Sensing from her husband that something is wrong in their son’s marriage, Alice invites the young couple over for a cocktails and cheesecake interrogation. As one set of lies breaks down in this comedy of falsehoods and infidelity, Alice offers an object lesson by creating a new web of fanciful deceit about her own marriage. Or is she telling the truth?
Characterized as both shattering and hilarious, “Clever Little Lies” is a laugh-filled story of long-term love and marriage, for better . . . and for worse.
October 26 – November 12, 2017
by Joe Dipietro
directed by Andrew Botsford
EDWARD A. BRENNAN (Billy) has appeared with the Hampton Theatre Company as Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls, Angus in The Drawer Boy, Joe Foster in Becky’s New Car, Arbuthnot/Arundel in The Enchanted April, Chief Bromden in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Ralph in Frozen. His favorite professional acting credits include the title roles in Phantom and Jekyll & Hyde, Javert in Les Miserables, Beast in Beauty And The Beast, Albin (ZaZa) in La Cage Aux Folles, Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde, and Archibald in The Secret Garden. Ed also directed the HTC’s productions of An Act of the Imagination, Deathtrap and I Hate Hamlet. He holds a Master’s degree in Theater and has directed over 60 productions on Long Island.
CAROLANN DI PIRRO (Jane). A WHB native, Carolann played Anne in The Diary of Anne Frank in HTC’s inaugural production over 30 years ago. Recent credits: Goodwife Doolittle in The Scarlet Letter (Bay Street), Annie in Jim Kingston’s original Priapism (Vail Levitt/East End Fringe), Wanda in The Baby Dance, Woman in Night and Phyllis in Body Awareness (The Avram). TV: Saturday Night Live (Seasons 19-25), American Dreams (NBC), The Sopranos (HBO). Film: The Confession and The Last Shot, both with Alec Baldwin, LA Film Festival’s Reason Thirteen. Theatre: Productions in NY (EST, NYTW, St. James, LaMama), LA (Malibu Stage, Celebration), London (RSC Almeida), regional theaters: Shelby – Steel Magnolias (Theatre Three), Broad Comedy tours at Caroline’s (NY), The Acme Theatre (LA), Assembly Rooms (Edinburgh, Scotland), Emerson Center (Bozeman, MT), Stuart Street Playhouse (Boston). Carolann shares her love of learning through her company, Di Pirro Tutoring & Test Prep, with her wonderful students across the country. Her favorite roles are those of wife to Joe and mother to Charley. For her père Charlot whom she loves dearly.
TERRANCE FIORE (Bill, Sr.) is delighted to return to the HTC stage and reunite with Diana Marbury, his former partner in Other People’s Money and now wife in Clever Little Lies. Terry last appeared here in the holiday reading Joy to the World. Other HTC performances include The Enchanted April (Mellersh Wilkins), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Dr. Spivey) and Six Degrees of Separation (Larkin). Other favorites include Love Letters (with Pia Lindstrom and Tony Walton, dir.), Galapagos, the stage adaptation of the Kurt Vonnegut novel, The Diary of Anne Frank at Bay Street Theatre, Tennessee Williams’s In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, 110 In The Shade, The Foreigner and Moonlight and Magnolias. Terry has appeared in a range of dramatic readings and radio plays. Film credits include Dark Was the Night, which premiered at the Lincoln Center Scary Movie Festival. Video: Grey Advertising’s award winning The 401K Project, which advocated for a reduction in gun violence. Thanks to his wife Blair for her love and encouragement, and good-spirited tolerance of dinners alone during our rehearsal schedule.
DIANA MARBURY (Alice/Set Decor) is pleased to open the Hampton Theatre Co.’s 33rd season with this delightful and multi-layered play. She is especially pleased to tread the boards with this talented group of thespians and take direction from the HTC’s newly elected president, Andrew Botsford. Diana has worn many hats working with the company over the years and the “acting hat” is one of her favorites following closely behind her “directing hat.” If you see her wearing her “clean up the highway hat,” toot as you go by!
