Charles, Adolph, Vivien and Alfred When Charles Dickens wrote his memorable opening to “A Tale of Two Cities” – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” he could not have foreseen how prophetic his observation might be, particularly for 1939, the time of our play. That was a banner year in Hollywood, one film historians rank as one of the most significant in the history of cinema. In Europe, however, Hitler raged, and banners were adorned with swastikas, forbidding symbols of a horrific time to come. In the U.S., motion pictures served as balm for the lingering wounds of The Great Depression and a distraction from the looming war clouds. Hollywood obliged with a spectacular production of Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind,” a sweeping epic, centered in Atlanta, about the Civil War and the Reconstruction. No motion picture had ever (nor perhaps since) generated such advance publicity - especially about the casting of Vivien Leigh, a little known English actress, as the fiery Scarlett O’Hara. The nearly four-hour length of the film was also unheard of. The film’s premiere in Atlanta on December 15, 1939 was a media event like no other before it. So what all does this have to do with a comedy drama about a Jewish family in Atlanta at that time? At the core of GWTW and the approaching worldwide conflict, there was a common denominator – prejudice. Not in so many words, but certainly embodied in fear and finance. As a Jew, born in Atlanta, “Ballyhoo” playwright Alfred Uhry and his family had attempted to assimilate themselves into local society by downplaying their Jewish origins. He experienced, as well, the post war years, when racial prejudice against blacks in the South became almost as repulsive as it had been against Jews in Germany. “Ballyhoo” is not a war story, except in the sense that different philosophies are in conflict - about who and what in life is important – and why. The Freitag household is a microcosm of America in those changing times. No one dies, though feelings and relationships are embattled. Discrimination is a sly, slippery slope – particularly when practiced as inter-faith, inter-racial prejudice - an often unspoken issue, which Uhry calls out in “Ballyhoo” with humor and compassion. In the end, the question is asked: What determines one’s identity, and how much of that public image are we allowed to “edit” in order to fit in and prosper? On the last night of Ballyhoo (there really was one), Uhry’s characters, inspired by his own family, are to learn some answers. ~ Chesley Plemmons, Director
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The Last Night Of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry directed by Chesley Plemmons
CAST Boo Levy Adolph Freitag Joe Farkas Sunny Freitag Lala Levy Reba Freitag Peachy Weil
Susan Abrams Stephen Ross Charles Roth Carey Van Hollen Erin Shaughnessy Joan S. Wyner Samuel Everett
The play will be performed with one 15-minute intermission.
Originally produced on Broadway by Jane Harmon, Nina Keneally and Liz Oliver The Play was commissioned by the Alliance Theatre Company and presented by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, Cultural Olympiad for the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival. Produced by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service, Inc.
Production Staff Director .............................................................. Chesley Plemmons Stage Manager ...................................... Kristi Petersen Schoonover Set Design ............................................................ Richard Pettibone Scenic Dressing ................................................... Glenn R. Couture Lighting Design ...................... Richard Pettibone, Scott Wyshynski Costumes .............................................................. Glenn R. Couture Sound Design ............................ Chesley Plemmons, Tom Libonate Running Crew ..................................... Dan Knowlton, Maya Daley Builders ................................ ...Scott Wyshynski, Richard Pettibone, ..................................... Jim Hipp, Glenn R. Couture, Jay Novicky, ...................................... Frank Russo, Sonnie Osborne, Jesse Fitch House Managers ...................................... Christine Daley, Jill Pace Publicist ..................................................................... Tom Libonate Production Photography ............................ Ghostlight Photography Web Site ........................................................ printplusdesignllc.com Producers ............................... Glenn R. Couture, Richard Pettibone Special Thanks Norwalk High School, Suzi Pettibone, Joe Russo, Renee Purdy, Linda Couture, Warner Costume Shop FM97.3 WZBG Backstage with Johnny O WHO’S WHO IN THE CAST
