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Rural Vermont Gets a Jewel Box: Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm

In the southwestern corner of rural Vermont, within a town of 586 people, Weston Playhouse has spent the last 82 years doing the nearly impossible: establishing a resident professional theater with jam-packed houses throughout its annual summer season. READ MORE

Hot cabaret opens new Weston theater (Rutland Herald)

Weston Playhouse Theatre Company chose Joe Iconis to open its classy new Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm and it comes as no surprise. Not only is the composer, lyricist and performer a Weston veteran, he represents the cutting-edge of today’s musical theater — the deepest passion of Vermont’s oldest professional theater. READ MORE

Barbizon Lights Up The Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm (Barbizon Lighting Company Blog)

Barbizon Light of New England congratulates Weston Playhouse Theatre Company on their grand opening of their Walker Farm Performance Space held on September 23rd. READ MORE

 

Walker Farm theater unveiled for large, excited crowd (Chester Telegraph)

At noon on Friday the new barn-red building behind the old barns, silos and farmhouse at the intersection of Route 100 and the Andover Road in Weston stood silent and empty.

But by noon on Saturday, Sept. 23, the new theater — the Center for the Arts at Walker Farm — was abuzz with excitement as those who had worked long and hard and donated funds were thanked for their support. READ MORE

Weston To Open State-Of-The-Art Playhouse At Walker Farm (VPR)

A decade-long dream will finally become a reality Saturday. Officials with the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company will celebrate the grand opening of their $6.3 million second stage and community center.
 
The Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm is just off route 100 on a five-acre parcel that, to be honest, is easy to miss. READ MORE

Vermont’s oldest theater builds its future (Rutland Herald)

On Saturday, Vermont’s oldest professional theater will begin a new chapter in its 81-year history. Weston Playhouse Theatre Company will open the new Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm, its new theater complex on Route 100 that will complement the venerable Weston Playhouse.

“Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm will be the centerpiece of our project to create an incubator for the performing arts in Vermont – a greatly expanded program to develop new musicals and plays, bringing theater artists from across the United States to work and create in our quiet and supportive rural setting,” Producing Artistic Director Steve Stettler said in a press release. READ MORE

 

Weston Playhouse set to open $6.3 million second home (VT Digger)

Once upon a time Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney only had to see a barn to start shouting “let’s put on a show!”
The Weston Playhouse, set to open a $6.3 million second stage and community center beside the silos of the nearby Walker Farm, needed a little more help.

Vermont’s oldest professional theater company is celebrating its 80th anniversary of presenting annual summer bills of Broadway titles and talent. But as the nonprofit arts organization expands its drama education and development programs, it also wants to extend its calendar. That’s why it will cut the ribbon this coming weekend on a 140-seat supplemental facility on nearby Route 100. READ MORE

O’Neill and Weston create great theater (Rutland Herald)

Terms like “masterpiece,” Eugene O’Neill and “Long Day’s Journey” seem to scare contemporary audiences, perhaps because of their perceived seriousness. But any theater lover, or those who appreciate fine storytelling, would make huge mistake in missing the stunning Weston Playhouse production. READ MORE

Weston Playhouse embarks on major expansion (WCAX)

Big changes are coming to the historic Weston Playhouse.

"Before we started construction last August, the only thing you could see was a meadow," said Lesley Koenig, Weston Playhouse's managing director.

A meadow and an 1860's dairy barn. But now a state-of the-art production theater towers over this Weston field. The Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm will be the company's second theater. A 1930's church-turned-playhouse has been the main campus for award-winning acts since the company started. But now this additional 8,000 square-foot facility will allow for productions year round -- and more flexibiliy. READ MORE

A funny boy shines in Streisand-inspired theater comedy (Chester Telegraph)

