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Algonquin Arts Theatre Presents MASS APPEAL

The play explores the conflict between an established older priest and the impassioned young seminarian who challenges the validity of his well-routined regimen.

Algonquin Arts Theatre Presents MASS APPEAL

Mass Appeal, a play with a long Broadway run in the early 1980s, marks the first theatre production of 2021 for Algonquin Arts Theatre.

Audience members attending will have a Socially Distanced Theatre Experience which includes required mask wearing, distanced seating, limited capacity and expanded cleaning protocols.

Patrons will see a brilliantly funny yet compassionate play by Bill C. Davis that explores the conflict between an established older priest and the impassioned young seminarian who challenges the validity of his well-routined regimen.

Mark Megill, whose Algonquin credits include "Beauty & The Beast," "Gypsy" and "My Fair Lady," stars as Father Tim Farley, the comfortably ensconced priest of a prosperous Catholic congregation.

The intense and idealistic young seminarian Mark Dolson will be played by Garrett Gallinot who returns from the Algonquin's 2020 production of "A Few Good Men" where he played the leading role of Lt. J.G. Daniel Kaffee.

Veteran actor & director Derek Hulse who starred in Algonquin's production of "Mamma Mia" and most recently as Ebenezer Scrooge in Spring Lake's outdoor production of "Scrooge" directs the show.

Tickets are $36 for adults, $33 for seniors and $25 for students. Single tickets and pairs seated together can be purchased online at algonquinarts.org or by phone. Seating for parties of 3 or more must be arranged by phone by calling 732-528-9211. The theatre's Box Office is closed to walk-in customers for the time being.

About the Socially Distanced Theatre Experience

The Algonquin has been operating live performances will all required safety precautions in place since last November. In a recent survey, half of Algonquin patrons reported that they will have been vaccinated before "Mass Appeal" opens in March which increases their safety.

A SOCIALLY DISTANCED THEATRE EXPERIENCE INCLUDES

  • Masks are required to be worn.
  • Seating capacity is limited to 125 with at least 2 seats or an aisle between every party.
  • All seats have direct access to an aisle; no squeezing past or around other patrons.
  • The entire facility including seats are disinfected before each performance.
  • Restroom capacity will be limited.
  • Lines will be managed with floors marked 6-feet of distance between patrons.
  • Additional policies are listed on the event pages at algonquinarts.org.

Additionally, all patrons are to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure prior to attending a performance. If a ticket holder has symptoms or was recently exposed, they can call to request a full refund for their party's tickets.

To avoid the need to remove a mask to eat or drink, bottled water will be the only concession available for sale. Outside food and drink are not permitted into the theatre.

The title "Mass Appeal" has been on the short list of plays considered for the Algonquin's Broadway Series for several years. The two-person cast made it ideal to allow for a socially distanced, masked rehearsal process. Each actor can utilize a private dressing room as well. For performances, the first row of the theatre will not be sold so that the actors, who will not be wearing masks on stage, will be distanced from the audience.

About "Mass Appeal"

Father Tim Farley, a lover of the good things in life, is comfortably ensconced as priest of a prosperous Catholic congregation. Without realizing it, he has resorted to flattering his parishioners and entertaining them with sermons that skirt any disturbing issues, in order to protect his Mercedes, his trips abroad and the generous supply of fine wines that grace his table (and his desk drawer).

His well-ordered world is disrupted by the arrival of Mark Dolson, an intense and idealistic young seminarian whom Father Farley reluctantly agrees to take under his wing. There is immediate conflict between the two as the younger man challenges the older priest's sybaritic ways, while Father Farley is appalled by Mark's confession that he had led a life of bisexual promiscuity before entering the priesthood.

In the final essence their confrontation is a touching yet very funny examination of the nature of friendship, courage and the infinite variety of love, as the older man is reminded of the firebrand he once was, and the younger comes to realize that forbearance is as vital to the Christian ethic as righteousness.

The original production of "Mass Appeal" was lauded by The New York Times and New York Magazine wrote

"... (Playwright Bill C.) Davis has a funniness that is more benign, more interwoven with elemental human weakness and strengths, more forthright than wit. Humor, in short."

Musical Theatre Returns in April

Following "Mass Appeal," the Algonquin will produce the acclaimed musical revue "Starting Here, Starting Now" in April. This musical features three characters, two women and one man, that explore romantic relationships through song. The wry lyrics of Richard Maltby, Jr., combined with David Shire's buoyant music, forge a fast-moving, ingratiating look at how love can go right, wrong or nowhere.


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