Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

The play’s afoot in Ken Ludwig’s transformation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles into a murderously funny adventure. Ludwig has Sherlock Holmes on the case as the male heirs of the Baskerville line are being dispatched one by one. In the search for the ingenious killer, Holmes and Watson must try to sort out a dizzying web of clues, disguises, and deceit as three actors in the cast of five deftly portray some 40 characters.

“The joy is not in solving the crime but in the plethora of wildly imaginative characters … a play that is ingeniously funny and will keep you guessing until the curtain call.” – Broadway World

GENERAL INFO


October 24 – November 10, 2019
by Ken Ludwig
CAST:

WHO'S WHO

ANDREW BOTSFORD (Actor One) has appeared in more than 45 Hampton Theatre Company productions since 1985, most recently as Elyot in last season’s production of Noël Coward’s Private Lives. Also a director, his most recent production was last season’s On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson; this season he is directing Admissions by Joshua Harmon, opening January 16, 2020. Other regional stage work includes Round Table Theatre Company’s production of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play and Noël Coward’s Tonight at 8:30 at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater. The host of a summer film commentary program at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, he is also the host of the annual Hamptons Doc Fest (formerly the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival) in December in Sag Harbor.

MATTHEW CONLON (Sherlock Holmes) appeared earlier this spring as Quixote in HTC’s Man of La Mancha and in 13 other productions here since 1994, including, most recently: Private Lives, A Comedy of Tenors, Don’t Dress for Dinner, and The Boys Next Door. Selected NYC: HB Playwrights: The Game of Love and Death (with Herbert Berghof); Freud’s Last Session (with Fritz Weaver) and The Chase; Sonnet Rep: The Tempest; EST: The Traveling Lady; La Mama: A Human Equation. Partial Regional: Penobscot: To Kill a Mockingbird; Bay Street: Men’s Lives; Cleveland Play House: The Importance of Being Earnest; O’Neill: Fuddy Meers; Stage West: Suddenly Last Summer (with Kim Hunter); Mendelssohn: Oedipus Rex. Recent Film: Sweet Lorraine; The Crimson Mask; The Man from the City. TV: Distemper; Law and Order(s); One Life to Live. Thanks again to HTC & our supportive patrons for continued opportunity.

DUNCAN HAZARD (John Watson) is making his debut at HTC. He is a New York City based actor and has appeared in many productions including: Love’s Labors Lost, Richard II and Macbeth (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Design for Living, The Chase, The Play’s the Thing, and The American Clock (HB Playwrights Foundation and Ensemble); All Through the House (Manhattan Theatre Club); Coriolanus, The Cherry Orchard and A Doll’s House (Expanded Arts); Ubu Roi (Saint Clements); Happy Days (Jean Cocteau Repertory) and Travesties (Sanford Meisner Theatre). He received his acting training at Yale University and from many other great teachers including Nikos Psacharapoulos, Michael Howard, Wynn Handman, Patsy Rodenburg and David Shiner.

TINA JONES (Actress One) is happy to be returning to Hampton Theatre Company after her run as Vanda in Venus in Fur. She has also performed on the East End at Guild Hall (Tonight at 8:30) and Bay Street Theater (Death of a Salesman). Ms. Jones has worked across the country. Regional theater: Berkeley Repertory Theatre (How I Learned to Drive), Baltimore Center Stage (A Winter’s Tale), Cleveland Playhouse (The Invisible Man), American Conservatory Theater (Arcadia, The Cherry Orchard, The Rose Tattoo, The Matchmaker), San Jose Repertory Theatre (Sylvia), Idaho Shakespeare Festival (Two Gentlemen of Verona, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2), Arizona Theatre Company (The Last Night of Ballyhoo); as well as Broadway (The Real Thing), Off-Off Broadway, film and television. She holds a Master’s Degree from the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and studies with the Barrow Group in New York City.

BEN SCHNICKEL (Actor One) has performed in six previous shows with HTC, including 4000 Miles, Clybourne Park, The Foreigner, The Drawer Boy, Becky’s New Car and Rabbit Hole. He was also seen on the East End in Guild Hall’s production of All My Sons starring Alec Baldwin and Laurie Metcalf. Ben is a New York-based actor whose credits there include The Butter and Egg Man, When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?, Rabbit Hole, Six Degrees of Separation, Billy Witch, The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, An Appeal to the Woman of the House, Rent and What I Did Last Summer. A native of Minneapolis, he has also performed there at the Guthrie Theater and the Children’s Theatre Company. He received his B.F.A. in Acting from Ithaca College.

