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THEATRE REVIEW – ‘A SONG AT TWILIGHT’ – BritsinLA.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 10, 2014

LEGIT BRIT: Theatre Review – A Song At Twilight

A Song At Twilight at Pasadena

Playhouse

Review by Catherine Siggins
04/10/2014
In A Song At Twilight, an aging writer, Sir Hugo Latymer, finds himself in danger of being outed as homosexual to the public and his wife of 20 years, Hilde Latymer, when his former lover, Carlotta Gray, threatens to hand over old love letters to a biographer for publication, which he wrote to his former male secretary, the one true love of his life, thereby destroying his reputation, his only support system, and endangering him with the law. There is to be a reckoning before time runs out for them both. The stakes are high…Read Full Review
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Press Release: THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE’S PREMIERE GALA – TAKE THE LEAD AT THE PLAYHOUSE GALA COMMITTEE CHAIR TEENA HOSTOVICH AND COMMITTEE HAVE KICK-OFF CAMPAIGN MEETING…

CONTACTS:  Patty Onagan / 626-921-1157 or ponagan@pasadenaplayhouse.org

            Tim Choy / 323-954-7510 or t.choy@dcpublicity.com

Peter Goldman / 323-954-7510 or p.goldman@dcpublicity.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

 

THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE’S

PREMIERE GALA –TAKE THE LEAD AT THE PLAYHOUSE

GALA COMMITTEE CHAIR TEENA HOSTOVICH

AND COMMITTEE HAVE KICK-OFF CAMPAIGN MEETING

 

THE BEST PARTY IN PASADENA WILL

CELEBRATE DANCE AND CHOREOGRAPHY AT THE PLAYHOUSE AND

HONOR THE LYTHGOE FAMILY: NIGEL LYTHGOE, BONNIE LYTHGOE,

SIMON LYTHGOE, KRIS LYTHGOE, BECKY LYTHGOE

ON THE STAGE OF THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014

 

PASADENA, CA (April 10, 2014) – The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director and Elizabeth Doran, Executive Director) announced today the planning and honorary gala committee members leading the best party in Pasadena annual fundraiser entitled PREMIERE GALA –TAKE THE LEAD AT THE PLAYHOUSE.  The Pasadena Playhouse’s gala will be held on the stage of The Pasadena Playhouse on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 5:30p.m.

 

Gala Committee Chair Teena Hostovich commented, “The Pasadena Playhouse is not only the official State Theatre of California, but it is the heart of the Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley arts and cultural community. Our Gala on May 4 “Take the Lead” will not only pay tribute to our rich history, but celebrate our incredible honorees – the Lythgoe Family – as well as our exciting present and future. My incredible planning committee, board members, staff and I sincerely hope that everyone will join us at Pasadena’s Party of the Year!”

 

In addition to Ms. Hostovich, Gala Committee Members include:  Lesley Brander, Darrell Brooke, Patti Eisenberg, Brenda Galloway, Amy LoCascio, Shannon J. Miller, Jessica Staats and Brett Stangeland.

 

Honorary Committee Members include:  Debbie Allen, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Angela Bassett, Mayor Bill Bogaard, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Peggy Ebright, Michele Dedeaux Engemann, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Assemblymember Mike Gatto, Taraji P. Henson, Assemblymember Chris Holden, Kathleen K. Johnson, Councilmember John J. Kennedy, David Lee, Spencer Liff, State Senator Carol Liu, Councilmember Steve Madison, Councilmember Gene Masuda, Councilmember Margaret McAustin, Beverley Morgan Sandoz, Mary Murphy, Honorable Anthony Portantino, Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson, French Stewart, Jeff Thacker, Councilmember Terry Tornek, Ben Vereen, Patricia Ward Kelly and Lyla White.

 

The Pasadena Playhouse’s Board of Directors include: David DiCristofaro (Acting Chairman), Sheila Grether-Marion (Chairman), Tony Phillips (Treasurer), Linda Boyd Griffey (Secretary), Lenore Almanzar, Valerie Amidon, Sheri Ball, Darrell Brooke, Elizabeth Doran, Peggy Ebright, Sheldon Epps, George A. Henning, Teena Hostovich, Brad King, Amy LoCascio, Darrell Miller Michael A. Persaud, Abel Ramirez, Bingo Roncelli, Lihah Stangeland, Corky Hale Stoller, Mike Stoller and Martha Williamson.

