Cortland Repertory Theatre...In The News !
CRT ANNOUNCES 42nd ANNUAL SUMMER SEASON FOR 2013
Cortland Repertory Theatre, one of New York State’s longest running professional summer theatres, is announcing their 42nd annual season for the summer of 2013. Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson says that CRT has seen its highest attended seasons in the past two years. “We are very grateful that we’ve seen such tremendous support and attendance in the last couple of years,” he said. “With the popularity of shows like Cats, Joseph…, Grease and our Agatha Christie mysteries, we’ve seen a lot of new people visiting, becoming subscribers, and in some cases coming back a second time to see the same show.” 2011 saw over 17,600 people attend the 6 mainstage productions – a record breaking season; last summer saw over 17,400, making it the second highest attended season in CRT’s history.
As of last June, CRT has relocated their Administration and Box Offices to the new “CRT Downtown” at 24 Port Watson Street in Cortland. CRT continues to raise funds to create their new winter performance space in this building. “We still have a long ways to go on our capital campaign, and no date has been set for a winter season yet.” Thompson says. “We’re being very mindful of every gift we receive, and very careful to not spend what we don’t have. We raise money and then we do another chunk of work on the building.” Upcoming renovations include a new insulated roof, an upgraded sprinkler system and air ventilation systems, and new public rest rooms. “It’s a big project which we knew going into it. We’re confident we’ll continue to make progress.” Thompson says. CRT invites the public to drop by and see the new lobby and offices during regular business hours.
Looking forward to next summer, the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org has complete information on ticket prices and hours of business. Subscriptions orders and sales for groups of 10 or more are being taken at this time, and order forms for gift certificates and subscriptions are also available online. For more information, call 800-427-6160.
Starting the season off from June 5 – 15 is The Unexpected Guest, a murder mystery by CRT’s most popular playwright, Agatha Christie. On a foggy night in Wales, Michael Starkwedder runs his car off the road and walks to a nearby house seeking help. Instead, he finds a man murdered and his beautiful wife standing over him with a gun. The dazed woman confesses, but the enraptured Starkwedder believes otherwise and decides to help her by pinning the murder on an intruder. But who really did it? The other family members all have motives and the police open a Pandora's Box of loves, hates, suspicions and intrigues. Whodunit? The audience is left to puzzle through the clues and red herrings that Dame Agatha weaves through her clever mysteries.
Next up from June 19 – July 6 is the CRT premiere of the worldwide musical sensation Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story by Alan James. This high-energy musical tells the remarkable story of Buddy Holly, whose musical career spanned an all-too-brief period during the golden days of rock ‘n’ roll. Follow Buddy from his humble country music roots through his meteoric rise to the top of the record charts, and his untimely death in 1959. Seen by more than 20 million people across the globe, this fantastic musical features the hits Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, and That'll Be the Day, along with Ritchie Valens' La Bamba, the Big Bopper's Chantilly Lace and many more! This family friendly musical has audiences dancing in the aisles by the end, and is a great celebration combined with the 4th of July.
From July 10 – 27, CRT will “let it all hang out” with their third show The Full Monty, with a book by Terrence McNally, and music and lyrics by David Yazbeck. Based on the Oscar-nominated film and nominated for 10 Tony Awards, this rollicking musical has audiences cheering for underdogs everywhere! Six out-of-work and out-of-shape steelworkers in Buffalo - frustrated by money, women, and life without a paycheck - decide to raise some cash by performing a one-night-only striptease. However, after seeing the local ladies response to a touring Chippendales show, the men have an impulsive moment of bravado and promise to go “all the way” (otherwise known as “The Full Monty.”) Will they triumph over their insecurities, their nerves and their zippers? This one-of-a-kind musical bares its soul…among other things…to reveal its huge heart. CRT warns with a content advisory that this show contains adult language and nudity, and is recommended for mature audiences only.
For something completely different, from July 31 – August 10, CRT travels back in time with the next musical, The 1940’s Radio Hour by Walton Jones, featuring the greatest songs from the 1930’s and 40’s. Direct from the Hotel Astor's Algonquin Room in New York City, join The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade as they present a “live” radio broadcast on December 21, 1942. The spirit of that bygone era comes alive with a behind-the-scenes look at the fun and drama of producing a live radio show. Of course, not everything runs smoothly. The lead trumpet player has just signed up to join the armed forces, the local delivery boy is doing everything possible to sing on the show, and the production manager has to deal with an intoxicated lead singer! Featuring such great songs as Strike Up the Band, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and I’ll Be Seeing You this sweet, charming and funny show is one from and for the memory books.
Next from August 14 – 24 is the incredible story Shipwrecked! An Entertainment - The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as told by himself) by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies. Sit back and hear the fantastic story of Louis de Rougemont, a would-be explorer who embarks from Victorian England on a daring expedition only to find himself marooned on a remote desert island. Then the real adventure begins for Louis and his faithful dog Bruno. All told by “Louis” himself with the aid of only two other actors and a heaps of theatre magic, the breathless tale comes to life before your eyes with a typhoon, a killer octopus, flying wombats, cannibals and of course, a shipwreck! As the story gets bigger and bigger, the boundary between truth and fiction blurs. Inspired by a true story, this charming, family-friendly frolic is like nothing seen before on the CRT stage.
