From The Mississippi Delta: a powerful drama now at the Westport Country Playhouse

The Westport Country Playhouse is now presenting on stage the drama “From the Mississippi Delta”.  This tale is based on the true life story of the author, Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D.  It follows her incredible struggles from a poor black girl living  in segregated  Mississippi in the 1950s to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, to her relocation to Minnesota where she attends college and graduate school.  It is a tale of the human spirit and the ability to finally overcome the seemingly impossible  challenges of poverty and a  cruel racist society.  The play was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has been produced in theaters across the country including Off-Broadway.

There are three actors in the play, all who play multiple roles. The main characters are the mother and daughter, with the third actor also taking on the role as narrator.   They weave the true story of the author and her family.  The main character, Phelia  is inspired by her mother Ida (also called Aint Baby), to work hard and strive for a better life.  Her mother has left the long days of the cotton fields behind as has become a midwife in her rural community.  Her talents and dedication earn her the name,  “Second Doctor Lady”.   She owns her own modest home and rents out rooms to support her children.   The play turns dark when her daughter, Phelia at age 11 is raped by a local white man.  Soon Phelia is caught up the seediness of a local carnival and becomes a prostitute at age 12.  She eventually will drop out of school. 

Fate will change the life of young Phelia when she meets with a civil rights group that comes to town, the  Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.   They convince her to join their movement .   Her mother is against her involvement, and in time their house is firebombed.  Her mother, Aint Baby perishes is the fire which is blamed on Klansmen.    Despite this tragedy, Phelia struggles onward and we follow her remarkable journey as she  moves north to Minnesota and attends college.   It is an incredible story of the human spirit that will remind you of the struggles so many have endured on the road to equality.  The play has all the elements of a compelling drama:  struggle, tragedy, hope, inspiration and finally redemption. 

Westport Country Playhouse will stage from October 18 – 30th. So make plans to see this fascinating drama.

The three-member cast includes Claudia Logan as Woman 1. She is from Detroit, a graduate of SUNY Purchase, and now lives in Brooklyn. Credits include Westport Country Playhouse’s “Don Juan” (2019), Dallas Theater Center’s “Penny Candy,” HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness” and “The Deuce,” and Netflix’s “Tales of the City.” Tameishia Peterson portrays Woman 2. Born in Dayton and raised in Memphis, she is a graduate of The Ohio State University, Michael Howard Studios, and Fiasco Conservatory. She now lives in New York. Credits include Starz’s ““Power Book II: Ghost,” Hulu’s “WuTang: An American Saga,” and Netflix’s “The Perfect Find.” Erin Margaret Pettigrew plays Woman 3. She is a first generation Los Angeles native after having roots in Belize and the American South. Her artist-journey has been shaped with many communities and creators such as Manhattan Theatre Club, Page 73 Productions, JAG Productions, and more, while facilitating and learning alongside institutions such as UCSB, NYU, and CUNY.

Playwright Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D. was born in Green­wood, Mississippi. During the 1940s and 1950s, Greenwood was an impoverished Delta community where Black people lived in fear of their lives. It is her life story that is the basis for this play.

Goldie E. Patrick. is the director of this production. The Detroit native is an proud alumna of Howard University where she is currently a professor of hip-hop theater. Based in New York City, for over 20 years she has passionately worked in and built artistic collaborations in Black theater as a playwright, director, and producer.

The creative team includes Jason Ardizzone-West, scenic design; Heidi Hanson, costume design; John Alexander, lighting design; Michael Keck, sound design; Ann James, intimacy coach; Dawn-Elin Fraser, voice and speech coach; Sean Sanford, props supervisor; Melissa Sparks, production stage manager; and Tré Wheeler, assistant stage manager.

The play is recommended for age 15 and up. Running time is approximately 90 minutes with one intermission. For the Playhouse’s 2022 season only, plays are consolidated to a two-week performance schedule instead of the usual three-week run.  Please support great local theater, and come see professional performance at the Westport Country Playhouse.

