A Cowardly Comedy TheatreWorks Opens Noël Coward's Classic Drawing-Room Comedy 'Present Laughter' on December 2
NEW MILFORD, CONN. (November 22, 2011) – On Friday, December 2, TheatreWorks New Milford will debut legendary playwright Noël Coward's classic comedy of manners, PRESENT LAUGHTER. The show opens at 8:00 p.m. for a five-week run.
This classic audacious comedy centers on Garry Essendine (Jonathan Jacobson, Litchfield), a popular, pampered actor – modeled after Coward himself – busily making preparations for an extended overseas tour with his devoted secretary Monica (Janice Connor, Goshen). His plans are complicated first by Daphne (Gloria Antonios, Thomaston), a beautiful stage-struck ingénue, as well as an absurdly eager and aspiring playwright, Roland Maule (Chris Bolster, New Milford), who insist on his attentions. When his wife, his agents, and his numerous admirers arrive, Garry is hard pressed to escape what quickly spirals into a hilarious farcical game of cat-and-mouse.
"This play stands the test of time for one reason: Noël Coward was a brilliant playwright," said director Beth Bonnabeau of New Milford. "He was a master craftsman. Each one of his scenes builds on the one before, each player becomes a real person and, most importantly, the dialogue just sparkles with dazzling wit. Sorry, there's nothing in PRESENT LAUGHTER that's going to 'help people or make them think' as one of the play's characters says. But what's wrong with light-hearted wit and laughter in a time where we're constantly bombarded by so many heavy issues? Nothing. Especially during the Holidays. It's why this show is so perfect for the ages and for this time of year. It's like a fizzy glass of champagne that keeps tickling your nose and making you laugh."
"[Director] Beth [Bonnabeau] has assembled a first-rate cast for a drawing room comedy such as this," said producer Richard Pettibone of New Milford. "It's been said about the play that it's only as good as your Garry Essendine, and Beth has certainly found that refined Coward-esque style in actor Jonathan Jacobson. But any show is only as good as the sum of its parts. And this large cast fills out their roles incredibly well, adding to the building comedic pacing of the production. It really does stand up beautifully after nearly 70 years."
Rounding out the cast are some of the region's finest actors: Robyn Maitland (New Fairfield), Jacky Saulnier (Danbury), J. Scott Williams (Brookfield), Glenn R.Couture (Ansonia), and Tony Saracino, Sheila Echevarria, and LuAnn Leonard (all New Milford).
Pettibone is also co-designer of lighting with technical director Scott Wyshynski. The set has been designed by Glenn R. Couture, sound design is being handled by Tom Libonate, costume design is being handled by Couture and Susan Pettibone, and stage management is in the hands of Colette Nadeau.
PRESENT LAUGHTER was written in 1939, but didn't open in the UK until 1942 due to the outbreak of World War II. The play made its Broadway debut on October 29, 1946 at the Plymouth Theatre. Between 1982 and 2010 there were three Broadway revivals of the play with George C. Scott, Frank Langella, and Victor Garber, each playing the role of Essendine, respectively. The New York Times called the play upon its first release "Sharp, withering, and funny."
PRESENT LAUGHTER runs December 2,3 9,10,11 16,17,18 30,31 and January 6,7. Curtain time is 8:00 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays, with 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinees on December 11 and 18. Tickets for all shows are $20 for reserved seating. On New Year's Eve, December 31, at 8:00 p.m. there will be one gala fundraising performance with hors d'oeuvres and an open bar of wine, beer, and soft drinks.
On Thursday, December 1, senior citizens are invited to a free dress rehearsal at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, December 8 at 8:00 p.m. is TheatreWorks' Pay-What-You-Want night. At this performance, you name the price for your ticket.
Reservations can be made online at WWW.THEATREWORKS.US or by calling the box office at (860) 350-6863.
TheatreWorks is an award-winning, regional theatre company located on 5 Brookside Avenue, just off Route 202 (next to the CVS), in New Milford, Conn.