Behind the Stage Door of the Hampton Playhouse - Chapter 3

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"Betsy and I shall be ever grateful for the personal friendship we have had with Alfred and John and wish them the very best in the future. Please persuade them to stay on for a few more years. We are in our 80's -- nearing 90 -- so we know what age can do -- slow you down -- but not in spirit! Hang on for a little while longer! We need you in Hampton! ... In New York. too! We recall with fond memories -- our stay in your apartment when we took our very young daughter Debby to New York for a visit. Thank you again fellows."
Betty & Foster Greene

"The most important message I want to get to Al & John is our appreciation for all they did over the years for me and Betsy and our local players' group. They were very helpful and real good friends! Many thanks and good luck!"
Foster Greene -- good friend and actor

"I cherish working with Al and John in wonderful shows like THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK; OH DAD, POOR DAD; CHAMPAIGNE COMPLEX; THE TENDER TRAP and other summer stock delights. Dear John and Al, thank you for maintaining a theater for fifty seasons and letting me be a part of its history."
Jeanette Clift George -- actor

"For life-long friends, for getting to know Hamptonites like Carl & Betty Bock, Maddy Meredith, Chester Grady, Bobby Stockbridge, and very especially for the sheer fun and work of it all. Thanks. Al - John - Congratulations!"
Joe O'Brien & Maggie Owens -- actors

"I will always be grateful to John and Alfred for hiring me (on an interview -- no audition) and for their continued friendship over the past forty-one years. (I was only nine when they hired me!) Hope they go another fifty years. Keep up the good work. Congratulations and God Bless!"
Tom Wilson -- actor

"I haven't seen Alfred or John since around 1962 but there is such a golden halo around those two names in my memory bank that I am sure the Hampton Playhouse cannot be as perfect as I remember. Of course it is a flagship still for young talent in this country but how those two men managed to create and maintain the creative atmosphere that is the trademark for the Hampton Playhouse is something that I shall treasure always in the secret part of my heart. I guess Tennessee managed to say it best: 'This country used to be wild, the men and women in it were wild and there was a WILD kind of sweetness in the air.' John and Alfred, please know that at this extraordinary moment in time you are admired, respected, LOVED, and remembered!!!"
Adrian Hall -- director

"Then there was the audience. There seemed to be a wave of love that flowed from the theatre to the stage and back again. At the stage door there would be those that gathered just to smile, look, shake my hand, ask for an autograph or just say 'Hi, Frank.' All this made possible by Alfred Christie and John Vari ... I thank them." thank them."
Frank Vohs -- actor

"My fondest memory is our production of MAN OF LA MANCHA in which I played Don Quixote. I remember JoBeth Williams was our Antonia and Ian Sullivan was our director and also played the part of the Inquisitioner. Ian had done the Broadway production and had played Quixote on Broadway and in several other productions, so he knew every subtlety of the work. I was far too young for the role, but with Ian's help I got through it. Directly after closing, I took to my sick bed and wasn't much use for the next show. Still, the power of the production and the joy of playing the role of an impossible dreamer stays with me. The whole experience taught me to go for the dream, no matter what. That's what John and Alfred did so many years ago. The lives they've touched are legion. The careers they've encouraged form the backbone of our industry. I congratulate them on achieving an extraordinary accomplishment in an art form we love. Their contribution will live on in the hearts of all of us."
Jon Kimbell, Executive Producer, North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly, Massachusetts

