PRIVATE LIVES at Main Street Theater this Summer

PRIVATE LIVES at Main Street Theater this Summer

Main Street Theater (MST) offers the perfect sparkling summer refreshment in the form of the wit and wisdom of Noël Coward's Private Lives. "It is by far my favorite of his plays," shares Coward specialist and the production's director Claire Hart-Palumbo. "In many ways Private Lives is an extraordinary play. The Twentieth Century equivalent of the Well-Made Play, it is elegance personified. The language is intelligent and delightfully witty. It's about the generation that was ravaged by World War I. He chose to write in a more familiar and recognizable style, with humor, wit, vivacity, and charm, but his characters express the same doubts and questioning with an elegance that is inevitably entertaining and astonishingly memorable." Along with Hart-Palumbo's insights, MST Executive Artistic Director Rebecca Greene Udden, who has a delicious cameo role in the show, offers, "It's just so brilliantly funny. I think we could all use a good laugh right now."

MST has a long history of producing Coward's work, beginning with its first-ever full theatrical production as Main Street Theater in June of 1975: Hay Fever.

The production begins with a gala opening night performance Saturday, July 20 (special ticket price) at 7:30pm and runs through August 11 at MST - Rice Village, 2540 Times Blvd. Performances are Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $36 - $48, depending on date, section, and availability. All tickets are on sale via phone at 713.524.6706 or online at

Elyot and Amanda, once married and now divorced, meet again while honeymooning with new spouses at the same hotel and discover the old flame still burns hotly. Within days of being reunited once again their fiery romance alternates between passionate fits of love and anger. Of course, the new spouses are none too pleased about all the chaos! A glorious comedy boasting numerous successful Broadway runs with stars like Coward himself, Laurence Olivier, Tallulah Bankhead, Gertrude Lawrence, Tammy Grimes, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor.

Noël Coward's black comedies were on the edge and ahead of their time. He dealt with issues others were afraid to confront. Best known for The Vortex (1924), Private Lives (1930),In Which We Serve (1942), The Happy Breed (1944), Blithe Spirit (1945), and Brief Encounter (1945), he received his knighthood in 1970. In 1973, Coward died of a heart attack at his home in Jamaica.

Longtime MST artist Claire Hart-Palumbo returns to direct Private Lives. Ms. Hart-Palumbo directed both of MST's productions of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, and she has directed numerous Coward productions at MST in the past. Elizabeth Marshall Black is Amanda; Ms. Black was seen at MST earlier this season in The Book of Will and The Secretary. Skyler Sinclair is Sibyl: Ms. Sinclair was in both of MST's productions of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley as well as The Secretary. Alan Brincks returns from his recent turn as Mr. Darcy in the 2018 Miss Bennet to play Elyot. Joel Grothe, after taking on Thomas Cromwell in both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at MST, is back as Victor. Rebecca Greene Udden, usually behind the scenes as director (most recently, The Book of Will), plays Louise.

The production design team includes Dylan Marks (Set Design), Eric Marsh (Lighting Design), Toni Whitaker (Costume Design), Yezminne Zepeda (Sound Design), and Rodney Walsworth (Properties Design). Julie Marie Paré is the production stage manager.

Now in its 43rd Season, Main Street Theater provides live theater experiences for all ages. The MainStage produces intellectually and emotionally engaging professional productions for adults in the heart of the Rice Village and operates under an Actors' Equity Association union contract; the Theater for Youth produces engaging productions based on children's literature for families and school groups, both in-house and on tour around Texas, reaching over 130,000 audience members each season; and we offer Education and Outreach programs on-site and at satellite locations around the Greater Houston area for youth aged 4 - high school. We work out of 2 facilities: our Rice Village home on Times. Blvd., and as part of the MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston) on Main Street.

Main Street Theater is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for not-for-profit theaters, of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (formerly ASSITEJ), the world theatre network of theatre for children and young people, and a founding member of Houston Arts Partners. Main Street Theater is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Photo credit: RicOrnelProductions

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