Behind the Stage Door of the Hampton Playhouse - 29th Season 1977
[To view photos of shows, click
1977 marked the beginning of the five-show season, each show running for two weeks. I DO, I DO, a two-character show, featured Kate Young and Frank Vohs.
GOODBYE FAY WRAY, a dramatic departure, featured Jo Chase, John Vari, and Aida Berlyn in the leads. Musicians this season included Thomas Krasker on second piano and Kenneth Welles on drums.
George Hosker, Jr. remembers... "Favorite non-theatre memory -- 'Del' -- John Vari's sister. Because I was a scholarship kid, whenever rehearsal was over I had to run to the kitchen to help serve the meal, whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even though I had nightmares about drowning in a sea of silverware, I loved the sense of belonging to that kitchen. No matter what the problem was, you could always go to Del. She would help me memorize my lines and she would constantly build up my confidence. Whenever I didn't get the part I wanted she would always pull me aside and give me a boost. I will always miss her."
Steve Witting remembers... "It was the Fourth of July, 1977. I was seventeen years old. It was my third day at the Playhouse and opening night of the second show of the season. My Queens buddy, Pat MacDonnell, decided that we should celebrate the Fourth by getting some beers and openly drinking them while walking on Winnacunnet Road. A Hampton police cruiser stopped us about halfway between the Playhouse and the beach. The officer asked us to put down the beer. I didn't react quickly enough and the cop tore the open can from my hand, spilling some beer on his uniform. I was put in the car and taken to juvenile lockup at the beach. As we drove away, I saw Pat (who had proper ID) pick up the bag of beer and start running to the Playhouse. After the police took away my belt so I wouldn't hang myself they called John Vari, their friend. I would have to wait until after intermission before Alfred and Alan would come spring me. During this time I played a harmonica (much to the aggravation of the men in the adult drunk tank) and thought about how my big opportunity to be an actor was about to end with a call to my parents. My first summer away from Queens would soon be over when my high school English Chairman (Alfred) and my Drama teacher (Alan) arrived at the jail. Alfred and Alan, dressed in their opening night finery, waited in stony silence while I got my belt back. I climbed in the back of Alfred's maroon Audi and we drove back to the Playhouse and certain doom. About halfway home, Alfred finally spoke. 'What on earth is wrong with you?! Do you think everywhere you go is Queens? This is New Hampshire. I will forget about this, but if anything like this happens again, you're going home. Understand?' 'Yes,' I said, then silence the rest of the way punctuated by 'tsk, tsks' and glares from Alan. When we got to the playhouse, Alan suggested I stay in my room for the rest of the night. When I entered Room 17, Pat was waiting for me to hear what happened. When he heard all was well, he pulled two of the rescued beers out of the toilet tank and we toasted my second chance and the Fourth of July."