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Stratford Festival’s 2024 Season

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With great fanfare and a whole lot of theatre junkie excitement firing up inside me, Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino delighted us all with his announcement of the Stratford Festival’s 2024 season. It is a strong collection of 12 productions, packaged together with more than 150 events at the Meighen Forum, reflecting on the idea of “A World Elsewhere.”

What unites the plays for next season is a journey away from the known,” says Cimolino, “a journey away from the comfortable towards something that – while it’s an immense challenge – often brings us to a much better place.”

The season will feature three Shakespeare plays, Romeo and JulietTwelfth Night, and Cymbeline, along with the early Victorian comedy London Assurance by Dion Boucicault, the Ibsen masterpiece Hedda Gabler; the North American première of Wendy and Peter Pan, an adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s classic children’s book, by Ella Hickson; and Edward Albee’s 21st-century classic The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? – a play that frontmezzjunkies is totally thrilled to have the opportunity to see, as I’ve never seen that particular Albee play before.

Two musicals will be presented. The Festival Theatre will be home to the hilarious musical comedy Something Rotten!, with a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick. At the Avon Theatre, it’s the Tony Award-winning La Cage aux Folles, with a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman.

The season will also feature three world premières: Salesman in China by Leanna Brodie and Jovanni Sy; a new adaptation of Margaret Laurence’s classic The Diviners by Vern Thiessen with Yvette Nolan; and Get That Hope by Andrea Scott.

Antoni Cimolino. Photo by Ted Belton

“As I put together this new season, I looked for works that speak to departing from the past, stories about people who strike out in new directions,” says Cimolino. “I feel we are at a moment in society when we are genuinely ready to leave behind much of what was. In order to make that journey successfully, we need inspiration, joy, and delight along the way. I hope these plays will lift our hearts, make us laugh, and maybe show us that some risks are worth taking. And at the Stratford Festival perhaps the world elsewhere will be Peter Pan’s Neverland, Illyria of Twelfth Night, or the nightclub of La Cage aux Folles.”

The 2024 season will go on sale in December, with a special advance pre-sale for Members of the Stratford Festival in November. The events of the Meighen Forum will be announced in the coming months. The season will run from mid-April through October.

I’m immensely proud of the directors and creative teams that have come together to bring these plays to vibrant life,” says Cimolino. “With their talent and inspired work there will be a world elsewhere right here in Stratford – and it will be beautiful.

THE PLAYBILL

Proud Season Partner: RBC

Festival Theatre. Stratford Festival. Photo by Erin Samuell.

FESTIVAL THEATRE

Support for the 2024 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided

by Daniel Bernstein & Claire Foerster.

Festival Theatre, 2005.
TWELFTH NIGHT
By William Shakespeare

Production support is generously provided by Priscilla Costello, by Dr. Desta Leavine in memory of Pauline Leavine, by Peggy Ptasznik, and by Laurie J. Scott.

A shipwreck steals Viola’s twin brother from her and lands her in a foreign country. Seeking safety and income, she disguises herself as a young man, Cesario, and gains employment with the lovesick Count Orsino, who is pining for his beloved Olivia, deep in mourning for her own brother. Desperate to win Olivia’s love, Orsino sends Cesario to court her in his stead. But love is found in unexpected places in this rollicking romance of mistaken identity.

Making her Stratford directorial debut with this production is Seana McKenna, who has played both Viola and Olivia, along with the rest of Shakespeare’s leading ladies in a storied career. At Stratford alone, she has played almost 60 leading roles, including the leading role of Rose Ouimet in this season’s Les Belles-Soeurs. She has taught extensively across Canada and the U.S., including at the National Theatre School, the Birmingham Conservatory, and American Conservatory Theatre. She has directed for The New Globe, The Shakespeare Company/Hit and Myth Productions, and Here for Now Theatre, and has received acting and directing awards for her work in theatre and film.

SOMETHING ROTTEN!

Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell

Music and Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick

Conceived by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick

Brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are playwrights toiling away in the shadow of the great William Shakespeare. Desperate for a hit, Nick visits a soothsayer who predicts that the next great thing in theatre will be something called “a musical.” Wary but trusting, the brothers set off to create a new theatrical genre – only to find Shakespeare wants in on the act. Featuring songs like “God, I Hate Shakespeare”, “Will Power” and “Hard to Be the Bard”, the Tony Award-winning musical Something Rotten! (The Broadway production’s frontmezzjunkies review can be found here) is perfect for the Stratford stage and for all audiences, whether they know and love Shakespeare or are just jumping on the bandwagon now.

Filled with glorious dance numbers, this production will be helmed by Director-Choreographer Donna Feore, returning to the Festival for her 28th season with a string of hits under her belt, including 2022’s Chicago, 2019’s Billy Elliot the Musical and Little Shop of Horrors, and 2018’s The Music Man and The Rocky Horror Show. She has recently been working in the U.S., developing the new musicals Mythic and The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation, as well as Summer Stock, for which she opened the world première this summer.