"I have always held a special place in my heart for the Hampton Playhouse. Mr. Vari and especially Mr. Christie. It was a special time in my budding theatrical career, the summer of 74 and 75. It was at the Playhouse box office that I got the call from Warner Bros. that changed my life, letting me know that I had been cast to co-star with Robby Benson and Glynnis O'Connor in the film ODE TO BILLY JOE. It was Alfred who gave me such warm encouragement and showed such confidence in my abilities that it gave me the confidence to go out to Hollywood and do my best. Five films, a series regular on DAYS OF OUR LIVES as well as the YOUNG AND RESTLESS, and over 60 guest-star roles and commercials later, I still remember his words whenever I feel down or unconfident about my work. So a little bit of the Hampton Playhouse and Alfred have always been on every set and in every show I did from that point on. Hampton was the only theatre I was ever interested in playing more than once. I had vowed in college that if would be counterproductive to go back to the same place summer in and summer out. But the lure of those two people, as well as Alfred's mother, dear Sarah, a surrogate mother to us all, and others like Bob Stockbridge, Charlie Davisson, Jon Kimbell and the incomparable Frank Vohs and other top dedicated professionals, was just too hard to resist. Recently, I decided to leave TV, film, and especially Los Angeles to fulfill my one great dream that was cut short by my film career -- that being, getting back to Broadway and the magic of theatre. The same magic I truly felt while doing HAIR, A LITTLE BIT PREGNANT, LADY FROM MAXIM'S, and GODSPELL at Hampton. Some peers say I was crazy to leave a lucrative and successful television career to move back to New York, but I was taught something in my brief years in the city and two summers in New Hampshire, and it was shown to me with every rehearsal and performance at the Playhouse, and that is if you were lucky enough to have talent in this crazy business, then you ore bound by on unspoken vow of integrity and an ethic that you must bring to your work to your fellow actors, to the playhouse that supports this endeavor, and especially to the audience. And that if you bring these things with you, packed away in the corner of your makeup kit somewhere, you will receive the gift so few in life ever experience, and that is you have changed a life in a positive manner -- it for only a moment, for a performance, perhaps even for the rest of that person's or audience's life. And there is no price tag you can put on that. I thank all my theatre teachers and company members for that lesson, and especially the Hampton Playhouse experience for bringing it to a reality. As a side note, for those actors who still come through that barn every year, there's a saying an actor gave me while at this theatre that has stayed with me as well. And I think it works for this occasion especially well. It is: 'If you can endure, you not only bring honor to yourself, you bring honor to us all.' Alfred and John, you have indeed endured, and by doing so you have honored us all."
Terence Goodman -- actor

"Stage managing for seven years at the Hampton Playhouse, I can only feel it is synonymous with Summer. Thinking of all the people who walked through my life it has been most rewarding. Several of these people are still close friends. Many humorous happenings and a lot of hard work went into those seven years of which I have exceptionally happy memories. But most important my love and respect for my producers, John Vari and Alfred Christie with whom I had so much fun. Oh yes, there was a lady who helped make it all worthwhile -- Sarah Christie.
Charles Davisson -- stage manager

"Against the background of New Hampshire beauty, Alfred and John maintained their love of the theatre. HOORAY!! and Happy Anniversary." Sally-Jane Heit -- actor

"At that time [1976-1979] Hampton was outlasting so many other summer theatres, the approaching milestone at 50 years is an even greater accomplishment. When has a multi-plex celebrated such an anniversary? Fortune has been good to me to allow me to create scenery for theatre and film pretty consistently since that first summer. In 1976 I graduated from art school and my first opportunity to work for a theater came from John and Alfred. The 'hand picked' companies of both these summers were the real plus of my experience, and memories."
Kevin Golden -- set designer

"I have many wonderful memories of the Hampton Playhouse, performing on the stage in more than 15 shows, costuming more than 20, choreographing more than 5, and making friends that have lasted me 20 years so far. I was in the workshop when I was sixteen in 1977, a senior apprentice Equity Member Candidate when I was 17 and 18, and a member of the staff when I was 20 and 21. When people ask me where I grew up, I don't tell them Hampton. I tell them the Hampton Playhouse."
George Hosker, Jr. -- actor, dancer

