MESSAGE FROM THE PREZ

 

Dear Town and Country Members,

 

This continues to be an extraordinary season! We have sold out almost all of our performances, had a spectacularly successful children’s workshop series, attracted great casts who put on wonderful performances, and generally created what feels like a real buzz in the community. Our success this year, thanks to your generous contributions and the sell-out crowds, means we’ll be carrying very little debt at the end of the year for the clubroom and structural renovations (although we are still happy to receive any additional support!).

 

Our 2004 play slate, which will be voted on this coming Sunday the 14th (PLEASE COME AND VOTE) looks to be an intriguing one, and I think we’ll have another strong season next year. We’re planning the annual party right now, which will be a start-of-season event in February (instead of the usual October), and you can look forward to an enthusiastic and committed Board for 2004: the ballots were issued this week, also for vote on Sunday).

 

Beyond the news, and most of all, I want to thank you for helping to invigorate T&C this year. I feel we have a lot of momentum, great plans for the coming year, and the opportunity to continue to expand our role as a community resource thanks to your support. Enjoy the rest of the season!

 

Scott Fishman
President

 

 

!!!ATTENTION!!!
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2003 7:00 P.M.

 

If you are planning to attend this general membership meeting and would like to have a hand in selecting next year’s shows, it is important that each member take the time to review the 2004 Slate of Shows that appears in this newsletter and then choose one play from each of the proposed categories.

 

Preceding the vote for the slate this year, the Board of Directors has asked members to first vote on one of two options, which will determine the run of show categories for 2004. Each voting member will select only one of the following:

 

SLATE A: 4 adult productions (which includes 1 musical) plus 1 Family Show

 

OR

SLATE B: 5 adult productions (which includes 1 musical) plus one Family Show

 

Once you have decided whether you prefer Slate A or Slate B, then select the one play you would most like to see in each of the categories.

 

If you are a dues paying member, you are entitled to let your vote shape the course of next year’s season!

 

Comedies

 

Round and Round the Garden (Part of the triparte "The Norman Conquests") - by Alan Ayckbourn

3 Men and 3 Women

 

In this play Sarah’s (married to Reg, brother to Annie and Ruth) desperate attempts to have a civilized week-end taking care of Reg’s mother while Reg’s sister, Annie, can, supposedly take a weekend off to get away from the care of her aging mother (in the family house that is the scene of the play), culminate, not surprisingly, in disaster. We learn right off that Norman has been planning a weekend away with his unattached sister-in-law, Annie. Ruth, his wife, is summoned but Norman still contrives to cause havoc involving all three women. Matters are not helped by the slow-thinking Tom mistaking Ruth’s intentions during a conversation they have together and Norman’s getting roaring drunk causing the aborted weekend plans to be revealed to all present. Eventually, the horrific weekend draws to a close. The four visitors depart, but at the last moment, Norman manages - deliberately or not- to wreck all plans by driving his car into Reg’s. Back they all troop, now facing having to stay. Norman finds himself spurned by all three women and is left protesting with injured innocence that he only meant to make everyone happy. Very funny!

 

Royalties: $40 — 50 @ performance

 

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean - by Ed Graczyk

Movie directed by Robert Altman

1 Man and 8 Women

 

In a small-town dime store in West Texas in 1975, the Disciples of James Dean gather for their 20th reunion. Now middle-aged women, they were teenagers with dreams of their own when Dean filmed Giant two decades ago, putting nearby Marfa on the map. Mona, an extra in the film, has a child whom she says was conceived by Dean on the set; the son, Jimmy Dean, was named after his "father". The ladies — Mona, Sissy, Stella May, Edna, and Juanita reminiscence with flash-backs to their youth; then the arrival of a stunning and momentarily unrecognized mystery woman, Joanne, sets off a series of confrontations that upset their self-deceptions, turns their world upside down, and exposes their secrets hidden for so long. Superb acting vehicle for a mostly female cast. The movie version starred Cher, Sandy Dennis, Karen Black and Kathy Bates. Expect the unexpected. "Full of home-spun humor [and] …surefire comic gem." — New York Post.