The production is co-sponsored by RBC.

Production support is generously provided by John & Therese Gardner,

by Robert & Mary Ann Gorlin, by The William and Nona Heaslip Foundation

and by Riki Turofsky & Charles Petersen.

ROMEO AND JULIET

By William Shakespeare

An age-old feud precludes the passionate love Romeo and Juliet feel for each other, but its fervour cannot be quelled. Blinded by hatred, Juliet’s father makes a fateful decision that prompts the lovers to rebel in a manner that will lead to the destruction of both families.

The production will be directed by Sam White, who made her Stratford directorial debut in 2023 with another story of forbidden love, Wedding Band, by Alice Childress. White is the founding Artistic and Executive Director of Shakespeare in Detroit, where her productions include The Tempest and Othello. She directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for The Old Globe and also served as the assistant director for the Festival’s 2018 production of The Tempest with Martha Henry in the leading role.

LONDON ASSURANCE

By Dion Boucicault

This delightful comedy follows the aging Sir Harcourt as he travels to the country estate of Oak Hall, where he intends to marry Grace, the 18-year-old niece of his old chum Max. He leaves his studious son, Charles, at home, not realizing Charles is in fact a riotous man-about-town. Charles meantime assumes a disguise in order to follow his father to Oak Hall and pursue Grace himself. Laughter ensues as Sir Harcourt finds titillation in the married Lady Gay Spanker, who is clearing the way for Charles to woo Grace.

The production will be directed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, who has helmed a number of hilarious period comedies, including 2022’s The MiserThe School for Scandal (2017), The Hypochondriac, (2016), The Alchemist (2015) and The Beaux’ Strategem (2014).

Production support is generously provided by Dr. Dennis & Dorothea Hacker, by Jane Fryman Laird,

by Dr. M.L. Myers, by Catherine Elliot Shaw and by Dr. Robert J. & Roberta Sokol.

AVON THEATRE

Avon Theatre, 2002. Stratford Festival. Photo by Terry Manzo.

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

Book by Harvey Fierstein

Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman

Based on the play by Jean Poiret

Jean-Michel and Anne are deeply in love and about to get married. The only problem is their parents. Anne’s father is a politician and head of the Tradition, Family, and Morality Party. Jean-Michel was raised by his two fathers, Georges, a nightclub owner, and Albin, a drag performer. Before the wedding occurs the two couples must be introduced. The orchestration of that meeting makes for hilarious theatre with a touching and emotional conclusion. Winner of 11 Tony Awards and two Oliviers, La Cage aux Folles was also adapted into a hugely successful movie, “The Bird Cage“, starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams.

The production will be directed by Thom Allison, who brought us this year’s hit production of Rent and the 2021 cabaret You Can’t Stop the Beat. Next season will be Allison’s eighth with the Festival. His directing credits also include YPT’s Seussical and the record-breaking production of Mary Poppins, as well as Million Dollar Quartet at Theatre Calgary.

The choreographer will be Cameron Carver, who choreographed this season’s Richard II and recently won a Dora Award for Outstanding Original Choreography for Sweeney Todd (2022) at Talk is Free Theatre and the Bad Hats Theatre production of Alice in Wonderland (2023) at Soulpepper.

Production support is generously provided by Laurie J. Scott and by Peter & Carol Walters.

SCHULICH CHILDREN’S PLAYS

WENDY AND PETER PAN

Adapted by Ella Hickson

From the book by J.M. Barrie

North American Première

This imaginative re-telling of J.M. Barrie’s classic family tale looks at the story of the lost boys through the eyes of Wendy, making sense of Neverland in a way you’ve never seen before. Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, it opened to rave reviews and now the Stratford Festival has secured the rights to the North American première.

The production will be directed by Thomas Morgan Jones, who directed this year’s Schulich Children’s Play, A Wrinkle in Time. Jones is the Artistic Director of Prairie Theatre Exchange. His other recent credits include Darla Contois’s The War Being Waged and Hannah Moscovitch’s Post-Democracy.

The choreographer will be Jera Wolfe, a performer and choreographer of Métis heritage whose recent work includes Bare for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Arise for the National Ballet, and Trace by Red Sky Performance, for which he won the Dora Award for Outstanding Original Choreography in 2019.

Production support is generously provided by The Schulich Foundation.

SALESMAN IN CHINA

By Leanna Brodie and Jovanni Sy

Suggested by the memoirs of Arthur Miller and Ying Ruocheng

Chinese translations by Fang Zhang

A Stratford Festival/Banff Centre Co-Commission

World Première

In 1983, Arthur Miller traveled to China to collaborate with another giant of the theatre, actor and translator Ying Ruocheng. Their vision is to mount a Mandarin version of Death of a Salesman with Ying in the iconic role of Willy Loman and Miller directing (despite not speaking a word of Chinese). They soon confront the challenges of staging a play about the American Dream in the heart of Communist China. Against enormous obstacles and with the world watching, Ying and Miller must discover whether art can indeed build bridges between two seemingly irreconcilable cultures.