Closing the season from August 28 – September 7 will be CRT premiere of I’ll Be Back Before Midnight by Peter Colley. Thrills, chills, and big laughs lurk around every corner in this edge-of-your-seat hit play, which has been produced in 29 countries around the world, 48 of the 50 states, and every province in Canada. Jan, suffering from a nervous disorder, and her husband Greg rent a remote farmhouse in the woods to help her recover. The landlord, an odd farmer who loves telling ghost stories, occasionally drops by and unsettles Jan. But when Greg’s dramatic sister arrives, frightening events begin to take place. Is someone out to get Jan? Or is it all in her head? It’s a comedic thriller…or a thrilling comedy…that you won’t soon forget.
Also next summer, the “CRT KIDS” program will present the first original CRT children’s play The Heroic Adventures of Puss N Boots, a participation play written by local playwright and director, Kim L. Hubbard. Join that swashbuckling hero Puss ‘N Boots and his friends on an amazing adventure, with a valuable and timely morale about bullying and the importance of the consideration towards others. When Young Red (in her favorite red hoodie!) is captured by the evil Captain Hook and his contrary assistant Mary Mary, Ginger the gingerbread girl enlists the aid of the great hero of the Fantasy Forest Puss N’ Boots to help rescue her! In their search for their friend, they meet Little Boy Blue, who is blue because Hook and Mary have bullied him into helping them and he feels badly about himself. Thanks to the cleverness of Puss, Red is saved, Boy Blue learns of his self-worth, and even Hook learns an important lesson about himself. This story about understanding self-esteem, friendship, and forgiveness is told in an exciting way, complete with swashbuckling sword fights, witty humor and lots of audience participation. Public performances are planned for July 11, 13, 19 and 20 at 10:00 AM.
CRT will again offer their two day camps for young thespians: “Stars of Tomorrow” for students in Grades 5 – 12 from June 24 – July 20, and “Showstoppers and Superstars” for students in K- 5 from July 22 – August 3. More information on both camps is located on CRT’s website, as well as information about all of CRT’s shows and events. Gift Certificates are available for single tickets, subscriptions, flex passes or a monetary value, and are available now. Individual tickets for all of CRT’s summer shows will go on sale starting May 20, 2013. Call 800-427-6160 for more information.
CRT WRAPS UP THE 2012 SUMMER WITH THE HILARIOUS COMEDY "THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP"
Cortland Repertory Theatre serves up big laughs in the final show of their 41st annual summer season with the hysterical comedy/farce/thriller “The Mystery of Irma Vep”, by master comedy writer, Charles Ludlam. A hilarious satire of several film genres – from silent movies to Alfred Hitchcock, from melodrama to black-and-white horror classics - “Irma Vep” features a two-man cast playing multiple characters with 35 costume quick-changes throughout the course of the evening. The play was first produced in Greenwich Village in 1984 by the Ridiculous Theatre Company which Ludlam founded. It won a special Drama Desk Award and an Obie Award for Best Ensemble Performance. In 1991, it held the record for being the most produced play in the United States. It was revived Off-Broadway in 1998, where it won the Lucille Lortell Award for Outstanding Revival.
Performances of “The Mystery of Irma Vep” will run from August 29 – September 8 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on August 31, September 2 and 5 at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-427-6160 or in person at the CRT Box Office at 24 Port Watson Street in Cortland. The show is suitable for younger teens and up.
The play begins at Mandacrest Estate, the home of world-explorer Lord Edgar Hillcrest and his new wife Lady Enid. Though recently married to Enid, Edgar is finding it hard to let go of the ties to his first wife, Lady Irma. The servants, snippy house maid Jane Twisden and peg-legged groundskeeper Nicodemus Underwood have formed their own unfavorable opinions of the new Lady of the House. As night nears and candles flicker, creepy things begin to happen in and around the mansion. Lady Enid learns more about the mysterious family history, which only adds to her growing fear when she hears a wolf howling in the moors. After a quick jaunt to Egypt to investigate an unexplored tomb, Edgar returns home with a mummy in a sarcophagus to decorate the living room. As the melodrama grows - and the costume changes get quicker – the laughs build to a hysterical and fascinating conclusion as the mystery of Lady Irma Vep (and the interesting spelling of her name) is revealed!
Leading the hilarity is long-time CRT director Bert Bernardi, fresh from directing “Grease” earlier this summer. Other previous CRT credits for Bernardi include last year’s record breaker “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” as well as “Forever Plaid”, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”, “Johnny Guitar” and “Over the River and Through the Woods” to name a few. Stage Manager Laura Krouch heads up the design team of Jason Bolen (Scenic Designer), Jimmy Johnansmeyer (Costumes), Eric Behnke (Lighting), Sam Sheehan (Props) and Seth Asa Sengel (Sound) who also doubles as Assistant Stage Manager. Nicholas Schwartz serves as Technical Director.