"... We want to thank you for the pleasure and joy that has been added to our lives by our attendance there. Our memories are many and all happy ones ... from the first time we attended in August of 1958. We were a young married couple with four small children and a limited budget and it was a very special thrill and treat. We took my mother, who was visiting us at the time, to celebrate her birthday. I still remember the excitement and how we, like everyone at the time, got all dressed up in our best clothes for the occasion. For many years, while we were raising our family, we looked forward to our yearly trip to the Playhouse. Then, as finances eased when I also went to work, I ordered Season Tickets. However, as my husband worked long hours, he was often unable to accompany me, so I invited co-workers and family members to join me for the evening. Then, over time we had friends also buy their own season tickets, and the six of us have been meeting and enjoying each play together ... Bob and Chris Hartley and Alice and Bill Foley. Over the years I started taking the children to the Saturday children's offerings ... to their delight. Years ago I took my god-child and her sister ... they now take their children! Also, our grandchildren love to go there. I can still recall the joy on the face at one Kristin Elliott, who was celebrating her 8th birthday. We took 10 children in all with us before we went home for cake and ice cream. At that time, an announcement was made after the play that she was having her 8th birthday! I am sure the memory will remain with her forever! Walter and I are now retired and both Senior Citizens, but although we winter in Florida, we look forward to our return to N.H. and joining our friends for our usual happy times at Hampton Playhouse. God Bless you both and all those who work with you to make Hampton Playhouse such a happy part of our lives and the many others who look forward to each summer.
Billie and Walter H. Brown, Jr. -- audience members

"It's hard to believe that John Vari and Alfred Christie are in their fiftieth season at the Hampton Playhouse. On the other hand, if memory serves me, I heard Bobby Stockbridge once say that Al and John bought the theatre when they were somewhere between the ages of 17 and 13 - so I guess it's true. Then too, I appeared on the Hampton stage for the first time, at least 30 years ago and everyone knows I started in the business when I was nine. The part I remember most about the Playhouse and Al and John is Love and the feeling of being part of a larger family. Al's mother, Sarah, was a delight to be with, as were Mr. and Mrs. Vari. How could I forget the conversations we had, all the wonderful foods we ate, not to mention the homemade wine that John's father made. Many an afternoon was spent talking and drinking with them -- how I wish we could do it again. I hear tell that the boys might want to sell the Playhouse but I hope not. I think they should go on for another 50 years. The Theatre needs them, Hampton needs them, we all need them and most of all, WE ALL LOVE THEM!
Marie Wallace -- actor

Mary Learson Sharmat
Mary Learson Sharmat

"Thank you John and Alfred for all the wonderful shows, the adventures, the parties, and the dear friends you have shared with me. It's a good life."
Mary Learson Sharmat -- actor

David Christian & Katherine Helmond
David Christian & Katherine Helmond
at home in Hollywood with Buster
& Babe.

"Dear Friends --
We could not let this event go by without being a part of acknowledging the two of you. A half century of hard work, frustration, exhaustion and joy, accomplishment, and laughter. I guess laughter has been the strongest memory. We have sung together, danced together, and learned masses of lines together -- well almost!!! But no one can fault us for effort -- and lots of style ... as well as attitude. Most of all we have carried a nice memory of two guys who fell in love with theatre, and gave their lives to proving it. We also carry the nice memory of having metal the Playhouse, and the romance is still going on after all these years."
Our Love to you both -- Katherine Helmond / David Christian

"Al and John, have a happy retirement. You have given hundreds of actors -- probably thousands -- a boost when they needed it, and wonderful memories. God bless!"
Rue McClanahan

"It's a pleasure to contribute to Alfred and John's 50th season celebration, although I can't believe that it's been 50 years ... I have only fond memories of my two seasons at the Hampton Playhouse and the wild and crazy perils of summer stock. Certainly it was a coming of age experience for me, and I learned so much from working there. It was at Hampton that I met my first agent, Stark Hesseltine, and eventually wound up moving to New York. Please give Alfred and John my love and I hope you have a great 50th celebration!
Love, JoBeth Williams

