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 (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 (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 (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 (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.
Posts from the Blog
Meet the Creators
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 Actors
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.
Special pre-show events (starting 1 hour prior to curtain unless otherwise noted)
Post-show Talk: October 22
Pre-show Champagne Toast: October 26
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
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.