Both actors in the cast are making their CRT debuts. Playing Lord Edgar and Jane Twisden is John DeSilvestri, who holds a BA in Drama from the University of Hartford, an MBA from Fordham University and is an alumnus of the O’Neil National Theatre Institute. Playing Lady Enid, Nicodemus Underwood and Alcazar, the Egyptian guide is Christopher Scheer, who holds a BA in Theatre from Muhlenberg College and also completed a year-long prestigious acting apprenticeship at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Who exactly is Irma Vep will be revealed during the show!
CRT DEBUTS THE AWARD WINNING COMEDIC DRAMA "THE DRAWER BOY"
The fifth show in Cortland Repertory Theatre’s 41st summer season comes to the Little York Pavilion by way of Canada, with the award-winning comedic drama “The Drawer Boy” written by Michael Healey. First produced in Toronto in 1999, the play has gone on to be produced throughout Canada, the United States and London, winning numerous awards including The Governor’s General Award and being listed on Time Magazine’s list of “Top Ten New Classics”. In the early 2000’s, it had the distinction of being the most produced play in U.S. regional theatres; this production will mark CRT’s debut performance.
Performances of “The Drawer Boy” will run from August 15 - 25 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on August 17, 19 and 22 at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-427-6160 or in person at the CRT Box Office at 24 Port Watson Street in Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org. The show is suitable for younger teens and up, though it does contain some mild adult language.
Set in 1973, “The Drawer Boy” relates the tale of Miles, a young actor from a Toronto theatre troupe who visits the rural Ontario home of two bachelor farmers to "research" farm life for a new play. The farmers, Morgan and Angus, are life-long friends and veterans of World War II. Morgan, a tough-minded, stubborn man, takes care of Angus, who has had brain damage and lost his memory during the bombing of London. Angus is initially identified as "the drawer boy" (as in, “a person who draws”) because he used to design buildings, and has the talents of an architect. When Angus becomes confused or upset, Morgan calms him by retelling their life story, and of the two women whom they loved, and who came to live with them. However, Miles learns of deeper secrets in their past and in the process of working on his play, reawakens Angus' memory. Life becomes Art, which then turns the tables and Art becomes Life. “The Drawer Boy” is fundamentally about the power of storytelling in creating and interpreting reality, and how it can transform lives.
CRT’s Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson explains the appeal of the show. “This play is a fascinating work on many levels. There’s a great deal of humor, especially as the farmers teach the city-boy actor about farm life, from milking cows to rotating pastures. The deeper story of the farmer’s secret that they have held for their adult lives is a moving and emotional statement about the power of friendship. There really is something for everyone in this show.”
At the directing helm is long-time CRT director Bill Kincaid, whose previous Cortland credits include five productions nominated for Syracuse Area Live Theatre Awards, including last year’s winner “Chicago” as well as “Souvenir”, 2010’s “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks”, 2009’s “Gross Indecency” and 2008’s “A Few Good Men”. Stage Manager Eric Behnke also serves as Lighting Designer, joining returning designers Jonathan Wentz (set), Sam Sheehan (props), Seth Asa Sengel (sound) and making her costume designer debut, former CRT Wardrobe Supervisor Liz Meehan. Nicholas Schwartz serves as Technical Director for this production, with Natasha Thompson finishing her summer as Assistant Stage Manager.
The three person cast is comprise of frequent CRT actor Dustin Charles as Miles, Kyle Kennedy as Morgan and Greg London making his CRT debut as Angus. Charles has previously been seen in “The Hollow”, “Rumors”, “Brigadoon” and “Unnecessary Farce” to name a few. Kennedy has also been seen on the CRT stage in “A Murder is Announced”, “Gross Indecency”, and “A Few Good Men”.
CRT DEBUTS AGATHA CHRISTIE’S THRILLING MYSTERY “THE HOLLOW”
For spicing up the summer months, there’s nothing like an intriguing murder mystery and that’s just what Cortland Repertory Theatre is serving up for their fourth show in the 2012 summer season with Agatha Christie’s “The Hollow”. This exciting mystery was adapted by the “Queen of Mystery” herself from her novel of the same name and is filled with humor, clever subplots and enough “red herrings” to keep the most avid mystery fans guessing “who-dun-it” right until the end.
Performances of CRT’s “The Hollow” will run from August 1 - 11 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on August 3, 8 and 10 at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-427-6160 or in person at the CRT Box Office at their new location, 24 Port Watson Street in Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org. The show is suitable for the teens and up, as it may not hold the attention of younger children.