This new play is by Leanna Brodie and Jovanni Sy. Sy will also direct the production. Brodie is an award-winning playwright, translator, and actor whose work has been performed from Vancouver to Halifax, London to Auckland. Her translation of Rébecca Déraspe’s I Am William was part of the 2021 season. Sy is an actor, director, playwright, and the former Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre and Gateway Theatre. He has directed for Arts Club Theatre, Vertigo Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts in Canada, and Theatre du Pif in Hong Kong. His plays include A Taste of Empire, Nine Dragons, The Tao of the World, and Kowloon Bay.

Production support is generously provided by Marilyn Gropp,

by Martie & Bob Sachs and by Esther Sarick.

TOM PATTERSON THEATRE


Tom Patterson Theatre. Stratford Festival. Photo by Scott Norsworthy.

CYMBELINE

By William Shakespeare

Imogen, daughter of the monarch Cymbeline, has married against her parent’s wishes, but this is only the beginning of her woes. When her husband is tricked by the villainous Iachimo into believing her unfaithful, Imogen embarks on a daring adventure to clear her name. In the process, she finds herself and a new family, which helps pull back a world on the brink of war.

The production will be directed by Esther Jun, head of the Festival’s Langham Directors’ Workshop, who directed this season’s production of Les Belles-Soeurs, as well as 2022’s Little Women and 2021’s I Am William. She has directed across the country and served as Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre from 2016 to 2018.

Production support is generously provided by The Westaway Charitable Foundation.

HEDDA GABLER

By Henrik Ibsen

A new version by Patrick Marber

From a literal translation by Karin and Ann Bamborough

In Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen created one of the most fascinating heroines of the stage. Newly married to a man she finds uninteresting, Hedda becomes reacquainted with an old friend, a historian like her husband, with a fatal flaw that Hedda exploits out of jealousy. Ibsen, thought to be the father of modern drama, brings all of his skill to the character of Hedda, building an intricate psychological portrait of a woman out of step with her surroundings.

The production will be directed by Molly Atkinson, who has been directing at the Shaw Festival for several years, with productions including this season’s Prince Caspian, as well as A Christmas CarolThe Tortoise and the HareMiddletown and Saint Joan. She was a member of the Stratford Festival acting company in 2000 as well as a member of the Birmingham Conservatory.

Production support is generously provided by three generations of the Schubert Family.

THE DIVINERS

Based on the novel by Margaret Laurence

Text by Vern Thiessen with Yvette Nolan

World Première

Considered a masterpiece of Canadian literature, Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners is the story of Morag Gunn, a woman who perseveres through every challenge life throws at her to become the person she was meant to be. Adapted by a team of some of Canada’s best theatre creators, The Diviners points us towards a path where we might reconcile with the injustices of our colonial past and achieve a collective peace.

The play is written by Vern Thiessen with Yvette Nolan. Thiessen, whose work has been celebrated and produced across Canada and internationally, is one of this country’s most-produced playwrights. His production of Shakespeare’s Will was performed here in 2007 and 2011. Nolan, director of this season’s hugely popular Women of the Fur Trade, has been key to the creation and performance of Indigenous work as a director, playwright, dramaturg, and educator.

The production will be directed by Krista Jackson with Geneviève Pelletier. Jackson is the Artistic and Executive Director of Imago Theatre. Her recent credits include the world premières of Iago Speaks at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan and of Awaken, which was a co-production between Shakespeare in the Ruins and zone41; A Doll’s House: Part 2, co-produced by Mirvish Productions and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre; and Dancing at Lughnasa at the Shaw Festival. She was the associate director of 2016’s All My Sons, here at the Festival.

Pelletier is a Red River Métis actor and theatre director from Winnipeg and has led the Théâtre Cercle Molière, as its artistic and general director, since 2012. She is inspired by the meeting of cultures, the possibilities that stem from these encounters, and how to nurture safe and fertile creative spaces to spark conversations of change.

Production support is generously provided by Karon C. Bales & Charles E. Beall,

by Cathy & Paul Cotton, by the Harkins & Manning families in memory of Jim & Susan Harkins,

by The Fabio Mascarin Foundation and by The Tremain Family.

STUDIO THEATRE

Studio Theatre. Stratford Festival. Photo by Erin Samuell.

THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA?

By Edward Albee

Martin is turning 50 and is at the top of his game. He has just become the youngest architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize. He has a perfect marriage and a loving son. But he can’t remember a damned thing! Probed by his best friend about his distraction, Martin makes a startling confession, one that will tear his life apart. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, this drama was written by Edward Albee in 2000 and won the Tony Award for best play in 2002.