The cult of celebrity rears its comedic head in Buyer and Cellar, a one-man show that closes out not only Weston Playhouse’s summer run at the OtherStages at Weston Rod and Gun Club, it closes out its use of the facility completely, with the fall christening of the theater at Walker Farm. Buyer and Cellar is a show inspired by a strange idea — a play narrated by an out-of-work actor who runs a mall that has only one customer and that one customer is Hollywood star Barbra Streisand. It’s a tale of whimsy that offers the right actor a chance to play a series of characters, including the narrator/actor Alex More, his boyfriend, Babs herself, her husband and a series of lesser beings. READ MORE

Theatre Review: “Buyer & Cellar” (Manchester Journal)

On occasion, my wife and I have examined the contents of the basement in our home and pondered how a little
reorganization might make a world of difference. If one is the singer and stage and movie actress Barbra Streisand with a seemingly unlimited budget, one might take it up another few notches. In a 2010 coffee table to me about the construction and appointment of her home in Malibu, California, with actor James Brolin, the diva detailed how in her basement, she recreated a slew of actual shops that contained the antiques, costumes, and mountains of accumulated memorabilia of an established star. READ MORE

"Buyer & Cellar" (More Theatre Talk)

Buyer & Cellar plays at the Rod and Gun Club of the Weston Playhouse until September 3. This one man show is well worth seeing. Five characters come vividly to life through the skilled interpretation of Kyle Branzel. Bob and I were first impressed by this young actor in last year’s Weston Playhouse production of Murder for Two.  This year we  interviewed Kyle a few hours before opening night. We then had the pleasure of watching him perform in the intimate setting... READ MORE

Delightful entertainment, just in time (Rutland Herald)

Imagine working for Barbra Streisand in her own personal shopping mall. That’s exactly what Alex More does in Jonathan Tolins’ delightful flight-of-fancy one-man comedy, “Buyer & Cellar.” And Weston Playhouse Theatre Company just opened a charming, affectionate and very funny production on Friday at the Weston Rod & Club — the perfect antidote for these most stressful times. Actor Kyle Branzel opens with the warning that the story he is about to tell is strictly fiction, but it isn’t long before that is entirely forgotten. READ MORE

Theatre Review: “Buyer & Cellar” by Jonathan Tolins (The Vermont Journal)

The spotlights of the intimate OtherStages at the Weston’s Rod and Gun Club illuminate to reveal a sparsely set stage: a couch, a chaise, and a desk, all monochromatic beige. The full cast is on stage as well: a single actor, Kyle Branzel. Yet the juxtaposition between the stark appearance and the richly colorful and compelling performance make “Buyer & Cellar” a must-see as summer comes to a close. The non-profit Weston Playhouse presents the Vermont premier of this off-Broadway play as the venue’s final performance. READ MORE

Weston’s ‘Music Man’ cast hits all the right notes (Chester Telegraph)

Weston Playhouse continues its summer run with the all-American family musical The Music Man, Meredith Willson’s tuneful fable about a mythical middle America just after the turn of the 19th century. The plot is simple: A fast-talking flimflam man going by the name of “Professor” Harold Hill arrives in the fictional town of River City, Iowa. It’s the summer of 1912 and Hill is working his latest scam... READ MORE 

Theatre Review: "The Music Man" (Manchester Journal)

Curiously, “The Music Man,” the classic Tony Award winning musical by Meredith Willson that played to packed Broadway houses from 1957 to 1967 and has been revived around the country ever since, is about a flim-flam man. Its hero, Harold Hill, descends upon River City, Iowa, on July 2, 1912, with the intent to hoodwink the local rubes into paying for the instruments, uniforms and instruction books of a boys band that will never come to be. Oh, and along the way, he would not mind romancing a “sadder but wiser girl” who has been around the block a few times. READ MORE

"The Music Man" (More Theatre Talk)

The Music Man runs until August 19 at the Weston Playhouse. Weston’s motto is that it celebrates the classics and nurtures the new.  There are two classic American plays that deal with a  traveling salesman who “doesn’t know the territory.” Both of these plays have had productions at the Weston Playhouse. They are however quite different. One of them is Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller and the other is The Music Man by Meredith Willson. Each in its own way gives a glimpse of times in the United States that have passed. Madison Avenue, shopping malls and the Internet are among the reasons... READ MORE