 

Royalties: $40 — 60 @ performance.

 

Farces

 

Beyond Therapy - by Christopher Durang

4 Men and 2 Women

 

Bruce and Prudence are deeply into therapy. Prudence’s macho therapist is urging her to meet someone of the opposite sex by placing a personal ad while Bruce’s wacky female therapist is urging him to meet someone of the opposite sex by placing a personal ad. She does not fully comprehend that Bruce has a male lover who is not pleased by Bruce’s decision to date a woman: Prudence. Bruce doesn’t know how to handle poor nervous Prudence and Prudence doesn’t know what to make of her unpredictable new boyfriend. They sort it all out and learn to live beyond therapy in this delightful comedy, an Off-Broadway hit that moved successfully to Broadway. "Screwball and scatty with as much owed to the Marx Brothers as to the Viennese brethren, Beyond Therapy offers the best therapy of all: guaranteed laughter."- Time. "The script is filled with off-beat laugh lines, wry observations on the contemporary urban psyche and situations that range from farcical to absurd."- Woman’s Wear Daily.

 

Royalties: $40-60 @ performance
Samuel French

 

Wonder of the World - by David Lindsay-Abaire

 

3 Men and 4 Women (doubling)

 

In Wonder of the World, Lindsay-Abaire’s focal stick figure is Cass (played on Broadway by Sarah Jessica Parker), who decides that her marriage to Kip has not developed into the perfect picture she’d expected. So, armed with a yard-long list of goals that she hopes to reach, Cass leaves for Niagara Falls–which locale, of course, symbolizes marital promise. On the way to her new life, she meets Lois Coleman, an alcoholic intent on barreling over the falls to spite her estranged husband. Temporarily distracting Lois from her proposed demise, Cass also befriends Captain Mike, who pilots the famous Maid of the Mist tour boat who more than reciprocates her friendship. While she and the Captain are becoming better acquainted, Cass is clumsily pursued by Karla and Glen, a pair of married detectives whom Kip has hired to find her.

The wonder of Wonder of the World is that, though none of what transpires should make the slightest particle of sense, it all clicks into place like tumblers in a lock. That includes a late scene in which Kip and Cass, Lois and Captain Mike, and Karla and Glen play an impromptu round of The Newlywed Game presided over by Jan, a couple’s counselor who conducts this group therapy session in a clown costume. The wacky play also includes a series of coincidences that sometimes work out in the characters’ favor and sometimes don’t. For example: Lois, who had lost hubby Ted’s gift of a wristwatch on their Niagara Falls honeymoon, manages to retrieve it during the course of the play. There’s also a mysterious death by oversized peanut butter jar and another demise that is less mysterious but more unsettling...not to mention what happens when both Lois and Cass jump into Cass’s big barrel.

When the final curtain closes on Wonder of the World, the marriages examined by Lindsay-Abaire haven’t been fully explained, nor is Cass’s search for herself completed. But the inconclusive nature of the play is actually its author’s real message. In lining up the happy and unhappy accidents in Wonder of the World, he is saying just that: Life is a series of happy and unhappy accidents. With a serious smile on his face, he is insisting that, when you are sent down the river of life in a barrel, there’s no telling where you’ll end up. (from a review)

UNIT SET

Royalty: $60 @ performance
Dramatist’s Play Service

 

Musicals

 

Man of La Mancha

 

Written by Dale Wasserman
Music by Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by Joe Darion

Cast:
Alonso Quijana, the prisoner/Don Quixote
Manservant/Sancho Panza
Aldonza/Dulcinea
Captain of the Inquisition
Seven Muleteers
Innkeeper
Maria, Innkeeper’s wife
Fermina, a serving girl
Antonia, Alonso’s niece
Dr. Sanson Carrasco (Antonia’s fiancée/Knight of the Mirrors)
Governor
Duke
Moorish Dance Girl
Padre
Attendants to the Knights/Soldiers/Prisoners/Prison Guards/Gypsies/Men of the Inquisition

 

Setting: Spain, end of 16th century. Prison in Seville, a basic single setting appearing to be below ground reached by a stairway that may be moved. Like Fidder on the Roof, the trap door may be utilized to give the appearance of an even lower level. Scenic elements are placed and removed by the prisoners as needed.

