Issue No. 3
Welcome back to another edition of The Limelight! Since our last issue three shows have opened and closed, a new board was elected, and directors were announced for most of next season. Here with a recap and a few surprises is your Town and Country NewsletterÉ
What do you get when you take a director who is known for his musical theatre skills, a cast of energetic students and experienced adults with a flair for comedic character work, an artist whose talent is truly astounding, and a set that leaves an audience breathless? We're not sure either, but we called it Hansel and Gretel. Featuring all sorts of Goblins, Animals, and Potential Witch Food (Children), this retelling of the classic Fairy Tale filled in the gaps and told us what really happened, all the while planting tongue firmly in cheek. During an outing to Doylestown for the monthly "First Friday" event, it became quite obvious that this show's appeal was beyond just toddlers and Fairy Tale enthusiasts. With a strong show of support from local Girl Scouts, eager to earn their Theatre Badges, this show was quite the ticket seller, with most audiences flowing into the folding chairs. Every performance was followed by cookies and an autograph session with the cast, which made for a truly memorable experience that we hope instilled a love of theatre in our young patrons.
This year, the one act festival presented two comedies, each directed by a well respected and loved member of our theatre group. This was the final step in the Directorial Qualification Process, and an excellent opportunity to have a heck of a good time in the theatre. With food and wine from the Big Dipper Restaurant and the Chadsforth Winery, all in attendance seemed to have a blast.
Marilyn Maxwell a member of the local community theatre scene for over 40 years presented Mr. Lewis and Mrs. Wexel. The one act revolved around the attempted seduction of a widow in her 70's by a rather persistent charmer, also in his 70's. There was quite a bit of comedy to be found, but also some very tender and endearing moments.
Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage, presented by Kate Couzins, was not quite as touching, but no less of a crowd pleaser. The play focused on the murder of Mr. Jeremy Farthington FFines, a rather priapic gentleman with an affinity for furniture who has had his ventricles ventilated on the lovely carpet. Over the top performances, pokes at British Murder Mystery clich's, and thoughtful direction made this an uproariously funny presentation.
Though we at the limelight do not know what the decision of the Qualification Committee will be, we can't help but eagerly anticipate what is to come from these talented directors.
Previews and Sneak Peaks
Stephen Sondheim is a controversial figure in the American Theatre scene. Regarded by many as the best lyricist in Musical Theatre history, rivaled only by Oscar Hammerstein (Sondheim's mentor), his music leaves some bewildered and breathless, and others chanting for more. A pioneer in style and form, no show better displays Sondheim's ability to write both big show stopping numbers and intimate character moments than Follies.
Inspired by a picture of Gloria Swanson standing in the ruins of the Roxy Theatre, Follies tells the tale of a reunion party held to celebrate the life and history of the famous Weissman Theatre, set to be destroyed the next morning. We listen in as the guests recall dance routines and songs from the hey days of the theatre, and feel the heartbreak they share as wounds not yet closed resurface to torment some of those in attendance. Regarded by some musical theatre critics as the pinnacle of the American Musical Art form, this piece will leave the audience both entertained and enlightened.
From the director, "I would like to see Follies be a true celebration of not just the fabled Wiessmann theatre that the show takes place in, but also the Town and Country Barn itself. I am personally asking all members, both young and old, to come out for this show and make it a true cavalcade of T and C stars. There are around 9 roles for women that feature a song or a dance solo and the age of the youngest of these parts is 50, so ladies, this is your chance."
There are many recordings of this show available on CD, though the Paper Mill Playhouse version, available at most bookstores and online vendors, contains all of the music and even includes some songs that were cut from the production. A DVD of a concert version feature Mandy Patinkin, George Hearn, and Barbara Cook is available but does not give an accurate portrayal of the show.
The Soap Box
Huzzah! We have received our first submission for the Soap Box. Please don't let this be the last one. We want to share your thoughts with the membership. If you would like to contribute please contact the editor at Fractal514@aol.com or TandCLimelight@yahoo.com.
To all T & C members,
Never in my life have I been as surprised as the night of our February party when it was announced that the 2006 season would be dedicated to me. You have given me an exceptional honor for my 35 years of membership. Reaching Òa certain ageÓ obviously has its rewards (in addition to senior discounts).
Over my span of time with T & C, I have gathered a treasure trove of memories. Among them are the countless emotional highs and lows that are an inevitable part of theatre. This Recognition is the highest of the high for me. My grateful thanks to each of you.
Odds and Ends
á At the October Membership Meeting elections were held for the 2007 Town and Country Board of Directors. Here are the results.
á (I don't have a copy of these can you please insert them here J)
á We would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing board members, Scott Fishman, Dave Keller, Ken Schaffer, Vincenzo Russo, and Jim Wolfe, for all of their hard work and effort in making the 2005 season a very successful and enjoyable one.
á The Directors for next year's 60th season have been announced, almost. Though there are still a few shows not solidified as of right now, Susan Burnham is hard at work to secure qualified and appropriate directors for the shows not listed below
á Follies-John Zimmerman
á The Man Who Came to Dinner- Jim Kirkwood
á Oliver- Gina Stevens
á The Crucible- Norm Berger
á Once again, we wish to encourage the membership to support this newsletter by contributing content. If you have any suggestions or comments on the style or content of the Limelight you make contact us at TandCLimelight@yahoo.com. Thank you very much for you time and we look forward to seeing you at the barn.