Weston delivers the heart in ‘Music Man’ (Rutland Herald)

“The Music Man” sometimes gets a bad rap because of our faulty memories or too many bad community theater performances. But the splendid Weston Playhouse production, which opened last week and runs through Aug. 19, should dispel any doubt that it is one of the great American musicals. Opening on Broadway in 1957, becoming a feature film in 1962, Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” spins the tale... READ MORE

Theater Review: 'The Music Man,' Weston Playhouse (Seven Days)

Winner of the Tony Award for best musical when it opened on Broadway in 1957, The Music Man is a crowd pleaser that plumbs a range of musical idioms, from syncopation to patter to marching bands to barbershop quartets. Meredith Willson wrote music, lyrics and book, and developed the story with Franklin Lacey. It was Willson's first musical... READ MORE


A fast talking salesman that gets his foot caught (The Vermont Journal)

The opening of “The Music Man” begins in a train on its way to River City, Iowa. Professor Harold Hill gets off and begins to stir up trouble in order to distract the stubborn townspeople from his Pied Piper tactics. Hill, brought to life by David Bonanno, plans to con the citizens into letting him start a band and before the band performs, he is high tails it out of town with the money. READ MORE

Review: Weston's 'Yonkers' delivers strong family vibes (Manchester Journal)

There's a reason why Neil Simon's tender coming-of-age play "Lost in Yonkers" won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize. It's not just great writing, but it's a family story laced with both comedy and tragedy to which everyday Americans can relate. That is why the play has been one of this generation's enduring classics. It has a pulse that's all too human, and Simon is a master at getting both laughs and tears from the audience within seconds of each other.  READ MORE

"Lost in Yonkers" (More Theatre Talk)

Lost in Yonkers plays at The Weston Playhouse until July 29. This play by Neil Simon won both a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize. The production at Weston captures the world of 1942 through the acting, the set and costumes. Facing difficult times with humor, two adolescent boys are left by their grieving father with their domineering grandmother and their kind, but limited, aunt. Bob and I have enjoyed this play each time  we have seen it. Each production brings its own quality to this engaging story. We were particularly pleased to see Michael Seltzer in the role of the older son as we have watched his work since he was a member of Weston’s Young Company for several years. READ MORE

‘Lost in Yonkers’ deeply satisfying (Rutland Herald)

Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers” is a masterpiece of comedy and drama, because it is at once neither and both. In short, it entertains, reflecting a deep humanity. And Weston Playhouse opened a production Friday that tapped beautifully into that humanity, with its excellent cast and beautifully crafted storytelling. This is what theater does best. Opening on Broadway in 1990, the Tony and Pulitzerwinning “Lost in Yonkers” begins with Jay... READ MORE

"Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical" (Berkshire Bright Focus)

I find it difficult to accept that the hero of almost anyone's life would be Bing Crosby. The crooner who fathered son after son with a drunken wife, who played around a lot and who finally married a woman barely out of her teens doesn't seem the likely choice for such a role. But he serves in that capacity in the story of singer Rosemary Clooney whose life seems to be more like a Kim Novak movie than like her own. An abandoned child with a younger sister, Clooney dragged herself up from impoverishment... READ MORE

‘Tenderly’ a sterling showcase for Haefner, Lloyd (Chester Telegraph)

Weston Playhouse brings the life of singer Rosemary Clooney to its Other Stage with Tenderly, and while you might expect them to be rolling out a barrel of nostalgia, Tenderly is a drama with music that explores the highs and lows of the singer who, over several decades, was a Hollywood star, enjoyed No. 1 hit records in the ‘50s, became addicted to pills, saw her marriage collapse and had a number of breakdowns both off and onstage. The play takes place in an office of a doctor who is treating Clooney after a breakdown. READ MORE

“Tenderly” Review (Manchester Journal)