JOE DI PIETRO (Playwright). Although he won the Tony Award for Best Book for a Musical in 2010 for Memphis, American playwright, lyricist and author Joe DiPietro is perhaps best known for writing the book and lyrics for the long-running Off-Broadway show I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change which opened in 1996 and ran for 12 years (5,003 performances) Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre. He followed that up with the 1998 comedy Over the River and Through the Woods, which played the John Houseman Theatre for 800 performances over two years. DiPietro made his Broadway debut in 2005 with the Elvis Presley jukebox musical All Shook Up. With Bon Jovi’s David Bryan, he wrote The Toxic Avenger, which opened Off-Broadway on April 6, 2009, which won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical. He also wrote the book for Nice Work If You Can Get It starring Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara, which opened at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre in 2012. Clever Little Lies ran in late 2013 at George Street Playhouse and debuted in New York’s Westside Theatre in 2015 with Marlo Thomas and Greg Mullavey. Thomas and Mullavey played the same roles in a production of Clever Little Lies at Guild Hall in East Hampton in summer 2014.
ANDREW BOTSFORD (Director) Most recent directorial assignment was the HTC production of Theresa Rebeck’s Dead Accounts in January 2016. He has appeared on stage in more than 40 Hampton Theatre Company productions since 1985, most recently as three different characters in Michael Frayn’s Alarms and Excursions. He is the host of a summer film commentary program at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and co-hosts the annual Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival in Sag Harbor. Andrew is also a visiting associate professor in the Graduate Arts program at Stony Brook Southampton, where he has continued to pursue studies in playwriting, acting and directing.
SEAN MARBURY (Set Designer) has worked in textile design, built sets for TV series, commercials, and films and worked with the design, engineering and fabrication of race car components. He currently works on high end residential construction. His set designs for HTC include Deathtrap, Other People’s Money, Other Desert Cities, The Foreigner, Harvey, Time Stands Still, November, An Act of the Imagination and Alarms and Excursions.
SEBASTIAN PACZYNSKI (Lighting Designer) has designed all the company’s productions since 2004 as well as the theater’s lighting system. He has designed lighting for theater, dance and special events in a number of Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and regional venues. He has also worked in film and television as the director of photography. He has designed numerous productions for Guild Hall and for the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival.
TERESA LEBRUN (Costume Designer) is the resident costumer for HTC. She started helping with costumes in 1986 and has designed the costumes for all the company’s productions since 2005. Teresa also costumes for Center Moriches and Westhampton Beach High Schools. She is happy to be working with Andrew again and this amazing cast. Much love to her boys, Josh and Noah, family and great friends.
WALLY MARZANO-LESNEVICH (Rehearsal Stage Manager) A recent transplant to the Hamptons, Wally is thrilled to be working with HTC. Much thanks to Andrew; this terrific company; everyone at HTC; his lovely grad school fiancee, Lindsay; his S.M. professor, Carol Thompson; and Jenna. He has numerous theater credits as an actor, producer and director, in NJ, NYC, and ACK. His debut feature as a screenwriter/actor/producer, Almost Paris, premiered at the ‘16 Tribeca Film Festival, and will be released in January by Freestyle Digital Media. Twitter: @wallyml
AMANDA GRIEMSMANN (Production Stage Manger) Is thrilled to be stage managing her first HTC production! She was most recently seen last season as Holly Adams in An Act of the Imagination and Bec in 4000 Miles. She just finished shooting a short film called The Journey in Manhattan playing the leading role. This past summer she assistant directed Legally Blonde the musical with the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe. Lots of love to friends and family! Very special thanks to Andrew for believing that she can do this! Always “Give ’em hell!”
MARYAM DOWLING (Lighting & Sound Technician) has done lighting and sound for 23 years with various theater groups on the East End. Maryam has also helped Sebastian with lighting setup at Guild Hall, the Ross School, and other local venues. This is Maryam’s eighth season with the Hampton Theatre Company and she is very happy to be part of the show and the company.
Rehearsal Stage Manager
Production Stage Manager
SEAN MARBURY, CARLOS BUENO, WILLY GARCIA, PATRICK McGLONE, SEAMUS NAUGHTON
ANDREW BOTSFORD, SEAMUS NAUGHTON
MARYAM DOWLING, SEAMUS NAUGHTON
JOE PALLISTER – DESIGNINGJOE
JULIA MORGAN ABRAMS
‘Clever Little Lies’ Offers Laughter With A Splash Of Reality
By Lorraine Dusky
The East Hampton Press and The Southampton Press
“Know your audience” is good advice for anyone and is especially true of regional theater. The Hampton Theatre Company zeros in astutely with its choice of Joe DiPietro’s “Clever Little Lies” to open its 33rd season.
