Behind the Stage Door of the Hampton Playhouse - 34th Season 1982
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This season featured the wonderfully talented and personable actress/comedienne Marcia Wallace (Carol on the BOB NEWHART SHOW) whom Hampton audiences took to their hearts immediately. Marcia gave a curtain speech every performance, talking about herself, her career, and whatever... audiences adored her. THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG starred Frank O'Brien and the talented Lisa Paulino. BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE was a rip-snorting musical. NUTS was an extremely powerful production featuring Aida Berlyn in a tour-de-force performance, the gem of the season. The cast also included fine performances by Jo Chase, Rena Roop, and Frank Vohs.
Playhouse staff and apprentices included Sarah Christie, Chris Brianfe, Jay Kane, Carol Reid, Connie Shulman, Gillian Lasa & Renee Rogers. Bart Cook, a friend of Emil Sanzari, from the NY Ballet Company was choreographer. Other musicians included David DiSavino, Fredric Sirasky, and Skip Zipt.
Marcia Wallace remembers... "It was in the spring of 1982 -- my phone rings and if was John. He says, 'Hello, you don't know me. I have a theatre in New Hampshire and I got your number from Jean Stapleton's dentist. Would you like to come here and do some plays?' I said sure! And thus began 4 of the best summers I've ever had. Speaking of summers, after I signed the contract, John said 'oh, we're just thrilled to have you, what an honor! Listen, can you get us another semi-name?' And I got him Brett Somers, my best friend. So there I was... working with my best friend... doing a couple of great roles... in a beautiful, beautiful theatre... making new friends... well, what could be better. Then Brett's son, Adam Klugman joined the apprentice program where he met a young woman named Nancy Nye. They fell in love, got married, and are about to have their first child; so we can all sort of take same credit for that. I had 4 great summers, I think my favourite was the summer where I did IT HAD TO BE YOU and SUPPORTING CAST. We all stayed at the Bates Motel, that wasn't it's real name, but trust me, there were sightings of Norman Bates' mother in the window. We had the Busby Berklee cockroaches kicking up their heels -- it was... hillarious -- there was much grist for the humor mill, and I had a fabulous time!"
Frank Vohs remembers... "One of the early shows I did was NO SEX PLEASE, WE'RE BRITISH. Rena Roop was supposed to pick me up by my legs so that I could hang from the molding above a door. DON'T ASK... IT WAS A FARCE. After three attempts when he couldn't lift me, we started laughing hysterically. I turned to the audience and told them 'You see, he is supposed to lift me, so that I...' and the audience laughed for ten minutes. Well I guess I did something right, as the theatre hired me for 35 years."
Frank O'Brien remembers... I received the highest compliment as a performer at a New York cocktail party when someone asked about me. Alfred replied, 'He's the finest unknown actor in America'. In all fairness to Frank Vohs, Alfred might have said 'He's one of the finest'. In any case, singular or plural it hangs on the door of my mind where I had hoped the star would be. During the run of the drama NUTS when I played the psychiatrist Dr. Rosenthall, a lady said 'I thought Frank O'Brien was in this?' Of course the answer is 'He was'. I'm not sure that confirms Alfred's compliment or negates it."
Connie Schulman remembers... "I was an EMC that summer. All the women wanted to be whores in BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE. I was up in the booth running lights and sound with another female EMC Debbie Fartinsky. She had just found out she had not been cast. This is the dialogue I fondly remember:
Connie: "What's wrong Debbie -- why are you crying?"
Debbie: (through tears) "I wanted to be a whore, It's not fair. You get to be a whore." (more crying).
Connie: "Debbie, I'm only a whore for one number -- I'm a part-time whore."
(Debbie had no sense of humor)!"