Friday, November 20, 2015

Playhouse Favorite Jake Robards is “Promising” in Off-Broadway Play

By Samantha Goober
Artistic & Management Coordinator

Jake Robards and Jolie Curtsinger lead a post-show
talkback with New Works Circle Members
Last night, I had the privilege of attending Michelle Elliott’s new play, Promising, at The Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row in NYC, along with Managing Director Michael Ross, Associate Artist Annie Keefe and 6 members of the Playhouse’s New Works Circle and their guests. This play was much more than an opportunity to support a man who, with his family, has supported the Playhouse for years. This was a chance to see a new play up close, both as audience members and from the perspective of a leading actor, who was gracious enough to give us a private talk-back following the show.

The New Works Circle is a fund developed this year by Westport Country Playhouse donors for the purpose of supporting new plays, both at home on the Playhouse stage and in the greater theater community. Our group gathered for a pre-show dinner at the (delicious) West Bank Café, then headed just across the street to The Beckett Theatre, situated in 42nd Street’s famous Theatre Row building. All were excited going into the production, not just for the opportunity to see a new play, but for the chance to see a familiar and beloved face front and center on the stage. 

Promising, directed by Broadway vet Terry Berliner, tells the story of a ‘promising’ young politician and what an ‘alleged’ scandal does to his career, his image, his relationships, and his life. Undeniably contemporary and unafraid of pushing the envelope, Promising is exactly what a young theater professional (like myself) is looking for in a new play. Jake Robards plays this politician in question, providing a captivating portrayal of a man the audience just can’t seem to figure out. 

Anna Czekaj-Farber, Barbara Streicker, Scott Phares,
Judy Phares, Jake Robards and Howard Aibel after Promising
After the show, Jake and fellow actor/producer Jolie Curtsinger joined us for a talk-back. She spoke about the writing process and what it’s like, both as an actress and a producer, to be involved with a new play. Curtsinger is Co-Artistic Director of the producing theater company for this production, InProximity. She noted that the process of “birthing a new play”, as they’ve done with Promising, is one that has changed her perspective on producing theater. Now that she’s developed a new play, producing new work is what she wants to focus on. 

Jake also offered some interesting insights on working on a new play as an actor. He noted that the collaboration between actor and playwright, as well as that between playwright and director, are so important in the development of a new play. The New Works Circle was thrilled to watch and learn about a new play, and looks forward to more outings like this one in the future. If you’d like more information on the New Works Circle, or would like to become a member, please email Samantha Goober at

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