DIANA MARBURY (Director, Set Decor) is thrilled to be kicking off our 35th season with this wonderful mystery/comedy by one of her favorite playwrights, Ken Ludwig. She opened last season with another of his madcap plays, A Comedy of Tenors and went from director to actor in On Golden Pond and back to director for our first full musical Man of La Mancha, finishing last season playing the french maid in Private Lives. She considers it an honor to have had the opportunity to be a part of the growth of this company for these many years. The various hats she’s worn have given her insight into the multiple facets involved in bringing theater to the public. Without the hard work of so many, there would be no show. She thanks her creative team, production staff, and house manager for their tremendous contributions to this effort. Last but not least, she thanks our audience for their continued encouragement and support, with a special shout out to our newly formed Producers Circle.

KEN LUDWIG (Playwright) is a two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright whose work is performed every night of the year throughout the world in more than 30 countries and over 20 languages. He has written 24 plays and musicals, with six Broadway productions and seven in London’s West End. His Tony Awardwinning play Lend Me a Tenor was called “one of the classic comedies of the 20th century” by The Washington Post. His other plays and musicals include Crazy for You (five years on Broadway, Tony Award for Best Musical), Moon Over Buffalo (Broadway and West End), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Broadway), Treasure Island (West End), Twentieth Century (Broadway), Leading Ladies, Shakespeare in Hollywood, The Three Musketeers, The Game’s Afoot, The Fox on the Fairway, The Beaux’ Stratagem, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, and A Comedy of Tenors. His critically acclaimed adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, written at the request of the Christie Estate, premiered this season to sold-out houses at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, and his world-premiere adaptation of Robin Hood! opens at The Old Globe this summer. Mr. Ludwig has received commissions from The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Bristol Old Vic and The Old Globe, and he is a Sallie B. Goodman Fellow of McCarter Theatre. His many awards and honors include the Charles MacArthur Award, two Helen Hayes Awards, the Southeastern Theatre Conference Distinguished Career Award, the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year, and the Edwin Forrest Award for Contributions to the American Theatre. His book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare (Random House) won the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book of 2014, and his essays are published by The Yale Review. He holds degrees from Harvard and Cambridge University.

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, Alarms and Excursions, Clever Little Lies, On Golden Pond and A Comedy of Tenors.

TERESA LEBRUN (Costume Designer) is the resident costumer for Hampton Theatre Company. 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. Much love to her boys, Josh and Noah, family and great friends.

GEORGE A. LOIZIDES (Rehearsal Stage Manager/ Backstage Crew/Props) has directed Bus Stop, The Odd Couple (Female Version), Lost In Yonkers, Don’t Dress For Dinner and Private Lives for the Hampton Theatre Company. As an actor for HTC he has appeared in Glengarry Glen Ross, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Bedroom Farce, Heroes, Alarms And Excursions and most recently On Golden Pond as Norman. He has acted and directed for Playcrafters Theatre Company in Bellport as well. George has been an actor and director for 50 years. For 27 years he was Director of Theatre Arts at Ward Melville High School where he taught acting and directing and directed 81 productions. He attended the Herbert Berghof Studio in NYC where he studied acting and directing. Thanks again to HTC for the opportunity. To Kathy thanks always.

CARLENE DESCALO (Production Stage Manager) is excited to be rejoining Hampton Theatre Company. Recently she has served as Interim Costume Director for Arizona Broadway Theatre. In the past she has worked at Stony Brook Univeristy as Costume and Prop Shop Manager, PA for WGN’s television series Underground and costume designer, wardrobe supervisor/dresser and assistant costume designer for theatre, television and film for a variety of organizations in California.

AARON LEVINE (Lighting/Sound Tech) is happy to work for the Hampton Theatre Company, helping with set construction and working backstage. This is his 2rd season working for the HTC and sixthproduction he has been a part of. He thanks Sean Marbury and Diana Marbury for the involvement and looks forward to another great season.

