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WORDS WORDS WORDS...AND MUSIC to be Presented by Staples Players

5 plays by David Ives, 2 mini musicals & more - fun for the whole family!

WORDS WORDS WORDS...AND MUSIC to be Presented by Staples Players

At last, an in-person Players' show! After 14 months of a dark theater, the curtain is rising at Staples Auditorium and no one who has endured a pandemic should miss it. The (socially distanced) audience will be treated to five irreverent comedic plays by master of wit David Ives, plus two mini musicals-think theater meets Saturday Night Live, minus the celebrity guest host but with 21 of your favorite Players stars. David Roth (SHS '84) and Kerry Long (SHS '97) co-direct, with choreographer Rachel MacIsaac and music director Don Rickenback ensuring Broadway-worthy song and dance numbers. Performances are May 20, 21 & 22 at 7:30 pm and May 22 at 2 pm. Tickets are on sale at staplesplayers.com (a combo of culture starvation and fewer seats may create a toilet-paper-in-2020 type situation, so jump on it!). Masks required. There will also be a virtual livestream on June 6 at 6 pm.

"We wanted to give lots of students a chance to shine-especially the seniors, after losing so many shows," says Co-Director Long. "Each senior gets time in the spotlight and the shows move with a quick pace and sharp wit. While the plays are quirky, they aren't silly. There is definitely a 'high brow' bent. Three actors play monkeys with typewriters, but they are aiming to write Hamlet and discussing philosophers. A man deals with his midlife crisis by posing as French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas. I think our Westport audience will appreciate the humor, especially as an escape from our crazy world! Those missing our musicals will enjoy two short musicals and a smattering of choreographed musical numbers between the plays-there's something for everyone!"

Samantha Webster (SHS '21), President of Staples Players, assistant directs and appears in several plays and musical numbers, but creating her "outrageously silly elf character in 'The Almost In-Laws' was the most fun." She says that the show overall "has a great balance of humorous and more emotional/realistic elements. It contains different styles of acting, different types of performances, and all sorts of exciting elements like monkey bars, moving washing machines, and dance numbers. Staples Players is back on stage and we hope members of the community are as excited as we are!"

David Corro (SHS '21) also got a kick out of donning an elf costume as Father in "The Almost In-Laws," while digging deeper as Ed in "Degas, C'est Moi" because "every show I need to discover the world for the first time. I think people will love the lighthearted shows and fun songs. It's definitely a great comeback for Players!"

Jamie Mann (SHS '21) is excited to be back on stage after his recent screen debut starring in Netflix's Country Comfort. Of the three roles he plays, Mann says, "I love Maitre D' in 'Soap Opera' because of how confident he is. He is such a unique character, so that makes him the most fun and interesting to play because I can make big choices. 'Finding the Words' is definitely more complicated because I have to play the guitar in it, which combined with acting, singing and a little dancing, is definitely a bit difficult." While the actors are rehearsing in masks, they are finding moments to feel as close as this tight troupe has always been. "Just yesterday during tech rehearsal I was sitting on the ground resting on Bridget Looby's lap, with Maizy Boozin resting on mine, as we talked to some other kids backstage," recounts Mann. "That was a really special moment."

Sophie Rossman (SHS '21) is busy assistant directing several plays, appearing with Mann in a mini musical, and acting in a play and monologue. "I love playing Kafka in 'Words, Words, Words,'" she says. "The show is incredibly well written, and working with Sammy and Ben (Zack, SHS '21) has been a blast. However, maintaining the physicality of the character has been challenging. We do a ton of work on the scaffolding, and the calluses on my hands remind me of the monkey bars in elementary school!" She adds, "For many people, this will be their first opportunity to watch an in-person performance since everything shut down. It's an honor to have the opportunity to reintroduce the public to this incredibly impactful art form."

Camille Foisie (SHS '21) nabs lots of stage time but it's her debut as an appliance that has her feeling bubbly. "I play a washing machine in 'Soap Opera' and I am in a literal washing machine for almost the entire play. I enjoy this physical challenge of creating a character who is attached to an inanimate object!" As silly as this sounds, Foisie emphasizes, "What I love so much about these plays is that the comedy is so clever and intelligent. One of the plays I assistant directed called 'Words, Words, Words' was especially interesting to me as it is based upon the infinite monkey theorem." Foisie also loves the finale number "Now. Here. This.": "It's super contemporary musical theatre and the lyrics speak so much to the cast (seniors especially) about the excitement of the future but also the joy of what we are experiencing right now. The first time we staged it in the blackbox with the energy of the whole cast singing together, it reminded me of old times"

David Ives' PLAYS:

"Sure Thing" - Two people meet in a cafe and find their way through a conversational minefield as an offstage bell interrupts their false starts, gaffes, and faux pas on the way to falling in love.

