White Heron Theatre Company Opens BLITHE SPIRIT July 10

The production features Tony Award Winner Drew McVety and longtime Broadway and theatre veterans, Sandra Shipley, Paul O'Brien, and Janet Zarish.

By: Jul. 05, 2023
White Heron Theatre Company Opens BLITHE SPIRIT July 10
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White Heron Theatre Company of Nantucket will open it's first production of the 2023 summer season, Blithe Spirit, by Noël Coward (Present Laughter, Private Lives) and directed by Skip Greer. Greer returns to Nantucket after directing 2017's Outside Mullingar for White Heron.

The production features Tony Award Winner Drew McVety and longtime Broadway and theatre veterans, Sandra Shipley, Paul O'Brien, and Janet Zarish. A smash comedy hit in London and New York, this much-revived classic concerns fussy, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine, who has remarried but finds himself haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, Elvira. Blithe Spirit runs from July 10 through July 27.

Blithe Spirit was first seen in the West End in 1941 and ran for 1,997 performances, a new record for a non-musical play in London. It went on to Broadway later that year and was then adapted for the cinema in 1945; a second film version followed in 2020. Coward directed a musical adaptation, High Spirits, seen on Broadway and in the West End in 1964. Radio and television presentations of the play have been broadcast in Britain and the US from 1944 onwards. It continues to be revived in the West End, on Broadway and now here, on Nantucket.

"Blithe Spirit is one of those classic plays that we've all known about all our lives, but many have never seen. Coward's facility with language, storytelling and laugh out loud humor makes for a wonderful evening at the theatre" says Artistic Director, Lynne Bolton. "It's about encouraging resistance to encroaching catastrophe by blithely ignoring it- something we all do. And it makes for a raucous and relatable experience."

White Heron membership ticket holders and Heron Society Members will have the opportunity to select Blithe Spirit as part of their 2023 season ticket packages.

About the Artists

Noël Coward- (Playwright) Noël Coward was one of the premiere entertainers of the 20th Century. Nicknamed, "The Master," Coward was a playwright, a lyricist, a composer, an actor, a singer, a director and a producer. He has over fifty of his plays published, including The Young Idea, The Vortex, Fallen Angels, Hay Fever, Private Lives, A Design for Living, Tonight at 8:30, Present Laughter, This Happy Breed and Blithe Spirit. Also an accomplished lyricist and composer, Coward's musical theatre compositions include the revues London Calling, On With the Dance, This Year of Grace, Words and Music, Set to Music, and Sigh No More; the operettas Bitter Sweet and Conversation Piece; and the traditional musicals Operette, Pacific 1860, Ace of Clubs, Sail Away and The Girl Who Came to Supper. By 1925, Coward was writing, producing and starring in his own immensely successful shows. At one point, he had three plays and one revue running in the West End at the same time. He remained a perennial presence on both London and New York stages througout the 1920's and 1930's, frequently co-starring with his good friend Gertrude Lawrence. During World War II, Coward served his country by touring Britain and entertaining a public in need of uplifting. After the war, he began a successful career as a cabaret performer and film actor, appearing in Around The World in 80 Days and The Italian Job. He also wrote two autobiographies, Present Indicative and Future Indefinite. The Master was knighted, elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Letters, awarded an Honorary Tony Award and inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, before passing away in 1973 at his home in Jamaica.

Skip Greer- (Director) Skip is an actor, director and teacher, and was the Artist in Residence at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY for over 25 years. He is returning to White Heron Theatre Company for the third time. Previously he directed Eric Coble's Velocity of Autumn and John Patrick Shanley's Outside Mullingar. Skip has directed 28 shows at Geva, including Almost Maine, Red, Inherit the Wind, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Steel Magnolias, The Weir, Airness, Hard Cell, The Mountaintop, and Death of a Salesman. Roles at Geva include: Erik Blake in The Humans, Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, Arthur Przybyszewski, in Superior Donuts and the Stage Manager in Our Town. theaters that he has acted or directed at include: The Oregon Shakespearean Festival, American Conservatory Theatre, The Barrington Stage Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Indiana Rep Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Company, Studio Arena, Syracuse Stage, Santa Cruz Shakespeare (where he directed King Lear to open the festival's 25th Anniversary), and Gary Marshall's Falcon Theatre, where he directed Charles Durning, Jack Klugman, Paul Dooley and Granville Van Deusan in the sold out Golf With Alan Shepard. Skip has toured Europe, Africa, Asia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands teaching and performing theatre.