The production will be directed by Dean Gabourie, returning for his 11th season. He has directed five productions for the Festival, including The Best Brothers (2012), The Merry Wives of Windsor (2011), and the 2010 production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which contains the song “Who is Silvia?” which served as inspiration to the playwright.

Production support is generously provided by Sylvia Soyka.

GET THAT HOPE

By Andrea Scott

World Première

Daddy wants to win the lottery, Mommy’s still bitter about, well…everything, Simeon has war-related PTSD, and Rachel just wants to get out of her parents’ apartment and have a home of her own. It’s Jamaica’s Independence Day, sweltering, and everyone is on edge so, of course, there’s a city-wide power outage. This new play by award-winning playwright and producer Andrea Scott, loosely inspired by Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, looks at a dysfunctional Jamaican-Canadian family that has no idea how to communicate without wounding. But never forget, “sometimes you need a little bit of suffering to get that hope.”

Scott, an award-winning playwright and producer, served as a producing intern at the Festival in 2018. Her play Controlled Damage was performed at Neptune Theatre in 2020. Every Day She Rose, co-written with Nick Green, ran at Buddies in Bad Times in 2019.

Making his Stratford directorial debut with this production is André Sills, a member of the acting company for nine seasons, this year playing Edgar in King Lear and Don Pedro in the miraculous Much Ado About Nothing. Other key roles include the title role in Robert Lepage’s 2018 production of Coriolanus (2018) here at Stratford and the lead role of BJJ in An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at the Shaw Festival. In 2022 Sills directed another Jacobs-Jenkins play, Gloria, at Toronto’s Crow’s Theatre, earning a Dora Award nomination for Outstanding Direction.

Production support is generously provided by Bryan Blenkin & Alan Rowe and by Sylvia D. Chrominska.

Romeo and Juliet. Festival Theatre. Stratford Festival. Photo by Richard Bain.

The Stratford Festival’s 2023 season continues until October 28, with a newly announced extension of Monty Python’s Spamalot, which will now run until November 12. For tickets and information visit www.stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.

Festival Theatre. Stratford Festival. Photo by Krista Dodson. For tickets and information visit www.stratfordfestival.ca

