NEWS & AUDITIONS
TIME TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR 59TH SEASON - A SEASON OF FIRSTS!
THANKS FOR MAKING OUR 58TH SEASON A GREAT SEASON OF THEATER!
The Heights Players extends great thanks to all in our community for helping us deliver another fine season of enchanting theater. From all our many volunteers, our loyal members, the newcomers who attended auditions and performed on our stage to our very important subscribers and audience members. We cannot do this without you and your participation means the world to us. And now, we are ready to bring you another fabulous season! Check back soon for full details of next season's line up. In the meantime, we have already announced the auditions for our first show, The Great Gatsby to be presented in September.
A wonderful ending
Then we had two weekends of Directors' Workshops. These evenings were a delight, as audiences saw our up-and-coming talented members take the helm of a one-act production - with very diverse scripts. This year featured the direction of Steve Ackerman, Joe Applegate, Michael Kidney and Joe Pacifico.
Now to the clean up
"An Insider's Thoughts: A Guest Review from"
If you like big, sprawling, satirical and very grown-up musicals with a distinctive American flair, then run don’t walk to the Height Players’ production of Big River. This is a musical adaptation Mark Twain’s classic story of Huckleberry Finn – but unlike most modern interpretations, this is not a “kiddie show.”
People today tend to forget that Mr. Twain’s novel was not written as a boy’s adventure story so much as a scathing and wickedly funny takedown of rural American life in the Nineteenth Century. The landscape is comically populated by assorted rogues, scallywags, skinflints, pious hypocrites and above all, bigots. And it is with supreme and deliberate irony that Mr. Twain’s two heroes are a pre-adolescent boy and a runaway slave.
As the two principals, Huck as played by Jeffrey Williams and Jim as played by Rod Singleton, are simply astounding. Mr. Williams, who is a twenty-something man, is utterly convincing in his portrayal of a barely-educated county boy wise beyond his years. And Mr. Singleton will simultaneously break your heart and lift your spirits high as the humble but intensely humane and heroic, Jim. Oh, and by the way – his magnificent singing shakes the rafters!
Speaking of delightful music, the show has lots of it. The score was written by accomplished songwriter, Roger Miller ("King of the Road") and the lyrics capture the biting wit of Mr. Twain’s prose. The musical styles range from bluegrass and country to gospel and Dixie. There are sentimental ballads and show-stopping ensembles that will take your breath away. It is no wonder that the show swept the Tony Awards in 1985 for all the musical categories.
This musical was conceived as labor of love by director, Steven Velardi – and it shows. He is greatly aided by musical director, David Carl and choreographer, Michael Kidney (who also portrays the delightfully slimy Duke). The huge cast and accompanying musicians are universally excellent. And the deliberately stark “theater in the round” set by Soh-Young Lee and Gerald Newman is highly effective.
So, if you’re planning to sit around this weekend – don’t. Get up and go down “ Big River .” It’s one of the biggest and most meaningful American musicals you’re likely to see – and it’s right in your neighborhood.
P.S. Please be advised that the
play utilizes substantial doses of Mark
Twain’s original text and dialog --
which includes the frequent utterance of
the repulsive and derogatory “n-word.”
"An Insider's Thoughts: A Guest Review from"
The play centers on the life, romances and ultimate murder of beloved Doctor James Crisow. But the good doctor, as portrayed by Andy Eliot, may not be the pillar of society he seems. Just ask his two mistresses and his long suffering wife. One mistress is a successful sculptress, Henrietta Angkateel (Haley Palmaer), who hides a deep emotional sensitivity behind her steely resolve. The second is a Hollywood bombshell, Veronica Crave (Mary Ashlyn Moore). She’s a glamorous but spoiled starlet who may do anything to get her way. Then, there’s the doctor’s wife, Gerda, who appears dim-witted and blindly loyal to her philandering spouse. A nuanced performance by Danielle Herren reveals she might be a lot brighter than she lets on.
Adding to the mix are an eccentric pair of aristocrats, Sir Henry and Lady Angkatell, as well-played by a duo of Heights Players veterans – John Edward Kelly and Elizabeth Bove. Joining them are a young relative Midge (Marcy Agreen), who harbors a secret love; the Angkatell’s timid nephew, Edward (David Mackler), who hides an intense and unrequited passion; and two servants (Alix Gordon and Joe Pepe) who may know more than they pretend to know. Finally, there are the stalwart and intrepid Scotland Yard inspectors (Raymond O. Wagner and Stephen Zuccaro), who are brought in to solve this perplexing case of
passion and murder.
And the Murderer Is…
Did the butler do it? Well, you’re just going to have to see for yourself aren’t you? And when you do in addition to great performances, you’ll be treated to terrific sets (Gary Vanderputten, Paul Kiem), lighting (Ben Bauer) and costumes (L.J. Kleeman).
In a nutshell…besides being a compelling and well-mounted mystery, this play reaches a level of dramatic integrity that won’t leave you “hollow.”