The award-winning Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is celebrating the conclusion of a groundbreaking season even as it prepares to announce exciting plans for its 80th anniversary in 2016. Bookended by events that underscore the company’s mission to Celebrate the Classics and Nurture the New, the 2015 season was marked by firsts and partnerships that point to a vital future for Vermont’s oldest professional theatre.
Hot on the heels of a national honor, the Company hosted its 8th annual artists retreat. Among the group of actors, composers, directors, and playwrights who spent the week living and working in Weston were Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould, who wrote a new song for their musical, Invisible Thread, opening Off Broadway at Second Stage in December. A group of Weston friends will travel to New York to see the production and reconnect with Matthews and Gould.
In June, Weston joined its seven HillsAlive arts partners as one of the New York Times’ Top 50 “Must See” Summer Arts Festivals. Audiences loved the rollicking MainStage opener, Pump Boys and Dinettes, featuring composer Joe Iconis and his family of multi-talented performers, and the Vermont Premiere of the 5-time Tony-Winning Peter and the Starcatcher. In keeping with tradition, Weston’s Young Company delivered a hilarious, heartwarming, family-friendly work in Junie B.Jones the Musical while new works on Weston’s OtherStages included Sharr White’s stirring The Other Place and – another first – the New England Premiere of Cass Morgan’s new play with music, The Road to Where.
The blockbuster musical Guys and Dolls ran for a healthy four weeks in August, drawing praise from critics and audiences alike, who called it “better than Broadway,” with a sparkling cast of national talent. The production coincided with Weston’s inaugural Broadway Theatre Camp, a 3-week musical theatre camp for teens, produced in collaboration with Burr and Burton Academy’s Creative Arts Department and culminating in a performance on Weston’s MainStage.
Closing the season, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie launched the Company’s 5-year American Masters series. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the series brings classic American dramas to Weston’s stage with artists of national stature. American Masters productions include daytime school matinees and an appearance at Burlington’s Flynn Center, allowing the company to share these iconic works with a broad statewide audience.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Weston plans to announce the MainStage offerings for its 80th anniversary season before the end of September. “Our 2016 season builds on the successes of our current season,” notes Producing Artistic Director Stettler, “and is marked by expanded partnerships, an exciting new collaboration with a major star, and the Vermont Premiere of one of Broadway’s longest running hits.” For more, visit westonplayhouse.org.