BWW Review: The World Premiere Of FELLOW TRAVELERS at Bay Street Theatre
Kicking off their exciting 27th main stage season - and continuing their mission to foster new works - the Bay Street Theatre offers the world premiere of Jack Canfora's new play Fellow Travelers. Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle award winner Michael Wilson directs the superb production running through June 17th at the adorable Sag Harbor venue.
The gripping tale is set during Hollywood's notorious blacklist period from 1951-1963. Specifically, it explores the complex - to say the least - relationship between icons Marilyn Monroe, Elia Kazan, and Arthur Miller. It chillingly delves into the unsavory politics of the McCarthy era and how it affected their relationships and careers.
Among the top-notch cast is Rachel Spencer Hewitt strongly portraying Marilyn Monroe. Fans of the starlet will appreciate how Ms. Hewitt doesn't necessarily copy Monroe's famous public persona, but cleverly infuses her own take on the role. As we all know, Monroe was married to Miller who is wonderfully portrayed by stage and screen vet Wayne Alan Wilcox. Mr. Wilcox's quirky and relatively reserved demeanor for the character particularly serve the role well. Monroe and Kazan, excellently portrayed by Vince Nappo, also had a relationship in addition to Kazan befriending and working extensively with Miller.
In truth, I could on and on about the entire company as they are all truly brilliant.
On Mr. Wilson's creative team, Jeff Cowie designs the set for the intimate stage. Movable column-like structures stand upstage and other pieces are brought in by the stage crew for seamless scene changes. This is enhanced beautifully by Ken Billington's lighting design and David C. Woolard's spot-on costume design. Perhaps one minor qualm, from a fan's point of view, would possibly be a slight lag in the dialog at certain moments. I'm sure this will tighten up over time, however.
And so, Fellow Travelers, is certainly a hit and a great way to kick off a sure to be spectacular season at the Bay Street Theatre. In this rousing world premiere, I'm looking forward to see the journey of this production. A captivating story and thrilling cast make for a great night of theatre.
Fellow Travelers is presented by the Bay Street Theatre of Sag Harbor through June 17th. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.
Written by Jack Canfora (Poetic License, Jericho), Directed by Michael Wilson (The Trip To Bountiful, The Best Man, Bay Street Theater's Grey Gardens), Scenic Design by Jeff Cowie, Costume Design by David C. Woolard, Lighting Design by Ken Billington, Sound Design by Mark Bennett, Projections by Rocco DiSanti, Hair & Make-Up by Meg Murphy, Prop Design by Andrew Diaz, Dialect Coaching by Stephen Gabis, Stage Management by Robert Bennett and Denise Yaney (Assistant Stage Manager)
Starring Wayne Alan Wilcox (Gilmore Girls, film version of Rent, The Normal Heart, Chaplin) as Arthur Miller, Vince Nappo (The Last Tycoon, Friends With Kids, Million Dollar Quartet) as Elia Kazan, Rachel Spencer Hewitt (Return To The Hiding Place, A Civil War Christmas) as Marilyn Monroe, Mark Blum (Mozart In The Jungle, Amy And The Orphans, The Best Man) as Harry Cohn, and Jeffrey Bean (Bells Are Ringing, Amadeus) as Roy Brewer/Kermit Bloomgarden