 

This year’s event will celebrate dance and choreography at The Pasadena Playhouse and will honor the Playhouse’s great friends and partners the Lythgoe Family: Nigel Lythgoe, Bonnie Lythgoe, Simon Lythgoe, Kris Lythgoe, and Becky Lythgoe. The Playhouse Board of Directors, led by Committee Chair, Teena Hostovich, will be spearheading this red carpet gala event.

 

In his earliest days, family patriarch Nigel Lythgoe began as a dancer, eventually advancing the techniques of filming choreography, and creating and producing iconic dance and music shows like “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”  Family matriarch Bonnie Lythgoe also began her career as a dancer and choreographer, and now produces theater in London, Australia and the U.S.  She annually directs Panto at The Playhouse each holiday season.  Sons Simon and Kris continue the legacy of engaging audiences in the arts – Simon is a world-class television producer, and Kris, along with wife Becky, have made a major impact at The Pasadena Playhouse – producing mainstage Pantos that enrich young audiences and delight families.

The Pasadena Playhouse is renowned for its work creating new plays and musicals, many of which move on to Broadway, London, and beyond.  The choreographers and dancers of The Pasadena Playhouse represent some of the greatest talent in the field, and The Playhouse is thrilled to celebrate their work on this magical night featuring scrumptious food, the best party in Pasadena, and a sampling of surprise performances.

Corporate, patron, underwriting and other sponsorship opportunities are available from $1,500 -$25,000.

 

Outlook Newspapers is a media sponsor of PREMIERE GALA –TAKE THE LEAD AT THE PLAYHOUSE.

 

For more information about PREMIERE GALA –TAKE THE LEAD AT THE PLAYHOUSE sponsorship or to buy tickets, please contact Julia Fitzgibbons in the Special Events Office at 626-204-7383 or jfitzgibbons@pasadenaplayhouse.org.

 

 

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COLE PORTER MUSICAL ‘KISS ME, KATE’ COMPLETES THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE’S 2014-2015 SEASON – TheaterMania.com

Artistic Director Sheldon Epps will helm the production.

By Bethany Rickwald • Apr 11, 2014 • Pasadena

 

Sheldon Epps, artistic director of The Pasadena Playhouse, will helm the company's production of Kiss Me, Kate.
Sheldon Epps, artistic director of The Pasadena Playhouse, will helm the company’s production of Kiss Me, Kate.
(© David Gordon)

The Pasadena Playhouse has announced that Cole Porter’s Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate will open the 2014–2015 season with a run from September 16-October 12. Artistic Director Sheldon Epps will helm the production…Read Full Article

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BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND, ‘GENE KELLY: THE LEGACY’ RETURNS TO THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE – TolucanTimes.info

By on April 10th, 2014 Printer-Friendly

By Kareem Cervantes

Gene Kelly directing “Hello, Dolly!”

Gene Kelly directing “Hello, Dolly!”

Patricia Ward Kelly gives an inside scoop on what inspired her to bring this production to life. Launched in 2012 in celebration of the centennial of the birth of her husband Gene Kelly, “I expected everyone was going to do something, and I wanted to create something that represented him the way he wished to be remembered,” said Mrs. Kelly.

“This production is a very intimate look at the man as a creative artist, and a look at what drove and inspired him to create what he did,” said Kelly. “It’s a very personal and moving experience for me. Every time is different. I build a connection with the audience because they always bring something to every show, and I take just as much away because of what they bring to me.”… Read Full Article

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Press Release: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL ‘KISS ME, KATE’ COMPLETES THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE 2014–2015 SEASON

 

THE BROADWAY MUSICAL KISS ME, KATE COMPLETES

THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE 2014­–2015 SEASON



PASADENA, CA (April 10, 2014) – The Pasadena Playhouse (Artistic Director Sheldon Epps and Executive Director Elizabeth Doran) announced that the Cole Porter Broadway musical KISS ME, KATE, directed by Epps, will open the 2014–2015 Season and run from September 16– October 12, 2014.

