Posts Tagged Richard Mancini

Announcing the 2013 / 2014 Westport Community Theatre Season!

WCT’s new 2013 / 2014 season opens September 20 – and it promises to be one of our best seasons yet. It’s truly the best entertainment value in Westport at $80 for a five-play subscription (single tickets are only $20, $18 for the Thursday performance and $2 discounts for senior citizens).

With much fanfare:

The Prisoner of Second Avenue at Westport Community Theatre

The Prisoner of Second Avenue by Neil Simon, directed by Lester Colodny


The Prisoner of Second Avenue
by Neil Simon
Directed by Lester Colodny
September  20 – October 5, 2013

“Full of humor and intelligence. Fine fun.”- New York Post
“Creates an atmosphere of casual cataclysm, an everyday urban purgatory of copelessness from which laughter seems to be released like vapor from the city’s manholes.”- Time

Mel Edison is an executive who gets laid off from his high-end Manhattan firm. His wife Edna takes a job to tide them over, then she too is sacked. Air pollution is killing his plants, the walls of his apartment are paper-thin, he’s robbed, his psychiatrist dies… and when things can’t seem to get worse, Mel has a nervous breakdown – and it’s the best thing that ever happened to him. Starring Jeff Pliskin, Deborah Burke, Frederic Tisch, Ruth Anne Baumgartner, Jacquie Carlsen, and Maureen Cummings.

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, including last year’s season opener “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” – 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 summer of 2010.


Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge at Westport Community Theatre

"Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge" by Christopher Durang, directed by Tom Rushen


Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge

by Christopher Durang
Directed by Tom Rushen
November 29 – December 15, 2013

If you think you just don’t want to sit through one more production of A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker… mark your calendars for this comedic masterpiece that has become a holiday season staple of theatres across the country. In this sendup of A Christmas Carol, Gladys Cratchit is an angry, stressed-out woman who is sick of Tiny Time, hates her twenty other children, and wants to get drunk and jump off Lnodn Bridge. She meets up with the sassy Ghost of Christmas Past and Ebenezer Scrooge and the plot morphs into parodies of Oliver Twist, The Gift of the Magi and It’s a Wonderful Life. And to make matters worse, Scrooge and Mrs. Bob seem to be kindred souls falling in love. With a dénouement that is two parts Touched by an Angel and one part The Queen of Mean, Scrooge’s tale of redemption and gentle grace is placed squarely on its head.

“A rollicking parody… Splendid.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Fiendishly funny…never disappoints. Wild it most certainly is, without apologies. Send-ups are often immersed in venom, but this one wears an ear-to-ear smile.” —
Observer-Reporters

Director  Tom Rushen is well known to WCT audiences for past productions including Sabrina and The Importance of Being Earnest, staged readings – and the friendly face you saw in the Box Office during the 2012 / 2013 season. He has directed several plays for Eastbound Theatre in Milford including The Comet of St. Loomis, Lobby Hero, Brooklyn Boy and The Complete History of America (abridged), and is the producer of annual summer one-act play festival jointly produced with Westport Community Theatre.  Tom has also directed a number of short plays in the area for SquareWrights (Skeleton Boy, Unintelligent Design, Intervention) and Temple Players (Soldiers of the Lord, An Answer to Their Prayers) as well as productions at other area theatres.


"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller at Westport Community Theare

"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller, directed by Richard Mancini


The Crucible
 by Arthur Miller
Directed by Richard Mancini
February 7 – 23, 2014

A secret to no one, Arthur Miller’s classic tale of the witchcraft purge in old Salem is both a gripping historical play and a timely parable of contemporary society – the McCarthy hearings. This powerful combination makes The Crucible extremely timely in 2013 – even if you feel you know it well, it’s time to pay it another visit… The story focuses upon a farmer, his wife, and a young servant-girl who maliciously accuses the wife of witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to admit the lie – and it is here that the monstrous course of biogtry and deceit has terrifying consequences. Featuring popular Fairfield County actors Mark Frattaroli and Lucy Babbit.

Powerful drama…” — New York 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 Woman in Black, The Women, Orson’s Shadow and Broadway Bound among others. Both actor and director, Richard has directed numerous productions at theatres throughout Fairfield County.


