Many Audience Favorites Returning to the Town Hall Theatre, Onstage and Off
Chester, MA–Co-founded by Vincent Dowling and H. Newman Marsh in 1990 with the belief that every town should have a professional theatre, Chester Theatre Company (formerly The Miniature Theatre of Chester) prepares to celebrate its landmark 30th Season with four works, each a New England Premiere.
Chester Theatre Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Daniel Elihu Kramer, is thrilled to welcome back many audience favorites to the Town Hall Theatre, and honored to introduce several artists working with the company for the first time.
“I’m thrilled with both the artists who are returning to Chester and those joining us for the first time,” said Kramer. “Chester audiences have come to admire the work of so many of these actors, and we are thrilled to introduce new faces, as well. In our 30th season, Chester Theatre Company thrives because such accomplished artists choose to join with our incredible audiences in celebrating remarkable theatre, and because so many are excited to return to us season after season.”
The Night Alive
Written by Conor McPherson
June 20 – 30
Tommy rents a single room in his Uncle Maurice’s Dublin house. Doc, a friend with whom Tommy does odd jobs, bunks in, and the two scrape by in the disheveled, messy bedsit, untethered and without direction. The “routine” is disrupted when Tommy saves a young woman named Aimee from an assault and brings her back to the house to get herself together. Her stay–and her boyfriend’s arrival-disrupt the status quo.
Producing Artistic Director Kramer helms the production, a tip of the hat to Dowling’s Irish heritage. James Barry (Tommy) and Justin Campbell (Doc), who were last seen together in Sister Play, are joined by Joel Ripka (Kenneth), who co-starred with Barry in 2018’s Berkshire Theatre Critics Award-winner The Aliens. Marielle Young (Aimee) returns for her second summer, having last appeared as the title role in Mary’s Wedding. Stage and screen veteran Nick Ullett will be making his CTC debut as Maurice.
The design team for The Night Alive consists of Lara Dubin and Tom Shread, who are CTC’s Resident Lighting and Sound Designers, respectively, Charles Schoonmaker, Costume Designer for many CTC productions, and Ed Check, Scenic Designer of last season’s The Aliens.
Now Circa Then
Written by Carly Mensch
July 4 – 14
Set in a New York tenement museum, Now Circa Then dances between the tale of two young immigrants, Josephine and Julian, making their way in their new country in the 1890s, and the developing relationship of Margie and Gideon, a mismatched pair of re-enactors hired to portray them. Things take a turn when the young museum employees’ relationship spills into the story they are charged with acting out.
Director Sean Christopher Lewis makes his CTC directing debut. Lilli Hokama, last seen in 2017’s I and You, will be co-starring with Luke Hofmaier, making his first appearance in Chester.
Lights and sound for Now Circa Then will be designed by Dubin and Shread, respectively. Heather Crocker-Aulenback and David Towlun, who have each been with CTC in past seasons, return to design costumes and scenery.
On the Exhale
Written by Martín Zimmerman
July 18 – 28
When a college professor suffers the unthinkable loss of her son in a school shooting, she fixates not on the shooter, but on the weapon itself. Her attempts to understand what happened unleash unexpected feelings about power, violence, and the role we all play in this American epidemic.
Tara Franklin, who has appeared at CTC several times, and who now serves as the company’s Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education, will be starring. Colette Robert, who just directed New York Times Critic’s Pick Behind the Sheet (starring Joel Ripka), returns to direct.
The lighting design for On the Exhale will be the third in the season for Dubin, and the show will be the second in the season for Costume Designer Schoonmaker. James McNamara returns to design sound, and Travis George will be back, having designed scenery for many recent seasons.
Curve of Departure
Written by Rachel Bonds
August 8 – 18
A father, an ex-wife, a son, and the son’s partner gather in a New Mexico motel the night before the burial of the man to whom they are all connected, but to whom they feel little connection. As they prepare themselves for the funeral in the confines of the crowded room, they grapple with the family dynamics of the past, present and the future, all of which outsize the space they find themselves in. Curve of Departure is a tender drama told with humor and grace, and which reflects the complexities of family dynamics.
Curve of Departure is the first show Keira Naughton will be directing at CTC. Ami Brabson, who appeared in 2017’s Skeleton Crew, and Paul Pontrelli, who is back for his third consecutive season, play mother and son. Raye Birk, who recently appeared with Mark Rylance in Nice Fish, and newcomer Bradley James Tejada round out the cast.
Matthew Adelson will be designing lights for his first CTC show in over a decade, and Sound Designer David Wiggall, Costume Designer Stella Giulietta Schwartz, and Scenic Designer Juliana von Haubrich will all be returning, having designed multiple productions.
All performances of the four productions named above will take place in the intimate setting of Chester’s Historic Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA. Show times are 8:00 pm Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:00 pm Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Talkbacks follow Thursday and Saturday matinees. Cast Conversations follow the Friday evening performances. Panel Discussions featuring outside experts take place after the first Sunday matinee of each play.
Individual ticket prices are $42.50. Chester residents, members of the military and their families, and those holding EBT/SNAP cards may purchase $10 tickets at the door or by calling the box office. Student Rush $10 tickets are available day of show. Single tickets, season subscriptions, and flex passes may be purchased online at chestertheatre.org, or by phone at 413.354.7771. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available.
About Chester Theatre Company
Chester Theatre Company, a professional theatre company located between the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley, and convenient to both, is known for presenting high-quality productions with top-notch actors, directors, and designers from across the country since 1990. Co-founded by former Artistic Director of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, Vincent Dowling, CTC is now in its 30th season, and produces four thought-provoking plays each summer in the intimate setting of the Town Hall Theatre at 15 Middlefield Road in Chester, MA.
For further information, please call CTC at 413.354.7770, or visit www.chestertheatre.org.