The audience in Quogue is largely made up of the 50-plus crowd who are, as they might say about each other, “comfortably fixed.” But no matter how seemingly swell everyone’s life is, there’s always something.
Such is the case with the four characters—suburban mom and dad, their adult son and his wife—in “Clever Little Lies” that lets the something go down gently as an errant feather falling to the ground. The something starts out as the steamy “I’m-in-love” affair the son, Billy, is having with a 23-year-old personal trainer at his gym, a “stunningly gorgeous optimist” adorably named Jasmine. Sex has never been so fantastic; by contrast, when his wife (Jane, as in plain) services him, it’s as if she’s a martyr like Joan of Arc, he whines. Why stay married when there is someone younger and hotter waiting at the gym? Ah yes, infidelity is universal and can always be mined for humor.
Yet before the end of the play, the something will turn into a bittersweet remembrance from Mom that touches her own marriage. Goodbye comedy, hello drama. In the hands of Hampton Theatre Company stalwart Andrew Botsford, the result is funny, knowing theater that is as cozy as a comforter and a hot toddy on a cold night. You laugh, and then you might even get a damp eye remembering that fleeting someone who was the something in your own life.
The archetypes of the cast could have been plucked directly from the audience: Mother Alice (Diana Marbury) owns a trendy bookstore selling F. Scott Fitzgerald T-shirts and “Sixty Shades of Grey” rather than anything resembling literature; Bill Sr./Dad (Terrance Fiore) is an attorney, as is his philandering son Billy (Edward A. Brennan), whose wife (Carolann DiPirro) is a satisfied new mom, a medical editor on extended leave after having a baby.
One of the funniest bits occurs in the opening scene, set in a gym locker room, as the son reveals to his father that even before his daughter was born, he began looking to Jasmine for solace and, lo, the bam-bam-bam animal sex that ensued is making him think divorce. Not what his dad expected or wants to hear! Mr. Fiore as the father has just the right mix of curiosity and dismay: Tell me what’s wrong, Son. Oh! “Stop, stop—I said stop!”
The first two thirds of the one-act play are pretty much banter and comedy, though the young wife’s situation is teetering; but you know she will end up just fine because—well, it’s that kind of play.
The four actors dance lively through this oft-told tale of love, marriage and adultery without losing a laugh line or, as it happens, any of the poignancy from Alice’s reveal late in the story when it makes a hard left into drama. Love is ruthless, she says—but here the sting is quickened by occasional jokes that happily stray in. I’ll not explain further because knowing will squander the piquancy of the moment.
Ms. Marbury, seen frequently on the Quogue stage, has a voice that shows the signs of age, but that quavering quality here amplifies the tenderness of her musing.
I’ve seen this play with Marlo Thomas in that role, and found “Clever Little Lies” quaintly tedious and irksome, like a creaking door; the bookstore jokes obvious, the plot seemingly ho-hum, the ending foreseen, but here in Quogue it felt infused with new life. With Ms. Thomas as Alice it felt as if playwright Mr. DiPietro (whose credits include the perennial “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”) wrote it to give her a star turn off-Broadway, where it ran for several months.
Here under the smart direction of Hampton Theatre Company’s newly-elected president, Mr. Botsford, “Clever Little Lies” is a true ensemble performance, and provides much more enjoyable entertainment. Whether the script changed or not, I do not know, but even the writing seemed snappier and more amusing than remembered.
The set decor by Ms. Marbury (who typically does the company’s sets) is once again faultless, straight out of a shelter magazine. A second scene in a car, as the young couple drive to Mom and Dad’s house, is a nice touch.
Even at the back of the Quogue Community Hall where Hampton Theatre Company holds forth, you didn’t miss a line—except when everyone was laughing. And the audience laughed so long at some of the lines you missed the next one.
But never mind, my spouse of many years and I were chortling along with them. And when at the end Bill Sr. said, “There’s only here for me,” I gave him a squeeze.
CLEVER LITTLE LIES presented by the Hampton Theatre Company
by Melissa Giordano
Kicking off their exciting 33rd season, the Hampton Theatre Company (HTC) offers a stellar production of Joe DiPietro’s hit off-Broadway comedy Clever Little Lies. We certainly need a good laugh in these worrisome times and the outstanding cast of HTC vets deliver resoundingly. Excellently directed by Andrew Botsford, the show runs until November 12th at the adorable Quogue venue.
