Posts Tagged Tom Rushen
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 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
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
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
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 Glen, The Glass Menagerie, Spinning 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 Picasso, The Retreat from Moscow, The Turn of the Screw, She Stoops to Conquer, Murderers, 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
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.
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.
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…
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.
WESTPORT COMMUNITY THEATRE
Announces AUDITIONS for
By Samuel Taylor
Directed by Tom Rushen
Auditions will be held on:
Monday, April 11 at 7:30 PM
Tuesday April 12 at 7:30 PM
Westport Community Theatre
Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue
Sabrina Fair is a modern Cinderella story. It is set on Long Island in the 1950s, and deals with the involvement of a very rich family named Larrabee with Sabrina Fairchild, the daughter of their family chauffeur. She is bright, well-educated, and has just returned from five years in Paris, where she has done a brilliant job as an executive in a U.S. government overseas office. She has come home to find out if she is still in love with the younger Larrabee son, David. The elder son, Linus, a cynical, good-humored tycoon who has taken control of the family fortune, detects Sabrina’s feeling for his brother, and for his own amusement lays a trap to bring them together. It works: David falls in love with Sabrina and wants to marry her. At the same time, a rich young Frenchman who has known Sabrina in Paris turns up and asks her to marry him. Faced with this dilemma, Sabrina discovers it is really Linus she wants. After an amusing scene in which Sabrina’s father, the chauffeur, makes a rather amazing revelation, Sabrina breaks down Linus’ resistance, and gets her man. An unusual number of fine character parts for actors: the beautiful mother of wit and perception; the father, whose one passion is attending funerals; the chauffeur who has been dabbling in the stock market and likes his job because it gives him time to read; the smart magazine editor who, as a house guest, is the interested observer. Director’s note: Paul needs to speak with a French accent. He and Sabrina also speak French. Sabrina and Julia sing French songs, although Julia’s song is apparently a little off-color. Performance Dates are June 3rd – June 19th, 2011 at 8pm.
Characters: Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Familiarity with the play is suggested.
Sabrina Fairchild (30): A beautiful, elegant young woman who has reinvented herself through her professional experience in Paris. Now facing the life and the childhood crushes she left behind. “…has fallen in love with the world and is having a passionate affair with it”
Maude Larrabee (58): Elegant and regal, she rules the family.
“A reigning beauty all her life…gives no sign of abdicating”
Julia Ward McKinlock (58): Maude’s best friend. A magazine editor, she is a woman ahead of her time. Witty, insightful and as blunt as she needs to be.“[a face] that shows intelligence and good humor and awareness.”
Gretchen Larrabee (30): David’s ex-wife who is now dating Linus. “…well-bred…knowing..tough.”
Margaret (Any Age): The family maid.
Young Woman 1& 2 (20): Partygoers.
Linus Larrabee Jr. (40): In charge of the family business. Better at business than life or romance. “…rugged-looking, and easy in his movements.”
David Larrabee (30): More carefree than Linus. “…easy good humor…sure control.”
Linus Larrabee (60+): Their father, a man of leisure who amuses himself by attending funerals. “….essentially a courtly and gracious man.”
Fairchild ( 60+): The Larrabees’ chauffeur. Quiet, humble, but with his own dignity. An avid reader.
Paul D’Argenson (30): A Parisian suitor of Sabrina’s. “With his affability, the man has authority.”
Young Man 1 & 2 (20): Partygoers.
Eastbound Theatre / Westport Community Theatre’s
One-Act Play Festival
FREE Special Summer Weekend theatre event at WCT!
Friday, July 16 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, July 17 at 8:00 PM
FREE to the public – no reservations required
Westport Community Theatre
Westport Town Hall – 110 Myrtle Avenue
Looking for something to do this weekend?
Mark your calendars to attend a special WCT theatre event – Perfect 10n, five original one-act plays brought together into an entertaining summer evening of theatre.
FREE to the public, Perfect10n will be performed at Westport Community Theatre on Friday and Saturday nights, July 16 and 17 at 8:00 PM. First presented as part of the New England Arts and Crafts Festival in Milford on Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11, audience members voted for their favorites, and the winning playwright received the Eastbound Summer Audience Award. Which play won? You will have to come to WCT this weekend to find out!
A joint project between Eastbound Theatre of Milford / Westport Community Theatre, this is the second year WCT has produced this one-act original play festival. Last year’s summer festival was acclaimed by WCT audiences for the originality of the five plays and the great performances by actors both familiar and new to the WCT stage – the perfect summer night out!
In the fall of last year, Eastbound Theatre, a division of the Milford Fine Arts Council, issued a call for original scripts with the theme Perfect10n in honor of the tenth incarnation of its Eastbound Summer collection of one-act plays. Scripts were received from across the country (including Washington, Oregon, California, Maryland) and around the world (Russia, Australia). From these 50 scripts, five were chosen for the final slate.
The plays include:
by Jennifer Fama of Hamden, CT
directed by Michael Shavel
featuring Adam Loewenbaum, Tom Rushen, Jennifer Ju
Alex sits in a coffee shop with his best friend Andrew. When he announces his proposal plans, Andrew starts second-guessing every scenario as the two strive for a perfection that always seems one step away.