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court Westport Ct

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4000 Miles, a dramatic journey of self discovery now at the Westport Country Playhouse

4000 Miles a brilliant drama written by Amy Herzog and first produced at Lincoln Center is now on stage at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport.

The audience is greeted by a stage that has been designed to look like a well lived in Greenwich Village apartment.  The apartment is occupied by Vera Joseph (played by Mia Dillon) a widow and ex-communist who has lived there for decades.  The intricate design of the set immediately draws the audience into the play.  At 3 am we meet Vera as she stumbles from her bedroom to answer the door.  Her 20 something year old grandson Leo (played by Clay Singer) enters the scene pushing his road bike which is weighed down with heavy bike luggage. The exhausted Leo explains he has just cycled from Seattle to New York.  He wanted to visit his girlfriend Bec but when she turns him away in the middle of the night, he heads to his stay with his octogenarian grandmother.

The next morning a conversation begins between these two unlikely roommates.  The back story of these characters slowly introduces the audience to Vera and Leo.  The revelation of who these characters are is protracted as the playwright wants to draw the audience into the apartment and into the conversation itself. Amy Herzog has crafted characters that are at once likable yet are complex.

Leo and Vera

Leo along with his friend Micah has left his home in St. Paul, Minnesota and ridden clear across the country.  At the start he dips his back tire of his bike into the Pacific with the plan to dip the front tire into the Atlantic at his journey’s end.  He and Micah photograph their odyssey but tragedy strikes when a truck overturns and Micah is buried under the heavy load of its cargo of chickens.

Not only is his friend killed but the camera which captured the memories of their trip is destroyed as well.  Not even attending the funeral of his good friend, Leo pedals on alone trying to escape his past and his present.  The playwright uses metaphors throughout the play and they are quite effective without being obvious.  Finally, weighed down by his bike bags and his grief, he arrives in Greenwich Village though his trip is not complete.  His overnight stay turns into a three week long voyage of self discovery with his grandmother, Vera.

As the other main character, Vera Joseph is a widow living in the same apartment for many decades.  Her late husband Joe still has his name on the buzzer, and his library of books on communism and Marxism still line the shelves. Though he has been gone for 10 years, Vera stills sleeps in the same room with two twin beds where she nursed her husband in his last days.  She has never returned to her own room. Her husband’s clothes still hang in the closet.  She has no friends and her only contact is by phone with the woman across the hall that she never met and does not like. Vera is trapped by her past and very much alone.

The brilliance of the play is in the complex yet revealing dialogue between Leo and Vera.  Sad and dramatic discourse is occasionally broken by a well timed humorous line which effectively breaks the tension. We learn Leo is intelligent though did not attend college.  He is without a compass, a man-child  who is always on the move.  It is Vera who tries to put him back on course.  Vera with the urging of Leo takes back her old persona by changing the name on the door buzzer to her own, and severing her ties with her cranky neighbor.   The transformation of both characters is subtle and carefully revealed.

Bec  (played by Lea Dimarchi) is Leo’s girlfriend and enters the play to inform Leo that she is breaking up with him.  She delayed college for him and now she needs to move on. 

Later in the play in a touching scene, Bec returns with her own bike.  She is heading off to class, but gives Leo several maps for him to follow and to finally reach the end of his journey by dipping the front tire of his bike in the Atlantic. She knows he is lost and wants him to find his way. Yet another of the metaphors woven throughout the clever dialogue.

Leo and Bec

The other character in the play is Amanda (played by Phoebe Holden).  Amanda is a 20 something Asian woman who Leo meets and brings back to the apartment.  She is intrigued by his free spirit, hippie persona and calls him the Mountain Man.  When she confronts him about the wall of books on communism, he makes light of the subject.  She tells him it was communism that forced her family to flee China.  Her comments and her departure help shock him into looking at the world in a more serious manner.

The play moves along to its conclusion as the audience witnesses the slow and subtle transformation of Leo and Vera as they step out of the shadows and to the light of a better persona.   A serious thought provoking drama with well placed comedic lines that keep the audience engaged. It is quite the journey and the audience is along for the ride.