JULIA MORGAN ABRAMS (House Manager). After retiring from the legal department of Bristol Myers Squibb, Julia began a second career as a volunteer, initially for Literacy Suffolk, HTC and the Southampton Animal Shelter, where she wrote grants and worked in fundraising. She continues to write grants and help with marketing for several local nonprofits. Julia would like to thank all of her dedicated House Assistants for their continued support.

PRODUCTION STAFF

Director – DIANA MARBURY
Set Design – SEAN MARBURY
Lighting Design – EBASTIAN PACZYNSKI
Set Decor – DIANA MARBURY
Costume Design – TERESA LEBRUN
Rehearsal Stage Manager – GEORGE A. LOIZIDES
Production Stage Manager – CARLENE DESCALO
Set Construction – AARON LEVINE, NICK FITZGERALD, SASCHA MARBURY, SEAN MARBURY, FRANKLIN SENGARIMA, PETER VORK
Sound Design – SEAMUS NAUGHTON
Lighting/Sound Tech – AARON LEVINE
Backstage Crew/Props – GEORGE A . LOIZIDES
Backstage Crew – NICK FITZGERALD
Projections – ROGER MOLEY
Box Office – LISA CARR/SONYA HUBBARD
Production Graphics – JOE PALLISTER/DESIGNINGJOE
House Manager – JULIA MORGAN ABRAMS
Production Photographer – TOM KOCHIE

REVIEWS

PREVIEW

Hellhound of the Baskervilles

By Mark Segal
The East Hampton Star

The Hampton Theatre Company will launch its 35th season at the Quogue Community Hall on Thursday with “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery.” To those familiar with the work of Mr. Ludwig, an Olivier and Tony Award-winning playwright whose work includes “Lend Me a Tenor” and “A Comedy of Tenors,” it will be no surprise that “Baskerville” weaves elements of farce with theatrical ingenuity and a touch of drama.

The play is based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” and, like that famous tale, brings Holmes and Watson to England’s foggy moors in search of the supernatural hellhound that has been murdering heirs to the Baskerville fortune. The play departs from the story, however, when Holmes and Watson are faced with a dizzying web of clues, silly accents, disguises, and deceit, thanks to 40 characters who are portrayed by three actors.

“It’s a wild, crazy ride,” said Diana Marbury, the theater’s artistic director and director of this production, who noted that Shakespeare’s own company consisted of 12 to 15 actors who played as many as 35 characters. “So this is sort of a fascinating old-school method of working.” The three protean actors are Andrew Botsford, Tina Jones, and Ben Schnickel. Matthew Conlon (Holmes) and Duncan Hazard (Watson) round out the cast.

“The play is definitely a challenge all the way around,” said Ms. Marbury. “It’s a challenge for the actor, first and foremost, to jump from one character to another within a page and a half, and then it’s a challenge for the director to make sure they are distinguishing each character substantially. And it’s a challenge for the costume designer, who has to make their costumes accessible from one character to another with not much time in between.”

Mr. Ludwig has written almost 30 plays and musicals, including six on Broadway and seven on London’s West End. The Washington Post called “Lend Me a Tenor,” which won two Tonys, “one of the classic comedies of the 20th century.”

“Ken is a very smart playwright,” said Ms. Marbury, “and he has a tremendous background,” including a degree from Harvard, where he studied music with Leonard Bernstein. “When I first suggested ‘Baskerville’ to our artistic committee, everybody kind of hesitated because it was so challenging. I was thrilled to have the opportunity when they decided that we could actually pull this off. And now we’ll see if we can.”

“Baskerville,” which runs through Nov. 10, will be followed in January by “Admissions,” Joshua Harmon’s award-winning satire about what happens when the son of the head of the admissions department at an elite prep school sets his sights on the Ivy League. The collision of progressive values with personal ambition rings true and topical in light of the recent college admissions scandal.

“It’s coincidental for sure,” said Ms. Marbury. “We had talked about doing the play before that scandal broke. But it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s a timely play. And I’m excited to be acting in it.” The season will also include A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” and Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”

Performances of “Baskerville” will take place on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30, with an additional matinee on Nov. 9. Tickets are $30, $25 for senior citizens (except Saturdays), $20 for those under 35, and $10 for students under 21. Dinner-theater packages will also be available.




