Photo Flash: Westport Country Playhouse's THE CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON

Mark Lamos directs "That Championship Season" at Westport Country Playhouse, his first production since being named artistic director in February 2009 at the historic theater in Westport, Connecticut. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, "That Championship Season" by Jason Miller is the fifth production in The Playhouse's six-play 2009 season. It opened August 25 and runs through September 12.

"That Championship Season" takes place at a reunion of a high school basketball coach, now retired, and four members of the team that he guided to the state championship 20 years earlier. As the evening progresses, secrets are revealed, loyalties tested and the foundation of their long-held dreams is found to be fraudulent. A play of savage humor and giant passions, "That Championship Season" probes the darker aspects of the American creed of success.

Mark Lamos is a director of plays, musicals and opera. Named Westport Country Playhouse artistic director earlier this year, his first official season of artistic programming will be for The Playhouse's 80th anniversary year in 2010. The New York Times called him "a poet of the theater," and his work receives a chapter in Samuel L. Leiter's The Great Stage Directors: 100 Distinguished Careers of the Theater, along with legendary directors of the twentieth century. Lamos spent 17 seasons as artistic director of Connecticut's Hartford Stage, for which he accepted the Tony Award in 1989. He made his Broadway directing debut with a transfer from Hartford Stage of "Our Country's Good," for which he received a Tony Award nomination as Best Director.

Single tickets range from $35 to $55. Students and educators are eligible for 50% discounts. Groups of 10 or more save up to 30%. For group sales information call (203) 227-5137, x120.

Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater, serves as a treasured home for the performing arts and is a cultural landmark for Connecticut. Under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos and management direction of Michael Ross, The Playhouse creates quality productions of new and classic plays that enlighten, enrich and engage a diverse community of theater lovers, artists and students. The Playhouse's rich history dates back to 1931, when New York theatre producer Lawrence Langner created a Broadway-quality stage within an 1830s tannery. The Playhouse quickly became an established stop on the New England "straw hat circuit" of summer stock theatres. Now celebrating its 79th season, Westport Country Playhouse has produced more than 700 plays, 36 of which later transferred to Broadway, most recently the world premiere of "Thurgood" and a revival of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" with Paul Newman, and in earlier years "Come Back, Little Sheba" with Shirley Booth, "The Trip to Bountiful" with Lillian Gish, and "Butterflies Are Free" with Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner. For its artistic excellence, The Playhouse received a 2005 Governor's Arts Award and a 2000 "Connecticut Treasure" recognition. It was also designated as an Official Project of Save America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is entered on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. Following a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2005, The Playhouse transformed into a year-round, state-of-the-art producing theater, which has preserved its original charm and character. In addition to a full season of theatrical productions, The Playhouse serves as a community resource, presenting educational programming and workshops; a children's theater series; symposiums; music; films; and readings.

For more information or ticket purchases, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets may be purchased online at www.westportplayhouse.org.

Photo credit T. Charles Erickson

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