Category: Mainstage

Penelope Reed

​PENELOPE REED,(Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit), studied with founder Jasper Deeter before Carnegie Tech (BFA in acting) and Marquette University (MA in speech and directing). As leading actress at the Milwaukee Repertory, McCarter and Hedgerow theatres, Penelope for decades has chosen to weave together acting, teaching, directing, civic service (e.g. Rose Valley, Rotary Club, Delaware County Historic Society), and administration (e.g. Alverno College, Lawrenceville School and Hedgerow). She loves her “ladies” (from Blanche Dubois to Eleanor of Acquitaine).  However, her favorite role is watching Hedgerow’s growth as a dynamic regional force.  Penelope will receive the Philadelphia Barrymore Lifetime Achievement Award at the Merriam Theatre on October 30th.  Special thanks to generations of theatre goers, practitioners, supporters and family members who kept Hedgerow going. To Artistic Director Jared and my Zoran who has devoted decades of excellence in all areas of the theatre. Finally to Sebastian and Quentin, who fill us with wonder.

Jennifer Summerfield

Jennifer Summerfield (Ruth in Blithe Spirit) is excited to combine two of her favorite things, theatre and martinis, in her first Noel Coward production. She is a frequent guest artist at Hedgerow and has previously appeared here in Uncle Vanya, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Dracula, among others. Other recent productions: Sense and Sensibility (People’s Light,) Hedda Gabler (Laurel Tree Theater,) Dancing at Lughnasa (Curio Theatre). She is a graduate of Smith College and the Neighborhood Playhouse, where she learned how to repeat things, and is cofounder of Laurel Tree Theater. She will be seen next in two one-woman shows: her touring production of The Yellow Wallpaper at Historic Waynesborough in November and Mary Shelley in January at the Rosenbach Museum and Library.

Sarah Mitchell

Sarah Mitchell (Costume Designer Blithe Spirit) is a freelance costume designer in the Philadelphia area, Second Draper at the Walnut Street Theatre, Wardrobe Supervisor at the National Constitution Center, and is delighted to return to Hedgerow to design The Blithe Spirit. Recent design credits include: The Prisoner of Zenda, Gaslight (Hedgerow), The Comedy of Errors (Delaware Shakespeare Festival), Zombie in Love (WST) and The Producers, Hairspray, The Rocky Horror Show (Livingston Theatre Company). Many thanks to the amazing cast and crew, and to all of the wonderful people at Hedgerow!

Michael Fuchs

MICHAEL FUCHS (Dr. Bradman in Blithe Spirit) is a Philadelphia-based actor who has appeared at Hedgerow in No Sex Please, We’re British and Radio Mystery Plays, and at Media Theatre in 1776 and Romeo and Juliet. In the Berkshires, he recently acted on Shakespeare & Company’s mainstage in Merchant of Venice, directed by Tina Packer, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. Michael has also appeared in New York and Boston in Comedy of Errors, Company, and Blood Wedding, among others. Michael was originally trained at HB Studio in New York, and has studied locally at Hedgerow and the Walnut Street Theatre. Michael worked for many years in senior roles on Wall Street, suspending his acting career, and is blessed to have rejoined the great love of his life, the theater. What a joy to work with Carly, and to share the stage with Jared, Penny and this fabulous cast!

Stacy Skinner

STACY SKINNER (Mrs. Bradman in Blithe Spirit) is delighted to be returning to the Hedgerow stage where she has previously been seen in Hamlet (Gertrude), Sense and Sensibility (Mrs. Dashwood), The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Emily Inglethorpe), and Communicating Doors (Ruella). Other recent credits include: My Name is Asher Lev (the Women) at the South Camden Theatre Company,  Much Ado About Nothing (Don John), and Love’s Labour’s Lost (The Princess of France), both with Shakespeare in the Summer, co-produced by White Pines Productions and Pulley and Buttonhole Theatre. Stacy holds degrees in both Theatre and Speech-Language Pathology. Many thanks to this outstanding cast and crew with whom she is delighted to work and to her ever faithful family. Next up: A Christmas Carol right here at Hedgerow followed by The Savannah Sipping Society (Randa Covington) at the South Camden Theatre Company.