East End Theater Review: There’s No Mystery – “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” Is A Winner In Quogue

T.J. Clemente
Hamptons.com

The Hampton Theatre Company’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery had the audience at the Quogue Community Center laughing, applauding and totally entertained all afternoon during its opening week Sunday matinee. At the end, the audience stood as one and applauded.

Director Diana Marbury successfully tapped into her wealth of knowledge of all things theater and masterfully put together a sophisticated strategy combining amazing versatile acting, set changes, lighting effects, and almost sleight of hand illusionary techniques to make this show move at a fast and exciting pace.

The versatility of this talented small cast was on display all during the performance as the actors changed characters, accents, wigs and costumes in a dizzying array of set changes. The stage crew themselves, led by George Loizides, were stars in this show for their lightning speed and precision in the more than 60 set changes and over 300 cues. In my ten years of reviewing plays, this was the first production where I walked up to the stage after the show to congratulate the stage crew.

All five of the actors are phenomenal. I have been a Matthew Conlon fan for years and again he brought his “A” game as Sherlock Holmes. Matthew owns the Quogue Community Center stage and has a confidence on stage equal to his booming voice and comical nuanced technique.

Duncan Hazard was a consistently likeable and applaudable Dr. Watson. Mr. Hazard has a very wonderful rapport with the audience and a certain stature that is warming.

However, it was the extreme versatility of Andrew Botsford, Ben Schnickel and Tina Jones that launches this production to the highest level of pure entertainment. There is no doubt Ms. Marbury fine-tuned these actors but their combined effort is worthy of some individual praise.

Tina Jones moved around the stage in her many roles bringing forth many of the loudest belly laughs from the audience. Her physical comedic acting skills were on full display as she shined all night long in each of her rolls with a different distinct accented voice used for each character. She even hilariously plays a boy.

Andrew Botsford, a popular Hampton Theatre Company player, was equally game as he too changed rolls, accents, and costumes at lightning speed. His timing delivering punchlines is a gift from god. He is terrific!

Last, but not least, was the performance of Ben Schnickel who perhaps had some of the funniest moments in the whole show. His acting as a painting is without a doubt one of the funniest moments I have ever seen on live stage in my life. The roar of the audience concurred. Kudos and accolades to Ben!

There is no doubt director Diana Marbury used all her talented might in making the actors gags and gag lines hit their marks. She created an entertaining show, a wonderful fun experience for the audience, along with important theatrical moments. I am guessing this is a show you can see a few times and catch a new comedic nuisance you may have missed beforehand. I intend to see it again. How often do you read that in a review?

I must also applaud and mention: Sean Marbury, Set Design and Set Construction; Ebastian Pacyznski, Lighting Design; Diana Marbury, Set Decor; Teresa Lebrun, Costume Design; George A Loizides, Rehearsal Stage Manager, Backstage Crew/Props; Carlene Descalo, Rehearsal Stage Manager; Seamus Naughton, Sound Design; Aaron Levine, Lighting/Sound Tech and Set Construction; Nick Fitzgerald, Backstage Crew and Set Construction; Roger Moley, Projections; Lisa Carr/Sonya Hubbard, Box Office; Joe Pallister, Production Graphics; Julia Morgan Abrams, House Manager; Tom Kochie, Production Photographer, and Sasha Marbury, Franklin Sengarima, and Peter Vork, Set Construction.

The Hampton Theatre Company’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at the Quogue Community Center is a winner.

Shows will be on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. An additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, November 9, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening. A talkback with the cast will be offered following the Friday, November 1 at 7 p.m.

The Hampton Theatre Company is offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. A special lunch and theater package is also available for the Saturday matinee on November 9, with lunch before the show at the Quogue Club at the Hallock House.

Tickets are $10 for students, $20 for those under 35-years-old, $25 for seniors, and $30 for adults.

The Hampton Theatre Company is located at 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. For reservations and information on all packages and available discounts, visit our Tickets Page.




Opinion: Farce Comes to the Moors

By Kurt Wenzel The East Hampton Star

The 35th season of Quogue’s Hampton Theatre Company began last week with the opening of “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery.”

“Baskerville,” written by Ken Ludwig, is based on the crime novel “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. While the novel is a strict detective story, rich with the haunting atmosphere of the English countryside, the play ventures into broad comedy, brought to a frenzied pitch as directed by Diana Marbury.