The sidesplitting one-act tale follows Billy, superbly portrayed by Long Island theatre vet Edward Brennan, as he tries to cover up an extramarital affair. One he at least seems to feel bad about being his wife just gave birth to their first child. Several twists and turns abound once both of Billy’s parents find out. Actually, Billy confided to his father, but his mother figures it out and leaps into action to help.
The ensemble company is truly top notch. Carolann Di Pirro wonderfully portrays Billy’s wife Jane. They make a great team as stage husband and wife bickering and getting on each other’s nerves. His nerves the frustration of being in love with two women and not knowing what to do and her nerves being a new mother. In the attempt to help them with their troubles, Billy’s mother and father have them over for an evening, which is where the bulk of the story takes place in the gorgeous living room of the parent’s house. Terrance Fiore portrays Billy, Sr. and I dare say he receives the most laughs from the enthusiastic audience. And HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury superbly portrays Billy’s well-meaning mother Alice without coming across as annoyingly overbearing as Alice tries to help her son.
On the creative team, Sean Marbury’s set is a highlight with Ms. Marbury coordinating the set décor. The first scene we see is a beautiful very hamptons-esque locker room going into a car ride scene which is smartly done. The living room is light and airy with a plush couch and station for mixing drinks. This is enhanced beautifully by Sebastian Paczynski’s lighting with the sound design by Mr. Botsford & Seamus Naughton. Side note: you’ll also notice slightly extended scene changes which is worth it for this visually stunning production.
And so, Clever Little Lies is indeed a boffo start to the Hampton Theatre Company’s current season. A zany tale and clever cast make for an entertaining night of theatre.
Clever Little Lies is presented by The Hampton Theatre Company at the Quogue Community Hall in Quogue, Long Island, through November 12th. For more information and to perchance tickets, please call 631-653-8955.
Fall Theater Review: Hampton Theatre Company’s “Clever Little Lies”
by TJ Clemente
Clever Little Lies, a play written by Joe DiPietro and produced by the Hampton Theatre Company, is now playing at the Quogue Community Center. Go see it! You will laugh, you might squirm a bit, but you will be entertained and leave glad you saw this show. Why? Because Director Andrew Botsford has used his skills and talent to make this contemporary show, with a small cast of four, come together. They create the best of what a theatre experience can and should be.
In its 33rd season, the Hampton Theatre Group’s first show, Clever Little Lies, is a winner. The coziness of the Quogue Community Center always adds something to all the productions I have attended there. The venue has an authentic distinctive panache. The energy of the venue is positive, with a touch of the best of Americana that the East End of Long Island always delivers. The audiences are always attentive and sophisticated.
Diana Marbury (Alice) is brilliant. She is the glue/grease/energy that propels this show to more than just a local community theater production and into something special. The last time I reviewed Clever Little Lies, it was produced at Guild Hall in July of 2014. Marlo Thomas played the lead role of Alice to much fanfare. Quite frankly, Diana Marbury brings more layers of depth to that role in this production. Her timing, her movement, and her clear various modulations of her lines gives the other three actors in the show the space to breath, to shine and come together as a cast. Diana Marbury gives quite a performance.
Playing Alice’s husband, Bill Sr., is Terrence Fiore, who deserves a huge share of accolades too. I must admit he played Bill Sr. in such a touching and endearing way, that at times I thought I was watching William Frawley doing his brilliant Fred Mertz from the I Love Lucy days. Terrence Fiore’s comedic timing and delivery of his punch lines are that good. Director Botsford no doubt played a hand in bringing out the best of Diana Marbury and Terrence Fiore. They both are excellent under the lights of this production.
Carolann DiPirro who plays daughter-in-law, Jane, and Edward Brennan who plays son, Billy, are endearing to the audience. Their performances are notable and convincing. They have many good moments, yet I believe DiPietro’s playwriting reigns in the scope of what they can do with their lines. I believe the power behind the dynamics of the show ascends from the life experience of the parents and their view of the circle of life, along with a touch of Aristotle’s views on the concept of “happiness” and what is “happy.” All this is achieved while the playwright is taking dead aim at the dynamics of marital infidelity.
Behind every stage production is the contribution of many. I will mention a few. Sean Marbury, I love your set design and also kudos to Diana Marbury for set decor. Sebastian Paczynski, bravo for your lighting design, as well as a job well done to costume designer Teresa Lebrun.
