2016-2017 – Our 89th Season
Screen to Stage and Back Again
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Two By Two Play (Clifford Odets 1954) to Musical (1970) On his 600th birthday, Noah receives a message from God, warning him about the impending flood. He is directed to save two of each animal and to build an ark for them. Noah’s wife and family make fun of him as he starts to build the ark, but join in when it starts to rain. “The story dealt with Noah and the flood, and though written in 1954, covered such contemporary themes as the generation gap and ecology,” Rodgers wrote. “There was even a parallel between the flood and the atom bomb.” The “gitka” is a magical Old Testament species of mouse, created by Clifford Odets, that sings in the presence of God. The arrival of one convinces the family of Noah’s story. It has no mate so they are unable to bring her aboard.
On our stage September 16-18, 23-25, and 30-October 2, 2016.
Legally Blonde Screen (2001) to Stage (2007) Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. Throughout the show, no one has faith in Elle Woods, but she manages to surprise them when she defies expectations while staying true to herself.
On our stage November 11-13, 18-20, 25-27, and December 2-4, 2016.
Arsenic and Old Lace Stage (1939) to Screen (1944) The play is a farcical black comedy revolving around the Brewster family, descended from the “Mayflower,” but now composed of insane homicidal maniacs. The hero, Mortimer Brewster, is a drama critic who must deal with his crazy, homicidal family and local police in Brooklyn, NY, as he debates whether to go through with his recent promise to marry the woman he loves. His family includes two spinster aunts who have taken to murdering lonely old men by poisoning them with a glass of home-made elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide; a brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of the Brewster home (which then serve as graves for the aunts’ victims; he thinks that they died of Yellow Fever); and a murderous brother who has received plastic surgery performed by an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein (a character based on real-life gangland surgeon Joseph Moran) to conceal his identity, and now looks like horror-film actor Boris Karloff (a self-referential joke, as the part was originally played on Broadway by Karloff).
On our stage January 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29, 2017.
The Lion in Winter Stage (1966) to Screen (1968) Set during Christmas 1183 at Henry II of England’s castle in Chinon, Anjou, Angevin Empire, the play opens with the arrival of Henry’s wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom he has had imprisoned since 1173. The story concerns the gamesmanship between Henry, Eleanor, their three surviving sons Richard, Geoffrey, and John, and their Christmas Court guest, the King of France, Philip II Augustus (French: Philippe Auguste), who was the son of Eleanor’s ex-husband, Louis VII of France(by his third wife, Adelaide). Also involved is Philip’s half-sister Alais (by Louis VII’s second wife Constance), who has been at court since she was betrothed to Richard at age eight, but has since become Henry’s mistress.
The Fox TV drama Empire is explicitly based on The Lion in Winter. It concerns a dysfunctional family that owns a record label named Empire, with all the members scheming and manipulating for power. There are numerous allusions to the play: the family is named Lyon, the father runs an empire while the mother, a very formidable woman, has been imprisoned for many years. Together, they have three sons: a serious, studious, master manipulator son; an intelligent, talented son, who is gay and the mother’s favorite but rejected by the father; and a youngest son who is a favorite of the father, but who is spoiled and irresponsible. The recently freed mother schemes with the father and three sons for control of their empire, while at the same time slinging numerous verbal barbs at each other.
On our stage March 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26, 2017.
Sugar Screen (1959’s Some Like it Hot) to Stage (1972) Two unemployed musicians, bass player Jerry and saxophone player Joe, witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. In order to escape gangster Spats Palazzo and his henchmen, they dress as women and join Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopaters, an all-female band about to leave town for an engagement at a Miami Beach hotel. Complications arise when Joe, now known as Josephine, falls in love with beautiful band singer Sugar Kane, who has a slight drinking problem that tends to interfere with her ability to choose a romantic partner wisely. More than anything, Sugar wants to marry a millionaire, prompting Joe to disguise himself as the man of her dreams. Meanwhile, wealthy and elderly Osgood Fielding, Jr. is pursuing Daphne, unaware she really is Jerry in drag. As much as he knows he needs to reveal his true gender to his over-amorous paramour, Jerry is beginning to enjoy all the expensive gifts bestowed upon him on a regular basis. Total chaos erupts when Spatz and his gang descend upon the hotel and realize who Josephine and Daphne really are.
On our stage May 5-7, 12-14, 18-21, and 26-28, 2017.