Marcia Wallace
Marcia Wallace

"It's an honor to have worked for Al, and John, and of course Sarah, whom I adored -- absolutely adored. I got a kick out at calling her a 'little tramp', because she was still sashaying across the stage at that time. Loved the town, loved the theatre, loved the people ... my only regret is that now I won't be able to bring my son there for what would surely have been a great, great time for a kid. I love you guys, and congratulations, and now begins another adventure!"
Marcia Wallace -- actor

Frank O'Brien
Frank O'Brien

"It was about summer and theater and it's people, John, Alfred, Frank Vohs, Aida Berlyn, Joy Kane (who saw me through an incredibly difficult time in my life), Dick Sobol, Dick Kennedy, Rosemary Loar, Scott Allison, the nights watching the sunrise after long laborious hours, Dante Mele, Alan Fleisig, Sarah, Beverly, Jo Chase, Bobby, Mark Shore, the parties at Vicki Fish's and the Carnabys, the others lost to memory yet unforgettable. Eight summers bringing laughter to audiences and hopefully some release from their troubles. Hampton live and alive, the struggles and the artistic fights. Hampton Playhouse was a great service to the New Hampshire community and to the actors who came there to exercise their croft and ploy ports they would never do anywhere else because few directors and producers had the creativity and vision of John and Alfred. Hampton Playhouse to its owner/producer/director/friend/enemy/compatriot/ antagonist/psychiatrist, all of the above John Vari and Alfred Christie a worthy credit on their resumes and notable tribute to their lives."
Frank O'Brien -- actor

Lani Brockman
Lani Brockman

"My three years at Hampton were a great experience; I will never forget how Alfred and John allowed me to test my wings at directing, teaching and costuming. As Artistic Director of my own theatre and school, I will always be grateful to Alfred Christie and John Vari. They are part of who I am today. My sincere love and thanks.
Lani Brockman -- actor

Alfred and John gave me new opportunities season to season. I started as your basic ingenue, pretty face, a high voice, and soon tackled dramatic roles like Rosabello in THE MOST HAPPY FELLA and Christine in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. They cast me as Amnesia in NUNSENSE, a role I never thought I'd do and although I was too young, let me play Pfeni in THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG. What was first summer stock was really summer school. And what a training ground! What I learned most from working at Hampton was comedy. With two farces a season and a BURLESQUE every few years, it wasn't long before I was taking off most of my clothes and holding my own with such comedy geniuses as Frank Vohs and Steve Witting. First, I was climbing in and out of windows in OUT OF ORDER wearing my skivvies, and soon after performing with Van Johnson in LEND ME A TENOR. Performing with Frank and Steve, even Van, though it was only one show, taught me more that any acting class ever could. All three turned physical comedy and audience takes into an art form. They were never afraid to take a risk. An inspiration, performing with them made everyone work a little faster. Time and time again, Alfred and John took a chance casting me in roles no one, including me would imagine for me. And with every new challenge, Alfred would listen from the box office, and John from the back of the house (when he could take it) and support every step of the way. I find it difficult working in other theatres now, because at Hampton, I always knew there was someone I trusted who knew me and my ability who would be there for me. One fateful dress rehearsal night during DON'T DRESS they had me cast in a role I wasn't quite ready for -- older, domineering, the matriarch of the piece. They gave me clue after clue and hard as I tried, I just wasn't quite cutting it. It was late, but after rehearsal, John took me over to the workshop kitchen, sat me down and literally drew me a picture (on the blackboard) of how to get the lines across and ultimately shape my character. I remember his face. He was so passionate about passing on the technique he had learned and knew it would help me, not only for that role, but for every role to come. He was right. During the year, whenever I have had a tough job, I called Alfred. I remember calling Alfred from the Frankfurt Alte Oper pay phone while I was on the European tour of MY FAIR LADY. I was the understudy and feeling very unfulfilled. Alfred listened and told me a story of when John was an understudy. At the end he said, 'I know it's hard, dear. Just do your best and hurry home.' When the tour ended, I came to Hampton. Every spring, I look to the papers for prospective summer jobs. Friends tell me at theatres doing shows perfect for me, and I think about it, even audition. But in my heart, my summers I'm in Hampton. It's much more than a theatre to me now. John and Alfred are almost a part of my family. My husband, actor Jeff Kensmoe, proposed to me in the first dressing room while we were making up for PHANTOM. Ann Carnaby designed and made my wedding gown. Bobby, in the box office, and I correspond. Actors Deb Girdler, David Hart, and Jerry Ball are some of my closest friends year round. I remember near the end of one season a patron asked Alfred if I would be back next summer. Alfred smiled and said 'If she's not on Broadway.' Even if I am on Broadway, or in Europe, or 'timbuktu ... if it's summer, my heart will always be in Hampton." Karri Nussle -- actor

