East Lynne Theater Company Presents WHY MARRY?, 5/10
"I can't marry Ernest Hamilton. I love him! We wish to be free to keep together! In the old days when they had interests in common, marriage used to make man and woman one, but now, it puts them apart. Can't you see it all about you? No wonder one in eleven ends in divorce. The only way to avoid spiritual separation is to shun legal union like a disease. Modern marriage is divorce."
Helen is talking to her much befuddled family in Jesse Lynch Williams' comedy "Why Marry?," the first play to receive a Pulitzer Prize. A Broadway hit in 1917, it toured the country for a year, but had not been produced again until East Lynne Theater Company included it in its 2006 Cape May production season. The show was so successful, that ELTC revived it the following summer.
On Friday, May 10 at 7:30p.m., "Why Marry?" returns to a NYC stage for the first time since 1917 when ELTC presents a staged reading with most of the actors who were in the acclaimed 2007 production, at The Players Club, located at 16 Gramercy Park South (20th Street, East of Park Avenue).
In 1888, renowned actor, Edwin Booth, and fifteen others, including Mark Twain and General William Tecumseh Sherman, founded The Players Club, which was, in fact, Booth's home. It was created to promote "social interaction between members of the dramatic profession and the kindred professions of literature, painting, architecture, sculpture and music, law and medicine, and patrons of the arts." Today, a variety of people from a variety of professions in the arts, business, and commerce, enjoy The Players unique spirit of conviviality and tradition. Jesse Lynch Williams was a member of The Players Club, as are two of the performers, Ken Glickfeld and James Rana.
Helen, the rebel who doesn't want to marry Ernest, is played Shelley McPherson, whose credits include ELTC's "Alice on the Edge" and "The Poe Mysteries," many episodes of "Guiding Light" and performing regularly at Joe's Pub at The Public Theatre in NYC and The Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Portraying Ernest is John J. Isgro who recently performed in "The Boss" at Metropolitan Playhouse in NYC. He is an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, and he and his wife, Roberta, own and operate Acting Out, a Brooklyn-based performing arts school.
Mark Edward Lang plays John, Helen's brother who doesn't understand her decision. His work with ELTC includes "The New York Idea," as an actor, and "Anna Christie," as a director. His NYC and regional credits include Off-Broadway's "Welcome Home Marian Anderson." Playing his wife, Lucy, is Alison J. Murphy who was also in ELTC's productions of "The Guardsman," and "The Dictator," among others.
Helen and John's sister, Jean, is portrayed by Megan McDermitt, who was in ELTC's "Berkeley Square," and played the title character in "Dulcy." Recently, she was in Act II's "Time Stands Still" near Philadelphia. Rex, the man she's supposed to marry, is played by award-winning musician Thomas Raniszewski. Recently, he portrayed many roles in "The Twentieth Century Way" in Philadelphia, and his ELTC credits include "It Pays to Advertise" and "Rain."
Ken Glickfeld plays Helen's uncle, a Judge currently going through a divorce. He was in ELTC's "Voice of the City" and "To the Ladies!" among others, and is a member of The Workshop Theater in NYC. He's worked in a variety of NYC and regional theaters including The Depot Theater in Westport, NY where he played Dr. Watson in "Sherlock's Last Case."
New to this production is James Rana, who is taking on the role of Theodore, Helen's cousin, a minister. ELTC produced the world premiere of his ""The Poe Mysteries" last summer, and is presenting the world premiere of his adaptation of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" this summer. He performs regularly at NYC's Ensemble Studio Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and Pan Asian Rep, and also appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England and the Globe Neuss in Germany.
"Why Marry?" is directed by Gayle Stahlhuth, who has produced 70 different plays and musicals since becoming ELTC's artistic director in 1999, all keeping within ELTC's mission of presenting classic American plays and new works based on American literature and history. Lee O'Connor, ELTC's technical director, is stage managing.
Tickets are $25 and all proceeds will benefit the not-for-profit Players Foundation. Tickets may be purchased by calling The Players Club at 212-475-6117 or by going online to email@example.com. For information about the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May, NJ call 609-884-5898 or go online to www.eastlynnetheater.org.