Posts Tagged Raymond Stephens

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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Final Performance Sunday April 25 at 2:00 PM for “Baskervilles”

"The Hound of the Baskervilles"

Cast of "The Hound of the Baskervilles"

Hard to say goodbye to this show, which was a crowd-pleasing audience favorite. Everyone loves a good thriller and mystery – and our Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are superb – which adds up to a very, very good show. A rainy, cold Sunday afternoon – best time ever to catch up with one of Sherlock Holmes’ most famous cases!

Last but not least, we profile actress Victoria Roy – someone we haven’t seen on the WCT boards for awhile, and someone we hope to see more of in the future! Victoria (Beryl Stapleton) previously appeared at WCT in Everything in the Garden and a staged reading of Uncle Vanya. Roles in other local productions include Catherine Sloper in The Heiress, Poppy in Noises Off and Florence in The Curious Savage (Darien Players). She has also appeared in Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, and My Fair Lady (Curtain Call); Candida, Enchanted April (Town Players of New Canaan). Film credits include Baptism by Food (Midnight Movie Madness Competition), for which she won best comedy actress. Victoria has trained at HB Studios (NYC) and Stamford Theatre Works.

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Saturday, April 24 – “The Hound of the Baskervilles” at 8:00 PM

"The Hound of the Baskervilles"

"May I welcome you to Baskerville Hall, Sir Henry?" "Thank you, Barrymore. It's just as I imagined it, I fear." Dr. Watson (Raymond Stephens), Mrs. Barrymore (Debbie Zager), Barrymore (Steve Benko), Sir Henry Baskerville (David Victor)

As we all know, the success of a show is a collaborative effort between actors, director, tech crew – and the invaluable assistance of all those helping out back stage. Whether it’s folks who assist with changing the sets in between scenes, or making sure the actors’ “props” are in the right places, or executing sound and light cues, or ensuring costumes are cleaned and ready-to-go week after week, WCT could not produce the excellent quality productions we do without them. Thank you to everyone who has worked in any capacity behind the scenes to make “The Hound of the Baskervilles” the success it is!

Final weekend performances for “The Hound of the Baskervilles” brings some new assistance behind the scenes. WCT welcomes new stage manager, Linda Seay; much appreciated stage crew help from Linda Seay, Laura Ploss and Sarah Ploss – and doing double duty, director Skip Ploss on the lightboard.

On stage, WCT is pleased to welcome several actors new (or almost new!) to the stage – and we hope to see you return often! Steve Benko (Barrymore) is thrilled to be making his WCT debut – and as you’ll read in his bio, he follows in the footsteps of his illustrious daughters who have starred locally at Curtain Call, Wilton Playshop, and Downtown Cabaret theaters. He appeared with them in character parts, as the innkeeper in Fiddler on the Roof, a real estate agent in Baby, and as a traveling salesman and the town constable in The Music Man, but this is his first “solo!”

Debbie Zager (Mrs. Barrymore) is also a newcomer to WCT. The Hound of the Baskervilles marks her return to the stage after a long hiatus, during which her starring role has been “Mom of 4.” Past experience includes the National Theater Institute in a traveling children’s production; Oliver and The Children’s Hour (Vassar College); walk-on roles on the soap Ryan’s Hope; and a series of one-act plays at the Westchester Coliseum.

Kate Rakowski (Laura Lyons) most recently performed as Kate in the very popular production of Love, Sex and the I.R.S. (Eastbound Theatre), Julie in Jake’s Women (Town Players of New Canaan), Abbey in Playing God

(Eastbound Theatre), Doris/Joan in Mere Mortals (Eastbound Theatre), and Mary in It’s A Wonderful Life (Orange Players). Kate graduated from Northeastern University, where she studied theatre.

"The Hound of the Baskervilles"

"Because I feared that some false conclusions might be drawn from it, and that I might find myself involved in a scandal." Dr. Watson (Raymond Stephens) and Laura Lyons (Kate Rakowski)

Last of the cast “newcomers” to WCT isn’t really a newcomer – and returns after a too-long absence on the WCT stage! Bob Filipowich (John Stapleton) Bob has been performing primarily in area musicals for the past 19 years, and is pleased for the leave in having to learn lyrics, harmonies and dance steps! He recently played the role of The Leading Player in Wilton Playshop’s production of Pippin. He also appeared there as Vittorio Vidal in Sweet Charity, Flanders in Six Degrees of Separation, The Duke inBig River, Buddy in City of Angels, multiple roles in The Good Doctor¸ and Mike in A Chorus Line many moons ago! He appeared as Harold Hill in The Music Man and Benny in Guys and Dolls at the Curtain Call Theater in Stamford; Rooster in Annie, Billy in Anything Goes, Billis in South Pacific, The Padre in Man of La Mancha, Levi/Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Migaldi in Evita at the Edgerton Theater at Sacred Heart Universty to list a few. His one previous credit at WCT is that of Heinzie in The Pajama Game during the 1991-1992 season. Bob lives in Fairfield with his wife and three teenagers and is an accomplished art director/designer/illustrator for a specialty toy manufacturer.

"The Hound of the Baskervilles"

"That is the great Grimpen Mire. A fake step there means death to man or beast... It's a bad place, the Grimpen Mire." Dr. Watson (Raymond Stephens, left), Sir Henry Baskerville (David Victor, right), John Stapleton (Bob Filipowich, left)

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Closing weekend for “The Hound of the Baskervilles”

"The Hound of the Baskervilles"

"That is the great Grimpen Mire. A fake step there means death to man or beast... It's a bad place, the Grimpen Mire." Dr. Watson (Raymond Stephens), Sir Henry Baskerville (David Victor), John Stapleton (Bob Filipowich)

Hard to believe that it is the final weekend for The Hound of the Baskervilles! So much work, and the efforts of so many behind people on stage and behind the scenes, go into each production that the final weekend is always bittersweet… Cast and crew have worked hard to make this production the audience favorite it has become – now on to weekend #3!

The Hound of the Baskervilles spotlights the talents of David Victor (Sir Henry Baskerville) today. David is an audience favorite here at WCT; what you might not know is the pivotal role David has played behind the scenes as well. He has served on the WCT board, contributed to many of the theatre’s operating committees, and is always available to share his technical theatre skills! The Hound of the Baskervilles marks Dave’s 9th full production with WCT. On stage, he was last seen as Blades in The Best Man and Markinson in A Few Good Men. David has worked at most of Fairfield County’s local theatres; debuted at Square One Theatre in The Right Kind of People and  in his first full Shakespearean production with Putney Players as Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing. Mark your calendars for David’s next production at Square One Theatre in Stratford – he plays the lead in The Clearing, a romantic drama set in 17th-century Ireland during the reign of Cromwell, opening May 14!

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