SUSAN ABRAMS (Boo Levy) last worked here three years ago, directing Talk Radio. She has appeared on stage at TheatreWorks as Queen Marie in Ionesco’s Exit The King, Mrs. Bob Cratchit in Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, Blanche in Brighton Beach Memoirs and Kate in Sylvia. Susan has also directed and appeared on stage at the Sherman Playhouse. She’s been called “brilliant” three times by critics, but never once by her current director…hmmm, but she thanks him anyway for dragging her out of her corporate malaise. (I mean it, Chesley, it’s great to work with you!) Susan also thanks her husband Bill and son Stuart for indulging her theater habit. (I love you!) www.theatreworks.us
WHO’S WHO IN THE CAST
STEPHEN A. ROSS (Adolph Freitag) is very excited to be performing at TheatreWorks again, having appeared previously in the production of The Man Who Came to Dinner (Mr. Westcott). Stephen’s other credits as an actor include Spider’s Web (Constable Jones), Exit the Body (Randolph), Parade (Luther Rosser / Officer Ivey), All My Sons (Dr. Jim Bayliss), Rehearsal for Murder (Frank Heller), Footloose (Uncle Wes / Ensemble), West Side Story (Officer Krupke / Doc), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Willy Wonka), BIG The Musical (Zoltar / Ensemble), Tom, Dick, and Harry (Boris), and many other productions, including benefit shows. In addition to acting, Stephen’s credits as a producer include Footloose, A Chorus Line, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Bugsy Malone. Stephen lives in New Milford, CT with his wife Jill and his 2 daughters, Brittany and Chelsea. Stephen is very grateful to be working with this wonderful cast and production team of Ballyhoo. Break-a-Leg! CHARLES ROTH (Joe Farkas) is honored to be cast in an outstanding role in an outstanding play. Charles was last seen onstage at TheatreWorks in Earnest, or What’s in a Name? as Algernon. Previous credits include Of Mice and Men (Sherman Playhouse) and The Irish Curse (TheatreWorks). He looks forward to working with old and new friends after having the life all but completely sucked out of him by this past winter. Charles would like to thank all of those who support the arts in their community and make dreams reality. ERIN SHAUGHNESSY (Lala Levy) is very excited to be appearing in her second main stage production here at TheatreWorks after making her debut as Gloria in Boeing Boeing this past winter. She is no stranger to the stage after participating in numerous TheatreWorks www.theatreworks.us
WHO’S WHO IN THE CAST
Kids and Stage 2 productions, shows on the Sherman stage and high school theatre. She would like to thank her friends and family for all of their support, the cast and crew, and you, the audience, for making all of the actors’ effort in their craft worthwhile. CAREY VAN HOLLEN (Sunny Freitag) is delighted to find herself on the TheatreWorks stage for a second time. She appeared last season as the persnickety Gwendolen Fairfax in Earnest or What’s in a Name? Originally from Pennsylvania, Carey studied musical theatre & classical voice in New York City, and has been seen in numerous productions along the east coast, including: Kiss Me Kate! (Kate), Carousel (Nettie), Oklahoma! (Laurey), Man of La Mancha (Aldonza), The Importance of Being Earnest (Cecily), Fiddler on the Roof (Tzeitel/Dead Grandmother Tzeitel), Annie (Grace), The Odd Couple (Cecily), and most recently she starred in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at TBTA. Much love to her darling Douglas! JOAN S. WYNER (Reba Freitag) is thrilled to be part of The Last Night of Ballyhoo, her first production with TheatreWorks. She has also enjoyed being part of many other local theater productions, most recently Warner Theater’s production of Fiddler on The Roof. Other past productions include The Brewster Theater Company’s one acts, Romance, Revelry and Regret, The Ridgefield Theater Barn’s production of The Prisoner of Second Avenue (Pearl) and as stage manager for Parade. At The Brookfield Theatre for the Arts she has performed in Bye Bye Birdie, The Diviners, Peter Pan, Carnival and Harvey, while stage managing Little Shop of Horrors and The Last of the Red Hot Lovers. In her “other” life, she works as a mental health therapist at The New Milford Hospital Outpatient Behavioral Clinic. She thanks Ches for giving her this wonderful opportunity to play the role of Reba. www.theatreworks.us
WHO’S WHO IN THE CAST