 

KISS ME, KATE represents the iconic composer-lyricist Cole Porter at his very best and includes some of musical theatre’s most famous songs: “So in Love,” “Another Op’nin’ Another Show,” “Too Darn Hot,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”  It is without a doubt one of the great classics of the American musical theatre, celebrating Shakespeare (it describes a production of The Taming of the Shrew) and the joys, madness, and the rewards of working in the theatre – both onstage and off.   The book is by Bella and Samuel Spewack.

The Pasadena Playhouse production will view the work through a new lens, using the wonderful material of this celebrated production to showcase the trailblazing African-American touring troupes of the early 20th century.  Those groups of traveling players brought the work of the Bard not just to New York, but to theatres all over the country.

“I am thrilled to be adding Cole Porter’s great masterpiece, one of the true classics of the American musical theatre canon, to our upcoming season.” Said Epps.  “There are so many things about this brilliant show that speak to the very heart of our theatre – love of the classics, great storytelling, and the genuine celebration of the joys of a life in the theatre.  As the director, I am looking forward to bringing a fresh eye to this great material and to conceiving our production in a way which will make this fantastic musical completely at home on the stage of The Playhouse.”

Many of the most famous actors of our time owe much to those pioneers, who included Hattie McDaniel, Paul Robeson, Earle Hyman, Jane White, and Dorothy Van Engle.  Those brave actors brought literal “color” to great classical roles, opened doors for others, and represent the high style and theatricality that have always been embodied in Porter’s masterpiece.

 

The season also includes the critically acclaimed STOP KISS (November 4–30, 2014) by Diana Son, William Gibson’s rarely produced TWO FOR THE SEESAW (January 27–February 22, 2015), a new production of George Bernard Shaw’s PYGMALION (March 17–April 12, 2015); and an Artistic Director’s Choice to be announced at a later date.

 

Panto at The Playhouse returns with Lythgoe Family Productions’ special musical twist on the classic tale SLEEPING BEAUTY (December 10, 2014–January 4, 2015), which will be the third production of the 2014–2015 Season.

Subscriptions for the 2014–2015 Season are now available for purchase. All renewing subscribers will receive priority access to their current seat locations and new subscribers will receive the best available seats within requested sections.

 

The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA  91101.  To purchase subscriptions and to request information about subscriptions, current productions, and The Pasadena Playhouse, please visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org, call the Box Office at 626-356-7529, or visit the Box Office.  The Box Office phone lines are open Monday-Friday from 12:00 noon-6:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. on non-performance dates. For Box Office visits on non-performance dates, the Box Office windows are open Tuesday-Sunday from 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.  For Box Office visits on performance dates, the Box Office windows are open Tuesday-Saturday from 1:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.  Group subscriptions are also available.

 

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The Pasadena Playhouse 20142015 Season features:

 

KISS ME, KATE
 (Production #1)

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter 
 


Book by Bella and Samuel Spewack

Directed by Sheldon Epps

September 16 – October 12, 2014

 

KISS ME, KATE represents the legendary Cole Porter at his very best.  It is without a doubt one of the great classics of the American musical theatre, celebrating Shakespeare and the joys, madness, and the rewards of working in the theatre— – both onstage and off.  The Pasadena Playhouse production will view the work through a new lens, – using the wonderful material of this celebrated production to showcase the trailblazing African- American touring troupes of the early 20th century.  Those “groups of traveling players” that brought the work of the Bard not just to New York City, but to theatres all over the country.  Many of the most famous actors of our time owe much to those pioneers, who included such as Hattie McDaniel, Paul Robeson, Earle Hyman, Jane White, and Dorothy Van Eangle.  Those brave actors such as those brought literal “color” to great classical roles, opened doors for others, and represent the high style and theatricality that have always been embodied in Porter’s masterpiece.

