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The press release:
Rhinebeck Theatre Society Presents George Bernard Shaw’s 'Heartbreak House'
Three-act comedy at Rhinecliff’s Morton Library May 7-23 signals the return of one of the region’s most acclaimed community theatre groups
12 April 2010 (Rhinebeck, NY) — Billed as the funniest play ever about love, money, and the end of the world, George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House describes a world not unlike our own, where base materialism and raw power threaten the values upon which society is built. Nobody but Shaw could turn such a gruesome situation into three acts of hilarious comedy. And probably nobody but the Rhinebeck Theatre Society would undertake such an ambitious project.
The RTS production is being prepared under the expert guidance of Ellen Honig, one of the region’s most experienced directors. Over the past 30 years, Honig has directed dozens of successful Hudson Valley productions, including Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day, Dario Fo’s We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible at Rhinebeck’s Cocoon Theatre; Cabaret and Steven Sondheim’s Assassins at the Rhinebeck Center for the Performing Arts; and Kismet for the Gilbert and Sullivan Musical Theatre Society.
In addition to her role as director, Ellen has assumed the presidency of RTS to help steer the group back into its long-held position as a leader in regional theater. The selection of the landmark Morton Memorial Library reestablishes a long-standing partnership between RTS and the historic Rhinecliff facility. In fact, the library provided rehearsal space for RTS's maiden production (The Man Who Came to Dinner) in 1986, before becoming the group’s performance space the following year.
Much of the story of Heartbreak House revolves around Ellie Dunn (played by Dorothy Penz), a young ingénue who intends to attain a life of wealth and comfort by marrying Boss Mangan (Phillip Levine), a ruthless businessman who has amassed a fortune by exploiting others. The action takes place at the home of Captain Shotover (John Adair), a retired, hard-drinking sea captain, who plays the reluctant host to his two daughters and their husbands. Nothing unfolds as expected as each character reveals their true nature and motives over the course of the three acts. Even the burglar who is caught after breaking into the house turns out to be both more and less than he appears at first.
The ten-member cast includes many names familiar to Hudson Valley theatergoers as well as a few newcomers. John Adair's extensive credits include Gayev in the Cocoon Theatre production of The Cherry Orchard and, more recently, Duncan in the CenterStage production of Macbeth at the Rhinebeck Center for the Performing Arts. Well-known poet and actor Phillip Levine's stage credits include the title role in Archibald MacLeish’s JB and Charlie Baker in The Foreigner; he has also appeared on screen in Lionsgate’s Fear of Clowns 2 and on TV in The American Revolution from Partisan Pictures/History Channel.
Nancy O. Graham, who stars as Hesione Hushabye, one of Shotover’s daughters, most recently appeared in BOUND, directed by Amy Poux and presented by High Meadow Arts, and in 'The New Kid,' an improv play presented in schools as part of the Act/Write! program. Shotover’s other daughter, Lady Utterword, is played by Alexandra Angeloch, a graduate of Bard College and the New American Theatre School (Circle Rep). She has worked as an actress in regional and off–off Broadway productions, films, and local television.
The cast also includes Broadway veteran Faith Compo as the cranky Nurse Guinness, Russ Austin, Fred Fishberg, Gregor Trieste (of Buddhapesto fame), and newcomer Tony Forte.
A comedy with a serious underlying message for our time, Heartbreak House, described by Shaw as the favorite of his plays, is a dazzling tale of false appearances and romance set against the backdrop of a troubled, cynical world.
Performances start Friday, May 7 at 7:30 pm and run through Sunday, May 23. Tickets are $20, with discounts for students and seniors. Tickets are available at www.showclix.com or by phone at 1 (888) 71-TICKETS.
2010 - 2011 Productions
One of the Hudson Valley's Oldest and Most Highly-esteemed Community Theatre Organizations