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Rare A.R. Gurney Play 'What I Did Last Summer' Begins 11/7

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A.R. Gurney's poignant coming of age drama/memory play What I Did Last Summer, presented by Retro Productions and directed by Ric Sechrest, will begin performances on November 7 at the Spoon Theater (38 West 38th Street). This is the first New York City presentation of the show since its original 1983 production.

"In the summer of 1945, in a community on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie, one American family is beginning to come apart at the seams. Fourteen year-old Charlie Higgins has flunked Latin and is supposed to be doing some serious studying this summer, but would rather go swimming or play boyish pranks with his best friend Ted. Or hang out with Bonny, the girl he likes. Charlie's mother Grace has had little success in controlling either him or his older sister, Elsie. Although the family accepts the lack of a strong male presence in their lives (Grace's husband is currently stationed in the Pacific), none of them are used to the responsibilities (and freedoms) it brings.† Wanting to earn some extra money, Charlie answers an ad for a handyman from Anna Trumbull - known as the 'Pig Woman' - a free-thinking, unconventional soul who has long been seen as a pariah by the town locals. Taking a liking to Charlie, Anna urges him to find his hidden potential with art lessons, and to live as she does, by rejecting the conformity of the material world. Grace however, is not at all pleased with her son's involvement with Anna and vows to stop it. At the same time, Grace faces a crisis of her own, as her personal need for comfort causes her to consider an act she once thought was impossible. By the time the summer ends, many of the characters will undergo life-altering experiences. And while the status quo will seem to be preserved (at least on the outside), the seeds of change will have been sown in this story detailing the wonders of the individual against the crushing conformity of society - a conformity which would return in full force once the war ended," explain press notes.

The cast of What I Did Last Summer features Lauren Coppola, Heather E. Cunningham, Lauren Kelston, Tim Romero, Ben Schnickel and Aubrie N. Therrien. Actor/director/educator Ric Sechrest has helmed numerous productions throughout New York, Ohio and Maine and has directed everything from Sam Shepard to Christopher Durang to Samuel Beckett. He directed Still Life for Retro Productions last February. A member of Actors' Equity and AFTRA, he appeared in Vaclav Havel's Redevelopment with Nomad Theatrical Company.† He holds a BFA in acting from Syracuse University, an MA in Directing from the University of Maine, and an MFA in acting from Ohio University.

A not-for-profit theatre company (and a resident company at the Spoon Theater), it is the mission of Retro Productions to present works of retro theatre. Retro is defined as "involving, relating to, or reminiscent of things past." Retro Productions strives to tell good theatrical stories which have a historical perspective - with an emphasis on the 20th century - in order to broaden our own understanding of the world we live in. Past productions include Casey Kurtti's Catholic School Girls (2005), Doris Baizley's Mrs. California (2006) and Emily Mann's Still Life (2007). Visit www.retroproductions.org.

Running through November 24, What I Did Last Summer will be performed at the Spoon Theater, located at 38 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenues) on the 5th Floor.

Performances will take place on Monday, Wednesday-Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 3PM & 8PM and Sunday at 3PM. There will be no show on Wednesday, November 21, Thursday, November 22, and no matinee on Saturday, November 24.

Tickets: $25, $18 for students and seniors. TDF vouchers are accepted based on availability one half hour prior to show time. Reservations:† 212-352-3101, 866-811-4111 or www.retroproductions.org.

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