Drew McVety- (Charles Condomine) Broadway: Bandstand (Jacobs), The Front Page (Broadhurst), The Last Ship (Neil Simon), Cyrano De Bergerac (Roundabout), Billy Elliot (Imperial), Sunday in the Park with George (Roundabout), Spamalot (Shubert), Frozen (MCC Circle in the Square), Big River (Roundabout, Special Tony Award), Titanic (Lunt Fontaine, Original Cast), The Heidi Chronicles (Plymouth, Original Cast). First national tour: Cabaret, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Off-Broadway: A Sherlock Carol (New World Stages) a Songbird (59 East 59), Charles Ives Take Me Home (Rattlestick), Lone Star Love (Houseman), Corpus Christi (MTC Drama Desk nomination), This Lime Tree Bower (American premiere, Primary Stages), The Substance of Fire (LCT) Twelfth Night, A Doll's House (Public Theater/Acting Company). Regional: The Weir (White Heron), Billy Elliot (Goodspeed/City Springs), Songbird (Two River), The Sting (Papermill), Caucasian Chalk Circle (Yale Rep), Mary Poppins (TUTS, City Springs), Civil War Christmas, Fathers and Sons, (Long Wharf), Scapin (Portland Stage), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Pittsburgh Public) . Television: The Good Wife, Black Box, Blue Bloods, Royal Pains, Unforgettable, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: CI, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, All the soaps. Film: Mother May I have a Kidney?, The Strange Case of Wilheim Reich, Henry's Crime.

Sandra Shipley- (Madame Arcati) Sandra last appeared at the White Heron in Velocity of Autumn, directed by Skip Greer. Her relationship to Blithe Spirit and Madame Arcati began with the 2009 Broadway production, starring the incomparable Dame Angela Lansbury, whom Sandra understudied. In 2014 Sandra played the role of Mrs. Bradman as well as understudying and going on for Dame Angela in the North American tour. Sandra was born and raised in London, where she studied theatre and performed with the Royal Court, in the West End, and as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. In America Sandra has appeared on Broadway in Present Laughter with Kevin Kline, Indiscretions taking over for Dame Eileen Atkins, Equus with Daniel Radcliffe, Vincent in Brixton, Pygmalion, and The Importance of Being Ernest. Off-Broadway she has appeared in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the City Center, Stuff Happens and Venus at the Public, Suddenly Last Summer and Deep Blue Sea at the Roundabout, Phaedra at Classic Stage, and The Daughter in Law at the Mint.Her extensive regional credits include ART, the Guthrie, McCarter, National Shakespeare Theater, Old Globe, Williamstown, Geva, Humana Festival, La Jolla, Yale Rep, Boston Shakespeare, Merrimack Rep.

Paul O'Brien- (Dr. George Bradman) Paul first appeared with the White Heron in a NYC production of The Seagull, starring among others Lynne Bolton and Chris Messina at Second Stage. Paul has appeared on Broadway ten times, including Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center with Helen Hunt, Kyra Sedgewick, and Paul Rudd, The Crucible with Liam Neeson, King Lear with Christopher Plummer, Equus with Daniel Radcliffe, The Importance of Being Ernest with Brian Bedford, On A Clear Day with Harry Connick Jr. and Jessie Mueller and Six Degrees of Separation with Alison Janney. Since Paul met his future wife, Sandra Shipley, they have appeared in countless productions on and off Broadway, in regional theaters like Gloucester Stage, where they starred in Long Day's Journey into Night and Moon for the Misbegotten, the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Guthrie in Minneapolis, and Actors Theater of Louisville. On film Paul has appeared in Shirley, Hail Caesar, Manhattan Romance and Fairhaven (written and directed by his son Tom OBrien) Henry's Crime, Redacted and on tv in Search Party, Dangerous Book for Boys, Elementary, House of Cards, Forever, Person of Interest, Star Trek Voyager, ER, Providence, The Practice, and all the Law and Orders, including most recently Law and Order: Organized Crime.

