Behind the Stage Door of the Hampton Playhouse - 8th Season 1956
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Tom Wilson and Jeannette Clift, were both very talented Texans, who continued on in numerous roles for several seasons. Also featured were Joe O'Brien (a New York radio personality) and his talented wife, Maggie Owens, leading man Dennis Drew and actress Ailsa Dawson. Ailsa and Denny became 'an item' and the romance blossomed into marriage eventually producing a son and a daughter. During this season a highlight at parties would be to talk Ailsa into climbing up on a chair and delivering her rendition of 'That Old Black Magic' a la her Cheri character in BUS STOP.
Jeannette Clift remembers ...
"One of my favorite theater stories had its happening on the Hampton Playhouse Stage. The play was PEG 0' MY HEART and was several seasons ago. The incident has stayed in my mind. Opening night I forgot a line. Covering that, I went to the piano which I did not play and improvised something melodic in the face of the prompter who sat with open book just offstage. I looked at him, beseeching him for help which he did not offer, and finally, leaning in his direction I said, 'Line.' He looked up and smiled and whispered back, 'It's going very well.' The director, realizing my predicament rushed to the young prompter and said, 'Why didn't you give her the line?', and the prompter said, 'Oh, I thought she was saying hi.' All these years later I laugh at the memory, particularly when it is told by someone else claiming to have been the actress in distress. This truly happened to me and Hampton Playhouse was for me a true theater happening."
Joe O'Brien and Maggie Owens remember ...
'The night Jeanette Clift went blank for a moment and drifted stage right and looked beseechingly at the prompter who whispered 'it's going beautifully.' Ah, those were the days (and the nights weren't bad either). Who will ever forget the cries of 'Throw another apprentice on the fire'?
Bob Jeffords remembers ...
Three or four of us lived in the open attic at Pinky Villa in the summer of 1956. We found it very disconcerting to discover we shared it with a number of bats.
- The excitement of sharing in the courtship and marriage of Dennis Drew and Ailsa Dawson.
- During a performance of PEG 0' MY HEART John Vari's period collar to his shirt came unbuttoned. He struggled to fix it himself for some time, unsuccessfully. He attempted to get help from Maggie Owens by saying 'Mater, my collar's come loose.' Her response was 'Fix it yourself, Alaric.'
- PEG 0' MY HEART played for a week. It was a very physical show with much running up and down a staircase. On strike night we discovered that some of the stair treads had never been nailed on, but lasted the week because of a good fit. - Denny Drew once inadvertently threw a telephone out into the house. The audience was charmed by his charismatic retrieval of the phone.'