Wednesday, August 10, 2016

10 Things You Should Know About Lerner and Loewe

By AnnaBeth Crittenden
Marketing Intern

In the coming months, the Playhouse will be celebrating the legacy of musical legends Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe through two ambitious & exciting theatrical events.

Our 2016 gala, The Night They Invented Champagne: Celebrating Lerner & Loewe, will be held on Mon., Sept 19 and will feature musical tributes to this amazing songwriting team from some of Broadway's brightest.

Our 2016 season ends with of the lush, romantic Lerner & Loewe musical Camelot, directed by Mark Lamos. The musical will be re-imagined on the Playhouse stage from October 4-30. Theatergoers will be able to fall in love again with the soaring songs by these two musical geniuses.

As we prepare to honor this legendary team, here are ten reasons why their work is so revered throughout the world.

1. Alan Jay Lerner was a lyricist and librettist.
Frederick Loewe was a composer.

L-R Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe

The two wrote 7 Broadway musicals, including Camelot, My Fair Lady, and Brigadoon. Their songs are still widely known and include The Night They Invented Champagne, I Could Have Danced All Night, If Ever I Would Leave You, and Almost Like Being in Love.

2. They met at the New York Lambs Club in 1942
and became really good friends.

Poster from the Lambs Club

Loewe joined the Lambs Club, a group of theater professionals, in 1935 to become well-versed in the world of musical theater. Almost 10 years later he introduced himself to Alan Lerner, a librettist who Loewe admired. At the time they met, Loewe was 17 years older than Lerner. The two joined up to write a score for the play The Patsy.

3. At age 13, Loewe became the
youngest piano soloist in the history of
the Berlin Philharmonic

Frederick Loewe
Although Loewe had a distinguished childhood performing in Europe's symphony orchestra, he lost his acclaim after moving to America. There he worked odd jobs: riding instructor, gold miner, mail carrier, and busboy. He finally found work as a piano player and wrote for the musicals Petticoat Fever and Great Lady. Great Lady did open on Broadway, but only ran for 20 performances in 1938.

4. Lerner and Loewe’s first musical was called
Life of the Party.

Marion Davies in a film adaptation of The Patsy

Life of the Party was created from the script from The Patsy. Although the musical received favorable reviews, it never made it to Broadway. However, it urged the partners to write What's Up, a musical comedy that opened on Broadway. It ran for 63 performances and was followed by the 1945 show, The Day Before Spring.

5. They were most famous for their musicals
Brigadoon and My Fair Lady.

Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady
It wasn't until their 1947 blockbuster musical, Brigadoon, that the musical duo made a name for themselves. The show ran for 581 performances on Broadway, a national tours, several revivals, and a movie of the same name. It also was awarded "Best Musical" from the New York Drama Critics Circle. In 1951, they wrote Paint Your Wagon which was followed by one of the most successful American musicals: My Fair Lady. They then wrote the music for the film version of Gigi.

6. In 1952, Westport Country Playhouse
inspired Lerner and Loewe’s musical My Fair Lady.

Dolores Gray as Eliza in Shaw's Pygmalion at WCP
In 1952, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, who had achieved great success with Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon, were struggling to create a musical from George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion. Years later Lerner wrote, "The [Theatre] Guild, which ran the Westport Playhouse in Connecticut, decided it would help all of us if we could see Pygmalion again on the stage and included a production of it during the summer season. It was a joy to see again." Four years later, My Fair Lady became a smash hit on Broadway.

7. Camelot was the last Broadway musical
that they wrote together.

Julie Andrews and the original Broadway cast of Camelot
Lerner & Loewe's sweepingly romantic musical Camelot was the final show that the legendary team created in tandem. Loewe had suffered a heart attack two years before the show opened, and retired due to health concerns. About his former partner, Lerner wrote, “Writing will never again be as much fun. A collaboration as intense as ours inescapably had to be complex. But I loved him more than I understood or misunderstood him, and I know he loved me more than he understood or misunderstood me."

8. After Camelot, Lerner worked with
a variety of other partners for film and stage.

Jessica Mueller and the 2011 revival cast of
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
Following Loewe's retirement, Lerner's creative output continued, as he went on to write the book and lyrics for the films Love Life, Royal Wedding and An American in Paris, winning an Oscar in 1951 for the latter. He then worked with other composers including Leonard Bernstein (1600 Pensylvania Ave), John Barry (Lolita and My Love), and Burton Lane (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever). However, none of these collaborations reached the critical heights that Lerner and Loewe saw together.

