By Annie Keefe
|The cast of 'The Cocktail Hour,' 1990 at Westport Country Playhouse.|
I was so moved when I saw the picture Pat Blaufuss unearthed from the archives showing the cast of THE COCKTAIL HOUR when it had its Playhouse debut in 1990, because it reminded me yet again what a small and wonderfully connected family we share in this business.
From Left to Right – That’s Fritz Weaver, playing Bradley. I worked with him at Long Wharf right around that time in a production of SONG AT TWILIGHT (A play seen in our 2014 season here at the Playhouse). His girlfriend at the time came in on extremely short notice to cover for an actress who had to leave the production. After a week working with her, I went into the dressing room one night and said to Fritz-‘You’re a fool not to marry that woman, she’s terrific’. He looked at me like I had two heads. Two months later I received a beautiful bottle of Port with a note saying he and Rochelle had gotten married, and it was all down to me shaking him out of his comfort zone.
He later appeared in 2000 in the early days of Joanne’s and my tenure at the Playhouse in Gurney’s ANCESTRAL VOICES once again with Elizabeth Wilson (third from the left playing Ann).
Liz Wilson died recently at 94. She was one of the great ladies of the American theater. She appeared with Joanne and Paul in their first Broadway Play, PICNIC, the show where Paul and Joanne met. Mike Nichols used her 7 times in various projects. You might remember her from Catch22 or The Addams Family. I had the great pleasure of working with her several times at Long Wharf. Kind and as funny as they come!
|Reed Birney as Erik Blake in Steven Karam's|
The Humans, currently on Broadway
|Cast of our upcoming Script in Hand|
playreading of 'The Cocktail Hour'
JACK GILPIN – yes, father of Betty and husband to Ann McDonough, will join us again to play the father/husband opposite his real life wife, ANN MCDONOUGH, who has now ‘graduated’ to the role of the mother/wife. CLAIRE KARPEN, who was last seen on this stage in BEDROOM FARCE in 2015 will play Nina, and she will be joined by our own JAKE ROBARDS playing John. Jake is the son of Jason Robards for whom the mainstage theatre is named, a veteran of 5 Script in Hand readings and a member of our Board of Trustees.
I can’t wait to see what this great group of interconnected actors will bring to our stage on Monday, March 14th when they gather to read THE COCKTAIL HOUR, written by our dear friend, member of our Artistic Advisory Council, writer of last year’s hit play LOVE AND MONEY and 2014 Playhouse Gala honoree – A.R. (Pete) Gurney!