THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO to Opens Tonight at TheatreWorks New Milford
From the author who penned Driving Miss Daisy comes this funny and moving tale. It's Atlanta, 1939. Hitler has conquered Poland, Gone with the Wind is about to premiere, and Adolph Freitag, his sister Boo, and nieces Lala and Sunny can't wait for Ballyhoo - the social event of the year for Atlanta's elitist German-Jewish community. Adolph's new employee Joe Farkas seems an attractive eligible bachelor, but is a Jew of Eastern European descent deemed unacceptable to some members of the Freitag family. Unexpected romantic, touching, and comedic events unfold as the characters face where they come from and who they really are.
"Prejudice is a sly, slippery slope...particularly when exhibited between inter-faith, inter-racial groups, and playwright [Alfred] Uhry calls it out with humor and sentiment," said director Chesley Plemmons of Sherman. "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 truly a microcosm of America in those changing times leading up to World War II."
"Despite what may seem like very heavy subject matter, BALLYHOO is really a touching romantic comedy with beautifully drawn characters," said co-producer Glenn R. Couture of Ansonia. "Of course at its core there is the underlying theme of inter-racial prejudice and self-identity, but you'll walk away with a feeling that you know these people, and what's more you like them and care about them. And that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons to see this show."
The cast consists of some of the region's most outstanding actors: Sam Everett (Kent), Carey Van Hollen (Danbury), Susan Abrams (Warren), Charles Roth (New Fairfield), and Stephen Ross, Joan S. Wyner, and Erin Shaughnessy (all New Milford).
Besides Plemmons and Couture, the show's crew includes co-producer and set designer Richard Pettibone, lighting design by Pettibone and Scott Wyshynski, sound design by Tom Libonate, and stage management by Kristi Petersen Schoonover.
THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO was originally commissioned by the Olympic Arts Festival for the 1996 Summer Olympics and was first staged at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre that year. The play made its Broadway Debut on February 27, 1997 at the Helen Hayes Theater and ran for 556 performances. The Los Angeles Times said, "Alfred Uhry's achingly beautiful play THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO...is...luminous and powerful. It will most likely find a place in the American canon alongside Uhry's DRIVING MISS DAISY."
THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO runs tonight, May 2,3 9,10 16,17,18 23,24. Curtain time is 8:00 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays, with a 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinee on May 18. Tickets for all shows are $23 for reserved seating. Students and Military personnel with ID will be admitted for $18.
On Thursday, May 1, Senior Citizens are invited to a free dress rehearsal at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, May 8 at 8:00 p.m. is TheatreWorks' Pay-What-You-Want night. At this performance, you name the price for your ticket.
Reservations can be made online at WWW.THEATREWORKS.US or by calling the box office at (860) 350-6863.