Finally I must mention that although Clever Little Lies is a one-act play, there are blackout scene changes that will dazzle you. The transformation of the stage, done in total blackout, in total silence creates a magical effect. The change from the men’s tennis locker room to the home living room is just amazing. The show closes Sunday, November 12, somehow please get there to see this production of Clever Little Lies. It is that good.
The End of the Affair
Skewering contemporary marriage
by Kurt Wenzel
The East Hampton Star
Edward A. Brennan and Carolann DiPirro star in “Clever Little Lies” at the Hampton Theatre Company in Quogue. Tom Kochie
Attention local theatergoers: For those thinking of seeing just one show this fall, look no further than “Clever Little Lies,” running now through Nov. 12 at the Hampton Theatre Company in Quogue. Joe DiPietro’s 2013 comedy-drama is an exploration of contemporary marriage, and, as directed by Andrew Botsford, this new production is both hilariously funny and laden with genuinely stinging dramatic barbs.
Much of the humor comes from the familiarity of the characters, all of whom will be easily recognizable to Hamptons audiences. As the play opens, a father and a son, both lawyers, talk in the locker room of a health club where they have just finished a set of tennis. When Bill Sr. (played by Terrance Fiore) gently teases his son, Billy (Edward A. Brennan), about having beaten him, Billy admits to being distracted. His wife has just had a new baby, after all, and he is stressed at work. And, oh yes, he is having an affair with a 23-year-old personal trainer.
The father is appalled and demands his son end the affair immediately, but Billy is sodden. “It’s like she has a window into my soul,” he argues without irony; Bill Sr.’s knowing glance reminds us the window she has to Billy is more likely some where south of his heart.
Off we go then to John Cheever land, as Billy’s parents invite him and his wife to their comfortable suburban home for drinks in an effort to intercede in their marriage. Here we are introduced to Billy’s mother, Alice, a bookstore owner who laments popular fashion, declaring the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series unreadable. How does she know this, asks Bill Sr.? Because she’s read them all, Alice announces.
Expertly played by Diana Marbury, Alice is a woman of wit and observation, relating how in her own store’s cafe patrons flip through trashy novels while sipping coffee from mugs adorned with pictures of Charles Dickens; they want the cachet of culture without the commitment.
Cheesecake is served, alongside copious amounts of Scotch whiskey. Alice passes on dessert — “I’m saving my calories for alcohol,” she says — and the dialogue moves smoothly from the joys and sorrows of child rearing to those of marriage, though not without interruptions. The baby (on monitor from the bedroom, of course, for this most contemporary of couples) cries intermittently, while Billy’s cellphone keeps ringing — his baby-doll mistress won’t leave him alone.
There is a hilarious sequence when Alice grabs the cellphone from her son’s hand during one of these calls and then can’t shut it off — she’s as incompetent with technology as she is hostile to it. The expectation, of course, is that this is where the daughter will learn of the affair, and the bloodletting will begin. But Alice manages to finally turn it off, setting the stage for her long monologue on infidelity. She herself, Alice dramatically announces, had an affair years ago.
One of the conceits of “Clever Little Lies” is that the audience doesn’t know whether Alice’s long recounting of her past affair is true, or just a fiction she has concocted to dissuade her son from continuing his dalliance. If the latter, then Bill Sr. is in on the game as well, looking wounded and swilling his Scotch on cue when Alice’s story grows erotic.
That Bill Sr.’s reaction works both as truth and fiction within a fiction is a tribute to Terrance Fiore, whose work here is pitch perfect in every way. Mr. Fiore’s relaxed, grounding performance finds both the sharp sense of irony and the forgiving humanity in his character. He is the anchor for what is already a superlative cast, which includes Edward A. Brennan, who finds both the callowness and the heart in Billy, and Carolann DiPirro as his wife, Jane, impossibly likable even when her neurotic obsession with her newborn is revealed as her own brand of narcissism.
Is the ending of “Clever Little Lies” a little tidy? Perhaps. Along the way, however, the dialogue in Joe DiPietro’s play is so sharp and funny, and the acting here so spot-on, that it hardly matters. This production is regional theater at its best, right down to Sean Marbury’s set design, which recreates a cozy contemporary home so familiar that many in the audience may think they are looking directly into their own living rooms.
It is one more detail in what stands out as one of the most successful Suffolk County productions in recent memory.