logoIn the Wings
The Newsletter of The Concord Players
February 2017                                          Robert Runck, Editor
Oh, you know who this is.
"Work is much more fun than fun." 
--Noël Coward
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 Walden.
   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 him.
   "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
Kristin Hughes
 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. 
And 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. 
"When 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 class.
  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.

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 season. 

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 RoofWeekends, 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.


February 3, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Sarah Whitney
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.
Concord 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
--Linda McConchie

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