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Out of Town

Inside Bucks County Playhouse World Premiere Musical Last of the Red Hot Mamas

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From serving up jokes with a side of blintzes in a Hartford Jewish deli to performing for adoring crowds at Broadway’s Palace Theater in seven short years, the unexpected rise of Sophie Tucker to the rank of comic superstar is the subject of the new world premiere musical, Last of the Red Hot Mamas, making its debut at Bucks County Playhouse, June 28 through July 27. Last of the Red Hot Mamas will begin previews on Friday, June 28 with an official press opening on Thursday, July 11 at 7:30 pm.
T2C was there at the press meet and greet.
The Playhouse’s Producing Director Alexander Fraser, Executive Producer Robyn Goodman, and Producer Joshua Fiedler announced casting and details for this new musical, which features direction and choreography by Shea Sullivan, and a book by Susan Ecker, Harrison David Rivers and Lloyd Ecker.
Last of the Red Hot Mamas is the 11th world premiere production at the New Hope theater since it reopened in 2012 and is part of Playhouse’s commitment to developing new work.
“The big surprise for me was seeing how Sophie Tucker’s wild, racy and very funny take on life changed show business forever,” says Alexander Fraser, Producing Director. “Sophie Tucker made the world accept her for who she was . . . a full-figured Jewish girl with a voice as loud as a steam whistle. We’re proud to help shed light how she paved the way for all those to follow who felt like they didn’t fit in.”
In 1973, while they were students at Ithaca College, Susan Denner (now Ecker) and Lloyd Ecker went on a first date to a Bette Midler concert. The couple quickly fell in love—with both each other and the “Divine Miss M.” Midler’s hilarious ‘Soph’ jokes piqued their curiosity about their origin — the pioneering vaudeville performer Sophie Tucker — leading the duo to publish a fictional memoir, “I Am Sophie Tucker,” and create a well-regarded documentary, “The Outrageous Sophie Tucker.”  A big new musical is the next step in the Eckers’ 50-plus year fascination with the saucy, sassy comedienne — Sophie Tucker. To bring their dream to life, they joined forces with Sullivan, and award-winning playwright, Harrison David Rivers.
“Picture a groundbreaking, occasionally arrested for sexual innuendo, jazz-singing, 25-year-old very plump ‘Taylor Swift’ of 1913. Sophie Tucker was on the front pages every day, with men craving her and women copying her hair and fashion styles. We’re confident our must-see world premiere musical is going to make Tucker an international icon… again,” says Lloyd Ecker.
“We’re equally sure the innovative and exciting Bucks County Playhouse is about to become the place to be this July,” added Susan Ecker.
Before Mae West, Bette Midler or Queen Latifah, there was Sophie Tucker. With the help of two former Harlem headliners, Tucker rose from the deli counter to become a full-fledged star in her own right. Tucker was known for performing songs, including “After You’re Gone”, “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” and “Some of These Days.” The musical will feature these songs, along with other classics of their time — delivered with lots of tap dancing, and a big dose of Sophie’s groundbreaking, sassy humor.
Ryann Redmond (Broadway’s first female Olaf in Disney’s Frozen and most recently Once Upon a One More Time) will perform the role of Sophie Tucker alongside Rheaume Crenshaw (Broadway’s Shucked, Groundhog Day, Caroline or Change) as Mollie Elkins, DeWitt Fleming Jr. (Tour of A Wonderful World, and Encore’s The Tap Dance Kid) as Bojangles Robinson and Stephanie Gibson (BCP’s The Rocky Horror Show and National Pastime and Broadway’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Nora Bayes.
The cast also includes Willie Clyde Beaton II (Walnut Street’s Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Lincoln Belford (National Tour of Chicago), Natalie Bellamy (Playhouse debut), Kelly Bolick (Public Theater’s Southern Comfort), Jonathan Hadley (Broadway’s Jersey Boys), Jenny Kay Hoffman (National Tour: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), Hannah Hubbard (Fulton Theater’s Something Rotten), Daniel Lopez (Into the Woods at the Hollywood Bowl), Bobby MacDonnell (currently in Boy Band Evolution), Michael Persson (National Tour: 42nd Street), Danny Rutigliano (Broadway’s I Need That and Beetlejuice) and Rachel Stern (Broadway’s Girl from North Country and Shrek).
The creative team for the production consists of Nate Bertone (Scenic Design), Jeanette Christensen (Costume Design), J. Jared Janas (Hair, Wig and Makeup Design), Kirk Bookman (Lighting Design), and Jeff Sherwood (Sound Design). Merrick A.B. Williams is production stage manager. Musical arrangements by Sam Davis with orchestrations and additional arrangements by Greg Jarrett. Casting is by Paul Hardt.
Last of the Red Hot Mamas will begin previews on Friday, June 28 with an official press opening on Thursday, July 11 at 7:30 pm. Starting with the 2024 season, the show times have changed – with performances beginning 30 minutes earlier than in 2023. All evening performances now all begin at 7:30 pm, with all matinees now performed at 1:30 pm. Last of the Red Hot Mamas will play Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm with matinees on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 pm. Tickets start at $39. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Patrons are invited to a special “Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance” on Friday, June 28 at 7:30 pm. Suggested minimum is $10. Student rush tickets are also available at all performances, based on availability.
For full details, and to purchase tickets, please visit buckscountyplayhouse.org, call 215-862-2121, or visit the box office at 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA.
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Events

Hamptons Fashion Week Keeps Getting Hauter So Save The Date

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Hamptons Fashion Week®, is the premier fashion event in the Hamptons! On July 26th-27th, 2024, join us at the luxurious Summer Series and an unforgettable experience. With over multiple designer shows, runways, luxury brands and exhibitor spaces during Hamptons Super Saturday®, Hamptons Swim Week® with a range of exciting activations, this is the must-attend event of the year.

At Hamptons Fashion Week®, leading fashion designers, entertainment, and productions are all under one roof, creating a truly immersive and transformative experience. You’ll have the opportunity to rub shoulders with industry professionals, fashion designers, models, and more, all while experiencing the latest trends in fashion.

From panel discussions and product demonstrations to social events such as industry mixers, after parties, lifestyle events and more! Guests will have access to exclusive, on-site hospitality, unmatched insider extras, and more, making this a truly coveted invitation.

Reserve your access now to receive one of fashion’s most coveted invites and be a part of the best touring fashion hampton experience of the year. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be a part of the transformation of the fashion industry. Join us at Hamptons Swim Week® presented by Hamptons Fashion Week® Summer Series and Experience 2024!

Hamptons Fashion Week announced that it will feature Alice & Olivia and Michelle Farmer as their award recipients at Hampton’s Fashion Week Retail Of The Year Award Show on July 26th VIP Reception. Event coverage will be brought to you by E! News!, Bella Magazine, Dans Paper, Hamptons.com, Vogue  and other major influencers! There will also be a swim Week Runway Showcase by Johnny Was

 
This year, Celebrity, Hollywood Stylist & Designer Phillip Bloch will be receiving the Style Icon of The Year Award , July 27th during the program and show 6pm-10pm
 
Shop our latest brands at theHamptons Fashion Week Online Marketplace!
 
You need tickets so click here. Security will be super tight for this event. So if you don’t have a ticket there is no entrance.

VIP Tickets $500 include:

Swag Bag-Valued at $500{One Per Person]

Seating

Access to ALL 3 Events!