 

Wait Until Dark

 

 

Wait Until Dark

By Frederick Knott, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher

Directed by Jared Reed

February 7 to March 18

1st Preview: Thursday, February 8 at 7:30

Opening Night Friday February 9 at 7:30pm

Special Matinee Wednesday March 7th at 2:00pm

 

Forty-seven years after Wait Until Dark premiered on Broadway, Jeffrey Hatcher has adapted Frederick Knott’s 1966 original, giving it a new setting (1944 Greenwich Village) and new life.

This innovative and suspenseful thriller follows housewife, Susan Hendrix who is recently blinded in a car accident. Alone in her apartment and cut-off from the outside world, Susan’s life is changed as she is terrorized by a group of criminals who believe she has the stolen diamonds they seek.

As the climax builds, Susan discovers that her blindness just might be the key to her escape, but she and her tormentors must wait until dark to play out this classic thriller’s chilling conclusion in one of the most thrilling scenes in dramatic history.

 

With the atmosphere of the Hedgerow Theatre setting the stage for this thriller, come see what lurks in the shadows of great drama.

“…a vulnerable woman discovering unexpected resources that allow her to turn the tables on her assailants is still the main draw…goosepimply climax…a gripping finish.” —The Los Angeles Times.

“…reminds CGI-infected audiences that a few shadows, a shiny knife, and compelling characters can still go a long way to create suspense…WAIT UNTIL DARK earns its climax through enthralling, layered characters.” —Entertainment Weekly.

 

Artist Bios

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Boogie Woogie Radio Hour

 

The Boogie Woogie Radio Hour

Created by Sarah Gafgen, Carl Smith, and Shaun Yates

January 10 to 28

 

 
It’s 1948 and Radio WBGW is the biggest little radio station the biggest small town in Texas. The 10th Anniversary LIVE Radio Production is the hottest ticket in town, the high school gym is bound to be full to the brim and everyone it town is buzzing with excitement! There’s even a big name Star scheduled to perform! But what happens when that big name gets re-routed at the last minute? Will the anniversary celebration come to a screeching halt disappointing everyone? Who could possibly save the day?
 
Featuring some of your favorite classic tunes and lots of laughs The Boogie-Woogie Radio Hour is sure to get your toes tapping.

Meet the Creators

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

 

 

by Charles Dickens

adapted by Jared Reed

November 24 to December 24

There will be one 10 minute intermission

This show runs approximately 90 minutes

TICKETS AND TIMES 

Twenty-five years ago a Delaware Valley tradition began at Hedgerow Theatre: the annual production of Charles Dickens’ timeless A Christmas Carol. 

Professional Actors are joined by over 60 members of our community to make Hedgerow Theatre’s Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol a part of the Holidays you cannot miss. Decked with all your favorite Christmas carols in our 1800s grist mill theatre, the Hedgerow experience is one that you will never forget. 

Relive the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge, laugh with all the Cratchitts, and journey through space and time with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come as merriment and mirth fills your heart with joy.

“A family tradition for 20 years.”

“Its just not Christmas until we come to Hedgerow.”

Meet the Author

 

British novelist Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. Over the course of his writing career, he wrote the beloved classic novels Oliver Twist, A Christmas CarolNicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. On June 9, 1870, Dickens died of a stroke in Kent, England, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

His own story is one of rags to riches. He was born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, to John and Elizabeth Dickens. The good fortune of being sent to school at the age of nine was short-lived because his father, inspiration for the character of Mr Micawber in ‘David Copperfield’, was imprisoned for bad debt. The entire family, apart from Charles, were sent to Marshalsea along with their patriarch. Charles was sent to work in Warren’s blacking factory and endured appalling conditions as well as loneliness and despair. After three years he was returned to school, but the experience was never forgotten and became fictionalised in two of his better-known novels ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Great Expectations’. 

A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol, is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843. A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol at a time when the British were examining and exploring Christmas traditions from the past, such as carols, as well as new customs such as Christmas trees. He was influenced by experiences from his own past, and from the Christmas stories of other authors, including Washington Irving and Douglas Jerrold.

Published on 19 December, the first edition sold out by Christmas Eve; by the end of 1844 thirteen editions had been released. Most critics reviewed the novella positively. The story was illicitly copied in January 1844; Dickens took action against the publishers, who went bankrupt, reducing further Dickens’s small profits from the publication. He went on to write four other Christmas stories in subsequent years. In 1849 he began public readings of the story which proved so successful he undertook 127 further performances until 1870, the year of his death. A Christmas Carol has never been out of print and has been translated into several languages; the story has been adapted many times for film, stage, opera and other media.