 

Some of the songs:
The Impossible Dream
Man of La Mancha
Dulcinea
Knights of the Woeful Countenance
It’s All the Same
Fight of the Windmills
I’m Only Thinking of Him
I Really Like Him
Golden Helmet of Mambrino
To Each His Dulcinea
Moorish Dance
Knight of the Mirrors
A Little Gossip
Finale

 

Miguel de Cervantes, aging and an utter failure as a playwright, poet and tax collector for the government, has been thrown into a dungeon in Seville to await the Inquisition for an offense against the Church. A court of his fellow prisoners will judge him — thieves, cutthroats and trollops, who want to steal his only possessions, one being the uncompleted manuscript of a novel called "Don Quixote." In his defense he dons make-up and costume to transform himself into Don Quixote and his faithful servant, Sancho Panza. They play out the story with the help of the prisoners as other characters.

Quixote and Sancho take to the road on horses in a campaign to restore the age of chivalry, to battle evil and right all wrongs. Quixote encounters the enemy in the popular windmill scene, but Quixote declares that his defeat of the "dark Enchanter.

In a roadside inn, Aldonza, the inn’s serving girl and trollop is propositioned by a rough gang of Muleteers. From a distance Quixote sees the woman as his dream-ideal, the lady Dulcinea. Aldonza is confused and angered by his refusal to see her as she really is.

Later, Aldonza finds Quixote holding vigil in the courtyard and question’s his ideals and irrational ways, as he sings one of the Tony-award winning songs "The Impossible Dream."

 

As Aldonza starts to believe Quixote’s vision of a better life, she falls prey by the Muleteers.

 

Quixote and Sancho are robbed by a thieving band of Moors and return to the inn to find the disillusioned Aldonza. The Enchanter surfaces challenging and yet again defeating Quixote, leaving him to see himself as a pathetic old man, not the shining young knight.

At home the old man who once called himself Don Quixote is dying. Aldonza, having followed, forces her way into the room, pleading with him to restore the dream of glory she once witnessed, and rising from his bed he begins to sing "Man of La Mancha," collapses and dies. It is only then, that Aldonza believes saying, "My name is Dulcinea."

Back in the dungeon the prisoners, dregs of humanity, have been deeply affected by his story and return to him his precious manuscript. Cervantes is summoned by the Inquisition and the prisoners unite to sing as he is led away to "The Impossible Dream."

Annie Get Your Gun

 

Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields
Revised in 1999 by Peter Stone

Cast:
Frank Butler
Annie Oakley
Buffalo Bill Cody
Dolly Tate
Tommy Keeler
Winnie Tate
Charlie Davenport
Foster Wilson
Mac, the prop man
Chief Sitting Bull
Jessie, Annie’s little sister
Nellie, Annie’s other little sister
Little Jack, Annie’s little brother
Running Deer
Eagle Feather
Pawnee Bill
Dining Car Waiter
Sleeping Car Porter
Messenger/Band Leader/ Cowboys/Indians/ Young men and ladies/Kings and Queens of Europe, debutantes/socialites
Mrs. Sylvia Potter-Porter
Mrs. Schuyler Adams

Setting:
The Big Top
Front Lawn of Wilson Arms Hotel in Cincinnati
Pullman Car on the Overland Steam Train
Main Tent on Minneapolis Fairgrounds
Annie’s Dressing Tent
European Tour
Upper Deck of Cattle Boat
Ballroom at Hotel in NYC
Prop Room
The Shooting Match

Some of the songs:
There’s No Business Like Show Business
Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly
You Can’t Get A Man With a Gun
They Say It’s Wonderful
I Got the Sun in The Morning
The Girl That I Marry
Anything You Can Do
I Got Lost In His Arms

 

The story revolves around Annie Oakley, an illiterate hillbilly with a knack for shooting guns. Persuaded to join Buffalo Bill’s traveling Wild West Show, she falls hopelessly in love with Frank Butler, the show’s shooting ace. But when Annie’s talent for shooting eclipses Frank’s, she realizes she’ll have to make some hard choices if she wants to win the man she loves. This script is the 1999 Broadway revival (the story is now a show within a show.) Also changed were negative references to the American Indian as seen in the 1966 version.

