Coward’s crackling comedy of bad manners, with the eccentric Bliss family entertaining themselves at the expense of an overmatched quartet of weekend guests.
GABRIELLA CAMPAGNA (Sorel Bliss) is thrilled to return to the stage where she performed for five summers with the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe. Gabriella attended Middlebury College and, as a former professional dancer, has performed at Lincoln Center, City Center and Dance New Amsterdam in NYC. As an actor, she has appeared in the Spring Ensemble Workshop with the Labyrinth Theater Company, Room of Wishes at the Paul Rudolph House and played Lydia in Spike Heels at the T. Schreiber Theatre. Gabriella has appeared in numerous short films including Tuesday, Groomed and The Debut. She recently wrote and starred in Stormy!, which was shot in Quogue, alongside Margot Douglass and Richie Gergel. Gabriella is excited to have a small role in her first feature film, Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, currently in theaters. Gabriella would like to thank her teachers Maria Dizzia and Scott Freeman.
ROSEMARY CLINE (Judith Bliss) last appeared with the HTC as Annette Raleigh in God of Carnage. An original member of the company dating to its very first production, she has had roles in more than 30 productions and also spent many years performing in the city and in summer stock. She is pursuing an MFA in directing and acting at Stony Brook Southampton, where she has studied with Mercedes Ruehl, Joanna Merlin and Rinde Eckert. For the past six years she has been the director of Westhampton Beach High School productions. Many thanks to our director Diana, the cast and crew, and always to Jane Stanton. My love to Christopher, Cashew and Carter… with a wink to Mom, Dad and June.
MATTHEW CONLON (Richard Greatham) is grateful to return to the HTC, where he appeared most recently in Clybourne Park, Harvey and last season’s The Foreigner. He also appeared in The Heiress, The Real Thing and The Crucible some time back. Selected NYC: HB Playwrights: The Game of Love and Death (with Herbert Berghof); Freud’s Last Session (with Fritz Weaver) and The Chase; Beckett: Judgement; Sonnet Rep: The Tempest; EST: The Traveling Lady; La Mama: A Human Equation. 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); Ivoryton: Prelude to a Kiss and On Golden Pond; Mendelssohn: Oedipus Rex; Power Center: Waiting for Godot; Bearsville: The Lisbon Traviata. Recent Film: Sweet Lorraine; The Crimson Mask; The Man from the City. TV: Law and Order; One Life to Live. Thanks to public education: the Sayville School System and SUNY at Purchase.
JANE CORTNEY (Myra Arundel) is pleased to return to the HTC stage where she made her debut two seasons ago as Mary Detweiler in How The Other Half Loves. Most recently she played Mir’l in On the Other Side of the River with New Worlds Theatre Project at HERE. NYC roles include Nikki in The Woodsman, Irina in Three Sisters and Alma in Summer and Smoke. Regional work includes Beth in Little Women at Northern Stage and Franzl in The Comfort of Darkness at Caldwell Theatre. She is a member of Oberon Theatre Ensemble and a co-founder of the Lafayette Series Salon, a monthly reading series that meets at the Players Club. Jane received her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School/New School for Drama. AEA member. janecortney.com.
ANTHONY FAMULARI (Sandy Tyrell) is excited to join the Hampton Theatre Company in their 30th season. Anthony studied theatre at Stony Brook University and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. In addition to roles in a number of independent films, his stage credits include Rich in Sailor’s Song, Epilogue in The Flu Season, The Schoolmaster in Figaro/Figaro and Constantine in Big Love. A huge thank you to Diana and to everyone at HTC. And a big thanks to my family for the love and support!
AMANDA GRIEMSMANN (Jackie Croyton) is thrilled to return to the Hampton Theatre Company following her debut as Myrtle Mae Simmons in Harvey. A Long Island native, she received a B.F.A. in theater from Adelphi University. She has performed for several seasons in Manhattan with The Inwood Shakespeare Festival. Her other favorite credits include: Steel Magnolias, Arsenic and Old Lace, Don’t Dress For Dinner, Hamlet Q1 and The Crucible. She was most recently seen in several episodes of Deadly Sins on Investigation Discovery. A special thanks to Diana for this opportunity! Love to friends and family, physically and spiritually, for their constant support and encouragement.