SAMUEL EVERETT (Peachy Weill) is making his TheatreWorks debut with The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Sam is a senior at The Marvelwood School in Kent, CT where he has lived his whole life. In the past year, he has participated in many plays such as Avenue Q th (Princeton), The 25 Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Barfeé), both at Marvelwood, Anne of Green Gables (Gilbert) at the Sherman Playhouse, and Damn Yankees at TriArts in Sharon. This Fall, he will be going to college to persue a Musical Theater Major. He is overjoyed and honored to be working with such a talented cast and crew for Ballyhoo, and he hopes to be in many more at TheatreWorks. KRISTI PETERSEN SCHOONOVER (Stage Manager) is pleased to be working with the talented cast of Ballyhoo and once again with Chesley, under whom she stage managed last year’s production of Seascape at TheatreWorks. A writer by trade, her first novel, Bad Apple, is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her short fiction has appeared in several publications; she holds an MFA from Goddard College, has received three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies, and is an editor for Read Short Fiction. In her spare time, she swims or enjoys hanging out with her husband Nathan, her housemate Charles, and their three cats. CHESLEY PLEMMONS (Director) graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Theatre History. This is his second directorial assignment for TheatreWorks, having directed Edward Albee’s Seascape last spring. At Brookfield, he directed Our Town, Picnic, The Fourposter, Out of this World and A Streetcar Named Desire; at the Sherman Players: You Can’t Take It With You, John Dos Passos’ U.S.A., Do I Hear a Waltz?, Oh, Coward!, and Oh, Gosh! Oh Gee! Oh Gershwin! He was theatre critic for the Danbury News-Times for 19 years and a member of Broadway’s Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and the Connecticut Critics Circle. He currently reviews for CurtainUp.com, covering Equity productions in Connecticut, Westchester and the Hudson Valley. He is happy to be working again at TheatreWorks, he wholeheartedly believes is one of the best local theatres, if not the best local theatre, in Connecticut. Thanks and gratitude to the talented cast who have brought this flawed, funny family (and friends) to life, and for Rich, Glenn, Kristi and the entire TheatreWorks gang for a nifty production and endless support. Ches lives in Sherman. www.theatreworks.us
ALFRED UHRY is distinguished as the only American playwright to have won a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award and two Tony Awards. A graduate of Brown University, Uhry began his professional career as a lyric writer under contract to the late Frank Loesser. In that capacity, he made his Broadway debut in 1968 with Here's Where I Belong. His first major success came when he collaborated with Robert Waldman on a musical adaptation of Eudora Welty's The Robber Bridegroom, which opened at the Mark Taper Forum in 1976 and went on to Broadway, winning Mr. Uhry his first Tony nomination. He followed that with five re-created musicals at the Goodspeed Opera House. His first play, Driving Miss Daisy opened at Playwrights Horizons Theatre in New York in 1987. It moved subsequently to the John Houseman Theatre where it ran for three years and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. The film version, starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1990. The film also won the Best Picture Award. His next play, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It opened on Broadway the next year where it ran for over 500 performances and won Uhry the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama League Award and the 1997 Tony Award for Best Play. His book for the musical, Parade, directed by Harold Prince with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, won the Tony Award in 1999. A revised production at the Donmar Theatre in London won Mr. Uhry an Olivier Award Nomination. His play, Without Walls, starring Laurence Fishburne, opened at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in June of 2006. His next play, Edgardo Mine, played the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in 2006 and the book for Lovemusik, a musical about Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, ran on Broadway in 2007. TIME & PLACE Atlanta, 1939 ACT I Scene 1: The Freitag home on Habersham Road, early evening Dec. 15. Scene 2: Same. After dinner. Scene 3: A week later. A train compartment aboard the Crescent Limited, outside of Baltimore. Scene 4: The Freitag home. The next morning. Scene 5: Same. That evening. INTERMISSION ACT II The Freitag home. The next morning. Same. That evening. Christmas eve. Same.: The next morning. Christmas day Same: The next evening. Dec. 26. Later that evening. The Ballyhoo dance at the Standard Club. The Freitag home. Later that evening. Two weeks later. A train compartment aboard the Crescent Limited, nearing Wilmington, Delaware. Scene 8: A sabbath eve. Scene 1: Scene 2: Scene 3: Scene 4: Scene 5: Scene 6: Scene 7:
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