In the show, a romantic game of “Follow-The-Leader” explodes into murder during a party weekend at The Hollow, a quiet English summer cottage belonging to Sir Henry Angkatell and his wife. One of the guests, a philandering doctor who has no shortage of lovers, gets himself in hot water when his wife, mistress and former mistress all wind up at the cottage at the same time. Tempers flare until one unlucky soul is used for target practice! Secrets are revealed and everyone - from the upper-class relatives to the surprise guests to the servants – seems to have a motive. It’s up to the local police inspector with the help of his detective sergeant to find out who the murderer is before they strike again!
Directing the show is CRT’s Assistant Producer Jim Bumgardner, whose previous CRT credits include two other Christie mysteries, both hits for CRT: “The Mousetrap” and last season’s “A Murder is Announced”, which became CRT’s 3rd highest attended non-musical play in the theatre’s 41 year history. Other CRT shows directed by Bumgardner include “Brigadoon”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Moonlight and Magnolias”, amongst many others. Frequent CRT actor Dustin Charles serves as Dialect Coach for the cast as well as playing the philandering doctor, John Cristow. Stage Manager Laura Krouch leads the production staff comprised of designers with much experience at CRT, including Costume Designer Wendi Zea, Lighting Designer Shawn Boyle, Props Mistress Danielle Hodgins, Sound Designer Seth Asa Sengel and Scenic Designer Jonathan Wentz, who designed last season’s “The Smell of the Kill”. Patrick McGovern continues as Technical Director as does Natasha Thompson as Assistant Stage Manager.
The talented cast is comprised of actors with many previous CRT credits. Playing the down-to-earth sculptress Henrietta Angkatell is Melissa Herion, seen in last summer’s “Rumors”. Playing the ditzy (or is she?) Lady Angkatell is Mary Williams, who was seen in “A Murder is Announced” and previously in “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” and “I Hate Hamlet”; and as the gun enthusiast Sir Henry Angkatell is Dale Young, who has been seen in two other Christies - “Spider’s Web” and “Ten Little Indians” along with “Gross Indecency”. Dylan Schwartz-Wallach, as the love-smitten Edward Angkatell, makes his second appearance on CRT’s stage this summer, having played Danny Zuko in the popular production of “Grease”. Charlotte Fox also returns, to play the Hollywood siren Veronica Craye after appearing in last summer’s “Chicago” and “The Smell of the Kill”. Fresh from both “Grease” and “Cats” are three CRT interns, who also play crucial roles: Avery Epstein as the young and determined Midge Henry, Alexa Shanahan as the maid-with-a-secret Doris and Chris Collins as Detective Sergeant Penny. Making their CRT debuts are Phyllis Gordon as the long suffering doctor’s wife Gerda Cristow, Mark Mason as Gudgeon the loyal butler and Brian Alan Hill as Inspector Colquhoun who is charged with solving the case.
CRT PRESENTS THE BLOCKBUSTER MUSICAL “CATS”
For the third production in their 41st annual summer season, Cortland Repertory Theatre will present the magical mystical musical “Cats”, based on the poetry of T. S. Eliot with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. From Eliot’s book of poems “Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats”, this crowd-pleasing musical first opened in London in 1981 and then on Broadway in 1982; it won numerous awards, including both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for Best Musical. The London production ran for twenty-one years and the Broadway production ran for eighteen, both setting long-run records. It is now the second longest-running show in Broadway history, and the fourth longest-running West End musical. It has been performed around the world and has been translated into more than 20 languages.
Performances of CRT’s “Cats” will run from July 11 – 28 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on July 13, 15, 18, 22 and 25 at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-427-6160 or at CRT’s new box office location at 24 Port Watson Street in downtown Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org. The show is perfectly suitable for the whole family, and would be a wonderful introduction to live theatre for young audiences.
This exciting and unique show is unlike any other in the world of musical theatre. Told entirely in song and dance, it introduces a tribe of “cat characters” called “The Jellicles”, who prove to be as distinctive and full of personality as the animals are in real life. On the night of the Jellicle Ball when the cats gather together in the back alley outside an abandoned theatre, they make "the Jellicle choice", which is to decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. A large grey tabby called Munkustrap explains that they are waiting for their leader, the wise Old Deuteronomy, to make this final decision. One by one, the cats step forward to introduce themselves, including Jennyanydots, who sleeps all day but prowls for mice by night; the Rum Tum Tugger, a sleek and sexy tabby that the female cats find extremely attractive; Grizabella, The Glamour Cat, who was once beautiful but is now shunned by the rest of the tribe, Bustopher Jones, a “cat about town”, who spends his time eating in one of the many nearby pubs, and Asparagus, the old Theatre Cat, who’s fading mind wanders back to his heyday when he performed in many stage productions. Trouble starts when the villainous Macavity appears and “cat-naps” Old Deuteronomy. The tribe calls on the magical Mr. Mistoffelees to find their leader, and soon under the light of a full moon, one cat is chosen to be reborn. Best known for the song “Memory”, the show contains a variety of musical styles and beautiful dance numbers.
