October 31 – November 19, 2017 by Ronald Harwood
Cecily, Reggie and Wilf live in a home for retired opera singers, where they take part in an annual concert to celebrate Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday. When opera great Jean Horton arrives just in time to sing at the concert, she’s asked to perform for the first time in over 20 years, but will the show actually go on? Two friends and her ex-husband will do anything to make sure Jean takes the stage. This funny and poignant play is a sweet ode to the art of growing old gracefully, culminating in a rousing, glorious finale.
“…a flat out crowd-pleaser…” –Variety Directed by Susan D. Atkinson
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Meet the Cast
KEITH BAKER (Wilfred Bond ) trained under Sanford Meisner and Martha Graham at the Neighborhood Playhouse, under John Houseman and Michael Langham at Julliard and in advanced music studies at the University of Freiberg. Prior to joining BRT, he was artistic director of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and the original Florida Repertory Theatre. In 2001, Keith was invited by the U.S. State Department to collaborate with artistic directors in the country of Armenia. Subsequently he brought an original Armenian production of Forget Herostratus back to BRT. He has directed over 90 productions of plays and musicals for BRT, and currently serves at BRT’s Artistic Director. Keith started his career as Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway and later appeared as Jeeves in the Goodspeed production of By Jeeves. He sang leading roles with the Houston Grand Opera, Western Opera Theatre, and the Kentucky Opera Association, and has performed in theatres all over the country. In Florida he was nominated for eleven Carbonell Awards for Best Actor (winning twice). Baker won a Broadway World Award for his acting work in the BRT production of Old Wicked Songs. Recently Keith directed BRT’s critically acclaimed production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
JOY FRANZ (Jean Horton)is so happy to be back at Bristol Riverside Theatre! Broadway: Les Liaisons Dangereuse, Into the Woods (Original, Revival, PBS); A Little Night Music, Company, Pippin, Musical Chairs, Open Admissions, Sweet Charity, Lysistrata. Off-Broadway: ‘night Mother, Threepenny Opera, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Avow, Fair Game, Brutality of Fact, Bitter Tears, Assassins, All My Sons, Tom Foolery, Jacques Brel, I Can’t Keep Running in Place, The House of Bernarda Alba, Blood Wedding. Many national tours. Theatre: Her favorites; Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis, The Glass Menagerie, Other Desert Cities, Driving Miss Daisy. TV: Royal Pains, Allegiance, Carrie Diaries, Law & Order, Central Park West, Conan O’Brien, various Daytime. Film: Under Red Lantern, No Picnic for Penny, Horrible People (YouTube). Proud member of Actors Equity and very grateful.
LAURAL MERLINGTON (Cecily Robson) is delighted to make her debut performance at Bristol Riverside Theatre. A relative newcomer to the Philadelphia area theatre scene, Laural was last seen this summer as Minnie Hyacinth Habberdeen in WITH with PlayPenn New Play Development; as Countess Rousilon in Alls Well that Ends Well with PAC; and Jean Swift in City of Conversation with The Delaware Theatre Company. Regional Theatre credits include; Ouiser in Steel Magnolias and Aaronetta Gibbs in Mornings at Seven at Jeff Daniels The Purple Rose Theatre; Gertrude in Hamlet as guest artist at Grand Valley State University; and Linda in Death of a Salesman. Laural worked as a resident company member for many years with the BoarsHead Theatre where she performed roles such as; Regan in King Lear; Truvy in Steel Magnolias; Polly Garter in UnderMilkwood; Stella in Streetcar Named Desire; Sonya in Uncle Vanya; and Kitty Duval in The Time of Your Life, to name a few. Laural is also an audiobook narrator, having performed well over 400 audiobooks. She has received the Audie Award for The Watch That Ends the Night, as well as numerous Audiofile Earphones Awards, and Audiofile Magazine’s Book the Year 2010. Laural has performed in three feature films; Hopeful Notes, All You Can Dream, and The Christmas Bunny with Florence Henderson, and the voice narration for the documentary The Reckoning. Laural has three terrific children, Emily, Max, and Zoe, and two seriously clever grandsons, Nick and Zach. Thanks kids!
NICK ULLETT (Reginald Paget) is thrilled to back at Bristol Riverside Theatre where he was in A Man for All Seasons, Pygmalion, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Bag Babies, and The Woman in Black. In the rest of his career, he has done everything from seven Ed Sullivan Shows to being a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered. He has run the gamut from improvisational theatre in LA to creating the role of Gerald in the musical Me and My Girl on Broadway where he was also seen in Joe Orton’s Loot. On television he’s been in everything from Thornton Wilder’s Infancy on PBS to The Big Bang Theory, Yes Dear, The Practice, Home Improvement, and Golden Girls among others. On film you can see him in Smooch, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Hook and the indie, Geezas in which he plays Big Alan, a British crime boss. His recent theatre appearances in California include Bakersfield Mist at the Fountain, These Paper Bullets at the Geffen, Enter Laughing at the Annenberg, Saturn Returns and Noises Off at SCR, School for Scandal at the Mark Taper Forum, Many Happy Returns at Laguna Playhouse, Zhivago, The Musical at La Jolla, End Game and The Tempest at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. His one man show Dying is Easy. Comedy is Hard garnered rave reviews at the Matrix Theatre. In other parts of the country, he was in the premiere of Tooth and Claw at EST in New York, Gay Divorce in Carnegie Hall, and he delighted Naples Florida with a notable Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. He spent a decade in advertising making an honest living by lying though his teeth about great American products. At his zenith, he was both a Vice-President and Creative Director at J Walter Thompson. At his nadir, he spent a stint as Creative Director of Corporate Communications (a title he invented for himself), at Playboy Enterprises. He wrote himself back into show business by selling a pilot script, 2002, to CBS and having two plays, ‘The Panda and Amanda de Fanda and Goldrush produced by the Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles. He also sold a movie, Love Lines to Random Productions in New York, and a pilot, Seize the Day to Fox TV. He is married to Jenny O’Hara which makes everything possible.