BOBBY PETERSON (Simon Bliss) is thrilled to be making his debut with Hampton Theater Company! Previous credits include Guild Hall’s production of Tonight at 8:30 by Noel Coward (starring Blythe Danner, directed by Tony Walton), Singin’ In The Rain (Cosmo Brown), Bonnie & Clyde (Clyde), 42nd Street (Billy Lawlor), Xanadu (Sonny), Into The Woods (Jack), Hair (Claude), and many others. Bobby has also accompanied for Rufus Wainwright, as an audition accompanist for Gateway Playhouse, and for a musical theater workshop taught by Julie Andrews at Stony Brook Southampton. He is the music director and organist at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton, and received his Masters and B.A. degrees in performance at Stony Brook University.
NOEL COWARD (Playwright) was an English actor, writer, and composer of popular music. In 1920, at the age of 20, he wrote and starred in his first full-length play, I’ll Leave It To You. It was, however, the controversy surrounding his play The Vortex (1924) – which contains many veiled references to drug abuse and homosexuality – that made him an overnight sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. Coward followed this success with three more major hits: Hay Fever, Fallen Angels (both 1925) and Easy Virtue (1926). Next came enormously popular productions such as the full-length operetta Bitter Sweet (1929) and Cavalcade (1931) as well as finely-wrought comedies such as Private Lives (1930) in which Coward starred alongside his most famous stage partner Gertrude Lawrence. The duo teamed up again in Coward’s Tonight at 8:30 (1936), an ambitious cycle of ten different short plays which were randomly ‘shuffled’ to make up a unique playbill of three plays each night. Coward was also a prolific songwriter. Following the outbreak of war, he wrote and released some extraordinarily popular songs, the most famous of which are London Pride and Don’t Let’s Be Beastly To The Germans. He also wrote and starred in the naval drama film, In Which We Serve, for which Coward won an honorary Oscar. In addition to over fifty published plays and many albums’ worth of original songs, Coward wrote comic revues, poetry, several excellent collections of short stories, a novel (Pomp and Circumstance, 1960), and three volumes of autobiography. He was knighted in 1970 and died in 1973 in his beloved, Jamaica.
DIANA MARBURY (Director, Set Decor, Clara), whose most recent directing credits include last fall’s production of Harvey, God of Carnage as well as How the Other Half Loves, Black Tie and ‘Art’, is delighted to be bringing this charming classic onto the boards to complete HTC’s 30th season. Diana has appeared in 50 HTC productions, most recently The Foreigner (Betty Meeks) and Other Desert Cities (Polly Wyeth). She would like to thank her dedicated cast and crew as well as all the people and businesses that provide the furniture, decorations, and props for each show. Also, a big hand to our wonderful patrons, who continue to give their support, in spite of these tough financial times. We hope you have enjoyed our 30th Anniversary season!
PETER-TOLIN BAKER (Set Designer) is the founder and principal designer of NYC based P-T B Design Services and, as such, provides creative visual design solutions for a range of retail brands, exhibitions and promotional events. Previously, he was the Vice President of Visual Merchandising at Tiffany & Co. and the visual manager with the legendary luxury emporium Henri Bendel. Additional design experience, in California, includes clothing design for Japanese Weekend and design and construction for E.M. Fabrications, a custom display and prop company. Baker was also both production designer and performer with the groundbreaking band Voice Farm. Throughout his career Baker has continued to work as scenic designer for dozens of dramatic and musical productions, including local HITFest’s recent productions of In the Next Room or the vibrator play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and In The Bar of a Tokyo Hotel. Clybourne Park marked his debut with the Hampton Theatre Company.