Steve Witting
Steve Witting

"When I saw kids a year or two older than me performing in a terrible production of Damn Yankees (directed by Bernie Genzer).
When I saw the student Sings of Richmond Hill High School.
When I was a sophomore and took the plunge by writing a forty-five minute Sing script and gave myself a solo.
When Alan Fleisig told me I could be in acting class.
When he cast me in Guys and Dolls.
When Mr. Christie gave me acting notes on the sly.
When Alan told me that Al owned a theater in New Hampshire.
When Al asked me to come up to his theater and be in Alan's workshop.
When I was offered a scholarship (being a sweathog for Del.).
When I arrived at the Hampton Playhouse, my life changed forever.
Steve Witting -- actor

"My memories of John and Al are so multitude, varied, private, meaningful only to me that I hazard to attempt to share them here. I hope it will suffice to say that the world they created in Hampton was and is a bounty of creativity, fun, silliness and education. Next to my parents, they have been my primary life force. When I reflect on them objectively, I'm always struck by their practicality. How they gladly let the audience guide them through the years. They would often chortle at any 'artistic' pretensions 'You think we didn't start this theatre intending to play Ibsen and Shaw? We learned too fast to give them what they wanted.' They became popular artists, brooking little time for even their own pretensions, and that seems to me somehow almost nobler than all the academic rules and aims we all studied in school (of which John and Al are perfectly aware and use when appropriate). I can't thank them enough for indulging me for so long and wish them continued good health and happiness."
Jay Kane - workshopper, EMC, actor, stage manager, director, friend

Phil Carrubba
Phil Carrubba

"Working with Jay Kane, Jack Eldon, Leslie Bates and Tad Webb. These great friends (plus ourselves) became a core group for 'WEFAL'. After spending each summer together we would meet the rest of the year on Wednesday evenings. WEFAL = Wednesday Evening Fine Arts League ... we got the idea from an I LOVE LUCY episode. This went on for five years! Each Wednesday evening we would go to the theatre, dinner, the movies or meet at an apartment for games and fun. You were excused when working but were expected otherwise. Occasionally we'd invite other Hampton alumni. It was a very special tradition that lasted longer than we ever anticipated. Most importantly it was the bonding and friendship developed at Hampton that led to this tradition and we remember the Playhouse and WEFAL most fondly for it."
Gory John LaRosa and Phillip Carrubba - actor, dancers

Gary John LaRosa
Gary John LaRosa

"The memory of having past show snacks at the Galley Hatch with Alfred. On numerous occasions, he would take me as his guest and we'd talk shop. I loved him for making me feel special."
Gary John LaRosa - actor, dancer

"I asked John & Alfred if I could arrive one month early to prepare for the summer. I was flat broke and appreciated their tremendous generosity during this transitional period in my life. I will be forever grateful."
J. T. Smith - musical director, 3 seasons

Matt Halvorsen
Matt Halvorsen

"As I'm sure most people know, John and Alfred are two of the most important people in my life. They have given me so much. They gave me self-confidence through working in the workshop as a teenager. They helped me get into college and excel while there. They have opened my eyes to a world outside of Lowell, MA. But most important is that they have made me part of their family. For these things I will never be able to repay them .... I love John Vari and Alfred Christie more than I could ever love the Hampton Playhouse. Whether or not they know it I thank them every day for what they have given me, and continue to give me through their love."
Sincerely, Matt Halvorsen

