Two Capes Unite with Brendan Hughes and Brenda Withers at Gloucester Stage

Two Capes Unite with Brendan Hughes and Brenda Withers at Gloucester StageGloucester Stage Company's NeverDark Series hosts two powerhouse writer/director/actors: Brendan Hughes and Brenda Withers this August. Their presence marks the beginning of a promised collaboration between two capes: Cape Ann and Cape Cod.

On Tuesday, August 9 at 7:30 pm Brendan Hughes performs The Pizzicato Effect, a comic one-man show he created. On Tuesday, August 23 at 7:30 pm Gloucester Stage presents a staged reading of Brenda Withers' newest play, String Around My Finger.

When Managing Director, Jeff Zinn, took the helm at GSC in October, 2015, he brought with him a network of artists from his longtime association with another seaside theater, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT.) Hughes was first hired to direct several productions at WHAT and later served as "impresario" of the Harbor Stage venue. There, he formed a company-within-the-company, attracting top flight actors including Brenda Withers, already well known for penning the play Matt & Ben with Mindy Kaling.

Brenda Withers and several other core members of the WHAT Acting Company took over the original Harbor theater in 2011 forming the Harbor Stage Company, now in its fifth season. She has acted and or directed in all of their productions and written new plays, including their current production, The Kritik (which she also directed) in its world premiere, while also performing at theaters across the US.

Brendan Hughes now makes his home in Los Angeles, working at Fox Television, directing award winning short films, and developing The Pizzicato Effect, his unique one-man-show. Deploying diagrams, theories and preposterous arcana in the The Pizzicato Effect, Brendan Hughes delivers comic, ontological mini-lectures drawn from the darkest corners of Wikipedia, from Euclid's drug-induced perfect rectangle to Plato's penchant for name-dropping, from Julius Caesar's IT department to Pope Gregory XIII's time warping proclivities, MiLes Davis's unplayed notes to Wolfgang A. Mozart's delicious command of restraint... all in a valiant attempt to double-click on the Universe. The Pizzicato Effect will play first at the Harbor Stage Company on August 1, and at GSC on August 9.

Intermittently heartbreaking and hilarious, Brenda Withers' new play String Around My Finger opens with a young woman and her fiancée coping with her miscarriage on the eve of their wedding. Insurance is questionable and finances are tough; how will they pay for the hospital? Should they cancel the wedding in order to reclaim the deposits? Also on hand are his somewhat overbearing sister and the physician's assistant who attempts to bring sanity and balance to a situation that threatens to spin out of control. The free staged reading of this provocative new work is Tuesday, August 23 at 7:30 pm at GSC.

The Pizzicato Effect is Tuesday, August 9 at 7:30pm. Admission is $20. The free staged reading of Brenda Withers' new play String Around My Finger is Tuesday, August 23 at 7:30 pm. All performances are at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester MA. For information about the NeverDark Series or reservations, call the Gloucester Stage Box office at 978-281-4433 or visit

Pictured: (left) Brendan Hughes in The Pizzicato Effect. Photo by by David Dowling; (right) Brenda Withers.

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