|Oh, you know who this is.|
"Work is much more fun than fun."
One doesn't have to look too closely to see the parallels between Noël Coward and Concord Players' director Kristin Hughes. Hughes is directing Coward's most popular work, Blithe Spirit,
to open on the Players' stage February 10, 2017, for the second time,
since 1966 when Coward's "ghosts" last floated across the stage on 51
Coward was an actor, producer and playwright, among other
prominent roles he played in theater throughout his lifetime. He was a
dashing, sophisticated bon-vivant, always ready with a bon-mot
to season the conversation, always the life of the party. But it was
the work that drove him. With his agile mind and prodigious gift for
language he wrote and produced dozens of plays throughout his lifetime.
He loved his place among smart set, but it was the work that propelled
"I sat in the third row and I could see backstage from my seat
and I was fascinated by everything I saw-sure, the pictures and dancing
and acting were great, but to see the WORK that was creating it was
equally magical to me." Noël Coward? No, director Kristen Hughes. Like Coward, she fell in love with the theater at
a very young age. She was watching a professional production of Pippin in the third grade; one glimpse of the backstage magic and she was hooked.
just like Coward, she immerses herself in the whole play. "I love all
aspects of the process: I love digging into a script, and I love working
with actors and a design team to bring everything together into a
cohesive production, where we can all say, 'we did that!'"
It's no surprise that Hughes' 15 years as a director have brought her to Blithe Spirit.
I look at what I've done, I think Coward is a natural fit for me. The
dialogue is very stylized and it's got great characters. I've always
enjoyed this kind of comedy, where the characters are real but the
dialogue is zippy and the situation is heightened," she says.
Coward's plays always
have great characters. Born a commoner in England in 1899, his upward
trajectory through the social classes was unlikely. English society's
rigid conventions about the entitlements of birth rarely permitted even
the most ambitious social pioneers to cross class boundaries. Coward was
the exception. His intelligence, charm and prodigious talent earned him
a place among the privileged classes. In all of his plays, he draws
from this improbable ascendancy, creating dialogue that reflects the
rapid patter and affected nonchalance typical of the British upper
Hughes has captured Coward's pithy tone in her direction for Blithe Spirit.
"Overall my goal is to do the playwright justice," she tells us. "And
by that I mean, bring his words and characters to life, and get the
audience involved emotionally. In this instance I have asked the actors
and the design team to just ... have fun, and talk fast. We are going
for a glamorous late 30s feel in costumes/character look, and creating a
traditional British country manor set for them to live in. Here it's
February, it's cold, and 2016 was a long year, so we're aiming to start
off 2017 with some light, stylish, frothy fun."One can only imagine that Coward would approve.
Cont. next column.
SAVE THE DATE
The Annual Meeting of The Concord Players will be held on Sunday,
March 19, 7 p.m., at 51 Walden. We will announce our 2017-18
The cast for this classic Mel Brooks farce has been announced.
You'll see some familiar faces as well as some new ones. Brian Kelly (Spamalot
returns to direct; newcomer Lee Kondakes is music director, and Katie
Alexander will choreograph. Be sure to check out the cast and crew on
the Players website
Get your tickets early because this one is going to be popular!
Members of the Players will be offering a twofer this spring. In April, John Alzapiedi will appear as Tevye, along with Jon Saul, Beth Nolan, Elizabeth Hoermann, Leslie Wagner and Erika Wilde, in Theater III's production of Fiddler on the Roof. Weekends, April 7-23. For details go to theatreiii
And, Craig Howard will attempt
to grow an acceptable beard to appear as Tevye in the Colonial Chorus
Players' production of Fiddler On The Roof in Reading. Performance dates May 12-14, 2017.
Eric Linebarger and Rachel Rabinovitz are in Getting Sara Married at Burlington Players.
Mike Lague, Anne Damon and Kathleen Dalton are in Wings at Vokes.
EVENTS AT 51 WALDEN
February 3, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Violinist Sarah Whitney, joined by pianistNatalia Lavrova, perform Beyond the Notes
an interactive concert experience that gives the audience a chance to
get to know and learn about the performers beyond what can be read in
their bios. Tickets are $25/$15 for students. Available on-line
March 4, 2017 at 8 p.m. (sneak peak) Saxophone soloist David Southard is the featured soloist in the Concord Band's performance of Blue Sterling, by former Band conductor William McManus. Also on the program is An Ellington Portrait, arr. by Werle, and Bright Colored Dances by Buckley. Trumpet soloist Richard Given plays Variations on Carnival of Venice by Jean-Baptiste Arban. Admission is free, donations gratefully accepted.
Kristin Hughes cont.
Players' audiences are going to love it too. "Come see the show," says
Hughes, the gifted director who started her career in theater as a
kindergartner playing a tree. "I think the fun we're having creating it
will absolutely translate to the audience watching it, and I can't
imagine a better way to spend a February evening." The play
performs February 10, 11, 17, 18, 19 (matinee), 24, 25, 2017. For tickets and info, go to the Players website