Debbie G. Girdler
Debbie Girdler

"Words are not adequate to describe how much of a second home the Hampton Playhouse has been for me for the past six summers -- my co-workers, the staff, directors, producers, and the audience members have been constant sources of joy and comfort. My heart aches at not being there for the fiftieth season -- family and professional commitments keep me in Cincinnati -- but most of me will be in Hampton, where I've had too many wonderful experiences, learned so much, felt such love. It's impossible to enumerate every moment or pick just a few. My love and deep gratitude to all. Alfred and John, you were heaven sent -- my arms around you."
Debbie Girdler - actor

Tom Souhrada
Tom Souhrada

Congratulations John and Alfred! Here's to the next 50 years!
Tom Souhrada - actor"

... so my summer vacations in Hampton were some of the most fun, relaxing, friend-making summers I have ever had and I have John, Alfred, Ann, Bobby and Bob to thank for all of that!
Doug Coates - musical director"

Mike Mararian
Mike Mararian

After being involved in Hampton for almost ten years there can be no doubt there is a plethora of stories and rumors told. Most of them however were created by John Vari and are truly evil. I've decided to play it safe and relate a few anecdotes that only involve my short comings. I'll focus mainly on the fact that I was fired from every job here at the playhouse, from pool cleaner (it turned green one summer and never recovered) to EMC foreman (opening night cars were parked up the lawn). Vari opened his unit door to a set of beaming headlights. He personally fired me for that one! I was asked to bow down from nearly every job. Eventually I ended up working in the workshop. Who knew I would end up best suited for taking care of forty teenage girls, boys, and ... Joy Gould. Then I blew up an actor one night. During CABARET, a smoke pot was supposed to flash just before the Master of Ceremonies appears, sings his song and vanishes. When Jay Kane (stage manager) called the special effect cue, an explosion liken to Moses descending the mountain rang out. The audience actually gasped. The left half of my face was blackened like a cartoon and the poor Master of Ceremonies was disheveled and tangled in an off stage curtain. The poor bastards ears were ringing for about a month. I think he sued us after that. Then I fired a workshop musical director and she sued us too. I'll never forget her pointing a finger at me in court declaring vehemently 'He wouldn't let me eat.' To this day I think that was an unfair judgment. Oh, then there was the technical director who cried because I built a flat way too big. It was about an hour before opening night and it just didn't fit. He fell to his knees and wept in front of all the EMC'S. A few days later he threw hammers at the tech barn because his wife left him and he lost his house. That guy had a bad summer. But what can you say? Who didn't have one bad summer at the playhouse? And doesn't all the good eventually outweigh the bad? The sad thing is, the bad parts always make better tales. The Hampton experiences were truly the highlight of my life. They'll stay with me longer than anything in my life ... well, maybe not as long as that acid version of Winnie the Pooh. That was a keeper."
Mike Mararian - ten year survivor

Dick Sabol
Dick Sabol

"I hope the Playhouse will continue for another 50 years. but it could never again be the wonderful, loving home it was to me. Alfred has always been a caring friend. He's seen me go through many transitions in my personal life. He has always been there for me, offering loving advice and understanding. If I can direct at all, it's only because I learned it from Alfred. He's quick and right to the point. The eternally handsome John Vari has been a source of great joy to me. We've had many good laughs, and I look forward to many more. I've always loved his sense of humor -- we both have pretty dirty minds -- thank God. John's theatrical notes have always been dead on, right on the money. I have never known any of his advice to be wrong, in the thirty years I've worked at the Playhouse. And that's saying something! I love you, Alfred. I love you, John, Thank you.
Dick Sabol - actor, director

