Founding Directors expand programming for send-off season.
Vermont’s award-winning Weston Playhouse Theatre Company announces a blockbuster line-up for its 2018 season. Founding Directors Malcolm Ewen, Tim Fort, and Steve Stettler continue Weston’s tradition of “celebrating the classics and nurturing the new” in their 31st and final season at the helm of the esteemed company. The season includes three productions on the company’s Main Stage at the historic Weston Playhouse and four productions at its new flexible Second Stage, Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm.
“We’ve chosen a roster of plays and musicals that speak to us strongly,” commented Stettler, “including shows that can involve as many of our talented family of artists as possible.” 2018 will be the largest season in the theatre’s history, beginning earlier and concluding later, with more actors than ever on the company’s three stages.
Opening the Main Stage season is Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, Our Town. Written in nearby Peterborough, New Hampshire in 1937, Weston’s first year as a professional theatre, Our Town is the story of the New England town of Grover’s Corners as told through the everyday lives of its citizens. Last seen at the Playhouse in 1973 with the late Sam Lloyd, Sr. as the all-knowing Stage Manager, the new production will feature his brother, Christopher Lloyd, in that pivotal role. Steve Stettler, who collaborated with Christopher Lloyd on Weston’s Death of A Salesman, will direct, with performances running June 21 to July 7.
Next on the Main Stage is the iconic musical West Side Story. “2018 is the centennial of author Arthur Laurents, composer Leonard Bernstein, and director/choreographer Jerome Robbins,” notes Stettler, “an ideal time to revisit this modern classic and its great score.” A retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set on New York’s West Side in the 1950’s, West Side Story will be directed by Tim Fort and will be performed with Robbins’ original choreography. The production will grace the Playhouse stage from July 12 to August 4.
For four lively weeks at summer’s end, the Playhouse will come alive with the sounds of rock-n-roll. The recent Broadway phenomenon Million Dollar Quartet captures the night that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins all came together for a jam session at Sun Records in Memphis. Featuring a cast of actor/singer/musicians and such hits as “Hound Dog,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and “Walk the Line,” Million Dollar Quartet will be directed by Associate Artistic Director Michael Berresse, who brought last season’s stunning production of Once the Musical to the Weston stage. Performances run August 9 to September 2.
Beginning the season up the road at the company’s new Second Stage, Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm, Weston’s talented Young Company of musical theatre undergrads performs Anne of Green Gables. A one-hour musical for young audiences based on L.M. Montgomery’s beloved novel, this spirited show by Broadway veterans Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford follows orphan Anne Shirley as she charms an entire town into falling in love with her passionate heart and imaginative mind. Directed by Tim Fort and Piper Goodeve, who created the title role in the musical’s Off Broadway premiere, Anne of Green Gables plays at family friendly times and prices from June 14 to June 30.
Next on the roster at Walker Farm is the 2015 Tony Award-winning musical, Fun Home. Adapted from Vermont author/cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir of the same name, this ground-breaking show is by writer Lisa Kron and composer Jeanine Tesori. Three actresses portray Alison at three different ages, charting Bechdel’s discovery of her sexuality, her relationship with her father, and her attempts to unlock the mysteries surrounding his life. Malcolm Ewen directs, with performances running from July 5 to July 28.
Continuing a Second Stage season of hot new titles is the Vermont Premiere of the Broadway hit, A Doll’s House, Part 2. Nominated this year for eight Tony Awards, Lucas Hnath’s comedy picks up after Ibsen’s famed 19th century drama, A Doll’s House, concludes. Centered on the character of Nora, who returns after walking out on her family 15 years earlier, the play examines that choice and its effect on those she left behind. Mary B. Robinson (Weston’s All My Sons and Copenhagen) directs, with performances at Walker Farm from August 2 to August 25.
The 2018 season continues into the Fall with Weston’s fourth annual American Masters production, August Wilson’s Pulitzer and Tony nominated Two Trains Running. The seventh in Wilson’s ten-part series chronicling the African-American experience, Two Trains Running explores the late 1960’s, a time of extraordinary change, and the ordinary people that got left behind. Performances at Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm run from September 27 to October 20, including special 10am weekday school matinees.
Weston’s legendary Cabaret, dubbed “best spot for a nightcap” by Yankee magazine, will offer up entertainment following every evening Main Stage performance of the summer. The zany hour-long music and comedy revue, featuring Weston’s Young Company and guests from the Equity company, is performed in the theatre’s intimate licensed lounge. Throughout the summer, audiences can once again enjoy pre-theatre dining and Cabaret fare at the Hartness Tavern, alongside the Cabaret on the lower level of the Playhouse. Returning Chef Benjamin Minifie will offer a fresh “melting pot cuisine” with ingredients from Weston area farms and purveyors.
Gift certificates for the Weston 2018 season can be purchased online 24/7 at westonplayhouse.org. Subscription sales will be available online starting early 2018, and subscription and single ticket sales will be available beginning May 1 by calling the Weston box office at 802-824-5288.
The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is a non-profit organization supported in part by funds from the Vermont Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and an ever growing family of individuals who believe in the impact that the performing arts can have on its community.