Coward play to open season Theater: Colonial Players in Annapolis begins its 49th season tomorrow with "Blithe Spirit."

September 04, 1997|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Colonial Players, the theater on East Street in Annapolis, opens its 49th season tomorrow with Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." It is one of three comedies scheduled this season.

The others are "My Three Angels" by Sam and Bella Spewack, which runs Jan. 16 through Feb 14, and Larry Gelbart's "Sly Fox," an updated version of Ben Jonson's "Volpone," which runs April 24 through May 23.

John Olive's "Voice of the Prairie," a drama about the early days of radio in the Midwest, runs Oct. 17 through Nov. 15, and "Cabaret," the musical set in Germany during Hitler's rise to power, written by John Mastroff with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, runs March 6 through April 4.

The theater also has scheduled its annual production of Rick Wade and Dick Gessner's "A Christmas Carol" Dec. 4-7 and Dec. 11-14. This presentation is separate from the subscription series, with ticket sales on Nov. 22 only.

Ken Sabel, the publicity director, said the theater's directors try to select at least one comedy, a dramatic comedy and a musical for each season. Next year, the theater will choose one play from each of the last five decades to celebrate its 50th anniversary, he said.

"Blithe Spirit" was first seen in wartime London in 1941 when Coward was at the top of his form. It gave Londoners welcome comic relief and was a notable success. The play set a record for the number of performances (2,000) for a nonmusical.

The plot centers on a sort of spiritual love triangle, with the long-dead wife of author Charles Condomine trying to interfere in his second marriage, and only he can hear her acerbic comments.

Condomine invites his friends to a seance conducted by Madame Arcati. The eccentric medium calls forth the ghost of Elvira, the first wife, much to the annoyance of Ruth, the second wife, and the fun begins.

Bob Nelson, a relative newcomer to the Annapolis area, makes his first appearance as a director with Colonial Players. Nelson, who has been involved in community theater in Virginia, said he is aware of Colonial Players' reputation for quality and is pleased to be directing the cast of "Blithe Spirit."

Frank Moorman plays Condomine, with Priscilla Schneider as Elvira and Joan Fontana as Ruth. Mary Tsakis appears as Madame Arcati with Jan Kleckner as Edith, Condomine's maid, and Walter Foster and Peggy Owens as Dr. and Mrs. Bradman, guests at the seance.

Colonial Players Inc. is managed and operated entirely by volunteers. The theater-in-the-round is at 108 East St.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 7: 30 p.m. Sundays with matinee performances at 2: 30 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays.

Subscription prices are $55 for five shows on Friday and Saturday; $40 for five shows on Thursday and Sunday; and $30 for five shows for seniors (over 65) and students. For additional information and to make reservations, call the box office at 410-268-7373.

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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