 

STOP KISS  (Production #2)

By Diana Son 

Directed by Seema Sueko

November 4 – 30, 2014

 

STOP KISS features The Pasadena Playhouse’s Associate Artistic Director Seema Sueko as she makes her directorial debut at The Playhouse.  Originally produced Off-Broadway at The Public Theater, with a cast including Sandra Oh and Jessica Hecht, this critically acclaimed play received the GLAAD Media Award for Best New York Production.  In this drama, Sara and Callie take a walk through New York City’s West Village late at night when they share their first kiss.  The two women are then viciously attacked and Sara is seriously injured.  In a groundbreaking illustration of human emotion and compassion, Diana Son thoughtfully examines how we explore, form, and even end relationships.

 

 

 

SLEEPING BEAUTY (Production #3)

Panto at The Playhouse

By Kris Lythgoe

Directed by Bonnie Lythgoe

Produced in association with Lythgoe Family Productions

December 10, 2014 – January 4, 2015

In the style of the traditional British family Panto, Lythgoe Family Productions presents an updated holiday version of the well-known tale of SLEEPING BEAUTY, featuring family-friendly magic, a comedic twist, and contemporary music.  A Panto’s interactive style and humor successfully appeal to fairytale fans of all ages.  The Los Angeles Times says, “Those who have never been to a panto will have a glorious introduction to the forum.”

TWO FOR THE SEESAW (Production #4)

By William Gibson

Directed by Sheldon Epps

January 27 – February 22, 2015

 

Rarely produced, this celebrated American romantic comedy by William Gibson (The Miracle Worker, Golda’s Balcony) is bound for London in association with Nigel Lythgoe, Kris Lythgoe, and Becky Lythgoe.  TWO FOR THE SEESAW was Gibson’s first foray onto Broadway, and the original critically acclaimed production starred Henry Fonda and Anne Bancroft, who made her Broadway debut.  In this unforgettable play, newly separated lawyer Jerry Ryan moves from Nebraska to New York and meets Gittel Mosca, a struggling dancer.  As Jerry and Gittel begin to fall in love, they experience hardship as their differences in background and attitudes create challenges.

 

PYGMALION (Production #5)

By George Bernard Shaw

March 17 – April 12, 2015

In this fresh interpretation of PYGMALION, first presented on stage in 1912, phonetics professor Henry Higgins bets that after he finishes transforming Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, her flawless speech and delicate façade will allow her to pass for a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party.  This classic favorite perfectly skewers the rigid British class system and continues to serve as an insightful commentary on women’s independence.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR’S CHOICE (Production #6)

To Be Announced

Last season’s presentation of the controversial production of Twelve Angry Men, cast with six black men and six white men, created heated debates amongst Playhouse theatregoers and the media.  Artistic Director Sheldon Epps, who directed Twelve Angry Men, takes the opportunity to find the last production to add to his season’s mix.  As demonstrated by previous ARTISTIC DIRECTOR’S CHOICE selections, such as One Night with Janis Joplin or Baby It’s You!, audiences are delighted by new and engaging theatrical experiences.

Please note: Production #6 of the Season will play June 2-28, 2015.

 

Full casting and creative teams for each production will be announced at later dates.

 

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REVIEW: ‘A SONG AT TWILIGHT,’ LA – CultureVulture.net

From left, Roxanne Hart, Sharon Lawrence and Bruce Davison in "A Song at Twilight."

From left, Roxanne Hart, Sharon Lawrence and Bruce Davison in “A Song at Twilight.”
© The Pasadena Playhouse. Photo by Michael Lamont

A Song at Twilight, LA

One of Noël Coward’s last works gets a proper, acerbic revival at Pasadena Playhouse.

By Noël Coward

Directed by Art Manke

The Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA

March 18-April 13, 2014

 

The old adage — “never tell your best friend anything you wouldn’t want your worst enemy to know” — is the armature of Noel Coward’s “A Song At Twilight,” one of the last plays he wrote (1966) before his death in 1973.

What Sir Hugo Latymer (Bruce Davison), a writer of some unspecified but wide renown, doesn’t want anyone to know is that the person he loved most during his long life is not his former secretary and wife of 20 years, Hilde Latymer (Roxanne Hart), nor his pre-Hilde mistress of years ago, Carlotta Gray (Sharon Lawrence) — but another man, Perry Sheldon (unseen).