 

Mystery

 

Night Must Fall - by Emlyn Williams

 

4 Men and 5 Women

 

It is no secret that Danny, a bell hop who arrives at the Bramson bungalow, has already murdered one woman and there is little doubt that he will soon murder another - the aged owner of the house. He skillfully insinuates himself into her affections while preventing her niece - who has guessed his previous connections with murder from giving him away. Dan is a dashing young assassin whom the niece firmly believes she hates, but as a matter of fact, she is fascinated by him beyond measure. Dan is a selfish, self-centered psychopath with no feelings and a vast imagination. He is perpetually acting for his own edification the part of a murderer and is only unhappy because he cannot share this secret with the world. This play was produced in London and New York with Emlyn Williams and offers excellent opportunities for fine acting.

INTERIOR SET
Royalties: $35 - $50 @ performance

 

A Murder Is Announced - by Leslie Darbon from an Agatha Christie novel

 

5 men and 7 Women

 

The announcement in the local paper states time and place of a murder to occur in Miss Blacklock’s Victorian house. The victim is not one of several occupants, temporary and permanent, but an unexpected and unknown visitor. What follows is a classic Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a second death, a determined Inspector grimly following the twists and turns, and Miss Marple on hand to provide the final solution - at some risk to herself — in a dramatic confrontation scene just before the final curtain. "Had the first night audience on the edge of their seats." — Evening Post.

 

INTERIOR SET
Royalties: $40 - $50 @ performance

 

Drama

 

Summer and Smoke - by Tennessee Williams

8 Men and 6 Women

 

One of the author’s most highly regarded works. The play is a simple love story of a somewhat puritanical Southern girl and an unpuritanical young doctor. Each is basically attracted to the other, but because of their divergent attitudes toward life, each over the course of years is driven away from the other. Not until toward the end does the doctor realize that the girl’s high idealism is basically right, and while she is still in love with him, it turns out that neither time nor circumstances will allow the two ultimately to come together.

THREE SIMPLE UNIT SETS
Royalties: $50 @ performance
Dramatist’s Play Service

 

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - by Edward Albee

2 Men and 2 Women

 

Winner of the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play. The Broadway production of this play was a shattering and memorable experience and proclaimed the author as a major America Playwright.

George, a professor at a small college, and his wife Martha have just returned home , drunk from a Saturday night party. Martha announces, amidst general profanity, that she has invited a young couple — an opportunistic new professor at the college and his shatteringly naïve new bride — to stop by for a nightcap. When they arrive the charade begins. The drinks flow and suddenly inhibitions melt. It becomes clear that Martha is determined to seduce the young professor, and Geroge could care less. But underneath the edgy banter which is cross-fired between both couples lurks an undercurrent of tragedy and despair. George and Martha’s inhuman bitterness toward one another is provoked by the enormous personal sadness which they have pledged to keep to themselves. A secret that has seemingly been the foundation for their relationship. In the end, the mystery in which the distressed George and Martha have taken refuge is exposed, once for all revealing the degrading mess they have made of their lives.

INTERIOR SET
Royalties: $50 @ performance
Samuel French

 

 

OVER THE RIVER

 

Don’t miss our final production of the 2003 season. This Italian comedy is in the vein of the movie "Moonstruck" and revolves around a young man’s grandparents (all four!) connive to keep their grandson from moving across the country by introducing him to a young woman whose charms they hope will force him to stay within their reach.

 

Members of the cast are: Bob DeMarco, Jim Kirkwood, JeniRose Miller, Frank Grosso, B.B. Colodny and Beth Michener.

 

Gina V. Stevens directs with Lynne Ann Donchez serving as producer. Sarah LeClair is stage manager with Jenny Hopkins assisting.

 

Crew for the production includes: Walter Hauck, Lighting Design; Laura Downs, Set Design; Frank Kasitz and Bob Duke, Set Construction; Elizabeth Lukac, Costumes; and Stuart Wyss, Lighting and Sound Tech.