"Souvenir" by Stephen Temperley at Westport Community Theatre

"Souvenir" by Stephen Temperley, directed by Ruth Anne Baumgartner


Souvenir  
by Stephen Temperley
Director Ruth Anne Baumgartner
April 11 – 27, 2014

Wealthy eccentric Florence Foster Jenkins suffered under the delusion that she was a great coloratura soprano – when she was, in fact, incapable of producing two consecutive notes in tune. Nevertheless, she gave recitals in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton hotel, and mobs of fans packed her recitals, stuffing handkerchiefs in their mouths to stifle their laughter. The climax of Florence Foster Jenkins’ career was a single concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944…. Actress Priscilla Squires (last seen at WCT in the memorable Master Class) returns to WCT as the irrepresible Jenkins.

There aren’t many theatrical experiences as good as ‘Souvenir’” — Boston Globe
…an unexpectedly gentle and affecting comedy.” – New York Times

Ruth Anne Baumgartner (Director) directed WCT productions of Mr Pim Passes By  in April of 2013, The Seafarer in December of 2011, and a staged reading of The Seafarer for WCT’s ETC program two years earlier; she directed the Connecticut première of Conor McPherson’s The Weir in 2001 with Town Players of Newtown. For WCT she has also directed productions of Ice GlenThe Glass MenagerieSpinning Into Butter, and Measure for Measure, as well as several other staged readings. As a director she specializes in 16th-century, other classic, and contemporary drama. She has worked with Town Players of Newtown (most recently the critically acclaimed production of A PicassoThe Retreat from Moscow, The Turn of the ScrewShe Stoops to ConquerMurderers, and The Merry Wives of Windsor); Putney Players (A Perfect Ganesh, “The Fifteen-Minute Hamlet”); Eastbound Theatre (Brilliant Traces); the Rainbow Theatre in Stamford (Equity, The Duck Variations); and, with Rob Pawlikowski, Newtown High School (The Madwoman of Chaillot). She occasionally acts, and will be seen in WCT’s season opener The Prisoner of Second Avenue; prior to that, she appeared in WCT’s Angel Street. She has appeared locally with Town Players (Newtown) and Putney Players (Stratford), portraying three mothers (one a tuba player), two aunts, a Polish cook, a very high priestess, and a lusty widow, and in staged readings for Square One at the Stratford Library. Films include the studio release Of Arms and Altars, student film A Work of Art, and independent film Doing Agatha, in which she plays a middle-aged actress playing a British matron. She is currently serving on the WCT Board of Directors as Editor of The Prompter and President; she is also on the Board of Directors of Town Players of Newtown. A member of the English departments of Fairfield and Central Connecticut State universities, she is also editor of Vanguard (the quarterly newsletter of the Connecticut Conference, American Association of University Professors). For eighteen years she was artistic director of Bare Bones Theater at the Pequot Library, and continues to be active with the library’s annual book sale. Her undergraduate degree, in English literature, is from Dickinson; her graduate degree, also in English literature, from the University of Rochester. At Dickinson she performed and worked backstage with Mermaid Players, under the late David R. Brubaker and Marj Brubaker; she also had two seasons as a local jobber with the summer stock theater Allenberry Playhouse, on the Straw Hat circuit.


"Arcadia" by Tom Stoppard at Westport Community Theatre

"Arcadia" by Tom Stoppard, directed by Ruth Anne Baumgartner


Arcadia
by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Mat Young
June 6 – 22, 2013

We close next season with Arcadia, one of the must-see plays produced in the 1990s – many feel it defines the era of playwrighting. Arcadia moves back and forth between 1809 and the present at the elegant estate owned by the Coverly family. In 1809, thirteen year-old Lady Thomasina and her tutor delve into intellectual and romantic issues. Present day scenes depict the Coverly descendants and scholars who are researching a possible scandal at the estate in 1809 involving Lord Byron. This brilliant play explores the nature of truth and time, the difference between classical and romantic temperaments, and the disruptive influence of sex on our lives.