Sir Hugo fears that disclosure of his homosexuality will seriously damage his carefully crafted reputation as well as putting him at risk of trouble with the law, but that is precisely what Carlotta presents when she appears at the Latymers’ luxurious Swiss hotel suite and tells him of her plan to write her memoirs.

She seeks his permission to include material not only from his letters to her during their two-year-long dalliance but, more alarmingly, from his revealing letters to Perry. Turns out she has those letters, having obtained them from Perry himself before he died.

Enraged by her impending betrayal of his private life, Hugo’s fury is equal parts the recent Chilean magnitude 8.2 earthquake and the Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption — so convincingly so that I found myself scanning the Playhouse’s exits just in case, you know, Mr. Davison goes about carrying concealed.

Hugo and Carlotta’s thrusts and parries about their long-ago relationship (he used her as a “beard” to hide his passion for Perry), her ridicule of his pretenses (“you were always as queer as a coot”), his disdain for her intellect and, of course, his letters to Perry, consume most of the play’s 90 minutes. There’s a bitter, acerbic tone to “Twilight,” one not normally found in his plays, but be assured Coward didn’t pass up opportunities to break the tension for an occasional, Noëlian zinger.

Why was Coward so hyper about being outed? While the play doesn’t specify its decade, it’s worth recalling that it wasn’t that long ago when The Closet was as jammed with writers, artists, musicians and celebrities as Black Friday shoppers in Macy’s. It has also been suggested he was perturbed when his friend and fellow gay author, W. Somerset Maugham, was confronted with the real-life dilemma of outing.

Davison, as mentioned above, is a marvelous Sir Hugo — ferocious one moment, forlorn the next. Lawrence’s Carlotta, beautiful and glamorous, is as cool and canny as a poker player holding four aces. Hart’s Hilde bookends the play, with a strong presence at the beginning, a long absence in the middle but a strong, very strong, closing.

There’s a fourth player, Zach Bandler, as the room service waiter, Felix, who pops in and out of the set like a Jack in the Box but isn’t given much to do except pop open Champagne bottles. Director Manke sets a brisk treadmill pace for these four performers and they’re equal to the task.

The set, by Tom Buderwitz, is so upscale that I thought at first it was the Latymers’ mansion. It wasn’t until Felix, he of the room service role, entered quickly and exited just as quickly for the fourth or fifth time that I caught on: it’s a five-star hotel. David Kay Mickelsen dressed the players as niftily as their personalities required.

Well, contrary to the adage I led with in this review, let me tell friends and foe alike that “A Song at Twilight” is very much worth seeing.

George Alexander

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ON THE TOWN: A SWAN SONG – PasadenaStarNews.com

By Patt Diroll, Columnist

Posted:

Reprising a play by Sir Noel Coward each season just might be a no-fail formula for box-office success at the Pasadena Playhouse. Following last year’s smash-hit production of the 1925 comedy, “Fallen Angels,” director Art Manke – a Coward specialist – returned to the Playhouse to mount “A Song at Twilight,” the playwright’s swan song written in 1965, two years before his death, and the one he regarded as his most serious work. Many critics perceived it as a poignant, personal catharsis. Starring multi-award winning actors, Bruce Davison, Sharon Lawrence and Roxanne Hart, the rarely performed piece, which revolves around dark secrets, clandestine liaisons and the then-forbidden subject of homosexuality received a standing ovation on opening night, March 23.

 

After the last curtain call, the actors gathered with Playhouse execs and benefactors for a party at Pasadena’s McCormick & Schmick where lively discussions of the scenario continued. Sheldon Epps, playhouse artistic director said, “In 1966, when this play premiered, England was a year away from decriminalizing homosexuality. Coward, who was always guarded about the issue, played the leading role and won critical praise. Now, nearly 50 years later, with the recent landmark, U.S. Supreme Court rulings, this is a perfect time to revisit this play, which dates from the beginning of the gay rights movement.” Among the first-nighters were: David DeCristofaro, acting chair of the Playhouse board of directors; Playhouse Board Members Tony Phillips and his wife, Barbara, Lilah Stangeland , Darrell Brooke, and Lenore Almanzar. Also in the mix were: Brenda and Bill Galloway, Patti La Marr, Becky and Kris Lythgoe, Brett Stangeland, Eric Sigg, Michael Mackness, Patti and Jim Dolan, Tarla Thiel, Bob Bozzani , Michael Learned, Chloe Sevigny, Dee Wallace, Daphne Zuniga, Tamara Braun, Scott Carter, Aldis Hodge, Susan Blakely, Patrick Fabian, Kim Darby, Richard Schiff, Dennis Franz, Patricia Ward Kelly, Ed Begley Jr., Jacklyn Zeman, Creed Bratton, and Jon Polito.