Jennifer Fama is a playwright from Hamden, CT. Her work has been featured in the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas and Hamden’s PlayMakers Theatre. A 2002 graduate of Quinnipiac University, she majored in English and Communications and works as an Editor at Penny Publications.
In the words of the playwright… “Everyone wants marriage proposals to be perfect. Alex (and) Andrew… just end up confusing and frustrating each other. In the end Alex finds out that his idea of perfection is very different than that of the woman he is going to marry.”
by Jack Rushen of Stratford, CT
directed by Jason Carubia
featuring Luke Lynch, Alexander Weston, Teresa Kona-Leone
An extremely flawed waiter is called on the carpet by his supervisor. Although his behavior is questionable, it pales in comparison to that of the chefs. He searches for a way to hold onto his position.
Jack Rushen earned the 2006 Summer Audience Award for his play The Crossing, which was also a finalist in the Arts and Letters Prize at Georgia State University. He has been featured regularly at Eastbound Summer, penning Old Friends, Lunch with Oprah, and Going in Circles. A member of New York’s Emerging Artists Theatre and Westport’s Theatre Artists Workshop, Jack took first place at the Georgia Theatre Conference for his play Testimonial. His full-length plays include Quitting Time, A Question of Faith, and The Case of the Curious Condiment, a spoof on all things Agatha. Jack has received staged readings at Eastbound Theatre, Westport Community Theatre, and Playhouse on the Green. Film writing awards include the New York Film Festival, Columbus Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Film Festival
In the words of the playwright… “How perfect does a waiter have to be – particularly compared to the antics of the chefs in the kitchen. And what if the customers can tolerate and even enjoy his imperfections?”
by Lucille Lichtblau of Fort Lee, NJ
directed by Chris Peterson
featuring Rochelle Woodson and Phil Lorenzo
A mother returns from an interview to get her son into a very exclusive pre-kindergarten program. While things do not go according to plan, she tries to understand what really prepares a child for the rest of their life.
Lucile Lichtblau’s work has been featured as part of Vital Signs New Works Festival, Turnip Theater’s 15 Minute Play Festival, Luminous Theatre, Polaris North, the Herring Run Festival and the Estrogenius Festival at Manhattan Theatre Source. Her play Car Talk, was originally produced in Stageworks Play by Play Festival. Lucile is a graduate of Yale Drama School, where she received an MCA Playwriting Fellowship.
In the words of the playwright… “An obsession for perfection…undercuts many of our accomplishments. I wrote this play with that in mind. It’s a comic but very real take on the school acceptance frenzy so many parents experience.”
by M. Thomas Cooper of Portland, OR
directed by Patrick Kiley
featuring Jim Perakis, Teresa Kona-Leone and Lisa Dahlstrom
At a state fair, a pie judging competition comes down to two finalists. The judges are deadlocked, attempting to find one flaw or one high note that will separate the two. The youngest of the judges strains to get her opinion heard, dismissed casually by the veterans as personalities clash and ultimately resolve to a sweet finish.
In 2008 Cooper’s first novel, 42, was published by Ooligan Press, Portland State University. That same year, his short play, Tongue, Tied, was performed at the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Subsequently Samuel French published a collection of Cooper’s plays, Tongue, Tied and Other Short Plays. Most recently his one-act play, Cue, was given Best of Festival honors at The Chameleon Theatre’s New Play Festival.
In the words of the playwright… “I chose a pie contest where the judges are deadlocked on which pie to award the Blue Ribbon. It seems, due to the influx of “reality television”…we are…becoming a very critical society, incapable of enjoying what we have and always questing for something bigger, better, brighter.”
The M Word
by Mary Steelsmith and Steve Lee of Los Angeles, CA
directed by Robert Watts
featuring Kevin McNair, Tom Rushen and Luke Lynch
Three Shakespearean actors are attempting to mount the dreaded “Scottish Play.” Two have already uttered the dreaded “M Word” and suffered unexpected, but hilarious, consequences. As the third man joins the crew, his training and carriage rapidly deteriorate under the spell of the fabled curse.
Mary Steelsmith was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, two cow fields away from the Broadway Drive-In Movie Theater. As a student at Boise high school she wrote This Isn’t Exactly How I Expected It, winning First Place in the Dramatics Magazine Playwriting Contest and publication by Pioneer Publishing. Successful productions countrywide include Bedside Companion (premiered at Theatre 40’s Festival of One-Acts), Behold A Pale Bronco, Women With Casseroles, The Old Man And The Seed (First Prize, Hewlett Packard 10 Minute Play Contest; performance at Action Theatre, Singapore) They’s Weywulves and The Miraculous Day Quartet (Honorable Mention, Best Play, Chester Horn Short Play Festival). She is married to playwright Steve Lee.
In the words of the playwright… “The characters in this play, touted to be the three greatest Shakespearean actors are not perfect enough to overcome the (“Scottish’) curse.”
No reservations are necessary; if you have any questions, contact the Westport Community Theatre Box Office at (203) 226-1983 or go www.westportcommunitytheatre.com for directions.