9. Lerner and Loewe reunited
to write The Little Prince.

Trailer for the 1974 movie, The Little Prince.
The film was released in November 1974 and featured the talents of Gene Wilder and Bob Fosse. It was based on the 1943 children's book Le Petit Prince.

10. Loewe died in 1988,
two years after Lerner passed.

Salute to Lerner and Loewe on the Julie Andrews Show in 1973
When Lerner died of lung cancer in 1986, Loewe was too ill to attend the funeral. However, he delivered a message stating, “'I was always amazed how good we were and how simple it was… I loved you once in silence. Farewell, my boy.'' Loewe died two years later of cardiac arrest. After Lerner and Loewe died, a tribute was performed for them at the Schubert Theatre featuring the talents of Julie Andrews, Robert Goulet, Rex Harrison, and Richard Kiley. “Alan Jay Lerner was one of the great contributors to the American theater,” Kiley said. “His urbane and witty lyrics will be as bright as ever when we are all dust.”

The Man Behind "The Invisible Hand"

by AnnaBeth Crittenden
Marketing Intern

In our previous show, The Invisible Hand, playwright Ayad Ahktar explored the relationship between money, power, and belief. Throughout this thrilling drama, several textbook economic theories were brought to light, the most prevalent of which can be found in the play's title. The theory of the invisible hand comes from Adam Smith, an economist who held revolutionary beliefs on capitalism in the 1700s.

In the play, Nick Bright explains the title's concept to Bashir saying, "It's what they call an invisible hand...the market is shaped by everyone's self-interest like an invisible hand moving it all along." In his book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith further expounds that this self-interest would cause consumers to buy the cheapest and best goods, fostering competition among vendors. This, in turn, allows the market to rise and fall as if guided by this invisible hand.

While Smith's theories are widely accepted in the economic community, there are potential side effects to his phenomenon of capitalism.

The character of Iman Saleem argues, "I believe money is the opiate of life, not religion. Money is what puts people to sleep when it comes to the moral dimension of life." As the play unfolds and the sum of the money obtained by the characters begins to rise, both captive and captor begin to lose their morals, leaving everyone to be guided only by their self-interest.

Since Adam Smith's 1,264 page book, The Wealth of Nations might be considered a daunting read for some, we've hand-selected a few snippets for you that may help shed insight into today's economic society.

What DID the Butler See?

by Hope Ventricelli and AnnaBeth Crittenden
Marketing Associate and Marketing Intern

The title of our next play What the Butler Saw is derived from a popular and scandalous pastime in the early 1900s --The Mutoscope. 

These devices, patented by Herman Casler in 1894, could be found in many arcade establishments and were known for showing infamous “girlie” reels and “peep shows,” ranging from cheeky to more risqué. The Mutoscope worked like a “flip book” to display 850 separate images, which became animated when the spectator turned a hand-crank on the side of the machine. 

"What the Butler Saw" Mutoscope Reel
Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw is derived from an extremely popular Mutoscope of the same name. In this famous reel, the viewer assumes the point of view of a butler, who peers through a keyhole to view images of a woman partially undressing in her bedroom.

1930s Mutascope Reel

The phrase first entered British popular culture after the 1884 divorce scandal of Lord Colin Campbell and Gertrude Elizabeth Blood.  Lord Colin publicly accused his wife of adultery then causing their trial to depend on whether or not their butler could have seen Lady Campbell having affairs with multiple alleged lovers through the keyhole of their dining room.

Gertrude Elizabeth Blood

Much like the What the Butler Saw reels and Lord and Lady Colin's scandal, Orton's play brings the private lives of its characters into full view, much to the audiences' amusement. Theatergoers can peer through the metaphorical keyhole that is the "fourth wall," to view a world where fallen trousers, blackmail, and sexual innuendo runs amuck. As characters scamper, hide behind closed doors, and attempt to cover their various scandals, the audience has a clear view of the antics, assuming the desirable position reserved for the Mutoscope's butler.

Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw begins on August 23. Join us for sex, silliness and lots of laughs in this shameless comedy!

Meet the 2016 Woodward Intern Class

By Hope Ventricelli
Marketing Fellow

Since the Playhouse's founding, hundreds of young theater professionals have further developed their skills alongside industry experts. 

