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Westport Country Playhouse Celebrates 80th Birthday

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Marking its 80th birthday on Wednesday, June 29, Westport Country Playhouse will offer special opportunities and a ceremony to celebrate the significant milestone. The historic theater opened on June 29, 1931 with its first production, "The Streets of New York," starring Dorothy Gish.

"We invite the community to share this historic day with us," said Michael Ross, Playhouse managing director. "From free ticket vouchers to fabulous birthday cake and champagne, we will be giving presents away to our patrons and friends! Please join us."

The Playhouse will distribute 80 balloons to 80 different locations in Westport, Weston, Fairfield, Norwalk, Wilton and beyond, on the morning of June 29. The balloons will be printed with The Playhouse logo, web address and "Happy 80th Birthday!" Affixed to each balloon string will be a voucher for a pair of complimentary tickets to a preview performance of Terrence McNally's sizzling comedy, "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" (Wednesday through Friday, July 13, 14 or 15 at 8 p.m.), directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director. Those who find a balloon will be invited to "Take Me!," with the opportunity to enjoy the balloon and a show - The Playhouse's birthday gift for the community.

At 11 a.m., a ceremony will take place in The Playhouse garden to which the public is invited. Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff will issue a proclamation declaring June 29th "Westport Country Playhouse Day" in Westport. Connecticut State Representative Jonathan Steinberg will present a proclamation by Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Following remarks by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, and Michael Ross, Playhouse managing director, there will be a champagne toast and cutting of a birthday cake resembling The Playhouse, donated by CakeSuite of Westport.

As another birthday special, patrons will receive 20% discounts on single tickets purchased on June 29 for any 2011 mainstage performances. The offer is good for one-day-only purchases, in-person, online or by phone from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information, 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 www.westportplayhouse.org. 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 (www.theplayhouseblog.org).

About The Playhouse

Reimagining itself in recent years, Westport Country Playhouse is rapidly emerging as a nationally recognized professional theater. Under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos and management direction 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. Its productions' depth and scope 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.

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 2011 season: "Beyond Therapy," a wicked, and wickedly funny, look at the days and nights of the young and single, written by comic master Christopher Durang and directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, April 26 - May 14; "The Circle," the scintillating comedy of manners, written by W. Somerset Maugham and directed by Nicholas Martin, June 7 - June 25; "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," a perceptive comedy about people struggling against their limitations, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, July 12 - July 30; "Suddenly Last Summer," the poetic, sensual and evocative drama, written by Tennessee Williams and directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, August 23 - September 10; and "Twelfth Night, or What You Will," the beguiling comedy/romance, written by William Shakespeare and directed by Mark Lamos, October 11 - November 5.

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 www.westportplayhouse.org. 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 (www.theplayhouseblog.org).


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