Directing and choreographing this challenging production is Barbara Hartwig, making her CRT debut. Hartwig is currently the resident artist and choreographer at Coastal Carolina University, and also works as a professional actress, singer and dancer. She has performed on Broadway, danced with the San Antonio Ballet Company and with Baryshnikov at the White House and at the Kennedy Center, and has toured both nationally and in Europe. She has served as a staging specialist for Walt Disney World and has directed and choreographed over 60 productions professionally. “Cats” music direction is handled by Joel Gelpe, who is the current musical director and accompanist at Ithaca College. Gelpe served as Music Director for the national tours of “Evita”, “42nd Street”, and “A Chorus Line” and has played keyboards for Broadway and Disney productions. He is also the composer and lyricist of many original musicals.
“Cats” cast members include a mix of returnees to CRT and many young dancers/singers making their CRT debuts. Playing Grisabella is Emily Brockway, last seen as leading lady Fiona in CRT’s “Brigadoon”, for which she was nominated for a SALT Award. Homer resident Kim Hubbard, also seen in “Brigadoon” and a long-time director of the “CRT Kids” shows will play Asparagus (or “Gus”), the theatre cat. Rin Allen, last seen as Rizzo in “Grease” and as a SALT Award nominee for “Chicago”, will play Bombalurina. Matt Couvillon, last seen in CRT’s “Pajama Game” and “Brigadoon” will play Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat. CRT’s Performing Interns step into the spotlight, after having last been seen in “Grease”: Alexander Hulett as Munkustrap, Parker Slaybaugh as Mr. Mistoffelees, Alexa Shanahan as Jennyanydots, Avery Epstein as Victoria, Abby Sheridan as Sillabub, and Chris Collins as Tumblebrutus. Actors currently being seen in CRT’s “Grease” who will also be in “Cats” include Abigail Gatlin as Demeter, Ryan Shaefer as Rum Tum Tugger and Maria Cristina Slye as Rumpleteazer. Making their CRT debuts are Richard Wagoner as both Old Deuteronomy and Bustopher Jones, Stephen Brower as Alonzo, Katherine Margo Brown as Cassandra, Conor DeVoe as Mungojerrie, Jonathan-Blake Flemings as Pouncival, Amanda Lee Myers as Jellylorum, and James Wells as both Plato and Macavity.
Stage Manager Eric Behnke leads the production staff, which includes returnees from CRT’s “Grease” including Scenic Designer Jason Bolan, Costume Designer Jimmy Johansmeyer, Lighting Designer Shawn Boyle, Sound Designer Seth Asa Sengel, and Props Mistress Danielle Hodgin. Patrick McGovern continues as Technical Director as does Natasha Thompson as Assistant Stage Manager.
Get Ready to Rock N Roll with "GREASE"!
Cortland Repertory Theatre invites one and all to travel back in time to the rockin’ and rollin’ 1950’s with their next production, the blockbuster musical “Grease”, which has book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. The original Broadway production, which opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on June 7, 1971, ran for 3,388 making it the longest running Broadway musical at that time. It remains Broadway’s 14th longest running show, and has had two successful revivals in 1994 and 2007. Some of the stars who passed through the original production include the original “Danny” Barry Bostwick and the movie “Danny” John Travolta, as well as Patrick Swazye, Treat Williams, Jeff Conaway, Marilu Henner and Adrienne Barbeau. The then-unknown Richard Gere starred in the London production in 1973. The wildly successful movie version starring Travolta and Olivia Newton-John was released in 1978, and the movie soundtrack became the 2nd highest selling album of the year.
Performances of CRT’s “Grease” will hit the stage from June 20 – July 7 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on June 22, 24, 27, 29 and July 1 at 2:00 PM. There is no show on July 3rd, but an evening performance is available on July 4th. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-427-6160 or in person at the CRT Box Office at 37 Franklin Street in Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org. The show is lively, mildly sexual and has some minor adult language.
In this high energy musical, the rebellious 1959 graduating class from Rydell High start their senior year with a bang, as head greaser Danny Zuko and new “good girl” Sandy Dumbrowski sing about the high romance of their “Summer Nights”. Joined by the hot-rodding Burger Palace Boys and their gum-snapping girlfriends The Pink Ladies, the gang maneuver their way through teen love, romance, friendship, rebellion and sexual exploration all while singing and dancing the hit songs Greased Lightnin', You’re the One That I Want, Raining on Prom Night, The Hand Jive, and many more.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing this fantastic musical to CRT for the first time!” says CRT Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson. “Our young cast is overflowing with energy and excitement, and our design team is creating a strikingly beautiful set and costume plot. Anyone who loves the movie but has never seen the show on stage is sure to love this production!”
The director of “Grease” is Bert Bernardi, whose previous CRT credits includes “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”, “Johnny Guitar” and many others. SUNY Cortland dance instructor Cynthia Halpin handles the choreography, having previously choreographed CRT’s “Joseph…” and “Brigadoon”. Music Direction is by recent Ithaca College graduate Logan Culwell, in his first show at CRT.