SEBASTIAN PACZYNSKI (Lighting Designer) first worked with the Hampton Theatre Company when he designed the company’s 2003 production of Summer and Smoke at Guild Hall and has designed all the company’s productions since Proof in 2004 as well as the theater’s new 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 the Hampton Theatre Company and has designed costumes for all the company’s recent productions. Teresa has also costumed for Spindletop Productions at Guild Hall. Much love to her boys Josh and Noah.
CHRISSIE DEPIERRO (Stage Manager). Now in her second season with HTC, steps into the position of Stage Manager for Hay Fever. Her heartfelt gratitude to the company, crew and cast for all their faith and support with this golden opportunity. The guidance and experience of John Zaleski that has made this dream come true. Thanks to her three. shining stars, Matthew, Kristopher and Theresa, whose never-ending love make each day that much brighter.
JOHN ZALESKI (Assistant Stage Manager). This is John’s 34th Production with HTC. Much love, Catherine, for your love, patience, and support on this, the 121st Opening Night. And thank you, Chrissie, for taking on the esteemed mantle of HTC Production Stage Manager! All my best ~ it’s “Go Time” for you!
ROB (MARYAM) DOWLING (Lighting & Sound Technician) has done lighting and sound for 22 years with various theater groups on the East End. Rob has also helped Sebastian with lighting setup at Guild Hall, the Ross School, and other local venues. This is Rob’s seventh season with the Hampton Theatre Company and he is very happy to be part of the show and the company.
COURTNEY KING (Intern, Backstage Crew) is so happy to work with the Hampton Theatre Company again! Her first HTC internship was this winter during Time Stands Still. Theater has always been a part of her life. She has performed in many local shows and school productions including Godspell, The 39 Steps and Urinetown at Westhampton Beach High School and You Can’t Take it With You at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. She is currently a senior at Westhampton Beach High School and next year plans to study at SUNY Geneseo.
HAMPTON THEATRE COMPANY (Producer) is celebrating 30 years of bringing live theater to Long Island’s East End. Thanks to the great generosity and unstinting support of the Village of Quogue, 23 of those years have been spent at the beautiful Quogue Community Hall. The company has so far presented more than 100 plays by the world’s greatest playwrights, all listed in these pages. The company is immensely grateful to our generous patrons, friends and audience members who have made these years such a success.
Fun, frolicsome and frothy, Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever” is the stage version of an entertaining summer beach read.
Set in the English countryside in the early 1920s, which could just as well be weekend in the Hamptons today, the farcical comedy of manners is a delicious slice of outrageous Bliss family life. It’s a wonderfully pleasing pick by the Hampton Theatre Company in Quogue, which is staging its production through June 7.
Mother Judith Bliss, played pitch perfectly by the luminous Rosemary Cline, is the beating heart of the eccentric family unit. A retired stage actress who relishes the spotlight, she’s dramatic and outlandish. Her precocious adult children, Sorel and Simon, happily stand in as her supporting actors, taking great pride in their practiced eccentricities. Actors Gabriella Campagna (great casting, as she and Ms. Cline very closely resemble one another in physicality and manner) and Bobby Peterson (debuting here but recently seen in Coward’s “Tonight at 8:30” at Guild Hall) absolutely nail it as the affected daughter and son. Husband David, ideally played with just the right touch of droll and dapper by Andrew Botsford, who shines in the role, is a novelist intent on finishing his latest creation. But first, some fun.
Eager to share their theatrical gifts with the world, the Blisses each invite a houseguest out for the weekend. Blissfully (intended wordplay, I’m sure) unaware of all but their own desires, the family then sets about amusing themselves, all the while peripherally juggling attempts to draw in and simultaneously repel the others.