This season, we are so fortunate to have nine talented, hard-working Woodward Interns on the Playhouse campus. Named in honor of artistic director emeritus Joanne Woodward, the Woodward Internship program has given many young professionals their first taste of a professional theater environment. We'd like to thank the many generous donors who make this program possible

Our stellar 2016 Woodward Interns have traveled to Westport from near & far - read on to meet them!

Jantzen Bates
Stage Management Intern
Springfield, MO | Missouri State University (May 2017)

Why did you choose WCP?
While at the South Eastern Theatre Conference (SETC) for their job fair, Westport stuck out as one of the few internships that offered real hands on experience with Equity Stage Managers as well as the opportunity to work at a major east coast regional theater. The proximity to New York was the cherry on the top.

What has been your best memory from this summer? 
Going to Finding Dory with Buyer & Cellar's Michael Urie and some of the production team.

Fun Fact

I am an Open Waters and Nitrox certified scuba diver.

AnnaBeth Crittenden
Marketing Intern
Montgomery, AL | Berry College (May 2017)

Why do you love theater?
Theater, to me, is an escape from reality and the highest art form there is (in my opinion). It takes so much vulnerability, ambition, collaboration, and hard work both onstage and off to produce what is seen every night in the theater. And the result is pure magic. 

Why did you choose WCP?
After talking to Beth [Husking, general manager] at SETC, Westport was one of the only theaters that stuck out in my mind because of their Tuesday seminar. I loved the idea of an all-inclusive experience where I could learn about every field from people who have succeeded in their career. 

Fun Fact
I've volunteered with a zoo education program for 8 years.

Paula Escobar
Stage Management Intern
Raleigh, NC | University of North Carolina School of the Arts (May 2018)

Why do you love theater? 
I love theater because different people with different talents all come together for the same goal of telling a story.

What is your favorite play or musical?
I don't have a favorite but I love Tennessee Williams' plays. 

Something new I learned from the summer:
I’ve learned the importance of always saying yes to any task no matter how small or big it might be. Westport has such a family feel to it that it’s important to always support one another in order to achieve that family atmosphere. 

Lindsay Fuori
Scenic Painting/Props Intern
Newtown, CT | Boston University (May 2018)

Why do you love theater? 
The community is why I love theater; both the collaborative team and the greater community it serves. When done well, a piece of theater has the ability to be a transformative experience for both parties. In that growth there is a strength and beauty like no other. Even being just a small part of what makes that happen is priceless.

Why did you choose WCP? 

I chose WCP for my summer internship for a number of reasons, two of the most significant being the community and the history. I was excited to learn from the many artists and leaders here. I feel that being able to watch and work with each of them has made me a better designer and collaborator.

Fun Fact
I was born on Mardi Gras, and even though the holiday changes every year I always celebrate my birthday with a king cake!

Kayla Hill
Technical Director Intern
Prince George, VA | Longwood University (Dec. 2016)

Why do you love theater?
I love theater because it gave me a safe place to go to when I was younger. I was bullied frequently and theater provided me an outlet for my grief and anger, as well as gave me a home. Being at Westport showed me that the family aspect lasts way after college, and that made me very hopeful for my future.

What is something new you’ve learned this summer?
I learned many things from this amazing opportunity. I learned that people who started off as strangers can become your best friends in two and half short months. Most of all I learned that theater is not just about making money, but about creating amazing art with a very tight knit group of people. I am so thankful to have had a job this summer that makes saying goodbye so hard.
Why did you choose WCP?
I chose Westport for a few reasons.  The first one was that they were by far the most enthusiastic interview I had.  I completely adored the conversations I had with both Beth [Husking] and David [Dreyfoos, associate producer] at SETC and how excited RJ [Romeo, technical director] was when we spoke on the phone for the first time. The second reason was for the travel. I have never been very far outside of Virginia, so Westport allowed me to expand my horizons. The third reason was their success stories and their connections. Choosing Westport gave me the opportunity to gain connections with people I would never have made them with. It also provided me with intern seminars which helped me figure out how to get myself out there in the real world.

Andrew Kimball
Wardrobe Intern
Wilton, CT | Wheaton College (May 2018)

What is your best memory from the summer?
Working with J. Jared Janas, the makeup designer for The Invisible Hand. I came to the Playhouse to work on constructing clothes and altering them so to go into a field that I was unfamiliar with was a little daunting. However, Jared was amazing because he walked me through all the steps for the makeup in the play while also explaining why he was doing what he was doing. The biggest example is doing Rajesh Bose's quick change makeup where he has to get bruised up [as the character Imam Saleem]. I've never done makeup to that extreme before and to have it done in a minute was intimidating, but practicing with Jared helped me figure out what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. It was something I enjoyed a lot and working beside Jared is something I'll never forget. 