"Words, Words, Words" recalls the philosophical adage that three monkeys typing into infinity will sooner or later produce Hamlet and asks: What would monkeys talk about at their typewriters? Three actors portray the typing monkeys.

"Degas, C'est Moi" - A man wakes up one morning and decides to be the French artist Degas. The best place to do that is in New York City where he encounters all that makes great art.

"Soap Opera" - A washing-machine repairman falls in love with a picture-perfect washer. How can he tell his girlfriend Mabel? Is the washer two-timing him with a dryer? Stay tuned.

"The Philadelphia" - A madcap satire of Brotherly Love and cosmic misunderstandings. Mark thought he woke up in New York City this morning, so why isn't there a cab, a copy of the Times, or a cold beer in sight? You can't always get what you want, and in this clash of the cities, you might only be able to get the complete opposite ... plus a cheesesteak.

MINI MUSICALS:

"Finding the Words" - It's the final rehearsal at a regional theater and the lead actor STILL can't remember his lines. Only the director's klutzy assistant can help save the show. Book and Lyrics by Andy Roninson and Chris Critelli, Music by Andy Roninson.

"The Almost In-Laws" - Des has to introduce his fiancée to his parents, and they're, well . . . elves. Book and Lyrics by Greg Edwards, Music by Andy Roninson.

GRADUATING SENIORS - On Looking Back & Looking Ahead

Favorite Players Memory:
"I will always remember my first big Players production, which was Newsies. On closing night of the show during the final number it hit me that I had gotten to be a part of a group I'd wanted to join since elementary school, and I was bringing that performance experience that inspired me as a kid to other people in the audience." -Samantha Webster

"Backstage singing my freshman year. Even though I wasn't on the stage, I got close with people from every grade and got my first look into what it means to be part of the Players family." -David Corro

"So many favorites, but this is a funny one. One time on a show day, Sophie Rossman decided to choreograph a dance on the stage with me for like an hour. Then we realized that everyone could see us on the monitors and once we got offstage many people were commenting on our dance abilities. We always laugh about that moment." -Jamie Mann

"Even as we produced amazing work, we've created a ton of silly moments in Players that I will cherish forever. From accidentally hanging by my suspenders from the scaffolding during Newsies my freshman year, to laughing with my friends after something funny happens in dance rehearsal, there are so many memories that make me smile as I look back at them. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to perform with my best friends for the last four years and expect to keep making amazing memories with them going forward."
-Sophie Rossman

"The night all of the kids in my class (juniors at the time) planned Staples Players annual senior day for the grade above ours. We stayed for hours on a Sunday night at school decorating the blackbox, blowing up balloons, and having the BEST time doing something special for the people we love in this organization."
-Camille Foisie

Plans for Fall:
"I'll be attending Northwestern University." -Samantha Webster

"I'm heading to Tufts University." -David Corro

"I'll be attending the University of Michigan, pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre." -Jamie Mann

"I will be at NYU Tisch for a BFA in Drama." -Sophie Rossman

"I will be attending NYU Tisch at the New Studio on Broadway for a BFA in Musical Theatre." -Camille Foisie

Production Team

Directors: David Roth & Kerry Long
Music Director: Don Rickenback
Choreographer: Rachel MacIsaac
Technical Director: Jeff Hauser
Media Supervisor: James Honeycutt
Assistant Technical Director: Alicia D'Anna
Producer: Amy Mandelbaum
Graphic Designer: Kerry Long

Performance Schedule
Thursday, Friday and Saturday Evenings: May 20, 21 & 22 at 7:30 pm
Saturday Matinee: May 22 at 2 pm
Virtual Livestream: June 6 at 6 pm

Performance Location
Staples High School Auditorium
70 North Avenue
Westport, CT 06880

Tickets
Tickets are $25 and may be purchased online at StaplesPlayers.com or in the lobby beginning 30 minutes prior to performances, subject to availability.

Run time - approximately 2 hours with one 10-minute intermission. Rated PG.



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