Script in Hand Reading of BEAU JEST to Play Westport Country Playhouse, 3/18


Westport Country Playhouse's next Script in Hand playreading will be the romantic comedy, "Beau Jest" by James Sherman, a former actor/writer for Chicago's Second City, on one-night-only, Monday, March 18, 7 p.m. Director is Anne Keefe, Playhouse artistic advisor. Casting will be announced soon.

Tickets to the Script in Hand playreading are $15. Tickets for the reading and post-performance "Meet the Cast" dessert reception in The Playhouse's Sheffer Studio are $50 ($15 for reading plus a $35 donation for reception).

"I seem to be drawn lately to plays that examine the relationship between parents and their adult children, and always drawn to plays that reference the theater!," said Keefe. "While this play is extremely funny, it's also a 'coming of age play', which is very touching. If you liked last fall's Script in Hand playreading of 'Over the River and Through the Woods,' you'll love 'Beau Jest'."

"Beau Jest" is a romantic comedy about Sarah, a young, single Jewish woman, whose parents want her to marry a nice Jewish man. To please them, Sarah says she's dating a Jew although her boyfriend is actually a WASP. When her parents insist on meeting him at a dinner party, Sarah decides to hire a Jewish escort to pose as her boyfriend for the evening. The Chicago Sun-Times called the play, "Hilarious and quite moving...blends farce with a genuine insight."

Playwright James Sherman is the author of many plays including "The God of Isaac," "Mr. 80%," "The Escape Artist," "Jest a Second!," "From Door to Door," "The Old Man's Friend, Affluenza!," and "Jacob and Jack." Originally from Chicago, he worked as an actor and writer with The Second City for three years in the mid-1970s and received his MFA degree in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University in 1979. He was a Playwright-in-Residence at the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. In 2006, Sherman directed his own screenplay of his play "Beau Jest."

Director Anne Keefe served as artistic director of Westport Country Playhouse with JoAnne Woodward in 2008, and as associate artistic director from 2000-2006, also with Ms. Woodward. She co-directed with Ms. Woodward the Westport Country Playhouse production of "David Copperfield," and directed many Script in Hand playreadings.

For more information or tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online 24/7 at Stay connected to The Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), view Playhouse videos on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse) or get an insider's peek on The Playhouse Blog (

Westport Country Playhouse is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, professional theater under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos and management leadership of Michael Ross. The Playhouse creates five live theater experiences, produced at the highest level, from April through November. Its vital mix of works---dramatic, comedic, occasionally exploratory and unusual---expands the audience's sense of what theater can be. The depth and scope of its productions display the foremost theatrical literature from the past---recent as well as distant---in addition to musicals and premieres of new plays. During the summer, The Playhouse is home to the Woodward Internship Program, renowned for the training of aspiring theater professionals. Winter at The Playhouse, from November through March, offers events outside of the main season---Family Festivities presentations, Script in Hand play readings and a Holiday Festival. In addition, businesses and organizations are encouraged to rent the handsome facility for their meetings, receptions and fundraisers.

As an historic venue, Westport Country Playhouse has had many different lives leading up to the present. Originally built in 1835 as a tannery manufacturing hatters' leathers, it became a steam-powered cider mill in 1880, later to be abandoned in the 1920s. Splendidly transformed into a theater in 1931, it initially served as a try-out house for Broadway transfers, evolving into an established stop on the New England straw hat circuit of summer stock theaters through the end of the 20th century. Following a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2005, The Playhouse became a state-of-the-art producing theater, preserving its original charm and character.

Today, the not-for-profit Westport Country Playhouse serves as a cultural nexus for patrons, artists and students and is a treasured resource for the State of Connecticut. There are no boundaries to the creative thinking for future seasons or the kinds of audiences and excitement for theater that Westport Country Playhouse can build.

Westport Country Playhouse's five-play 2013 season: A.R. Gurney's "The Dining Room," a witty and heartfelt story of the American family and its vanishing traditions set in the most singular of rooms, where people gather, meals are eaten, conversations begin, and generations converge, directed by Mark Lamos, April 30 - May 18; "The Show-Off" by George Kelly, a funny, surprising, and moving story of a family in upheaval when their youngest daughter becomes engaged to a brash loudmouth, directed by Nicholas Martin, June 11 - 29; "Loot," a wickedly funny send-up of larcenous, lascivious behavior among the English middle classes by the master of British farce Joe Orton, directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, July 16 - August 3; the second world premiere in as many seasons, "Oblivion" a touching and funny-and very modern-tale of parents, children, and the gulf that sometimes exists between them, commissioned by Playwrights Horizons and developed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company, written by Carly Mensch, currently a co-producer on Showtime's "Weeds," and directed by Mark Brokaw, August 20 - September 7; and John Murray and Allen Boretz's "Room Service," a madcap American farce about a producer and his ragtag bunch of actors who try to raise money for a Broadway show as they scramble to evade their hotel bill, directed by Mark Lamos, October 8 - 26, 2013.

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