 The play is in one act and runs 100 minutes.  4000 Miles is a story of relationships, self discovery, and the road we all can travel to becoming a better person.   The play is layered with brilliant, thoughtful dialogue, fine acting, and first rate direction that draws the audience into the scene.

If you see only one drama this fall season, you must attend a performance of 4000 Miles at the Westport Country Playhouse.

Playwright Amy Herzog’s other plays include After the Revolution” (Lilly Award), The Great God Pan,”and“Belleville”(Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist; Drama Desk Nomination). Herzog is a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award, Benjamin H. Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Helen Merrill Award, Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity, and The New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award. She has taught playwriting at Bryn Mawr and Yale, and has an MFA from Yale School of Drama.

Directing “4000 Miles” is David Kennedy who is in his fourteenth season as Playhouse associate artistic director. He has directed Playhouse productions each season, including “The Invisible Hand,” which received the 2016 Connecticut Critics Circle (CCC) Award for Outstanding Production of a Play, and for which Kennedy won the CCC honor for Outstanding Director of a Play.

All audience members must wear a mask while inside Westport Country Playhouse. For updates on Covid-19 health and safety protocols at the Playhouse, visit

For more information and to buy tickets, visit, or call the box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit

Westport Country Playhouse,

25 Powers Court, Route 1, Westport Ct

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Don Juan: a modern and relevant telling of this classic play now at the Westport Country Playhouse

don juan 1

The classic story of Don Juan is now on stage at the famous Westport Country Playhouse.  Most of us have heard about the legendary lover and seducer, Don Juan, but his tale written by the  Playwright Molière (1622-1673) is very different.  This translation by Brendan Pelsue, and adaptation and direction by David Kennedy will forever change the way you think about the character Don Juan

This is a thoroughly modern and avant garde production of this classic tale.  In a world where more value is put on the cult of personality and moral integrity is cast aside, this staging of Don Juan is both relevant and compelling.

Don Juan 2

You have never seen Don Juan like this before in this modern-dress production of the satirical, classic comic tale. As he moves through the play  the notorious seducer leaves behind a trail of broken hearts,unpaid bills, and scandals.  He cares little for the destruction he brings on his debtors, or the women he leaves behind.  He allows Sganarelle, his loyal servant  to clean up his messes.  During the play Don Juan seduces one woman after another.  He cares not for them or their feeling as long as he can satisfy his own ego and personal cravings.  He wears a light suit of gold indicating though he is a “noble” it is all gilded and beneath the veneer he is a shallow narcissist.  He even wears a shirt of black and gold that spells out “Narcissist” but only backward so only he can be read in a mirror.


His man servant Sganarelle acts not only as his fixer and his buffer from all that is unpleasant, but serves as his moral conscience.  It is Sganarelle that implores him to see the damage he does by his behavior and to repent.  Don Juan ignores his pleas and reminds him he has years to live before he will even consider changing his immoral ways.

“When I originally proposed that we produce ‘Don Juan,’ I thought 2019 was the perfect time to revive this acerbically comic tale of an undisciplined, thin-skinned narcissist who blazes a path of destruction through the world, upending institutions and social norms, destabilizing everything, offending all decency and morality, and leaving a trail of wreckage in his wake. I can’t ever imagine why,” said  David Kennedy, the director.

In Act Two Don Juan has an encounter with the ghost from his wicked past in the form of a statue of a man he once killed.  It is here we find Don Juan, dressed not as a playboy but more like a modern politician that he must finally confront his own lack of morality.  You must wait to the dramatic conclusion to see his fate.

Don Juan is  played by Nick Westrate (2012 Drama Desk award winner, numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway roles),  Sganarelle, Don Juan’s sidekick, played by Bhavesh Patel (Broadway’s “The Nap,” “Present Laughter” opposite Kevin Klein; Lincoln Center Theater’s “War Horse”). Philip Goodwin portrays Don Juan’s father Don Louis (Broadway’s “Tartuffe,” “The School for Scandal,” “The Diary of Anne Frank”).