Plot is mostly secondary in “Bas­kerville,” the clues and convoluted family ties rattled off so quickly the play is left mostly in the service of comedy. Suffice to say that it begins with a Sir Charles Baskerville found dead on the moor near his home in Devon. Was he murdered, or the victim of a legendary “hellhound” that supposedly haunts the moors? Henry, a Texas tycoon next in line to take over the estate, heads to the Baskerville mansion with Sherlock Holmes and John Watson to solve the mystery.

Matthew Conlon, so good in last year’s hilarious “A Comedy of Tenors,” is perfectly cast here as Sherlock. The actor highlights the detective’s vanity and self-importance, marking himself as the straight man in this farcical production. He plays Sherlock much the same as Conan Doyle wrote him, as brilliant, though almost equally irritating, and doted on by the faithful John Watson (played with tweedy dignity by Duncan Hazard).

The other three actors, Tina Jones, Andrew Botsford, and Ben Schnickel, do much of the heavy lifting in this production, each inhabiting dozens of characters. If not all of them come off, it may be more significant to note that most of them do. Mr. Botsford, who has a penchant in Hampton Theatre productions for playing mealy-mouthed connivers, here does especially well in his portrayal of Henry, a gun-toting Texas rube. And Mr. Schnickel hits his high note as a pretentious Castilian hotel concierge, with an outrageously overwrought wig and mustache.

But when the big laughs come, they are almost always delivered by Tina Jones, who takes on her personas with a rarefied comic gusto. She nails an Irish nurse, a Cockney carriage driver, and an English coquette, among others, with a spritely energy and (to this ear) a flawless verbal technique. The play is most alive when she is onstage.

And it is her turn as Inga, the Bas­kervilles’ German housemaid, that solicits the most uproarious laughter. Owing a debt perhaps to Teri Garr in “Young Frankenstein,” Inga’s verbal mal­apropisms — she pronounces her Vs as Ws, for example — are delivered in a starkly imperious German accent, tinged with the perfect amount of hyperbole. Inga appears in just a handful of scenes (you’ll wish there were more), though Ms. Jones is so good in the role it becomes the comic centerpiece of the production.

Also asked to stretch here is Sean Marbury, whose set design has to keep up with a dizzying pace of scene changes. Many of his choices are clever and evocative, often relying on a rear-wall projection to summon a London train station or wind-swept streets, for example. There are gunshots and smoke machines (beware, first row ticketholders), and Sherlock and Watson’s visit to the opera is assembled with a striking economy.

Less successful is Mr. Marbury’s attempt to evoke the stark moors and bogs of Devon, perhaps an impossible task on the stage, but which Conan Doyle used to memorable advantage in the novel — the landscape portrayed with such existential portent that it rose to the level of metaphor.

But then this “Baskerville” is more farce than noir, even if by the play’s end Ms. Marbury lets the slapstick skirt dangerously close to clowning (one actor merely changes hats from one line of dialogue to the next to invoke different characters). Nevertheless, for those who like their comedies loose and broad, “Baskerville” mostly delivers, the performance I witnessed culminating in a partial standing ovation. It seemed, if nothing else, a nod to the stamina of these hard-working actors, and of course the comic bravura of Tina Jones.

The show runs through Nov. 10.

DIRECTIONS

FROM SUNRISE HIGHWAY (ROUTE-27):
Sunrise Highway (Route 27) to exit 64S (Rte. 104 to Quogue). Rte. 104 South (approx. 3 miles) to Montauk Highway (Rte. 80). Right onto Montauk Highway to light at Otis Ford (1 mile). Left onto Jessup Avenue. 1/2 mile to theater (on right). FROM MONTAUK HIGHWAY (ROUTE-80):
Montauk Highway to light at Otis Ford in Quogue. South onto Jessup Avenue. 1/2 mile to theater (on right).

PARKING & ACCESSIBILITY

PARKING: There is limited street parking around the theater as well as a parking lot that can be entered just north of the Quogue Community Hall. WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: The theater is wheelchair accessible through the side entrance. If a member of your party needs wheelchair access, please come to front entrance and ask the person taking tickets to open the side door. If a member of your party requires a wheelchair in the theater, please reserve one seat at the end of a row. ASSISTED LISTENING DEVICES: The theater does not have assisted listening devices at this time.
Gallery – photos by Tom Kochie