Westport Country Playhouse will reunite six audience favorites---playwright Alan Ayckbourn, director John Tillinger, and cast members Paxton Whitehead, Cecilia Hart, Geneva Carr and Carson Elrod---in the classic comedy, "How the Other Half Loves," playing July 28 through August 15. Over the past two seasons, the popular team brought to The Playhouse the smash hit comedies "Time of My Life" and "Relatively Speaking." Darren Pettie and Karen Walsh will round out The cast of "How the Other Half Loves."
Carr, Hart and Whitehead were in Westport Country Playhouse's "Time of My Life" (2008) and "Relatively Speaking" (2007). Elrod was in Westport Country Playhouse's "The Drawer Boy" (2006) and "Time of My Life" (2008).
Carr has performed with Manhattan Theatre Club and Playwrights Horizons, and was in the film, "Then She Found Me." Hart was on Broadway in "Design for Living," "Othello," "Dirty Linen" (Theatre World Award, Drama Desk Award nomination) and "The Heiress."
Whitehead was on Broadway in "My Fair Lady" (Helen Hayes Award), "Noises Off" (Drama Desk Award) and "Camelot" (Tony Award nomination), among others. Elrod appeared in "Reckless" and "Noises Off" on Broadway, and in the film "The Wedding Crashers." Pettie was in Broadway's "Butley." Walsh was in Broadway's "Accent on Youth," "Pygmalion" and "Prelude to a Kiss."
"How the Other Half Loves" is an ingenious comedy about three married couples: Frank and Fiona Foster, played by Whitehead and Hart; Bob and Teresa Phillips, played by Pettie and Carr; and William and Mary Featherstone, played by Elrod and Walsh. When Fiona and Bob try to cover-up their adulterous love affair, hilarious complications result as all the couples get tangled up in lies and misunderstandings, culminating in a dinner party where comedy is the main course.
"I'm excited to be hosting the dynamic combo of an Alan Ayckbourn play in a John Tillinger production," said Artistic Director Mark Lamos. "With ‘Time of My Life' and ‘Relatively Speaking,' Ayckbourn and Tillinger delighted, entertained and engaged Playhouse audiences in the most vital fashion. And I know that ‘How the Other Half Loves' promises to be as sharp, witty and wildly funny."
Alan Ayckbourn was born in London in 1939 and has worked in theatre all his life. His plays have been translated into 35 languages, have won numerous national and international awards - most recently the 2009 Tony for Best Revival of a Play with "The Norman Conquests" - and are performed on stage and television throughout the world. Ayckbourn has written 73 plays; among his successes are: "How The Other Half Loves," "Absurd Person Singular," "The Norman Conquests," "Bedroom Farce," "Just Between Ourselves," "A Chorus of Disapproval," "Woman in Mind," "A Small Family Business" and "Comic Potential."
Director John Tillinger directed Westport Country Playhouse's "Children" this season, "Time of My Life" in 2008, "Relatively Speaking" in 2007 and "The Drawer Boy" in 2006. He directed many Broadway plays including "Night Must Fall" with Matthew Broderick, "The Sunshine Boys" with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, "Inherit the Wind" with Charles Durning and George C. Scott (Tony Award nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award), "The Price" with Eli Wallach (Tony Award nomination) and "Loot!" with Joseph Maher (OCC Award, Tony Award nomination). His Off-Broadway directing work includes "Sylvia" with Sarah Jessica Parker, "After the Fall" with Frank Langella and Dianne Wiest, "The Lisbon Traviata" with Nathan Lane (Lortel Award), "Love Letters" with many stars including Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst (Lortel Award), "The Perfect Party" (OCC Award) and "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" (Drama Desk Award). Regionally, he directed many productions at Long Wharf Theatre, including "Arsenic and Old Lace" with JoAnne Woodward and "The Road to Mecca" with Julie Harris.
The production team includes James Noone (Drama Desk, American Theatre Wing and Helen Hayes awards), scenic design; Laurie Churba Kohn (Broadway's "The Price"), costume design; Stephen Strawbridge (nominations and/or awards: American Theatre Wing, Helen Hayes, Lucille Lortel), lighting design; Scott Killian (Lortel Award nominee), composer/sound design; Janet Foster, casting; Liz Smith, dialect coach; Rick Sordelet, fight director; and Christine Catti, production stage manager.
Board of trustees sponsors for "How the Other Half Loves" are Barbara and John Samuelson. Corporate sponsor is Cohen and Wolf, P.C., attorneys at law.
Westport Country Playhouse's 2009 season will continue with "That Championship Season," written by Jason Miller and directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, August 25 through September 12. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the play takes place at a reunion of a high school basketball coach, now retired, and four members of the team that he guided to the state championship 20 years earlier.
The sixth play in the season, to be announced soon, will run September 29 through October 17.
The 2009 performance schedule is Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Special series feature Previews, Opening Nights, Thursday TalkBack, Sunday Symposium, Backstage Pass and Open Captioning.
Series ticketing options include the new Season Pass, Pick-A-Plan, FlexTix and the traditional subscription package. Single tickets range from $35 to $55; opening night tickets, including post-performance reception, are $65. Students and educators are eligible for 50% discounts. Groups of 10 or more save up to 30%. For group sales information call (203) 227-5137, x120.
Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater, serves as a treasured home for the performing arts and is a cultural landmark for Connecticut. Under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos and management direction of Michael Ross, The Playhouse creates quality productions of new and classic plays that enlighten, enrich and engage a diverse community of theater lovers, artists and students. The Playhouse's rich history dates back to 1931, when New York theatre producer Lawrence Langner created a Broadway-quality stage within an 1830s tannery. The Playhouse quickly became an established stop on the New England "straw hat circuit" of summer stock theatres. Now celebrating its 79th season, Westport Country Playhouse has produced more than 700 plays, 36 of which later transferred to Broadway, most recently the world premiere of "Thurgood" and a revival of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" with Paul Newman, and in earlier years "Come Back, Little Sheba" with Shirley Booth, "The Trip to Bountiful" with Lillian Gish, and "Butterflies Are Free" with Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner. For its artistic excellence, The Playhouse received a 2005 Governor's Arts Award and a 2000 "Connecticut Treasure" recognition. It was also designated as an Official Project of Save America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is entered on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. Following a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2005, The Playhouse transformed into a year-round, state-of-the-art producing theater, which has preserved its original charm and character. In addition to a full season of theatrical productions, The Playhouse serves as a community resource, presenting educational programming and workshops; a children's theater series; symposiums; music; films; and readings.
For more information or ticket purchases, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets may be purchased online at www.westportplayhouse.org.
Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Cecilia Hart, Paxton Whitehead and Carson Elrod
Darren Pettie and Karen Walsh
Karen Walsh, Carson Elrod and Paxton Whitehead
Paxton Whitehead, Karen Walsh and Carson Elrod
Geneva Carr, Paxton Whitehead, Cecilia Hart and Darren Pettie
Paxton Whitehead, Karen Walsh, Darren Pettie, Geneva Carr, Carson Elrod and Cecilia Hart