The cast is comprised mostly of new faces to the CRT stage. Danny will be played by Dylan Schwartz-Wallach, with Sandy played by recent Syracuse University graduate Tess Polacheck. Rin Allen, who was nominated for a SALT Award for her performance as Velma Kelly in CRT’s “Chicago” last summer, returns to play tough-talking Betty Rizzo. The Burger Palace Boys are played by Ryan Shaefer as Kenickie, Ithaca College student Coleman Hemsath as Roger and CRT Performing Interns Alexander Hulett as Doodie and Chris Collins as Sonny. The Pink Ladies are played by Abigail Gatlin as Marty with CRT Performing Interns Alexa Shanahan as Frenchy and Abby Sheridan as Jan. Cheerleader Patty Simcox will be played by Syracuse University student Avery Epstein, with Parker Slaybaugh playing Eugene Florcyzk, both Performing Interns. Rounding out the cast will be Maria Cristina Slye, just seen in “The Ladies Man” as Cha-Cha DiGregorio, and local actress Nancy Kane as Miss Lynch. Radio DJ Vince Fontaine will be played by long time CRT Costume Designer Jimmy Johansmeyer, who also designs the costuming for the show.
In her CRT debut, Stage Manager Laura Krouch is charged with organizing the production and crew. Design staff includes most returnees from CRT’s previous show “The Ladies Man” including Scenic Designer Jason Bolan, Lighting Designer Shawn Boyle, Sound Designer Seth Asa Sengel, and Props Master Sam Sheehan. Patrick McGovern continues as Technical Director as does Natasha Thompson as Assistant Stage Manager.
CRT continues the tradition of “Friday Night Talk Backs” at which a Q & A session with the actors, designers and crew take place after every Friday evening performance. Tickets are also on sale for the rest of CRT’s summer season, including the upcoming “Cats”, Agatha Christie’s “The Hollow”, “The Drawer Boy”, “The Mystery of Irma Vep” and four performances of the children’s show “Aladdin”, as well as the summer fundraiser “The CRT Cabaret” starring the cast of “Cats” on July 21.
Cortland Rep Kicks off the Summer Season with the Regional Premiere of "THE LADIES MAN"
Cortland Repertory Theatre kicks off their 41st season at the Little York Pavilion with the regional premiere of a hysterical new farce “The Ladies Man”, written by Charles Morey, who “freely translated and adapted” this version from the French farce “Tailleur pour dames” by Georges Feydeau.
Performances will run from June 6th - 16th with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on June 8th, 10th and 13th at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchase by calling 800-427-6160 or at the CRT Box Office at 37 Franklin Street in Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org.
This fast-paced, laugh-a-minute farce takes place in Belle Époque Paris in the early 1900’s. The recently married Dr. Hercule Molineaux tells “one tiny, little, hardly noticeable lie” to cover an innocent but embarrassing indiscretion of a trip to the Moulin Rouge. From that single untruth tumbles a cascade of increasingly convoluted deceptions, misunderstandings and mistaken identities. Compounding Molineaux’s troubles are a suspicious young wife, a gorgon of a mother-in-law, an outrageously aggressive female patient, her violently jealous Prussian husband, a well-intentioned friend with an unfortunate speech impediment, a valet with attitude, a maid with a secret, and more slamming doors than realistic architecture should ever accommodate, all adding up to a hilariously zany and infectiously charming evening.
Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson directs, who has also directed CRT’s farces in the last few years, including “Rumors”, “See How They Run” and CRT’s top attended non-musical play, “Unnecessary Farce”. “Putting together a farce is always great fun and challenging in a two week rehearsal period,” Thompson says. “This is a fantastic cast who really understand the delivery and rhythms to a farce. Anyone who loves or needs a good laugh is sure to enjoy this production!” Frequent CRT actor Dustin Charles works behind the scenes on this production, serving as Assistant Director and dialect coach.
The cast is a mix of familiar and new faces to CRT audiences. Michael Schafer returns to play Dr. Molineaux, having been seen in past CRT productions of “See How They Run”, “Moonlight and Magnolias”, “Harvey” and “Sylvia”. Playing the spitting patient with a lisp is SALT Award nominee Nicholas Wilder, who starred in “Rumors” last summer. Actress Rebecca McGraw plays the gorgon mother-in-law Madame Airgreville. McGraw was also seen in “See How They Run”, as well as last summer’s “A Murder is Announced” and previously in “Damn Yankees”. Justin Klose, who has been seen in “Spider’s Web” and “Unnecessary Farce” plays the snooty valet. Newcomers to CRT include Shanya Vercillo as the doctor’s young wife Yvonne, Suzy Kimball as the aggressive patient Suzanne with Joe York as her Prussian husband, Gustav. Rounding out the cast is Maria Cristina Slye as the maid Maria.
