Behind the Stage Door of the Hampton Playhouse - 23rd Season 1971
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This was the first season for both JoBeth Williams and Nancy Reardon. JoBeth later worked at Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence and then went on to Hollywood where she has worked extensively in movies and on TV Her films have included the Poltergeist series. The MAN OF LA MANCHA production was directed by Ian Sullivan who had been in a number of productions of the show by this time. Jon Kimbell played Don Quixote and Frank Vohs was Sancho. Ian played the Dr. Carrasco role which he had done many times while also understudying Don Quixote. It was a very exciting production & the first for Hampton on a raked Stage. The production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF was equally exciting with Ian as Tevya and Jo Chase as Golde, two fine actors in very difficult and challenging roles. Ian, as Irish as they come, was more Jewish as Tevya than possibly Zero Mostel had been on Broadway! He has performed the role many times all over the country in the years since.
Jo Beth Williams remembers... "I did two productions of 'Fiddler on the Roof' at Hampton, playing different daughters in the two seasons. I remember the first season I played the older daughter Tseitel, who near the end of the ploy sings 'Anatevka' with her baby in her arms. I didn't want to use a doll as the baby because it would be too stiff too look real. So I made my own baby with a pillowcase filled with potatoes because it had a more realistic weight and shape. One night during a performance the pillowcase came unstitched and the potatoes rolled out onto the stage and into the audience. It was especially embarrassing because everyone in the village was supposed to be starving, and it looked like Tevyas daughter had been hoarding food. I also met an actor at the Hampton Playhouse who remained one of my dearest friends until his death in 1984, Edward Dunn. He and I did several plays together there, including NOT NOW DARLING and NORMAN IS THAT YOU. This was before the backstage area was air conditioned. I remember that the costume designer insisted that Ed wear a pair of pants made of purple vinyl. After sweating for two hours in them night after night, Ed's legs were dyed purple for the rest of the summer.
FATHER'S DAY was also a brilliant and very exciting play, greatly enjoyed by the Hampton audiences. New York audiences and critics did not warm to it and the show closed after only one performance. Speculation was that they might have changed their opinion had they seen our production.