Judith invites boxing boy toy Sandy Tyrell (Anthony Famulari) as a romantic diversion. She soon casts him aside for appropriately staid Richard Greatham (Matthew Conlon), who was supposed to be her daughter’s love interest. Similar setups occur when David and Simon swap partners. Take-charge Myra Arundel (Jane Cortney), invited by Simon, sets her sights on the successful writer father while the shy/out-of-her-league Jackie Coryton (Amanda Griemsmann) gets pushed aside by the patriarch and snatched up by his effete son.
Charismatic and engaging at first glance, the Blisses start to wear thin rather quickly. All the world’s a stage for the family of four, whether it wants to be or not.
“We’re a beastly family and I hate us,” says Sorel after a spirited parlor game, which ends in drama, greatly enjoyed by the Blisses. Not so much the guests.
Witness to it all is Clara, Judith’s former dresser-turned maid, played with effective aplomb by Diana Marbury, who also directs this pleasing production.
As with the leads, the supporting cast here is marvelous. Each embodies the character with style and wit. Well done to the actors, who kept the audience—including this reviewer—engaged, entertained and amused during the Memorial Day weekend Sunday afternoon sold-out performance.
Other standouts for “Hay Fever” include the stage set, lighting and costumes, which are always Broadway quality at the Quogue Community Hall. Bravo to Ms. Marbury, set designer Peter Tolin-Baker, lighting designer Sebastian Paczynski, costume designer Teresa Lebrun, and stage manager Chrissie DePierro. And to the rest of the production staff as well. Excellent work.
Coward wrote “Hay Fever” after a visit to the New York home of over-the-top stage actress Laurette Taylor (who later went on to become the original Amanda in Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie”) and her husband, playwright Hartley Manners. This vivacious and vivid three-act play is grandiose, showy, and at times histrionic and ridiculous. It’s precisely the type of drawing-room comedy that works here on the East End. Go see it.
As usual, enjoyable play with superb cast!
– DONALD FORMAN
The staging was perfect and the acting was right on target. Thanks for a wonderful show.
– DOT & IRV HIRSHFIELD
We certainly did enjoy the play. Beautifully performed and flat out fun. Look forward to your return in October.
– ANNETTE GREEN
We saw the opening of Hay Fever in London on April 29th and the opening in Quogue on May 21st, and Quogue is the winner!
– DON GERSHUNY
Excellent show, we enjoyed every moment!
– LENI & HARVEY GOLDSMITH
HTC has a winner in this production! The acting, set design, and costumes made for a whimsically comical evening.
– ARLENE CARL
Really liked the show. It was great fun and the actors all did a wonderful job… Rosemary Cline’s performance was exceptional. Diana Marbury did a great job directing and gave an entertainingly comic performance in the role of Clara. Thanks for yet another winner from the Hampton Theatre Company.
– LINDA GERIEN
“Hay Fever” was a complete delight. One might even say “sheer bliss.” The acting was over-the-top good and the play itself as effervescent as fine champagne. Congratulations.
– FRED VOLKMER
I LOVED THE PLAY. The actors were unbelievably great – every single one of them.
– PENNY WRIGHT, ROGERS MEMORIAL LIBRARY
A delightful show with a sterling cast. Hampton Theatre Company never disappoints. Can’t wait for next season.
– SUSAN GELLMAN
We loved the show. The actors are always great, the costumes are fabulous, the sets are wonderful, and, Rosemary (a former student at the WHB schools), congratulations always. You are a remarkable talent!
– BETTY AND DICK WILSON AND FRIENDS
I loved “Hay Fever” They did a wonderful job!
– LISA WASZKELEWICZ
Loved “Hay Fever.”
– DOLORES MCGLASSON
Really enjoyed the show. The cast did a wonderful job portraying the mores and times of the 1920’s and Noel Coward’s ironic take on them. Congratulations on 30 years. Your productions are always well done and top notch!
– CAROL TVELIA
It was fantastic. I am ready to see it again. The acting was superb. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to renew my subscription.
– MICHELLE ROUSSAN
I thoroughly enjoyed “Hay Fever”. It was very entertaining.
– HARRIET I. MATYSKO
Gallery images by Tom Kochie