July 26th, 6=10pm, Vip Launch Party-Drinks , Bites & Entertainment. The cocktail reception is from 6pm to 8:30pm 

July 27th, Drinks, Bites , Entertainment plus Hamptons Fashion Week Fashion Show Debut in Westhampton. The cocktail reception is from 6pm to 8:30p and After Party.Double check on the List below

VIP Restaurant Sponsors:

Justin Chop Shop

Rouge Kitchens

The Cottage On The Hamlet

Sobol

Centro

Mill Road Seafood

Fruit King

North Fork Chocolate Company

Honest Plate Chef Nicolas

Mary’s Pizza And Pasta

Tonino’s Pizza

Buoy One

Jerri’s Cakery & Confections

Daphne’s Westhampton Beach

Insatiable Eats

Vern Restaurant And Bar

VIP Spirit Sponsors

William Grant And Sons

Votto Vines Importing

Hamptons Wine Shoppe

Handlebar

British Ginger T

Monkey In Pardise

Elbuhl Mezcal

Twin Stills Moonshine

Blue Nextar

Penelope Bourbon

Westhampton Beach Brewing

Twin Stills Moonshine

Fort Hamilton Distillery

Kleos Mastiha Spirits

Beau Joie Rose Champange

Cantera Negra Tequila

Bay Gin

Twisted Cow Distillery

Series 19 Wheat Vodka

Series 19 Rye Vodka

Series 19 Jalapeno Vodka

Dune Drifter Agave Spirit

Spy Ring Rum Raisin

Drinksouthside

 

 

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Out of Town

Standing at the Sky’s Edge in the West End Soars Three Times Higher Than Expected

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As the dawn breaks” over the houses, a songbird’s tender melody flies this new musical forward over the three mornings, decades apart. As three households are revealed, dated and notated above as 1960, 1989, and 2015, we are welcomed most harmoniously to the brutalist iconic housing development in Sheffield, and the emotionally clever and connecting musical, Standing at the Sky’s Edge. Sitting forcibly on top of the world, with a forever fussy neon sign giving us a glimpse into some form of engagement ahead, the musical, as written by the wonderfully talented Richard Hawley (“Soldier On“), digs into the personal ramifications of the nation’s political upheavals that bubble up into the lives of these families from the 1960s through Thatcherism, immigration, Brexit, and beyond. With a strongly layered book by Chris Bush (The Changing Room), Sky’s Edge unearths deeply felt, intertwined connections in the three families of three generations over six decades. The opening feels almost Shakespearian, with subtle flavors that remind us of that opening monologue from Romeo & Juliet (a show we were seeing hours after this show), with these somewhat stereotypical family dynamics moving steadily forward in life and love. Planted inside this boxy structure of many layers, these characters find greater depth with each passing emotional moment as they move forward through a classic gentrification dynamic all within one concrete iconic housing estate.

Laura Pitt-Pulford as Poppy, Elizabeth Ayodele as Joy. and Rachael Wooding as Rose in Standing at the Sky’s Edge in the West End. Photo Credit: Brinkhoff Moegenburg

All adventures are scary,” we are told pretty straight up in this fascinating creation, and we lean into the melodic unveiling before us. The three stories of differing social situations are riveting, engaging us in ways that resemble more of a play with fantastic deliverable songs sung in a more performative fashion rather than sung from within the storytelling. Delivered like rockstars standing at their microphone stand (sometimes), and arranged and orchestrated by Tom Deering (Almeida’s Tammy Faye) with musical direction by associate music supervisor Alex Beetschen (RADA’s Spring Awakening), this midnight train is a clever layering filled with many little treasures that add energy and emotional clarity to the piece. As the characters open up their doors to us, they keep deepening their directive, revealing their dilemmas and dynamics with sharp contrast and emotional compassion.


Elizabeth Ayodele as Joy and Samuel Jordan as Jimmy in Standing at the Sky’s Edge in the West End. Photo Credit: Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

The cast is completely fantastic across the board, giving us chills in their unity of action, striking forward the distress and pain of the world they live in while struggling to hold on to the few crumbs of gratitude and humble acceptance. They find harmony in their collective, drawing us in, even as they stand together in a more choral arrangement. The leads are particularly good, with Samuel Jordan (“Sex Education“) in the pivotal role of Jimmy giving us an anchor to hold onto, with his counterpoint, Elizabeth Ayodele (NT’s Small Island) as Joy, the one who catches his eye (or is it the other way around). The circumstances that plant her here are complicated and emotionally stirring, delivered well by the family of actors that surround her, including Sharlene Hector (Barbican’s Strange Loop) as her Aunt Grace and Baker Mukasa (RSC’s The Winter’s Tale) as cousin George. Also tugging hard on our heartstrings are the young married couple who move into the flat with the view in the 1960s, played strongly by Rachael Wooding (Dominion’s We Will Rock You) as Rose and Joel Harper-Jackson (West End’s Cock) as Harry. Their heartbreaking unraveling is the key to the Sky’s Edge puzzle that slowly comes together with grace and dignity. But they are just part of the formulations.The whole is what makes this musical sing and stride forward so effectively.