Other cast members are Jordan Bellow as Don Carlos (New York theater’s “Interior”; regional theater’s “A Raisin in the Sun”; television’s “Gotham”); Paul DeBoy as Mr. Gusman/Statue  (Broadway’s “Mamma Mia!”; television’s ““Leviathan”); Carson Elrod as Pierrot/Dimanche (Westport Country Playhouse’s “Bedroom Farce,” “How the Other Half Loves,” and others; Broadway’s “Peter and the Starcatcher”); Suzy Jane Hunt as Dona Elvira (Broadways’ “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Dead Accounts”; television’s “The Americans”); Bobby Roman as Don Alonzo (film credits “The Challenger,” “Tapestry,” “One Night in Brooklyn”); Ariana Venturi as Charlotte (five seasons at Berkshire Theatre Festival; Alya Feinburg in season two of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”); and Claudia Logan as Mathurine/The Ghost (HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness,” “The Deuce”; Netflix’s “Tales of the City”).

The creative team includes Marsha Ginsberg, scenic design, and Sam Vawter, associate scenic design; Katherine Roth, costume design; Matthew Richards, lighting design; Fitz Patton, original music and sound design; Michael Rossmy, fight director and intimacy coach ; Karin White, props supervisor; Dana Tanner-Kennedy,  Tara Rubin Casting, Laura Schutzel  and Claire Burke, CSA; and Shane Schnetzler, production stage manager.

This is a thought provoking and finely crafted production that will have you discussing the performance long after the curtain has come down.  See Don Juan now through November 23rd.

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Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court  Westport Ct

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Mlima’s Tale: a powerful and moving drama of the illegal ivory trade now at the Westport Country Playhouse



A powerful, moving and thought provoking play is now on stage at the Westport Country PlayhouseMlima’s Tale is a compelling drama written by two time Pulitizer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and directed by Mark Lamos.  The play was featured Off-Broadway in 2018 and this is its first production since then and cannot be missed.


The story of Mlima’s Tale is  of a famous and beloved Kenyan elephant named Mlima who lives in a protected national park, but is still being hunted by poachers involved in the illegal ivory trade.   The story follows the hunting of Mlima and the transport of the precious tusks of this animal to Vietnam and finally on to China.  Along the way the elements of human greed, corruption, and crime are exposed as part of this illicit trade.

The author brings not only great respect to the elephants and their plight, but humanizes them during the performance.  We hear the voices of the elephants as they run through the brush to escape the poachers, and as they cry out for loved ones.  It is traumatic tale that grabs the audience and does not let them go. Jermaine Rowe plays Mlima and his words and body language give a voice to this wonderful animal.  After the hunt Mr. Rowe takes on the part of the soul or the spirit of Mlima as the tusks are being transported.  He follow along the trade route and  physically touches each of the persons involved in the trade and marks them with the sign of their crime with white chalk.

MamboMaria&Gino (1024x1280)

The message of “Mlima’s Tale” is straight forward, clear and direct. This is like no other drama I have ever seen on stage.  The set is simple and allows the actors and the story to drive the message.  The back screen of the stage is lit with changing images as well as  written quotes that convey the inhumanity of how we share this planet with other beings, and harvest them as if they had no soul.   This unique approach to story telling is quite compelling and I found myself riveted to the action on stage during the performance.  The somberness of the subject matter, the creative story telling, and the projected imagery of the written quotes constantly has the audience contemplating the seriousness of the elephant’s plight, and that of all exploited animals.    The play is 90 minutes long with no intermission.  There is no usual break to reflect on what is happening to in the play, but rather the audience is drawn into the story until its conclusion.  Like all his work, director Mark Lamos has done a brilliant job with this unique drama.

The other  three cast members  have the task of playing multiple roles including Kenyan hunters, corrupt officials, Kenyan park rangers, ivory traders, an American ship captain, Vietnamese port officials, and even a wealthy Chinese woman looking to buy an ivory trinket for her luxury flat.  Jeannean Farmer, Adit Dileep and Carl Hendrick Louis are up to the task of the many characters they play. Each has an impressive resume of Broadway, Off Broadway, and television roles and they provide a fine performance.

This is a rare play that is unique in its presentation but powerful in its delivery and its message.  Do not miss it.

