orange Flower Water to the WCT stage for a gripping, provocative evening of theatre. The cast includes actors familiar to WCT audiences, Peter Wood (The Best Man, Death and the Maiden) and Ann Kinner (Ice Glen, The Best Man, Separate Tables and others) and introduces Rachael Rothman-Cohen and Brian Riley. A note to theatregoers – this play contains strong language and suggestive situations that are intended for mature audiences.

"Orange Flower Water" by Craig Wright

Sizzling stage reading April 30 at 8:00 PM

Married couples David (Peter Wood) and Cathy (Ann Kinner) Larson and Brad (Brian Riley) and Beth (Rachael Rothman-Cohen) Youngquist live with their children in the relatively peaceful town of Pine City, Minnesota. David and Beth, after years of maintaining a platonic friendship, begin an adulterous affair with disastrous consequences. Through a series of scenes which all take place on or around a single bed, we see the painfully intense real-time unraveling of both marriages and, eventually, the construction of a very fragile but authentic new beginning for everyone concerned.

Craig Wright received an Emmy nomination for his “Six Feet Under” episode “Twilight” and a WGA nomination for his episode “Falling Into Place.” He has served as writer and producer for the J.J. Abrams series “Lost” and the ABC series “Brothers & Sisters.” He was also author and Executive Producer of his own series, “Dirty Sexy Money.”

The playwright’s critically-acclaimed recent and upcoming productions include “The Unseen” at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville and at Stages Rep in Houston. He also directed a production of “The Unseen” at the Road Theatre in Los Angeles. “Lady,” which was commissioned by and received its world premiere from Northlight Theatre, recently ran at Asolo Rep. “Grace” premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where it was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. One of its subsequent productions at the Furious theatre won three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, including Best Play. “Recent Tragic Events” also debuted at Woolly Mammoth and was produced by Playwrights Horizons with Heather Graham in the lead. “Melissa Arctic,” a contemporary adaptation of The Winter’s Tale, premiered a the Folger Theatre and won the 2005 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. The Horton Foote American Playwrights Festival recently named him as the 2009 recipient of the Horton Foote Excellence in American Playwriting Award.

Director (and actress) Jessica Denes’ most recent project was directing “Love, Sex, and the I.R.S” at Eastbound Theatre. In addition to WCT, directorial credits include: “The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild & Confessions of a Dirty Blonde” (Eastbound Theatre); “Summer Brave,” “Time & Time Again,” “The Other Side of Friendship” and “Her Majesty Miss Jones” (Crystal Theatre Company); and productions of “Delicious Death & Other Desserts,” “Not Now Darling,” and “A Night of Shakespeare.”  Some of her favorite acting credits are “Orson’s Shadow” (Joan Plowright) and “A Murder is Announced” (Julia) at WCT; “Cactus Flower” (Toni Simmons) at the Town Players of New Canaan; “Our Town” (Emily) at the Wilton Playshop; “Li’L Abner” (Daisy Mae) and “Lost in Yonkers” (Bella) at Crystal Theatre Company; and “Boeing, Boeing” (Bertha) at Eastbound Theatre.

Media praise for “Orange Flower Water” includes:

“It’s simultaneously visceral, with crackling humor, and intellectual.” —Star Tribune.

“Wright wastes no time and pulls no punches.” —TwinCities.com

“Do not be deceived by the lyrical, gently perfumed title of Craig Wright’s play. This is a brutally honest drama about marriage and infidelity—one that chronicles the inevitable big damage and ugly fallout engendered by a ceaseless pursuit of selfishness and an unrestrained search for personal happiness. An emotionally and physically lacerating ordeal, it is at once fiercely adult, shrewdly observant, often painfully graphic and most definitely not for the meek.” —Chicago Sun-Times.

“Uncommonly intense and intimate ninety-minute drama…quirky, raw and nervy…But this is not another play about amoral sexual perversity in the LaBute or Mamet mold. It’s a picture of marriage as a vise grip in which the best one can hope for is some velvet inside the handcuffs.” —Chicago Tribune.

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