Friday, December 18, 2015

Meet Lee & Sue Vincent, new WCP supporters

By Charlie Nork
Individual Giving Manager

Lee & Sue Vincent of Mystic, CT
Lee Vincent and his wife Sue, of Mystic, CT, are new donors to Westport Country Playhouse. Life-long theatergoers, they are quickly becoming big fans of the work onstage. Lee took a few minutes recently to talk about why he and Sue decided to become Playhouse supporters.

This is your first season as a Playhouse patron. What brought you to us this year?
How did we miss out on enjoying the Playhouse for our first 20+ years living in Connecticut?  Well, it’s a long way off from our home in Mystic. I saw the directional sign for WCP on I-95, and years before Google Maps I went looking to find it in the actual country -- like north of the Merritt Parkway. I think I tried to find the Playhouse again in 2005, the year it was being rebuilt, so I thought it had gone defunct. After driving quickly past your semi-hidden driveway dozens of times, one day last spring I found the Playhouse and had a look. I immediately ordered tickets for the next performance and added a gift. It was timely for us that Positano reopened, and the delightful Little Barn opened just a year ago. 

Stephen Schnetzer & Felicity Jones
in Broken Glass. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
As you mentioned, it's quite a trip from Mystic to Westport. What is it that keeps you coming back to the Playhouse?
Everything. The Playhouse is not just a place that good theater comes to, or through, from somewhere else. It’s where good theater is created, like the totally innovative staging for Broken Glass. Being invited to Tech Talk and rehearsals “hooked” us, and we learned a lot more about theater in a hurry. A Script-in-Hand evening like The Last Night of Ballyhoo is something we’ll surely do again during the winter. The price is great, and with a performance like that, who needs sets? We thought that the Playhouse would be a place where newcomers would probably not be noticed. But the warm and personal welcomes we have received from the staff and the helpful box office crew have been wonderful.

You mentioned Tech Talk, our series that gives donors a sneak peek at tech rehearsal before each show opens. You and Susan were able to attend a few events this summer. Did they help you appreciate or understand the production more?

Besides the Tech Talk itself, watching part of rehearsal for the play that we were soon to attend helped me not to miss some fast-paced dialogue when we returned. You are very smart to include new donors, even at a modest level, in the Tech Talk invitations. I have never learned so much about theater in a short time as this summer. I told (Playhouse Associate Producer & Director of Production) David Dreyfoos I was amazed at how many problems such as set completion (with materials never used before or not yet received) went on even past the Sunday before a Tuesday preview performance. So it seems to me that being the Westport Country Playhouse can be like going on a risky, high speed bobsled ride. Yet David told me, “The show has always gone on.”

What other theaters do you and your wife visit in the area?

Being close to Rhode Island, we love and support Granite Theatre in Westerly and Rhode Island College in Providence. We also attend the University of RI, plus Trinity Rep and the Gamm in Pawtucket. Belatedly, like with the Playhouse, we just started to patronize Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven. I am on the Board of Music on the Hill in Rhode Island, and my son is Director of Development for Paul Taylor American Modern Dance. 

Scott Drummon, Carson Elrod,
Sarah Manton & Claire Karpen
in Bedroom Farce. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
What was your favorite Playhouse production this year?

Tough question, for sure. Hearing The Liar translated in that acutely contemporary iambic pentameter was one of the treats of a lifetime of theater-going. The Liar is a late renaissance work, but it may have been the freshest play in any theater this year. Also, I came to see Bedroom Farce twice, just to see the “fight scene” again. It was triple-strength comedic perfection.

Would you like to experience Tech Talk, too?  New donors – at any level – receive a complimentary invitation to this special insider-only experience.  Click here to make your gift today.

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