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Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court

Westport Ct     (203) 227-4177

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Man of La Mancha: the classic Broadway musical now at Westport Country Playhouse


Philip Hernandez as Don Quixote

The dramatic and stirring Broadway classic Man of La Mancha has returned to the stage at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.   This beautifully staged production at the Playhouse is true Broadway quality in every way.  This is a brilliant show that cannot be missed.

Man of La Mancha is a musical inspired by the story of Miguel de Cervantes imprisonment during the Spanish Inquisition and is also inspired by his book Don Quixote written in 1615.  The musical adaptation places Cervantes in a dungeon prison awaiting his hearing for charges brought against him by the inquisition.   Cervantes is a self described poet and play write, as well as a tax collector.  His latter position and his act of taxing  a church has placed him in prison.  His fellow prisoners upon meeting Cervantes and his loyal sidekick decide to have their own “mock trial” and seize his manuscript.  The show is staged in the prison “commons” as the prisoners await trial.  The curtains open to steel bars separating the actors from the sold out audience.  The set is dramatic in both design and lighting and sets the mood for the evening.


Cervantes demands the opportunity to defend himself before his fellow prisoners and using his skills as an actor and a trunk full of costumes and props, he launches into a virtual “play within the play”.  Along with his sidekick Sancho, the other prisoners become part of this story woven by Cervantes.  Cervantes spins the tale of a noble knight  on a noble quest, and he becomes Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha.   Despite living in an era of fear and despair, Quixote is a dreamer.  He dreams of a world where knights still roam spreading virtue and morals, performing noble quests and coming to the aid of their Lady.  He exclaims he has seen and experienced the misery and tragedy in life, but he rather instead find the beauty and the goodness in life.


Gisela Adisa as Aldonza/Dulcinea

Quixote is a idealist and a dreamer and the audience (as it has been since its Broadway debut in the 1960s) becomes a fan of Quixote. His idealism for a simpler  and kinder world is in stark contrast to the reality of 16th Century Spain.  Indeed his spirit and  ideals are what attract so many current audience members .

His idealism is manifested brilliantly in the song “The Impossible Dream” which is the hallmark of the evening.  The song is instantly familiar to many, and yet it is so fresh and relevant today.

Philip Hernandez  is masterful in the role Cervantes/Don Quixote (only actor in Broadway history to play both Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in “Les Misérables”; original Broadway casts of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and Paul Simon’s “The Capeman”)  He has a wonderful  deep voice that filled the playhouse on opening night.  A brilliant and memorable performance.

Gisela Adisa as Aldonza/Dulcinea (Broadway’s “Beautiful,” First National Tour of “Sister Act,” regional theater’s “Lights Out:  Nat King Cole” – 2018 Barrymore Award nomination) is wonderful  in her dual role.    Tony Manna play Sancho Panza  the side kick and faithful companion to Don Quixote(Off-Broadway’s “These Paper Bullets,” “Timon of Athens,” “The Hasty Heart”; Netflix’ “Maniac”).   He brings to the role a sort of humor and warmth to which the audience enjoyed.

This production of Man of La Mancha  is directed by Mark Lamos who has directed  many plays at Westport Country Playhouse since 2008.  His extensive New York credits include “Our Country’s Good,” for which he received a Tony Award nomination. A former artistic director at Hartford Stage, he earned the 1989 Tony Award for the theater’s body of work.   His direction of this production is mostly faithful to the original, but injects  a modern vibe with the costumes of some of the cast as well as a reference in the dialogue to our current political climate that was recognized by the audience.

This is one of  the great Broadway musicals of all time.  Its story is timeless and quite relevant in the world we now live.  Make sure you see this wonderful show.

For tickets and information:

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Ct Westport Ct.

Box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529,




The Understudy: a behind the scenes stage comedy now at Westport Country Playhouse


A very funny play set backstage at a Broadway theater has opened  at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.  “The Understudy” written by award winning playwright Theresa Rebeck  is  a clever and very funny comedy that brought laughter and much applause from the opening night audience.  It recently ran off Broadway.