Janet Zarish- (Elvira Condomine) Janet Zarish last appeared at The White Heron in Outside Mullingar. New York credits include leading roles at The Public Theater, The Roundabout, Primary Stages, The Minetta Lane, 59 East 59 th, Harold Clurman Theater, The John Houseman Theatre, The Pearl, New York Stage and Film, and The Daryl Roth. Regional credits include Long Wharf Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The McCarter, Sundance, Old Globe, ACT Seattle, Hartford Stage, Seattle Rep, Dorset and Berkshire Theatre Festivals, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Yale Rep. Film includes: Life In Flight, The Zoo, Season Of Youth, The Next Big Thing, Object Of My Affection, Malcolm X, Videola, Mystic Pizza, Without A Trace, Danny. Television includes: The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, Forever, Law & Order, Mad About You, The Client, Homicide, NY Undercover, The Webster Report, The Early Days, Love & War and Lee Halpern on One Life To Live. Her episode of Seinfeld was named one of the top ten Seinfeld episodes by Rolling Stone. She is Head of Acting at NYU's Graduate Acting Program. She directed the Off-Broadway production of "Measure For Measure" at The Duke Theater and is a director at NYU, The Juilliard School and Ensemble Studio Theater where she is a member.

Anna Crivelli- (Ruth Condomine) Anna Crivelli is a San Francisco Bay Area native currently residing in Brooklyn. Off-Broadway: 53% Of (Second Stage), Doll's House Part 3 (Exponential Festival), Drink with Death (La Mama) Regional: How to Defend Yourself (Victory Gardens, 43rd Humana Festival), Private Lives (Dorset Theatre Festival), Once Five Years Pass, Dental Society Midwinter Meeting (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Appropriate (Westport Country Playhouse), Airness, Steel Magnolias (Geva Theatre Center) Television: Evil (CBS) M.F.A: Yale School of Drama B.A: Fordham University Lincoln Center.

Brigitt Markusfeld- (Mrs. Violet Bradman) Brigitt is thrilled to be at the White Heron Theatre playing Mrs Bradman. She was most recently seen treading the boards in Geva Theatres Center's production of Steel Magnolias, as Truvy. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, To Kill a Mockingbird, You Can't Take It With You, Over the Tavern, A Christmas Story, Our Town, The Weir, Triumph of Love, The Illusion, Smell of the Kill are a few of the over 18 productions Brigitt has performed in at Geva Theatre Center. Other regional theatre credits include: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, at Indiana Rep Theatre, Richard III, Rumors, Charley's Aunt, at Sacramento Theatre Company, I Remember Mama at American Conservatory Theatre, On the Verge at Marin Theatre Company, The Tempest, Comedy of Errors, Merchant of Venice, As You Like It at Valley Shakespeare Festival, Taming of the Shrew and Country Wife, at Grove Shakespeare Festival, and Stella and Lou and Paper Maker at CRT. Brigitt is a founding member of A Noise Within Theatre Co in Los Angeles: Way of the World, Coriolanus, Blood Wedding. TV credits: Picket Fences, Bold and the Beautiful, Tour of Duty, Second Chances. Brigitt has done national TV and radio commercials. She is currently an artist educator for Geva Theatre Center and teaches acting and acting for the camera at UR and RIT. She received her training and MFA at The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Madeline Wall- (Edith) Regional: Santa Cruz Shakespeare (Two Noble Kinsmen, Comedy of Errors, The Winter's Tale); Combustible Company (Monster Heart, The Tempest). B.A., University of Minnesota. Madeline is a proud Rochester, NY theatre kid and now calls Minneapolis, MN home, where she writes, directs, and produces theatre in addition to acting. Gratitude to Skip, and always to Mom, Dad, Henry. @madladygrey; MadelineWallTheatre.com.

Tickets for the White Heron's season are now available. For additional information, please visit our website at www.whiteherontheatre.org or call (508) 228-2156.

For press tickets, please contact Caroline Curnow at caroline@whiteherontheatre.org




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