‘Once’ kicks off Weston theater season that ends with Walker Farm opening

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Weston Playhouse logoWeston Playhouse Theatre Company will lead off its 2017 season with the Vermont premiere of the 2012 Tony Award winning musical Once and conclude with the opening of the company’s new second stage on the Walker Farm property in Weston, which has been 10 years in the making.

“We’re planning a series of events in late September and October to celebrate” the Walker Farm opening, said producing director Steve Stettler.

Once is set in Dublin and chronicles the chance meeting of an Irish street musician and a young Czech woman. It is based on the Oscar-winning film of the same name. Performances run June 27 to July 15.

Running from July 20 to July 29 on the MainStage is Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Lost in Yonkers. Set in 1942, the story is a coming of age story in which ne’er-do-well Eddie, following the death of his wife, deposits his two young sons on his mother’s doorstep to contend with their stern Grandma, flighty aunt Bella and her secret romance, and their uncle Louie, a small-time hooligan.

Original Broadway poster of 'Lost in Yonkers.'

Original Broadway poster of ‘Lost in Yonkers.’

From Aug. 3 through 19, Meredith Willson’s Tony Award-winning The Music Man returns to the Weston MainStage. The beloved musical follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the townspeople of River City, Iowa, into paying for a boys’ band that he has no idea or intention how to organize. But when he falls for Marian, the librarian, his plans to skip town with the cash are foiled and a town is transformed.

Closing out the MainStage Season is Weston’s third annual American Masters production:  Eugene O’Neill’s masterwork, Long Day’s Journey into Night. This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama draws heavily from O’Neill’s personal life, so much so that it was only produced after his death. The story of the Tyrone family and their battle to uncover — and bury — a lifetime of secrets continues to prove itself as one of the most profound and powerful plays ever brought to the stage. Performances run Aug. 24 to Sept. 3, followed by a week of special school matinees.

Opening the company’s OtherStages series at the Weston Rod and Gun Club, Weston’s Young Company of musical theater undergrads performs Really Rosie, based on Maurice Sendak’s timeless children’s books with a score by Carole King. In this up-beat and imaginative musical, Rosie, the self-proclaimed sassiest kid on the block, entertains her friends by producing an imaginary movie based on the exciting, dramatic, funny (and slightly exaggerated) story of her life. The one-hour show will be performed at family-friendly times and prices from June 22 to July 9.

Susan Haefner in the original production of 'Tenderly' at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Susan Haefner in the original production of ‘Tenderly’ at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Photo by Gordon DeVinney.

Running from July 13 to Aug. 5 on OtherStages is the Vermont premiere of Tenderly, with Weston’s own Susan Haefner reprising the role she originated in 2014 in Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park. Playing opposite her will be another Weston favorite, Sam Lloyd Jr., who was in last year’s production of Guys and Dolls.

This is the story of actress/singer Rosemary Clooney who delighted America for nearly five decades. It begins with her simple Maysville, Ky., childhood and follows her rise to Hollywood stardom, her struggles with depression and addiction, and her triumphant resurgence. This musical features signature songs such as “Come On-A My House,” “Botcha-Me” and “Mambo Italiano.”

OtherStages closes with the Vermont Premiere of Buyer and Cellar, which the New York Times dubbed “the most talked-about new comedy of the season.” The off-Broadway hit is the fictional account of struggling L.A. actor Alex More, who takes a day job as the lone sales clerk for Barbra Streisand. Working in the superstar’s personal mall in the basement of her Malibu mansion, Alex gains insight into the cost of fame, the price of things, and the oddest of odd jobs. Performances run Aug. 10 to Sept. 3.

The hilarious after-show Cabaret will also be returning in the new season.

Gift certificates for the Weston 2017 season can be purchased online 24 hours a day at westonplayhouse.org.  Subscription sales will be available online starting spring 2017, and subscription and single ticket sales will be available by calling the Weston box office at 802-824-5288 beginning May 1, 2017.

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor for 30 years, having worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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