The play opens with a bang as Harry (Eric Bryant) runs down the aisle of the theater and leaps on stage and reminds the audience to silence their cell phones.  We learn quickly he is not a member of the theater but rather an actor and the show has abruptly started even though the stage curtain is still closed.  An effective way of getting the full attention of the audience.

This comedy takes place during practice on a Broadway stage for a serious play based on the works of German novelist Franz Kafka.  As the actors practice their lines, the audience is treated to a play within a play, with the seriousness of the Kafka story contrasting with the comedy of the main play itself.  The Understudy employs three actors, Harry who is the journeyman understudy looking for his big break, Jake (Brett Dalton) who is a movie actor and mid level action film star, and Roxanne (Andrea Sglowski) , a former actress now stage manager whose job during the play is to run this practice.  She has the task of  keeping Jake and Harry from fighting (as Harry dislikes a B  movie actor taking on serious Broadway roles).  Jake has no love for Harry as he sees him unfit to understudy for a “star” like himself.    Jake too is obsessed as to why he is not receiving big dollar contracts for movies and not the $2 million a film he currently  is paid.

We also find that Roxanne and Harry were once engaged and she has no idea he has been cast as the understudy as he has adopted a new name.  That tension and Harry’s constant absurd comments about changing the lines further send the practice into disarray.  Throw into the mix Laura, the stage board operator (unseen during the show) who is stoned and keeps screwing up the sound, lighting and the sets.  This only adds to the calamity on stage.   The play gives the audience a look into the world backstage at a Broadway production and all the issues that arrive that give angst to those in the production, but comedy for the viewer.

Interesting is the playwrights commentary on the current state of American theater.  Instead of staging plays and musicals of integrity, the public and the theater industry itself is obsessed with celebrity and profits , with many plum roles in the theater going to big name movie stars instead of seasoned actors.  This commentary is worthy and timely considering some of the shows making it to the stage today.  A very funny play with great acting, a thoughtful clever script and excellent direction by David Kennedy.

The play runs  one and a half hours and is fast paced and has no intermission.  The play runs through September 1, 2018.

for tickets and information

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court   Westport Ct.

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Sex with Strangers: a romantic drama in the digital era at Westport Country Playhouse


Laura Eason writer/producer on the television series House Of Cards (Netflix) is the author of this interesting and thoughtful play now on stage at the Westport Country Playhouse.  Sex with Strangers is part drama, part comedy that focuses on the modern digital age of dating, relationships, and how we learn about the people we meet.

The play has only two characters, Ethan (Chris Ghaffari) and  Olivia (Jessica Love).   Olivia is a professor and talented but unsuccessful author in her late 30s.  She is staying in a woodsy bed and breakfast in the Michigan woods.  She is all alone and is there to clear her mind, disconnect from the world and perhaps finish a long overdue novel.

Her tranquility is soon broken by the unexpected arrival of  Ethan, another guest  during a snowstorm.  Ethan is a late 20s blogger and author who interrupts the quiet of the cabin with his demands for food, and general disgust when he discovers there is no wi-fi at the remote cabin.  The audience discovers that Ethan is also a writer and internet sensation and has produced two books based on his weekly sexual exploits with strangers he picks up in bars.  The titles of the books is where the name of the play is derived.   Olivia is not only a English professor but had published a book years earlier that was the subject of mixed and some harsh reviews.  The experience of rejection of her novel despite her talent has had such a lasting effect on her that she is unable to finish her second novel despite her talent and ambition.  The two are true opposites.

sex with strangers

The conversation in the first act between Ethan and Olivia is in short, rapid exchanges that reminded me more of text messages than true conversation.  However as  the characters learn more of each other, the conversation evolves and becomes more warm and complex .   We find that Ethan is not here by accident and knew about Olivia, her first book and that she would be at the cabin.  Indeed he has used the internet to read up about her and seek to out photos of her.  It as if he was reviewing an online dating profile and shows the stark differences between the two characters.  Olivia is absorbed by the written word, great authors, and dreams of joining her literary idols on the shelves.  Ethan is a scrappy internet blogger,  who we find dreams of leaving the shallow persona that has made him a success and become a real author.  The strangers do become romantically entangled despite their obvious differences.  However, Olivia uses the internet to find out more about Ethan and his books and finds she is repelled by his sexual exploits as well as the counter-blogging by women that he slighted.