Returning Stage Manager Eric Behnke leads a talented production team. Returning this year are: Jason Bolen who created scenic designs for CRT’s “Rumors”, “Chicago”, “Joseph….Dreamcoat” amongst many others; Costume designer Wendi Zea returns, having last worked on “Spider’s Web” and “See How They Run” in 2010. Frequent CRT Lighting Designer Shawn Boyle also is returning along with Technical Director Patrick McGovern and Properties Mistress Danielle Hodgins. Seth Asa Sengel makes his CRT debut as Sound Designer as does Assistant Stage Management Intern Natasha Thompson.
CRT will continue the tradition of “Friday Night Talk Backs” at which a Q & A session with the actors, designers and crew takes place after every Friday evening performance.
CRT PLANS FOR THE FUTURE WITH EXPANSION
TO DOWNTOWN CORTLAND
(From The Cortland Standard's "2010 Outlook" Publication)
"I felt like Goldilocks." Cortland Repertory Theatre's Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson says, regarding the search for an additional CRT facility. "Some of the buildings we looked at were too big, some were too small, some weren't in a good location, some had no parking. Where we ended up, however, is pretty close to being 'just right'." For the past five years, CRT had been on the hunt for a building, not to replace their summer home at the Little York Pavilion, but to compliment it. "CRT is very lucky to have a Board of Directors and Theatre Guild made up of forward thinkers who not only plan for five years from now, but for ten and twenty years down the road. To make sure CRT has the staying power for years to come, we knew it was time to expand our horizons."
As previously reported, CRT has purchased the former Recreation Bowling Alleys at 24 Port Watson Street in downtown Cortland . In the coming year, the theatre will renovate the building to hold their Administrative and Box Offices, construction shops and storage of theatrical sets, props and costumes, and a theatre space for plays and musicals. CRT plans to sell their current office and warehouse at 37 Franklin Street in Cortland .
With this new "CRT Downtown" location, the theatre has potential to assist in the staying power of local restaurants and businesses in easy walking distance. In addition to an audience of SUNY Cortland professors, students, neighborhood seniors and other Cortland residents, CRT's bus tour business will continue outside the summer. "Currently, our summers host up to 20 busses from around the region, with visitors looking for places to eat and shop." he says. Additionally, the building will be designed as a multiuse facility. Arts and craft fairs, Under-21 dances, corporate meetings and a New Year's Eve Ball are all possibilities. "With this building, our only limit is our imagination." Thompson says.
In recent years, the theatre has enjoyed record high attendance, but expenses grew at an equal pace. Last summer, the theatre was hit by the economic downturn. "Individual attendance was significantly down, though our subscriber base stayed steady." Thompson says. "We always have our audiences' best interests at heart, so rather than raising ticket prices to pay the bills, we looked outside the summer. We needed to spread our wings in a new facility that could accommodate a winter theatre." Thompson points out that CRT has the most affordable ticket price of professional theatres in the area, a significant factor in their mission statement. "Our mission is to provide excellent quality theatre at an affordable price. To stay affordable, we needed a plan other than just raising prices." Thompson says. "It was time for a leap of faith."
Initially, this expansion will tax CRT's minimal coffers even more, but Thompson and the Board's administrators are confident that they will be supported. "This step shouldn't be misconstrued as an indication that CRT is rolling in the dough." Thompson says. "We bought this building with a considerable loan. We'll have significant construction and renovation costs to get up to code compliance and become operational, not the least of which are a complete overhaul of the electrical wiring, rebuilding walls, patching the roof and adding heating. A capital campaign is definitely in the works. If anything, we need out supporters' help now more than ever!"
Thompson adds that the theatre will not ignore their summer home, the Little York Pavilion. "Talk about 'Staying Power'! Think of how different the world was when the Pavilion was built in 1906. CRT is so lucky to have it as our summer home and Cortland residents should be proud to have such a beautiful and unique building in our community. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the County, who owns the Pavilion, in keeping it safe and looking good." he says. "Besides the sprinkler system and elevator that CRT took the lead on installing a few years ago, last year we began rebuilding the first floor porch railing to go along with the County's significant work in rebuilding the second floor porch. As one of Cortland 's main summer attractions, we'll continue working with the County to reach our goal of restoring the Pavilion back to looking as beautiful as it did when it was built."
In hearing of CRT's expansion, most residents have been supportive. "There are some naysayers, of course, who have said they'll stop donating because it appears we have money to burn, which couldn't be further from the truth! However, a majority understand what we're trying to do. We're planning not only for the future of CRT but doing our part for the future of downtown and Cortland County . We can easily partner with the 1890 House Museum , the Cortland Arts Trail and Cultural Council, even Greek Peak and their new water park and the Lime Hollow Nature Center . Having a year-round professional theatre is a tremendous selling point for the BDC/IDA and the Chamber of Commerce in attracting businesses to Cortland . Arts and culture add to the quality of life of a community, and a significant trait that businesses look for if they're considering moving here. Add our plans to the performances offered at the Homer Center for the Arts, the Country Music Park and in the Downtown Music Series, and it's easy to see that Cortland is a thriving, simulating place to live, work and play."