 

“A Song at Twilight” continues at the playhouse through April 13. If you, too, are an ardent Noel Coward fan, don’t miss it!

pattdiroll@charter.net, fax: 626-696-3150

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FINAL WEEK FOR ‘A SONG AT TWILIGHT’ AT THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE – PasadenaNow.com

Closes April 13, 2014

From STAFF REPORTS

Published : Monday, April 7, 2014 | 12:07 PM

(L to R) Sharon Lawrence & Bruce Davison. Photo by Michael Lamont

A Song at Twilight by Noël Coward is in its final week, presented by The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director and Elizabeth Doran, Executive Director), closes April 13, 2014. The production stars Bruce Davison, Sharon Lawrence and Roxanne Hart and is directed by Art Manke.

Following last season’s smash-hit production of Coward’s comedy, Fallen Angels, director Art Manke – recognized as the region’s current leading director of Coward — returns to The Playhouse to direct this rarely produced and final play of Coward’s illustrious career. In A Song At Twilight, first produced in 1966, an elderly closeted writer hesitantly accepts a visit from his former mistress, leading to a confrontation of past secrets, forbidden affections and surprising confessions. At the time, the same as now, Song was greeted with rapturous reviews, and provided a triumphant end to Coward’s long and remarkable career.

Charles McNulty said in The Los Angeles Times, “A stunning production directed by Art Manke … a reminder that there’s more to Coward than Champagne bubbles and intoxicating quips. Manke’s sumptuously designed and supremely well-acted production makes a case for this being an overlooked gem in the Coward canon.” Don Grigware in Broadwayworld.com said, “Witty like all Coward plays, ‘A Song at Twilight’ offers much more than meets the eye. It entertains as it engages and insists that you leave the theatre thoroughly moved and still thinking about what you have just seen. A great and unforgettable evening of theatre!”

Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse, said, “In 1966, when A Song at Twilight premiered, England was a year away from decriminalizing homosexuality. Coward, who was reticent about this topic through most of his career, also played the part Hugo Latymer, and earned critical and audience praise. Now, almost fifty years later, with the landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings this past year overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, this is a perfect time to revisit the play which dates from the beginning of the gay rights movement.”

Manke said, “We have assembled a first-rate cast led by the incomparable Bruce Davison, whose heartbreaking humanity – on display in so much of his work – will bring emotional nuance and great wit to the role of Sir Hugo Latymer. Sharon Lawrence could not be more suited to the glamorous, seductive Carlotta, and Roxanne Hart’s warmth and clear-eyed intelligence is a perfect fit for Hilde.”

The set designer is Tom Buderwitz; costumes by David K. Mickelsen; lighting by Peter Maradudin; and sound by Steven Cahill.

About A Song at Twilight

In A Song at Twilight, celebrated author Hugo Latymer has reached the autumn of his days with everything a man could wish for: wealth, success, fantastic friends, and a life filled with laughter, luxury and travel. A profound fear of intimacy and public scandal, however, kept him from embracing the one true love in his life, and now he wonders if he would trade the success for a chance to do it all again.

“Songwriters and poets have taught us that greatest joy of life is to love and be loved in return,” said director Manke. “In A Song at Twilight, celebrated author Hugo Latymer didn’t heed that lesson, choosing instead to live a life bound by societal expectations and fear. Now he wonders how his life might have been different had he made room for love.”

“Despite several decades of audiences roaring with laughter at his plays, Noel Coward was often the target of critics who found his work to be thin, at best. With his final play, A Song at Twilight, he had the last laugh and proved that in addition to the usual sparklingly witty dialogue, he could craft characters of great depth and pathos.”