Act Two shifts gears and is set in Olivia’s apartment.  The lives of the two very different strangers become entangled not only in their strange sexual attraction, but their shared ambition to be published.  In Act two we see a change in the characters and their relationship as they use each other to achieve their personal goals.    The play is a commentary on our digital world, the personas we create online, and how we interact with each other online and in person.   The play is sprinkled with humor which helps break the tension between the two characters.

Jessica Love who has Broadway and off Broadway credits in resume does a fine job as Olivia.  Chris Ghaffari who was on the Westport stage last year in the hilarious “What the Butler Saw” did an excellent job as Ethan.

The scenic design by Edward Morris were really well done and constructed and drew the audience into the play.  The woodsy bed and breakfast cabin was very realistic and effective.

An interesting and thoughtful play with direction by Katherine M. Carter.

The play runs through October 14th 2017

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court Westport Ct

tel. 203.227.4177

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Appropriate: a must see drama with a deep secret at Westport Country Playhouse


As the house lights darken, the sound of cicadas fill the theater and set the mood for the drama that lies ahead.  The lights soften to reveal the inside of a dilapidated former plantation in Arkansas.  The  old once grand home is great disrepair and filled with years of a hoarders collection of  both artifacts and secrets.

Much like the mysterious cicada insect that lives underground only to return every 13 to 17 years and sing its mating song, the adult Lafayette family which has been distant from each other  decides to reunite at the plantation after the death of their father.  The purpose is to liquidate the estate and the decaying plantation house.  Of the three adult children, each has a  different reason for returning.  Toni, (Betsy Aidem) the oldest is the executor and is there with her son Rhys (Nick Selting) to oversee the sale of the contents of the home and the plantation itself.  However, she cannot seem to get a grasp on letting her father go, and the sale she charged with arranging is disorganized.  Her brother Bo (David Aaron Baker),  has come in from New York with his family so he can recoup his financial outlay of taking care of his father, and for his wife Rachel  (Diane Davis) and kids (Allison Winn and  Christian Camporin) to learn something about the reclusive father whom they have never known.


Into the mix comes the long lost brother Franz (Shawn Fagan), the youngest sibling and  the misfit  of the family who has been out of touch from the family for 10 years.  With him is his earthy and soulful young girlfriend,  River (Anna Crivelli).  Franz (formerly Frank) was a burden to his family  for years and then dropped out of sight.  Franz  has returned not to seek money or his share of the estate, but to reunite with his siblings and make peace with his family,  His visit is to cleanse himself from the person he was  and to confront his troubled past growing up in the plantation.  With the assistance of River, he has reinvented himself and the misfit now morally rises above his siblings.


Old houses as well as families have deep secrets that perhaps are best kept that way.  But by accident a horrible secret about their father emerges from the hoard of items found in the house.  Each sibling must grasp with this discovery.  There is denial, intrigue and accusations as we learn about each member and their relationship with their father.  The remaining family members struggle not only with the discovery of this secret, but must deal with the decay of their family ties which parallels the decay of the plantation itself.  I will not disclose the secret as that if for you to discover.

Appropriate is a brilliantly written play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. It is complex, and thought provoking.  I found myself rewinding the scenes of the play in my mind long after I left the theater.   Direction by David Kennedy is wonderful as the audience is immediately drawn into the action and held there for the duration.  The set design is wonderful and captures the decay of the plantation.  Special note should go the effects, lighting and sound which are all instrumental to the performance.

Notable acting performances include Betsy Aidem as Toni who commands the stage as her character swings from sadness to remorse to rage during the play. Shawn Fagan as Franz gives an illuminating performance of a character who embodies redemption.   It is perhaps Anna Crivelli as River whose rational zen like character brings both levity and calm which is the most memorable performance.

This is a must see drama and one of the finest I have seen in some time.