Why do you love theater?
My favorite thing about theater is how hectic things can be, specifically tech week. During that time I am constantly moving whether it be altering clothes or discussing ideas with the costume designer and I enjoy that quick pace a theater environment brings. 

Fun Fact
My background is all fashion based and aside from college productions I have never worked in a theater. 

Mary-Virgina Mitchell
Front-of-House Intern
Savannah, GA | Brenau University (May 2018)

Why did you choose WCP? 
I just loved Beth [Huisking] in my interview. She was so friendly and easy to talk to and I knew WCP would be a good fit for me. 

What is your favorite play or musical?
My current favorite is The Crucible by Arthur Miller, but my all-time favorite is The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel.

What is your best memory from the summer?My favorite memory from this summer would be from the intern pool party. We spent the whole day in the pool just having a blast. It was also great to meet the sponsors of the Woodward Internship Program, and to see that they really cared about the future of theater and the education of us. 

Alexandra Rappaport
Company Management Intern
Westport, CT | College of Charleston (May 2017)

What is your best memory from this summer?
Being in company management has its many perks—I get to work with Bruce [Miller, company manager] and Martha [Stout, associate company manager], who are both so good at what they do and also happen to be a couple of the best people I’ve come to know. Every meeting, outing, and adventure we’ve had together is a memory I’ll never forget. Highlights include trips to Stew Leonard’s and opening night preparation, specifically the bonding that happens over cheese cutting and cookie assembling.

Fun Fact
As a lover of language, I have learned quite a few different languages throughout my life. I’m currently studying Mandarin Chinese, and have been for four years!

What is something new you’ve learned this summer?
Perhaps the most valuable thing I’ve learned here is the importance of helping out; doing more than just your part and working as a team to get things done. It’s not necessarily something new that I didn’t know before, but it is something I’ve seen put into practice here more than anywhere else. I have seen how success is realized through joint effort and collaboration, and have felt the rewarding satisfaction that comes from that.

Caleb Smith
Development Intern
Jefferson, GA | Piedmont College (April 2017)

Why do you love theater?
For me it all started in high school and I continuously landed in groups of friends that were simply the wrong choice. I had a few friends involved in theater that encouraged me to join our drama club. From then on I knew that I had found a world where I could really have a family that was always supportive and one that wouldn’t let me down.
What has been your best memory from this summer?
The best part of this summer was realizing that the love of theater is really universal. I came to Westport without any connections, all by myself. Almost immediately I had a family and a place to call home. That’s what theater is all about: collaboration. I love that the fact that it remains true 800 miles from home.

What is something new you’ve learned this summer?
That no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can make a difference.

If you’d like to support the Woodward Intern Program, please contact Charlie Nork, Individual Giving Manager, at (203) 571-1134.

John Tillinger's History with Joe Orton

by AnnaBeth Crittenden
Marketing Intern

Acclaimed director John Tillinger  (WCP's Sylvia, Relatively Speaking, Children, How the Other Half Loves, Bedroom Farce, and more) returns to the Playhouse to direct Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw.  Tillinger has been lauded by The New York Times as a Joe Orton specialist and has directed all three of his major works. The following infographic details Tillinger's relationship with Orton that spans over 30 years. 

Photo Credits: 
Joe Orton: The Arts Desk

John Tillinger: New York Theatre Scene 

Entertaining Mr. Sloan: Sheila Hancock and Clive Francis is the 1968 production of Entertaining Mr. Sloan broadcast on ITV in London. (Actor Clive Francis's website). 

Željko Ivanek and Charles Keating in the 1986 production of Loot at the Manhattan Theatre Club (Actress Zoe Wannamaker's official website

What the Butler Saw (Left): Francis as Dr. Prentice, Camille Coduri as Gertrude in 1990 production of What the Butler Saw at Wyndhams Theatre (Actor Clive Francis' website)

(Right): Sarah Manton and Paxton Whitehead in the 2014 production of What the Butler Saw at the Mark Taper Forum (Craig Schwartz-LA Times)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

First Day of Rehearsal - What the Butler Saw

by AnnaBeth Crittenden
Marketing Intern

Rehearsals for this season’s fourth production, What the Butler Saw, began on Friday, July 29th. As is tradition for the Playhouse, the day began with a meet-and-greet with the staff, as well as a presentation from the designers of the show.