Art Manke (director) With A Song at Twilight as the seventh of Noel Coward’s plays on his resume – including the American premiere of Star Quality – Art Manke has earned the moniker, “L.A.’s Coward specialist” from the Los Angeles Times. His recent hit revival of Coward’s Fallen Angels broke box office records at the Pasadena Playhouse, and transferred for an extended run at Laguna Playhouse.

A Song at Twilight will play through Sunday, April 13. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets, priced from $30 to $72, are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at (626) 356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

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REVIEW: SADLY SINGING ‘A SONG AT TWILIGHT’ AT THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE – PasadenaArtBeat.wordpress.com

05 Apr 2014 Leave a comment

by Jana J. Monji in Uncategorized Tags: ,

Finding love is one of the great joys and tragedies of life. If you are lucky, then you won’t be haunted by former lovers and love letters, but in the case of Noel Coward’s “A Song at Twilight,” the luck and love are only sadly remembered.

In this production at the Pasadena Playhouse, the Swiss mountains can be seen in the distance from the French doors of a luxury suite in a Swiss hotel. An older woman, Hilde (Roxanne Hart),  is discussing her husband’s business over the phone. Her heavy German accent takes some getting used to but we learn she’s Sir Hugo Latymer’s former secretary who became his wife about 20 years ago.

Hugo (Bruce Davison) is not a pleasant man. He complains to and about his wife. There are no displays of affection between them. While Hilde is excited to meet with a female friend her husband doesn’t like, Hugo is expecting a visit from a former lover, Carlotta (Sharon Lawrence).

Carlotta hasn’t been carrying a torch for Hugo. She arrives looking wonderfully young compliments of a plastic surgeon and slyly hoping for something–permission to publish love letters from Hugo in her own autobiography, one that will only capture the public’s interest by connecting her to the more famous and distinguished Hugo. That’s despite the passage of time, children and a few husbands that followed her two year fling with Hugo.

Hugo refuses, but Carlotta has a way to force Hugo’s hand–she possess letters written by Hugo to Perry Sheldon. He died, poor and forlorn, after he had sent letters to his great love, the deep in denial and even deeper in the closet Hugo. Even now, Hugo mumbles about having “homosexual tendencies” in the past while Carlotta declares, “You’re as queer as a coot and you have been all your life.”

You might remember Davison from “Harry and the Hendersons” or from his current role as the Rear Admiral Arthur Shepard in “Last Resort.” Davison has also been on Broadway as part of the original production of “The Elephant Man” and he’s won Golden Globe for his role in “Longtime Companion.” His Hugo is full of bluster and bitterness, disgruntled and dissatisfied with life despite the beautifully cheery and elegant room by set designer Tom Buderwitz.

While Hugo might seem like the main character, it’s the women that dominate this drama under the direction of Art Manke. Emmy Award-nominated (“NYPD Blue” and “Grey’s Anatomy”) Lawrence is cool, crafty and sophisticated. She comes in with a satisfied blow to her face, like the cat that swallowed the canary, but not at all catty toward Hart’s pragmatic and decidedly frumpy Hilde. The Tony-nominated (“The Devil’s Disciple”) Hart may not be dressed for glamour but her Hilde exudes confidence and intelligence–she’s not been beaten down by Hugo’s sourness and she’s known true love and surrendered to it.

This play premiered in 1966 and the Pasadena Playhouse’s artistic director Sheldon Epps reminds us in the press notes that “In 1966, when A Song at Twilight premiered, England was a year away from decriminalizing homosexuality.  Coward, who reticent about this topic through most of his career, also played the part Hugo Latymer, and earned critical and audience praise.  Now, almost fifty years later, with the landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings this past year overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, this is a perfect time to revisit the play which dates from the beginning of the gay rights movement.”

So much has changed. Now one of the great Facebook celebrities is George Takei, a gay Asian American man who married his longtime love. Don’t wait until your twilight years to find love and who wants to sit alone at twilight filled with regret.

A SONG AT TWILIGHTwill play through Sunday, April 13.  The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.  The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets, priced from $44 to $64, are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates.  On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.  For more information, visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

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