Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Westport Country Playhouse Announces 80th Anniversary Season

Westport Country Playhouse will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2010, staging a season of five productions including musicals, comedy and drama. The 2010 season will be the first official season of artistic programming by Mark Lamos (pictured right), who was appointed Playhouse artistic director last February.

"It was an exciting challenge to create the 80th-anniversary season for this historic Playhouse," said Lamos. "First of all, I wanted to continue the tradition of theater for our community with as wide a variety of plays and musicals as possible---some celebratory, some profound, others really joyful and inspiring, even daring. We want to open up avenues into a bright new future now, and hopefully this season will lead the way.”

“Our 80th-anniversary celebration has a unique lineup: two musicals, one grand, the other intimate; two of the greatest plays of the 20th century, one based on one of the most important and beloved books ever written; and a yet to be announced contemporary comedy that will bring a little edge to our proceedings,” Lamos continued. “I'm eager to share these shows with the communities that make up our audiences, and the artists who love our theater; and I look forward with enthusiasm to taking the first steps into a new beginning for the Westport Country Playhouse.”

The musical comedy, She Loves Me, will begin the celebratory season, April 27 through May 15. Lamos will direct the classic, which features score and book by the team that created Fiddler on the Roof.

The plot involves Georg and Amalia, who are madly in love. They just don’t realize it yet. Caught up in a feud at the perfumery where they work, neither suspects that the other is their anonymous romantic pen pal. Book is by Joe Masterhoff; music by Jerry Bock; lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The show was the inspiration for the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film, "You've Got Mail.”

A TBA production is scheduled for June 1 through June 19. According to Lamos, the play will be “a bright, smart new contemporary comedy hit.”

Happy Days by Samuel Beckett, the Nobel Prize-winning author of Waiting for Godot, recently revived on Broadway to wide acclaim, will run July 6-24, directed by Lamos. Beckett’s masterpiece, the story of one woman’s cheerful optimism in the face of a trifling universe, is among the most inspiring and exhilarating explorations of what it means to be alive.

The musical I Do! I Do! will be staged Aug. 10-28. Written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, composers of The Fantasticks, the endearing story spans 50 years in the marriage of Agnes and Michael. One man, one woman and a captivating musical score encompass all the richness and variety of experience inherent in taking the plunge into a life spent with someone you love.

A timeless and powerful classic, The Diary of Anne Frank, by Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly revised by Wendy Kesselman, will play Sept. 28 through Oct. 16. During the Second World War, Anne Frank and her family go into hiding to escape the Nazis. Her account of the time spent in a small Amsterdam attic remains among the greatest personal stories from the darkest moment in history, and one of the most compelling coming of age tales ever told.

The 2010 performance schedule is Tuesday at 8 pm, Wednesday at 2 and 8 pm, Thursday and Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 4 and 8 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. Special series feature Previews, A Taste of Tuesdays, Opening Nights, Thursday TalkBack, Sunday Symposium, Backstage Pass and Open Captioning.

For ticket information, visit http://www.westportplayhouse.org/info/subscription_options.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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