With A Christmas Carol, Dickens captured the zeitgeist of the mid-Victorian revival of the Christmas holiday. He has been acknowledged as an influence on the modern Western observance of Christmas and inspired several aspects of Christmas, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games and a festive generosity of spirit.

Meet the Actors

Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit

BLITHE SPIRIT

by Nöel Coward

October 5 to 29

directed by Carly L. Bodnar

Featuring Michael Fuchs,Jared Reed, Penelope Reed, Maryruth Stine, Jennifer Summerfield, and Stacy Skinner. 

TICKETS AND TIMES

Special pre-show events (starting 1 hour prior to curtain unless otherwise noted)

Post-show Talk: October 22

Pre-show Champagne Toast: October 26

 

 
The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwright of Private Lives offers up fussy, cantakerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira who is called up by a visiting “happy medium”, one Madame Arcati. Noel Coward’s wit and whip is on full display as his hauntingly funny ghost story drives audiences mad! 
 
“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”

Can still keep an audience in a state of tickled contentment” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times, 2009

“A world-class comedy” – TheatreMania.com, 2009

A Fascination with Life After Death: 75 Years of Blithe Spirit
by ALejandra Venancio
November 4, 2016

Blithe Spirit is a comic play by Noël Coward. The play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance. Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles’s marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.

The play was first seen in the West End in 1941, creating a new long-run record for non-musical British plays of 1,997 performances. It also did well on Broadway later that year, running for 657 performances. Coward adapted the play for film in 1945, starring Rex Harrison, and directed a musical adaptation, High Spirits, on Broadway in 1964. It was also adapted for television in the 1950s and 1960s and for radio. The play enjoyed several West End and Broadway revivals in the 1970s and 1980s and was revived again in London in 2004, 2011 and 2014. It returned to Broadway in February 2009.

Meet the Playwright

Sir Noël Peirce Coward was born in 1899 and made his professional stage debut as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish at the age of 12, leading to many child actor appearances over the next few years. His breakthrough in playwriting was the controversial The Vortex (1924) which featured themes of drugs and adultery and made his name as both actor and playwright in the West End and on Broadway. During the frenzied 1920s and the more sedate 1930s, Coward wrote a string of successful plays, musicals and intimate revues including Fallen Angels (1925), Hay Fever (1925), Easy Virtue (1926), This Year of Grace (1928), and Bitter Sweet (1929). His professional partnership with childhood friend Gertrude Lawrence, started with Private Lives (1931), and continued with Tonight at 8.30 (1936).

During World War II, he remained a successful playwright, screenwriter and director, as well as entertaining the troops and even acting as an unofficial spy for the Foreign Office. His plays during these years included Blithe Spirit which ran for 1997 performances, outlasting the War (a West End record until The Mousetrap overtook it), This Happy Breed and Present Laughter (both 1943). His two wartime screenplays, In Which We Serve, which he co-directed with the young David Lean, and Brief Encounter quickly became classics of British cinema.

However, the post-war years were more difficult. Austerity Britain – the London critics determined – was out of tune with the brittle Coward wit. In response, Coward re-invented himself as a cabaret and TV star, particularly in America, and in 1955 he played a sell-out season in Las Vegas featuring many of his most famous songs, including Mad About the Boy, I’ll See You Again and Mad Dogs and Englishmen. In the mid-1950s he settled in Jamaica and Switzerland, and enjoyed a renaissance in the early 1960s becoming the first living playwright to be performed by the National Theatre, when he directed Hay Fever there. Late in his career he was lauded for his roles in a number of films including Our Man In Havana (1959) and his role as the iconic Mr. Bridger alongside Michael Caine in The Italian Job (1968).

Writer, actor, director, film producer, painter, songwriter, cabaret artist as well as an author of a novel, verse, essays and autobiographies, he was called by close friends ‘The Master’. His final West End appearance was Song at Twilight in 1966, which he wrote and starred in. He was knighted in 1970 and died peacefully in 1973 in his beloved Jamaica.

Cast Bios

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