Behind the Stage Door of the Hampton Playhouse - 4th Season 1952
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An exciting season... SHEBA by William Inge, SUMMER AND SMOKE, BORN YESTERDAY by Garsin Kanin, THE ROSE TATTOO with Rowena Burock brilliant as Sarafina ... wonderful support from John Merlin, John Vari and Marie Donnet.
BORN YESTERDAY ... Rowena hysterical as Billie Dawn ... Jerry Escow exciting as Brock ... John Merlin as Paul.
John Vari was wonderful in a ridiculous wig and wild drag camping it up as Fancourt Babberly in CHARLIE'S AUNT.
COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA ... excellent cast of Marie Donnet, Alex Reed, Rowena Burack, and John Merlin.
SUMMER & SMOKE ... Marie in another Tennessee Williams play ... exciting ... John Merlin her co-star.
Company members and/or performers included Lillian Murphy, Vicki Coppola, Kathryn Trempi, Bill Pratt, Edward Barry, and Robert Barrus.
Local actors included: Toni Mendlesen, Foster Greene, Dickie Lavigne, Catherine Coffin.
Jack Welles remembers ...
"First of all, it has been 44 years since I was at the Hampton Playhouse - who are John Vari and Alfred Christie? I thought Mr. & Mrs. Bock owned it. JUST KIDDING. The playhouse had been there six years when I arrived as stage manager, lighting designer and actor, all for one salary. I was all over the place, even getting rid of skunks in the garbage cans. There were quite a few that year. I remember three shows from 1955 -- TIME OUT FOR GINGER, RAINMAKER and MR. ROBERTS, but we did one per week back then so after retiring in Sarasota, Florida for ten years -- living in peace and senility -- I can't remember the other seventeen. I remember the summer rains and thunder storms especially during RAINMAKER with Carleton Carpenter. Opening night (the play takes place during a very dry spell, well, the rains came to the playhouse so hard you had to shout to be heard above the noise on the tin roof. Rowena Burack broke up the house when she shouted, "I dreamt last night it rained -- thunder came like a big bass drum." Finally the power went out but no one left. We backed up cars to the back door and shone the car beams onto the stage and we went on with the show. Quite a night. MR. ROBERTS I remember because I played Dolan, who arrives back at the ship with a goat. I was told that in order not to have him do anything on the stage, HOLD DOWN HIS TAIL. There is a picture somewhere of me holding down his tail. (Maybe, but we couldn't find it! ed.) John Vari played Ensign Pulver and did a great job. Since I was also stage manager and had to call cues and sometimes signal for light cues while on stage, I sometimes had to arrange to delay entrances until lights were up. Shows I was in, were staged so I was always on stage right so I could call cues from that side. All in all, it was a great place to work and learn a craft I continued in until I retired to Florida."