Joe Orton's comedy, What the Butler Saw, takes place in a psychiatric ward where Dr. Prentice is attempting to seduce his a young girl interviewing to become his secretary. When he is caught by his wife, he hides the girl in the office. Unbeknownst to him, Mrs. Prentice is being seduced and blackmailed by a lusty bellhop who is also seeking the secretary job. A government inspector looms, a cross-dressing policeman falls from a skylight, and doors relentlessly slam as the spouses attempt to hide their various affairs.

Back (R-L) Paxton Whitehead (Dr. Rance), Julian Gamble (Sergeant March),
Robert Stanton (Dr. Prentice), Chris Ghaffari (Nicholas), John Tillinger (Director)
Front (R-L) Sarah Manton (Gertrude), Patricia Kalember (Mrs. Prentice)
The show features Playhouse favorites Paxton Whitehead (WCP’s Bedroom Farce, The Circle, How the Other Half Loves, more); Sarah Manton (WCP's Bedroom Farce, Things We Do for Love); Patricia Kalember (WCP’s A Marriage Minuet); and Robert Stanton (WCP’s Hay Fever). It also introduces Playhouse newcomers Julian Gamble (Broadway’s The Seagull, The Invention of Love, Democracy, The Iceman Cometh, and more) and Chris Ghaffari (Hartford Stage’s Romeo & Juliet, The New York Shakespeare Festival’s King Lear).

John Tillinger and Mark Lamos

Artistic Director Mark Lamos began the rehearsal with an introduction of the show and playwright, Joe Orton. “[Joe Orton was] one of the most divine playwrights who has ever lived, unfortunately [he lived a] very short life. But we do have What the Butler Saw, perhaps his greatest play," Lamos said.

Lamos then introduced director John Tillinger (WCP’s Bedroom Farce, How the Other Half Loves, Children, and more). What the Butler Saw marks Tillinger’s 16th production at the Playhouse.

“I’ve done [What the Butler Saw] three times. It was a big success in London, a big success in New York, a big success in Los Angeles,” Tillinger said. “So I’ve got one more chance to [mess] it up.” Tillinger then thanked the Playhouse for continually asking him back to direct. “I just begin to feel that this is my home. It’s really a joy to be here,” he said.

Scenic Designer James Noone
Scenic Designer James Noone (Things We Do for Love, How the Other Half Loves, Children, and more) discussed his vision for the play.

Noone then showed his scenic model for the stage. The show takes place in a hospital, complete with multiple swinging doors and gurneys.  “There’s not a lot of furniture because a lot goes on; there’s a lot of running around,” Noone said.

Costume Designer Laurie Churba (WCP’s Bedroom Farce, Things We Do for Love, How the Other Half Loves, Hot ‘n Cole,
and more) showed her costume designs for the show. “The costumes are a little complicated…there’s a lot of underwear we have to discover and find,” Churba said. “It’s [set in] 1968, so we’ll try to keep it as period as we can.”

Cast and Crew of What the Butler Saw

Following the design presentation, the cast and crew began their first run-through of the show.

What the Butler Saw begins on August 23 and runs through September 10. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

First Day of Rehearsal - The Invisible Hand

By AnnaBeth Crittenden
Marketing Intern

On Friday, June 24, the staff of the Playhouse filed into the Sheffer rehearsal studio to meet the cast and production team of our third show, The Invisible Hand, by Ayad Akhtar.

The play depicts the lives of a captive and his captors. When Nick Bright, a Citibank employee, is kidnapped and held hostage in Pakistan, the only way for him to earn his $10 million ransom is to teach his abductors how to play the stock market. The Invisible Hand centers on the power of the dollar to affect those who use it. It was a fitting coincidence that reharsals began only hours after the Brexit decision was released. 

(Back R-L) Fajer Kaisi (Bashir), Jameal Ali (Dar), David Kennedy
 (Associate Artistic Director)
Front (R-L) Eric Bryant (Nick Bright), Rajesh Bose (Iman Saleem)
 The show has a cast of four, directed by Associate Artistic Director, David Kennedy. Rajesh Bose (Imam Saleem) recently won the CT Critics Circle Award for his portrayal of Amir in Disgraced (also by Ayad Akhtar).  Fajer Kaisi (Bashirhas also played the role of Amir at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. Jameal Ali (Dar) was recently in the original off-Broadway production of The Invisible Hand and Eric Bryant (Nick) appeared at the playhouse in 2013 in Room Service.

