Behind the Stage Door of the Hampton Playhouse - 30th Season 1978
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The productions this season featured some of the first real 'nudity' seen on the Hampton stage with one of the actresses appearing bare-breasted in the first show and the juvenile lead in EQUUS (in keeping with the script) appearing totally nude in one of the closing scenes of this highly dramatic show. The production featured fine performances by John Thomas Waite, Miller Lide, Bram Lewis, and Aida Berlyn. DRACULA featured Frank Vohs in the role of the vampire.
Apprentices James Albanese, Pat MacDonnell, Steve Witting, and Francis Parkman; Sarah Christie and Olga Morosoff were all featured in various roles.
Richard Bell, (photo) remembers... "Opening night (which was also the opening night of the season), the sound system was not operating correctly and during the first act a noise similar to someone tapping a finger onto the head of a microphone was so annoying that several groups of patrons left at intermission. In Act II there were further sound problems when an announcement from a phone answering machine failed to play, consequently ommitting a major bit of information about someone's suicide. The audience (the ones still left) exited a bit on the annoyed and confused side! Also, in the same production, a female character goes topless for one scene. After a particular performance, a male patron complained that the actress who played this role had breasts that were 'too far apart'. Some people can never be satisfied!" Mary Sharmat remembers... "I arrived at Hampton Playhouse the evening before rehearsals started to perform in BEDFULL OF FOREIGNERS. John Vari asked me if I would like to see the actor who would be playing my husband. Frank was performing that moment in DRACULA. I stepped inside the beautitul playhouse and saw on stage this georgeous actor in a long black and red cape. He bared his fangs and sunk them into Mina's throat. I was totally smitten! Get a load of the enclosed DRACULA pictures. Aren't they sexy! We played Scrabble together the next day by the pool. I won. We've been together (off and on) ever since.
Steve Witting, (photo) remembers... "DRACULA 1978 - At eighteen years old I am an apprentice. I am the lighting board operator. This production is full of effects, many of them created with colored spotlights hanging from the catwalk. Apprentice Jimmy Albanese is operating the green spot from the center of the catwalk, directly above downstage center. In the scene that immediately preceeds the dramatic 'stoking' of Dracula (played by Frank Vohs) VonHelsing, Jonathan Harker, and Dr. Seward are at center stage. They are looking upstage at Carfax Castle painted on a backdrop. A little light illuminates a window in the castle, indicating that Dracula is home. As the dangerous mission is planned, Jimmy Albanese drops his flashlight onto the stage floor in front of the actors. The following adlib ensues:
Von Helsings: 'What the hell was that?!'
Harker: 'I think it's ... a flashlight!'
Dr. Seward: 'I didn't think they were invented yet.'
Harker: 'Who cares, it'll help us find Dracula!
'A story as fold to Steve Witting, Pat MacDonnell and Francis Parkman by Miller Leigh one night in Maddy's living room in 1978; 'This kid lapprenficel, Ray Haberman, is crazy. He comes backstage, walks into my dressing room and proceeds to tell me that he feels he is speaking for all the apprentices when he says that I am an inspiration to all of them and that my performance as Dysart in Equusl is a transcending experience, that we are lucky enough to have such a great artist here and on and on. The stage manager calls five minutes and this lunatic is still going. So finally, as a last resort, I say, 'Look, Ray. The reason I'm here is that I'm not a star and this Playhouse is the only place I would ever get the chance to play this part!' The stage manager calls places, I hurry to stage right to make my entrance, which is done by lighting my cigarette in the darkness with a lighter. As I'm fumbling to open the lighter and about to step onstage, Ray Haberman appears right behind me and says 'Miller, why aren't you a star?' As the stage manager wrestled him away, I walked out and had the wierdest performance of the run.' P.S. After alienating all his fellow apprentices, Ray found his copy of Madame Bovary mysteriously nailed to the shop floor.'