The show runs through September 2 2017


Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court  Westport Ct



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Lettice and Lovage: a brilliant British comedy at the Westport Country Playhouse


A hysterical comedy  is now in production at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.  The play “Lettice and Lovage” is a witty British comedy that opened in Britain in 1987 and then on Broadway in 1990 where it was nominated for a Tony  and has been the recipient of much acclaim.

In the play we meet  Lettice Douffet who is a tour guide at a historic English manor run by the Historical Trust.   Lettice finds that the tourists who visit the site are bored as the home was never the scene of anything of real historic interest.  She embarks on embellishing the history of the manor with grand stories and details that are from her fertile imagination.      Her  boss at the trust Lotte Schoen gets wind of her historical inaccuracies and fires her.  After a change of heart Lotte visits Lettice at her flat where they enjoy an potent beverage called Lovage.  During this meeting the strict Lotte lets down her guard and reveals that under the dull trappings of a civil servant she is really a devoted lover of British culture and architecture that she feels is being destroyed by modern society.   An unusual friendship is formed  as they embrace Lettice’s creed of Enlarge, Enlighten, and Enliven!

lettice 2

The play is clever, funny and a real delight.  The actors are wonderful and the direction is fantastic as the audience learns about the Lettice and Lotte and how their unusual relationship has enriched both their lives.  Set design is particularly good with three separate sets used during the performance.

There are excellent performances from the entire cast with Kandis Chappell as Lettice , Mia Dillon as Lotte , Sarah Manton  as Ms Framer (last seen in “What the Butler Saw at the WCP) and Paxton Whitehead the veteran actor who played the part of Mr. Bardoff on Broadway.  Mr. Whitehead has a long and distinguished career of stage and screen performances.

The play was written by Sir Peter Shaffer who has  written such classics as Equus and Amadeus.  Direction is by Mark Lamos who has directed many plays at the Playhouse and is himself a Tony award winner.

The play runs through June 17th


For Tickets and information:

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court  Westport Ct     tel.   (888) 927-7529

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Camelot: a fresh adaptation of the classic musical at Westport Country Playhouse


The legendary musical “Camelot” featuring Tony Award winner Robert Sean Leonard is currently being staged at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.  The musical is based on the novel “The Once and Future King”by  T.H. White, which retells the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  The musical Camelot which opened on Broadway in 1960 and written by Lerner and Lowe starred Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet.   It was the recipient of four Tony Awards.


The story involves King Arthur of England and his ascent to the throne.  There he wants to create a new society of men, where differences are not settled by battle and war, but by courts of law.  He wants to bring peace to the land and creates a brotherhood of Knights whose mission it is not to bring war but to spread out and do good and noble deeds. Camelot is born and with it is the idealism of a better world.  It is in this setting that King Arthur meets and weds Guinevere,  and later is joined by Sir Lancelot.  It is this relationship that becomes a love triangle and threatens the very foundation of Camelot.


The current production is a fresh and innovative look at the classic musical.  The entire production has been streamlined from the original and the story moves along easily during the 2 hour performance.  I have seen other productions of Camelot which are heavier and slower paced.  This production seems lighter, fresh and breathes new life into this classic.  Almost all the Lerner and Lowe songs are present in the production.  As part of the thinning of  the story, some of the better known characters such as Merlin are absent.

The performances by the actors are superb!  Robert Sean Leonard as King Arthur is magnificent and it is no wonder he is the recipient of several Tony nominations  and a Tony Award.  He brings a bounty of emotion to the role which was felt by the audience especially at the end of Act 2.    Britney Coleman is delightful as Guinevere, as her acting and amazing vocal talents light up the stage.    Excellent performances were also given by the rest of the cast including Stephen Mark Lukas as Lancelot and Patrick Andrews as Mordred.   A wonderful job by David Lee who adapted the book, and Mark Lamos for his direction.  The cast was greeted by an enthusiastic standing ovation at the conclusion of the performance.


Performances run through November 5th 2016.

for tickets and more information including videos:

Westport Playhouse

25 Powers Court Westport Ct


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