Artistic Director Mark Lamos
Artistic Director Mark Lamos talked about the significance of The Invisible Hand in light of the recent Brexit decision. “This is a big day for the world. A moment of many upheavals and scary times for, basically, everyone on the globe…this is a moment for this play to speak to all of us,” said Lamos.

Associate Artistic Director David Kennedy
David Kennedy, Playhouse Associate Artistic Director, and director of The Invisible Hand, talked about the show; particularly Akhtar’s depiction of separate worldviews brought together under the umbrella of financial loss and gain.  “[The] Invisible Hand dramatizes these competing narratives about globalization.  It doesn’t seem to affirm our prejudices, it doesn’t seem to deny them, it merely holds everything up to question,” Kennedy said.

Scenic Designer Adam Rigg

Scenic designer Adam Rigg showed the cast and crew the scenic model and concept for the set of The Invisible Hand.  The show is set in the near future in Pakistan. 

The scenic model allows the designer to convey his vision before the set is built. “[I wanted] a forensic, realistic approach to the space we’re in for the entirety of the show. It was important for me to discover a space that was real…it breaks the assumptions that we have of what a holding cell is,” said Rigg.

Following the remarks, the artistic team and actors began their first table reading of the show.

The Invisible Hand, the third show in our 2016 Season, opens on July 19. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Art of Collecting

By Annie Keefe, Bill Scheffler
& Bud Siegel

During Art/Red in rep, the Playhouse lobby featured collections from WCP staff, supporters & friends.

Art is more than paintings or sculpture. The act of curating a personal collection is itself an art. The art of collecting takes centerstage in our upcoming production of Buyer & Cellar as we peek into a basement mall built to house a certain celebrity's collection.

Take a look!

Bud Siegel's Lego Masterpieces
This is what happens when you retire and you have no hobbies. Roz always called it the dreaded “R” word, and I thought I better quickly find something to do with my time besides walking, biking, skiing, being on a couple of Boards and just lying by the pool. So, Lego seemed like a good idea: not too expensive and you have some neat stuff when you finish.

Unfortunately this has grown into a bit of a monster as what started out as a relatively inexpensive hobby has become a beast and once our renovation is finished, the Legos will have a 1,200 sq. ft. area for a workplace and for display. The good news for Roz is it will be on the fourth floor so it will be almost as if I was still traveling for work.

William Scheffler's Historic Westport Postcards
Postcards capture the essence of a place, to save or show a friend. And when mail delivery was more frequent, up to five times a day, postcards took the place of telephone calls for quick messages – for only a penny!

I’ve collected postcards of Westport (where I live) and Weston (where I grew up) for many years, finding them at tag sales and antique fairs where dealers sit with musty shoeboxes sorted by place. Then, in the spring of 1998, when I offered to mount an exhibit for the Westport Historical Society, I discovered that there were other serious postcard collectors in Westport, as well as many “old timers” who could tell me details of where long-gone buildings had stood or what was now on the same site.

- from the introduction of “Westport and Weston in Vintage Postcards” by William L. Scheffler

Annie Keefe's Opening Night Memories
I’ve had almost 50 years of opening nights in the course of my career, and an equal number of closing nights. Both events often elicit card and/or gifts. Sometimes there are little presents which relate to the show - for opening night of Death and the Maiden, which takes place at a beach house in Argentina, the producers gave everyone beach towels with the show’s logo on them.

Here at the Playhouse we initiated opening night cards given to every cast and crew member with a memorable line from the show. To save all of these cards and gifts would mean a collection that would fill a lot of boxes. What you see here are a few reminders of shows that where important to me, from people who I came to cherish.

Art Around Westport

By Kathy Bennewitz
Westport Town Curator

After seeing Art/Red in Rep, we hope that you will take a look at some of the local art around Westport & our area. These are just a few of the local pieces to consider, as recommended by Westport Town Curator Kathy Bennewitz. Take a moment to seek them out - what do you see?