“Pure entertainment for the heart, mind, soul… it is a work shot through with fun, passion and yes, genius.” — The New York Post
‘Arcadia,’ the play generally regarded as Stoppard’s masterpiece… sparkles – time is magically, heartbreakingly suspended…” – National Post

Director Mat Young is the Artistic Director and founder of Dessert 1st Productions, as well as a director and actor. Mat is also the Host of The Process Podcast, which can be downloaded on iTunes under the same name. Most recently he gave a memorable performance as James Reston in WCT’s 2012 / 2013 season closer Frost / Nixon; he was also seen as Gaston in Piccaso at Lapin Agile (Eastbound Theatre). Last summer Mat appeared as Malvolio in Dessert 1st Production of Twelfth Night (co-produced by WCT as a special summer production). As a director, Mat is most proud of his work with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Jeffery Hatcher (Wilton Playshop), Hamlet (WHS), Romeo and Juliet (WSSP), Taming of the Shrew (WHS) Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Eastbound), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (WSSP), Picasso at Lapin Agile (BHS), Into the Woods (WHS), Guy and Dolls (WHS), Drood (WHS & WSSP), The Complete Works William Shakespeare (Abridged) (WCT). As a writer, Mat has penned Mary Potter and the Race to Nowhere, Musical the Musical, True Twilight Diaries and Suddenly There Came a Tapping. As an actor, some of his favorite roles include: Matt The Complete Works William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Dessert 1st), Aaronow in Glengarry Glen Ross (NHTC) Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Pound Ridge), Sir Toby in Twelfth Night (GSC), Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream (NHTC), Matt Friedman in Talley’s Folly (RWU), Aldo in The Italian American Reconciliation (RWU), Jeff in Lobby Hero (Eastbound), Henry 6th in Henry VI Part Three (Marymount Theatre), and Swifty in Words Words Words (Wilton Playshop), where he met his wife. A graduate of The New Actor’s Workshop, he studied under the minds of George Morrison the schools founder, and former theatre department head at Suny Purchase, and film and theater director Mike Nichols. In addition, Mat studied Volia Spolin’s Improvisation for the Theatre with her son Paul Sills, co-founder of The Second City comedy troupe, and creator and original director of the Broadway show Storytheater. Mat had founded three different comedy improvisation troupes; Rhode Island’s Who is Winston Churchill?!, Manhattan’s Hypothetical Playground and Connecticut’s Space Pockets. He has also performed in the films Bullet in the Brain by David Von Acken and A Chubby Kid, which he wrote and was the first project of Dessert 1st Productions.

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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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“The Women” opens Friday, June 4 at 8:00 PM!

Director Richard Mancini is looking forward to opening night for “The Women” –

We’re really excited about The Women opening at WCT this Friday, and I believe our audiences will be too! Our immensely talented cast of nearly 20 lovely ladies – resplendent in their vintage finery – and an absolutely knockout crew have worked pretty much around the clock to bring Clare Boothe Luce’s wonderfully catty 1930s society women and their crackling dialogue vividly to life on the WCT stage. It’s been a wild ride… and we can’t wait for subscribers, friends, family and everyone else to join in the fun!”

Performances this weekend on Friday June 4 and Saturday June 5 at 8:00 PM, Sunday June 6 at 2:00 PM, and the following two weekends – Thursday June 10 at 8:00 PM; Fridays and Saturdays 11, 12, 18, 19 at 8:00 PM, Sundays June 13, 20 at 2:00 PM. Call the Box Office at (203) 226-1983 to reserve seats – tickets range from $12 to $18!

"The Women"

Director and cast of "The Women" opening Friday, June 4 at 8:00 PM

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Auditions “The Women” April 18 at 7:30 PM

Reminder that tonight, Sunday April 18 at 7:30 PM (as well as Monday April 19 and Tuesday April 20 at 7:30 PM) auditions will be held at the theatre for The Women, directed by Richard Mancini. Full cast breakdown in the “Auditions” section at the right, or scroll down below.