The most modern entry into that flat is the compelling story of Poppy, played strong and true by Laura Pitt-Pulford (NT’s The Light Princess), and the complexities that surround Nikki, played engagingly well by Lauryn Redding (Vaudeville’s The Worst Witch). Redding delivers the song, “Open Up Your Door” with a force that knocks us off-center, mainly because we see it one way, until we are thrown a curve ball to look at it in a different framing of light. Poppy’s story is the looser connective tissue, keeping itself one knot removed, unlike the other two tales. But it somehow stays tied in, even if the grief and the sense of loss are played out in reverse. They still register, and give us a new doorway to walk through.

Lauryn Redding as Nikki, Laura Pitt-Pulford as Poppy, and the cast of Standing at the Sky’s Edge in the West End. Photo Credit: Brinkhoff Moegenburg

Tonight, the streets are hot,” and the show unpacks a wealth of interactive complications and connections in a series of tender boxes that have been dutifully crafted to keep the tumultuous rain out, laid out with style by set and costume designer Ben Stones (Leeds’ Hedwig and the Angry Inch), with sharply tuned in lighting by Mark Henderson (Chichester’s Flowers for Mrs. Harris) and a strong sound design by Bobby Aitken (West End’s Ghost). As directed with care and focus by Robert Hastie (Sheffield/Donamr’s She Loves Me), the framing embraces our curiosity continuously, and engages our attention throughout, leading us through fireworks, love, despair, and grief that touch our collective heart and soul in abundance.

This magnificently moving three-layered story, with stunningly searing songs and sharply tuned-in choreography by Lynne Page (Broadway’s American Psycho) is billed as a musical, but carries the heavy weight of a play that is unpacking modern Britain and its politics. Delivered and unpacked through the stories of the landmark Park Hill estate. this view from the sky’s edge is a powerfully performed and sung exploration of the connective tissues of community and family, and what it means to take shelter in a brutialist box that will keep out the rain.

Rachael Wooding as Rose and Joel Harper-Jackson as Harry in Standing at the Sky’s Edge in the West End. Photo Credit: Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

The musical engages, pulling us gently into a dramatic tension that surprises and enlightens. Standing at the Sky’s Edge gives us a stunning view to take in, three times stronger than anything I could have imagined, and one that we won’t easily forget. Winner of the 2023 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, UK Theatre Award for Best Musical Production, and the South Bank Sky Arts Award, Standing at the Sky’s Edge soars to the highest of heights and holds us tight. Now playing until August 3rd at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, London.

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Billy Joel and Roger Sichel Quiet Brunch Turned Newsworthy Thanks to Justin Timberlake

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The night before Justin Timberlake was busy drinking and talking with his friends. Timberlake was stopped by police just after midnight on Tuesday. Billy Joel and artist Roger Sichel the next morning were having brunch at their usual hang out at the American Hotel, next to each other. Joel and Sichel were bombarded by photographs due to the late breaking news. What was scheduled to be a  quite afternoon turned out to be what has taken over the news.


Timberlake who is in the middle of a world tour that includes upcoming Madison Square Garden told the officers he had just “one martini.” According to sources he was inhibited on them and refused to take the sobriety test.

Billy Joel is busy working and lives within walking distance of the hotel.

Sichel just finished an art show in Beverly Hills and will be opening in Sag Harbor Kramois’s art gallery two doors down from the American Hotel next week.

Seems that the American Hotel is the place to hang this summer, well it always was.

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Jamie Lloyd’s “Romeo & Juliet” in the West End Finds Unparalleled Amplification in its Microphoned Words and Limited Movements

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Behind a large industrial gate, Verona stands hard and dominant in the stark white light. It’s 1597, as projected, but the energy is utterly contemporary and fascinatingly modern. Designed to shock and startle from the get-go, this Romeo, as directed with a sharp focus by Jamie Lloyd (Broadway/West End’s Betrayal), strides in through the backstage hallways in dynamic fashion, destined to illicit a guttural response. “See where he comes,” we are told, and as movie star Tom Holland (West End’s  Billy Elliot the Musical) makes his way confidently forward, we must come to amplified terms with Lloyd’s very distinct version of this famed tale, one that will either excite or disappoint, but it will never be a bore.