As Board, Guild and community members put in hours of volunteer work on the downtown location, CRT continues planning for the upcoming 39 th summer season. "In addition to everything else that's happening, we still have an exciting summer ahead of us." Thompson points out that all 2010 shows are making their CRT debut. Opening the season is Agatha Christie's murder mystery "Spider's Web" followed by the British farce "See How They Run". July and August will see two musicals: the fun and steamy "The Pajama Game" followed by "Brigadoon", a magical love story set in the hills of Scotland . Next up is the Central New York premiere of the comedy "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks" in which a feisty older woman gets more than she bargains for by hiring a flamboyant dance instructor to teach her social dancing. The season concludes with the New York State premiere of "The Andrews Brothers" which see three male stagehands taking the place of the missing Andrews Sisters in a hilarious USO Show.
In the "CRT Kids" programs, the young and young at heart can enjoy performances of "The Jungle Book". Also CRT hosts two summer youth theatrical workshop programs: "Showstoppers and Superstars" for grades K–5, which is offered twice, from July 12 - 17 and July 19 - 24 at the Homer Center for the Arts. "Stars of Tomorrow" drama camp is for grades 5 –12, and is offered for four weeks from June 28 - July 24 at the Little York Pavilion. Registration forms are available on CRT's website.
Supporters can stay updated on the CRT Downtown renovation progress at www.cortlandrep.org, and linking to CRT's Facebook page or Twitter account, and by visiting CRT's Flickr.com photo album. Summer subscriptions, flex passes and reservations for groups of 10 or more may be purchased now by calling 800-427-6160. Staring May 10, individual tickets will go on sale at the Box Office, by phone or on the website.
"It's an exciting time for CRT!" Thompson says. "Everyone involved feels a great responsibility to the staying power this theatre has, and I encourage everyone to get involved, lend us your support and help us make some life-long memories!"
CRT PURCHASES BUILDING FOR "CRT DOWNTOWN" FACILITY
Cortland Repertory Theatre has announced the purchase of the former Recreation Bowling Alleys, located at 24 Port Watson Street in downtown Cortland . CRT has a three-phase plan for the 13,000 square foot building: to relocate the Box Office and Administration Offices from the current Cortland location at 37 Franklin Street ; then to move the scenic, costume and props shops and storage; and third, to create a performance space for fall, winter and spring productions. The theatre plans to begin a capital campaign and will sell the Franklin Street warehouse.
"The most important point to make is that CRT is not leaving the Little York Pavilion for our summer productions!" Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson says. "Over the years, CRT and Cortland County have invested a great deal of time and money to create a comfortable summer home for us all. As long as the County will have us, we plan to stay there for the summers. It's a beautiful location, and frankly, we'd be crazy to want to leave."
However, the plan for CRT to expand beyond a summer season has been in the works for a few years. "We've looked at different locations for about five years, in hopes of finding an affordable building that would serve our purposes." Thompson says. "The fact of the matter is, we can't keep raising ticket prices in order to meet our financial needs. Part of our mission statement is to offer our shows at an accessible price, and we're proud that we're still the most affordable professional summer theatre in the area. However, even though our attendance in recent years is the highest it's ever been, expenses obviously continue to grow. Due to the size of the Pavilion, we can't add more seats, and lengthening our season would be questionable because of the cool fall weather in an unheated theatre with no insulation."
Also, Thompson says, CRT has outgrown their warehouse space. "The Franklin Street building is solid and secure, but we simply don't have the room to work there anymore. We save and recycle a lot of wood, set pieces, props and costumes, so our current storage space is overflowing. Also, most of our set building is done on our lawn, which is challenging in the changeable Central New York summer weather. After much searching, we believe that this downtown building is able to accommodate everything we want and need - more room, more visibility, and more productions."
A theatre at the Port Watson location - tentatively called "CRT Downtown" - would seat 125 - 150 people. The performance space is planned to be one large open room called a black box theatre, which would allow for a great deal of creative staging and audience seating. Scenic designs could be created for shows "in the round", ¾ round or proscenium style. Audience seating may include small cabaret style tables, which will allow for snacks and drinks to be served at the seats. The building will also include a lobby, refreshment counter, dressing rooms, and upgraded, handicapped accessible rest rooms. The theatre will double as CRT's summer rehearsal space and could also serve as a meeting hall for conferences, receptions, parties, art and craft shows, and more. "The only limitation is our own imagination!" Thompson says.
Thompson cautions that significant renovations are necessary, including ripping down walls and ceilings, installing new electrical wiring, upgrades to heating and air conditioning, and expansion of plumbing. No definite date has been set for when CRT would move in, though a goal of Fall 2010 has been tentatively set for the office and shop relocation. "Actual performances may be at couple of years away." Thompson says. "Honestly, it all comes down to the speed and amount of financial and volunteer support we receive. Obviously, the quicker we raise the funds and complete the renovations, the faster we can get the building ready for a winter season. We're extremely excited about what this could mean to CRT and downtown Cortland . We're glad that we can be part of it!"