As I visit Hampton over the years, I always appreciate how beautiful the Playhouse looks. I can still remember the very first time I walked onto the stage with John. So much work has gone into maintaining such a special place, keeping everyone happy and cranking out good theatre. I'm especially glad that Olivia got to come onstage for a DESERT SONG curtain call last summer. Thank you for all the special memories and wonderful shows. Hampton has been an exquisite Home Away from Home."
Renee Rogers - actor

"Please give my love to John and Alfred and tell them Thanks for inviting me to the Best Theatre there is or will ever be! God Bless!
Bernadine Mitchell - actor

"One other favorite is seeing John at his favorite spot -- the knothole in the lobby -- when the show was going great and the audience was having a grand time -- just enjoyed the pride and joy in his smile ... Can't help it -- I enjoy these guys ... And I was always proud of the work -- Terrific directors, designers, actors -- always top quality work -- and with only one week's rehearsal for each show ... amazing."
Trip Plymale - character actor

"I think what I remember the best is sleeping with Alfred. Yes, in the course of 5 musicals, night and day, we shared the same roof over our heads. The relationship went so far as to Alfred getting me a new mattress as I had a tendency to roll off the side of the one on my bed in the little room in the back of the main house. I loved my room. Besides me, it housed a library archives, extra paper for the office, old or new programs, someone's laundry, assorted hats, my Uno cards, the first air conditioner that was made in the US which was an award-winning noise machine that could only be turned on when the computer wasn't, and the ability to hear if Bob Rizzo was using the bathroom downstairs for any purpose. There are other things. Wherever I work, I hear John screaming at me that the curtain call is too long. When I told a friend about a deliriously hysterical mangled opening night of GUYS AND DOLLS, he said, 'That sounds just awful! Why were you there?' 'I had to be,' said I, holding my head high. 'I directed it.' But there was the incomparable DOLLY with Deb and the rest of John and Alfred's hand-picked cast and staff I so appreciated and loved as most of us continued to work together over the summers. DAMN YANKEES was a special gift; they gave my daughter Margo her first summer stock role and I cried that opening night for all the right reasons. From then on, of course, I was known as Margo's mom. A small price. Well, not too small... I had to keep siphoning money to her all summer through the kindness of a watchful, but ever tactful Bobby. If I had to pick a favorite, I would say it was THE DESERT SONG. The glorious music, the wonderful comedy, the beautiful costumes, Alfred's performance ... the lobsters ... And only John should understand when I close by asking 'What do the good gnochis taste like and where was that restaurant anyway?' Oh, dear, there is one lost thought ... I will never be able to hear The Blue Danube Waltz without thinking of that inventive audition for the Hampton Playhouse that involved a hammer, an eight inch iron spike, and a nose. You're right; don't ask. For some of the memories of the fifty years, you just had to be there. And I'm grateful I was. John and Alfred... thank you.
Sue Lawless - director

David Earl Hart
David Earl Hart
"'The floors creak, The doors squeak,
There's a field mouse a-nibblin' understage.
And I set and I think of those old weathered boards ...
what a place by the sea, What a joy.
The shadder of a tree starts dancin' 'gainst the root
And a dream starts dancin' in my mind.'
Alfred and John atoll the memories I have of Hampton Playhouse that kaleidoscope and meld in my mind ...
I pick the memory of one employee ... which one out of all of them?
You remember that tall lanky guy, upturned nose, a little shy.
He was a little too serious, sometimes silly,
strangely a boss with the confidence of that field mouse ...
basically a chorus boy ... yearning for a chance
to pour his heart and passion into a role.
That one!
You gave that strange kid that chance.
You guided him, and lifted him.
You surrounded him with your confidence
to make him rise above his own tears.
In doing this you fulfilled
his dreams of being an actor.

That lanky kid was of course me.
For the opportunities you gave me ...
For your support...For your heart and compassion ...
I thank you and I cherish my memories of those weathered boards, squeaky doors, and floors that creak.
Congratulations with my love, David Earl Hart

Alfred Christie and John Vari


{See Obituary of Robert B. Stockbridge -- February 4, 1926 - May 4, 2004}

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