Maybe because I came into West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre just days after seeing a more traditional (and somewhat lackluster) Romeo and Juliet at the Stratford Festival in Canada, I was game for some changing of the rules, and inside the editing of the iconic text, fascinatingly created in layers by Nima Taleghani (“Heartstopper“), this radical reappraisal by the Jamie Lloyd Company unpacks more emotional layers while barely moving a muscle than many a traditional staging does. Delivered with clarity and an extreme understanding of what’s at stake in the storyline, it simmers with taunt muscular sexuality, anchored in their tight formulations and delivery, and held together by the star-powered force that is Holland and company.

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers and Tom Holland, starring in Romeo & Juliet, a Jamie Lloyd Company production at West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner.

More importantly, Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (“Bad Education“), as his ill-fated Juliet, unmasks layers of unapologetic strength and passion giving the delivery and the play’s text its captifying edge. She is a hopeless romantic, but more of a determined woman than a cowering child. The power dynamics are reframed and realigned with this more stripped-away staging, giving Amewudah-Rivers’ Juliet more room to engage with that overpowering chemistry that exists between her and Holland’s Romeo, even when she almost ridicules the young man when he attempts to swear by the moon. That isn’t going to fly with this engaging creation.

This Juliet is a powerfully profound unpacking, supported most brilliantly by Freema Agyeman (Trafalgar Studieo’s Apologia) as her confidently embodied confidant; the multilayered Nurse. Her in-tune performance adds weight, connection, and energy, humorously stroking Holland’s impressive biceps, while proclaiming Juliet “will be a joyful woman.” But she also masterfully delivers despair and angst, possibly because the sharp edit has cut down the external paternal voices to only one per household. Juliet’s mother is nonexistent, giving all matters to her father, Capulet, masterfully maneuvered by Tomiwa Edun (NT’s Macbeth). This sliced-down rendering elevates the positioning that the maternal Nurse must take. The actor must balance both the emotional engagement and the hierarchy at play within the household. The mother-subtraction ultimately adds a jolt of energy into the whole, especially the pivotal scene between Juliet, her father, and the maternal Nurse, when the marriage to Paris, played engagingly by fresh-faced newcomer, Daniel Quinn-Toye, making his professional debut, is being forced upon the young already married daughter. It’s a captivating unraveling that lives and breathes inside a construct that completely makes sense.

The same is true for Romeo’s parental force. His mother, already barely a presence in the text of the play, especially at the end, has been given full command and sole ownership of the Montague household. Played well and true by Mia Jerome (Punchdruck’s Lost Leading Library), she delivers the required emotional force but leaves a special space for the paternal Friar, normally portrayed by Michael Balogun (Gillian Lynne’s The Lehman Trilogy), but was delivered with intensity by Phillip Olagoke (Old Vic’s A Number), to step in and engage with Romeo as if he is the son he never had. It’s a spectacularly astute repackaging that really shows its full worth when two scenes of the young married lovers’ angst are played on top of each other with the four: Nurse, Romeo, Juliet, and the Friar, lined up intersecting their lines straight into microphones on the stand.

Tom Holland (center) and cast in Romeo & Juliet, a Jamie Lloyd Company production at West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner.

When I tried to explain this to someone, their reaction was, with all those microphones and cameras on stage, projecting images that overlay one another, that it must feel stalled and somewhat boring. But in many ways, Lloyd’s creative engagement in stillness and striped-away engagement elevates the dynamic, creating a telling of this tale that is sexy, intense, and completely haunting. It’s filled with suspense and understanding, played true and confident by a cast that is completely engaged with the text. The electricity lives and breaths within these assured performances, and I was enraptured from beginning to end.

The editing pen also solidly pulls out all the excess in the play’s denouement, leaving the two to deliver their hopelessness without a soul in sight to get in the way and muddy the water. Played out on that bare cavernous stage, crafted with intent by set and costume designer Soutra Gilmour (West End/Broadway’s A Doll’s House), with meticulous lighting by Jon Clark (West End/Broadway’s The Lehman Trilogy), a solid sound design by Ben & Max Ringham (West End’s An Enemy of the People), composition by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante (NT/The Shed’s The Effect), and assisted by the tender and captivating video design and cinematography by Nathan Amzi & Joe Ransom (Savoy’s Sunset Boulevard), this unpacking is as dark and engaging as one could possibly hope for. There is no Paris to do battle with, and the Friar doesn’t run in and out attempting to, and failing, to save the two from their breaking hearts. It’s just the two broken souls, overcome with grief, unable to move forward without their other.

Casting stares into the audience, the two leads deliver the goods in spectacular fashion, given that violence and hate are hovering behind them in the smokey darkness. The force is as exacting as the expert mashing and cutting of truth, side by side. There is more authentic emotion than many other pairings (and foursomes) that I have seen over the years, giving this tragic love story the undeniable edge and intensity that electrifies Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Even when it flies sometimes a bit too far from the stage, Lloyd’s distinctive directorial style lands hard and true.

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, Tom Holland (center), and the cast of Romeo & Juliet, a Jamie Lloyd Company production at West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner.

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