The 1939 George Cukor movie was a classic – great actresses, great script and some fantastic costumes! A few photos from the film…

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Auditions – “The Women” by Clare Boothe Luce

Auditions for The Women, directed by Richard Mancini, will be held on:

Sunday, April 18 at 7:30 PM

Monday April 19th at 7:30 PM

Tuesday, April 20th at 7:30 PM

Directed by Richard Mancini

Westport Community Theatre

Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue

Westport, CT 06880

Performance dates are June 4 – June 20, 2010

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Familiarity with the play is suggested. For further information please call Westport Community Theatre at (203) 226-1983 or contact the director at orsonround@optonline.net

This brilliant play has assumed the status of a modern classic. Clare Boothe Luce’s social satire The Women was a smash hit when first performed on Broadway in 1936 and has enjoyed several revival productions during the 1970s and 1990s. A large cast of women (no male characters at all), it is set in the world of high society wives in New York City during the height of the Great Depression – an immensely entertaining panorama of our modern metropolitan world from the feminine viewpoint. The author carries us through a number of varied scenes – and digging under the surface, reveals a human understanding for, and sympathy with, some of its outstanding figures.

The plot involves the efforts of a group of women to play their respective roles in an artificial society that consists of vain show, comedy, tragedy, hope and disappointment. Mary Haines, the protagonist, learns from a gossipy manicurist that her husband, Stephen, is having an affair with a shop-girl named Crystal. After the news of Stephen’s affair is published in a gossip column, Mary decides to divorce him. To obtain her divorce, she travels to Reno, Nevada, where liberal divorce laws attracted many society women wishing to downplay any potential for scandal. While she is in Reno, Mary learns that Stephen has married Crystal. Two years later, Mary, now living back in New York with her children, learns that Crystal has been unfaithful to Stephen. With the help of her friends, Mary sets out to expose Crystal’s infidelity in order to win Stephen back.

Note from the director:  The story takes place in NYC society circles in the 1930s, and there are approximately 20 roles available – all for women between 20s and 60s (and one girl of about 10-11) – depending on doubling and/or combining some smaller roles. Along with the principals listed below, there is a small army of hairdressers, beauticians, saleswomen, fitters, dress models, domestics, etc. which can be doubled/tripled in some cases… but please do not think of these roles as negligible, as in many cases THEY are the ones who drive the story along by passing gossip and compromising information – and their dialogue is often just as crackling as that of the principals.

Mary (Mrs. Stephen Haines), mid-30s: the “heroine,” as nice and as sweet as can be  – she does not buy into the cattiness (and in some cases maliciousness) of her “friends,” and is very reluctant to believe that her husband is cheating on her… which it turns out he is.

Peggy (Mrs. John Day): pretty, sweet, mid-20s; a young married about whom the author says: “Peggy’s character has not, will never quite “jell.” Almost immediately has marital problems because she has money and her husband has not.

Nancy (Miss Blake): The one unmarried member of Mary’s immediate circle, mid-30s. “Sharp but not acid, sleek but not smart… a worldly and yet virginal 35.”

Sylvia (Mrs. Howard Fowler): mid-30s. “Glassy, elegant, feline.” As catty as they come; purports to be Mary’s closest friend, but is not above causing her tumult and hurt through her gossip, innuendo and “advice.” Cheats on her husband, whom she believes to be impotent (which he’s not…)

Edith (Mrs. Phelps Potter): “A sloppy, expensively dressed (currently by Lane Bryant) ‘matron’ of 33 or 34. Indifferent to everything but self, Edith is incapable of either deliberate maliciousness or spontaneous generosity.”

Crystal Allen: mid-20s; Stephen Haines’ mistress – the classic, cold, calculating, gold-digging, beautiful, sexy, younger “other woman” – a shopgirl-turned-society woman after snatching Stephen; one pretty nasty “bitch.”

Miriam Aarons (first appears as “Mud Mask”): mid-late 20s; a Broadway starlet and (as it turns out) mistress to one of the husbands. Not the cold-hearted bitch that Crystal is, by comparison.

Countess de Lage: 40s – 50s. “An amiable, silly, plump and forty-ish heiress type.”

Other smaller but important, non-doubling roles include:

Mary’s mother (mid-late 50s-60s), who has quietly seen and dealt with marital trouble herself – to Mary’s surprise; advises Mary based on her own experience

“Little Mary” (Mary’s daughter, 11)

Jane (20s, Irish-American), Ingrid and Sadie – domestics in the Haines household

Roles that can be doubled/tripled include Princess Tamara, a dress model; an exercise instructress; Stephen’s secretary (also secretly in love with him); and numerous dress fitters, models, beauticians, hairdressers, saleswomen and society women.

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