In 1968, Rosemary Clooney, the fabled 1950's songstress who starred opposite Bing Crosby in the movie “White Christmas,” was performing at a gig in Reno, Nevada. In that tumultuous time, she offered her audience a generous helping of past hits that swung but were no longer in fashion. As she began to warble “Come On-A My House,” she unraveled. “Tenderly” presents the life of Rosemary Clooney, framed around that 1968 breakdown and her attempts with a psychiatrist to see her way back by revisiting past struggles, glories and disappointments. Weston’s production of this appreciation of her full, flawed life is a triumph. And there are all of those wonderful songs! READ MORE

"Tenderly" (More Theatre Talk)

Rosemary Clooney had a successful career as a singer in the 1950s. Her professional life, however, was smoother than her personal life in which she overcame many obstacles.   She and her sister, Betty, had been abandoned by their mother when they were adolescents. Her marriage to Jose Ferrer was difficult. However, after a breakdown in the 1960s, Rosemary came back and worked steadily, singing and recording  until her death in 2002. READ MORE

"Tenderly" (Rutland Herald)

Weston Playhouse’s Susan Haefner starred in “Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical,” the two-person show by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, more than two years ago at the Cincinnati Playhouse. But Vermont audiences aren’t going to get quite the same show when she reprises the role July 13-Aug. 5 at the Weston Rod and Gun Club. “It has changed, but I think they cleaned some things up and made it clearer,” explained Tim Fort, one of Weston’s founding artistic directors... READ MORE

Weston’s Vermont Premiere of “Tenderly” leaves audience speechless (The Vermont Journal)

Amazing. Breathtaking. Inspiring. Incredible. Touching. Weston’s Rod and Gun Club theater was packed on July 14 for the 7:30 p.m. performance of “Tenderly,” starring two beloved actors, Susan Haefner and Samuel Lloyd Jr., who’ve appeared on Weston stages again and again. In the brief intermission, the audience was in awe and had few words to say. They needed the time to process the first half of an incredible performance, which was emotional, personal, realistic, and relatable. The audience found a piece of themselves in the characters who portrayed Rosemary Clooney’s life and works. READ MORE

Weston’s ‘Once:’ Superb ensemble in this celebration of music, love (Chester Telegraph)

Weston Playhouse opens its 81st summer season with a joyous production of  Once, a musical based on the 2007 Oscar-winning film of the same name. Once celebrates a passion for music and the rediscovery of love, and this production has brought together singer/actor/musicians to create one of the best ensembles you are likely to see and hear this — or any other — season. In this musical, the cast also serves as its own orchestra...READ MORE

"Once" Review (Manchester Journal)

Weston Playhouse Theatre Company’s rousing, engaging and thoroughly satisfying production of “Once,” the award-winning musical that opened its season, begins in an Irish pub. Prior to the formal performance, patrons were treated to non-alcoholic ginger beer onstage alongside cast members who, each armed with a fiddle, mandolin, banjo, cello or other instrument, took turns playing various ditties and jigs. READ MORE

Theater review: ‘Once’ upon a time in an Irish pub (Rutland Herald)

“Once” is unlike most Broadway musical storytelling, and it’s not just because it’s Irish -though that is largely responsible for the quirky but delicious plot. Rather, the love story in “Once” emerges from a cabaret on stage where performers are both actors and pit band. And the result, in the Weston Playhouse production opening its 2017 main stage season Friday, was effervescent, fun and deeply affecting. Performances run through July 15. READ MORE 

Theater Review: 'Once,' Weston Playhouse (Seven Days) 

In staging the exultant musical Once, the Weston Playhouse doesn't just present an evening of toe-tapping music. It also aims to overfill our glasses, as if we're all together in an Irish pub listening to songs, with Guinness dripping from our pints. Guitar, fiddle, cello, bass, accordion and percussion (from spoons to drums) fill the theater, just as music fills the characters' hearts. The 2012 Tony Award-winning musical is based on John Carney's 2007 movie that starred the songs' composers: Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. With book by Enda Walsh, the show keeps a hint of the bittersweet love story between an Irish busker and a Czech immigrant in Dublin. But the main focus is on the love of music itself and finding the courage to follow a dream. READ MORE