1. Banana Republic, 44 Main Street

Treasure Behind the Wall: Banana Republic's renovation in 2004 reveals New Milford artist's mural. Quirky characters--patrons eating, drinking, singing, posing, picking a pocket and even giving someone a “hotfoot”-are the focus of a mural by artist Edmund Ashe, Jr. painted in the 1930s to decorate the wall behind a bar called Triangle Tavern, later Townly’s Restaurant. It suffered damage due to a fire in the 1950s and subsequently was covered with dry wall when Klein’s, a Main Street presence since 1937, expanded into the spot. In 1999, Klein’s leased the ground floor to Banana Republic. The mural was rediscovered during the Banana Republic renovation and restored.

2. Patagonia & Town Hall (open 8:30-4:30 M-F)
Lambdin murals

Patagonia-“Hotel Square” and “Shipping on the Saugatuck”

Town Hall-“Saugatuck in the 19th Century,”

Robert L. Lambdin was commissioned by the former Westport Bank & Trust to painte muarls for the bank’s lobbies in part because of his previous accomplishments creating murals for the Depression era Works Progress Administration,” His trio of WB&T canvases representing different aspects of Westport during the 1800s. The two murals at today’s Patagonia – “Hotel Square” and “Shipping on the Saugatuck” – show a street scene along Post Road East where the old YMCA building now stands and Jesup Wharf, site of the present Taylor parking lot. “Hotel Square” also shows the area of Post Road East where the WB&T/Patagonia building now stands. The bank commissioned the two murals to “modernize” the lobby of the bank’s austere neoclassical headquarters. The third mural, “Saugatuck in the 19th Century,” is a composite showing life on the river and in the village of Saugatuck throughout the 1800s. It was commissioned for the bank’s Saugatuck branch on Charles Street when it opened in 1970 and was “saved” in 2014 when the branch closed.

1. Parker Harding
Parking lot on river behind Main street 

STARfish Tank (2002) by Howard Munce
Collection of the Town of Westport

The sculpture was created for a fundraiser for STAR Inc., Norwalk, a not–for-profit organization serving individuals of all ages who have developmental disabilities, as well as providing support services to their families. For the 2002 "Galaxy of STARS," which was sponsored by local businesses and individuals on behalf of STAR, local artists uniquely decorated the five-foot star sculptures, which were on display throughout the summer months in Wilton, Norwalk, Westport, Weston, Darien and New Canaan. Westport artist Howard Munce, a longtime leader in the town's arts community, turned 100 in November 2015, and pass away this year.

2. The Post Road Bridge

1807 Westport was a prosperous shipping community with wharves, docks, and shipyards along both sides of the Saugatuck River. The first Post Road Bridge was owned and built by the Connecticut Turnpike Company, a public service corporation chartered in 1806 by the General Assembly to build a highway from Fairfield to Greenwich with four toll Gates. The Westport portion was called State Street. The bridge toll charge ranged from 25 cents for two-horse stages and pleasure carriages, to 2 cents for each animal crossing the wood-plank bridge. 
1857 The newly constructed railroad forced the Connecticut Turnpike Company out of business. Ownership of the bridge was turned over to the Town of Westport (incorporated 1835). The Town constructed a hoisting draw to allow for tall river traffic. Its design flaws and frequent repairs were the subject of great town controversy. 
1917 The Strauss Bascule Bridge Co. of Chicago redesigned the earlier bridge, and town controversy subsided. This engineer's 1915 drawings show the location of the bearings in the bridge, and the way the drawbridge opened to allow boats to pass. The bridge cost $185,586.
1930s Westport was no longer a shipping center, and the Post Road was part of the State road system. In 1954, when Parker-Harding Plaza and the Library addition were built, the drawbridge was eliminated, ornamental railings and light fixtures were added, and the trolley tracks were removed.
1990-1992 The Connecticut Department of Transportation widened the bridge, lengthened the spans, and made extensive improvements. Buried bearing housings from the 1817 drawbridge were removed. This sculpture, "A Bridge in Time, " by Bobbie Kletzsch Friedman, incorporates 3 of them.

3. Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane
Huntington, Anna Hyatt

Anna Hyatt Huntington was an American sculptor and was once among New York City's most prominent sculptors. At a time when very few women were successful artists, she had a thriving career. She exhibited often, traveled widely, received critical acclaim at home and abroad, and won awards and commissions. During the first two decades of the 20th century, Hyatt Huntington became famous for her animal sculptures, which combine vivid emotional depth with skillful realism. In 1915, she created the first public monument in New York City, outside of Central Park, by a woman: Her Joan of Arc, located on Riverside Drive at 93rd Street, is also the city’s first monument dedicated to a historical woman.