 

Props help came from the team of Scott Connard, Lynne Anne Donchez and Linda Walsh.

 

 

PARKERS AND USHERS NEEDED

 

Our membership guru, Scott Connard, asked all members to take a moment, visit our website (www.townandcountryplayers.org) and sign up to park, usher or sell raffle tickets for "Over the River and Through The Woods." The following spots are still vacant:

 

USHERS PARKERS RAFFLE TIX
Friday, September 26 Filled 1 person needed Filled
Saturday, September 27 2 people needed 1 person needed 1 person needed
       
Friday, October 3 1 person needed Filled 1 person needed
Saturday, October 4 2 people needed 1 person needed 1 person needed
Sunday, October 5 2 people needed 2 people needed 1 person needed
       
Friday, October 10 2 people needed 2 people needed 1 person needed
Saturday, October 11 2 people needed 2 people needed 1 person needed

 

 

ARE YOU BEING SERVED RECAP

 

Following the final performance of "Are You Being Served" on September 6th, Director John Nicolazzo said he found the experience to be "overwhelming" in a number of different ways.

 

On the positive side, the theater was packed to capacity for seven of the show’s performance and the benefits drew large crowds as well. Also, said John, "I have never before directed a show that nearly sold out the first weekend while the previous show was still running"!

 

John thanked the dedicated cast and crew for their perseverance and long hours attempting to overcome a complex story line and difficult special effects.

 

Also overwhelming was the unexpected difficulty of finding experienced backstage support for the show, but John said he was grateful to the newcomers to the theater who stepped in to help.

 

 

STATUS OF THE ONE ACTS

 

Due to scheduling conflicts and time constraints, this year’s One Acts Play Festival is unfortunately cancelled.

 

 

CHILDREN’S WORKSHOPS

 

The conclusion of Town and Country’s first children’s workshop program has left some 130 kids begging for more.

 

The 2-week long program, which ran from July 21 through July 31, offered a wide range of activities from puppetry, juggling and Irish dance to learning how to run sound (courtesy of Jim Letts) and lights (thanks to Scott Connard).

 

The workshops four leaders, Gay McPhee, Shawn Wright, Kathryn Brock and Phyllis Eckelmeyer were also ably assisted by a number of T&C veterans including Pat Achilles, Stuart Wyss, Sarah LeClair, Lynne Anne Donchez and Lauren, Devon and Bronwyn Bird.

 

According to Phyllis, the theater can accommodate only 50 students per session as there are four different classes going on at all times, each with 10-15 kids per class. "No class was too big," she said.

 

The classes were held in the lobby, clubroom and back tent as well as on the stage. She added that another possible place for a class might be in the makeup room.

 

Phyllis said that next year the workshop committee may mix up the age groups rather than hold separate morning and afternoon hours.

 

 

ICHABOD CRANE COMES TO T&C

 

Auditions were held September 8th and 9th for the October Family Theater Production of "The Tales of Sleepy Hollow."

 

The play will be performed on two weekends as follows:

 

Friday, October 24 one show at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 25 two shows at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 26 one show at 3:00 p.m.
 
Saturday, November 1 two shows at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

 

Two benefit performances, on October 28th and 29th, have already been sold.

 

These performances, originally to have been held in connection with the Fall One Act Play Festival, will now be stand-alone shows (see article above).

 

 

2004 FAMILY THEATER

 

As sometimes happens, the Family Theater wing of Town and Country was unable to secure the rights for performances of the two plays they selected for next season.

 

"Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory" was listed as "deferred until 2005" and the committee’s choice of a Hans Christian Andersen play was unavailable because of litigation somewhere in New York.

 

Phyllis Eckelmeyer and Shawn Wright are in the process of choosing 2 new plays which will be put up as part of the full slate of plays to be voted on by the membership on September 14th.

 

Phyllis said that while they are certainly "not stuck for ideas," that it is more a matter of deciding quickly so that the plays can be considered in time for the vote.

 

Plans are in the works to bring forth two new selections, hopefully within enough time for them to be considered by members voting on the adult season.