Professional Theatre For Maine

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The Cocktail Hour: a deliciously potent comedy about family.

Posted on 10/16/2014 2:05am by Jennifer Madigan

The Public Theatre officially opens its season with A.R. Gurney’s insightful and intelligent comedy, The Cocktail Hour, running Oct 17th – 26th. Mix two middle-aged children, their parents and alcohol and prepare to be shaken with laughter and emotionally stirred. The pre-dinner cocktail is a revered ritual in this well-to-do family, but when their middle-aged son comes home to announce he’s written a play about his parents, they quickly become a family on the rocks. Filled with Martini dry wit and banter, don’t miss this entertaining and potent comedy starring Ellen Crawford and Mike Genovese (from NBC’s E.R.), last seen at The Public Theatre in On Golden Pond.

Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Off-Broadway Play, this perceptive comedy seamlessly blends humor with moments of affecting poignancy in what many critics call A.R. Gurney’s finest play. “It’s both funny and emotionally satisfying” says director Janet Mitchko. “If you are a parent or a child, (especially if your parents are aging), this play is for you. It’s a very truthful and humorous look at how hard it is for parents and children to see each other as anything other than extensions of themselves, and a great example of how going home to visit your parents, regardless of how old you are, brings out the child in all of us. If you have a family, I guarantee you will recognize yourself in this play.”

Recently named the “Best Theatre in Maine” for the second year in a row by Down East Magazine’s readers’ poll, The Public Theatre continues its reputation for producing high quality professional theatre with a stellar cast starring Ellen Crawford and Mike Genovese as the parents Ann and Bradley.  Most recognizable from her role as Nurse Lydia Wright on the NBC series “ER” for 10 seasons, Ellen Crawford’s character went on to marry Sgt. Al Grabarski, played by Mike Genovese. Over the years The Public Theatre has been an artistic home for Mike and Ellen, beginning with another A.R. Gurney play, Love Letters.   Since then Ellen has performed here as Emily Dickinson in The Belle Of Amherst, Mike in Orphans, and both mostly recently in On Golden Pond. With a long history of Broadway and regional theatre credits between them, Mike and Ellen are currently based in Los Angeles where they have each appeared on television shows such as The Flash, Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Next Generation, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives among others. Playing John, the playwright whoreveals to his family that they are the subject of his script is Kyle Knauf. Kyle was recently seen as Hamlet in Hamlet at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York City. Appearing in the role of Nina, John’s sister, will be Beth Hylton, last seen at The Public Theatre as Chelsea in On Golden Pond. Beth recently completed an exciting production of Clybourne Park and its companion piece Beneatha’s Place for Baltimore Center Stage that was filmed for PBS.

The Public Theatre launches its new season with the introduction of its PLAY PAL program for people who love going to the theatre but can’t always find someone to go with. It will connect solo theatre-goers with other solo theatre-lovers when they attend the 3pm Saturday matinee performance.   PLAY PALS will be seated together and identified to each other making it easy to make a new friend at The Public Theatre. PLAY PALS are also given a coupon for a free concession item, encouraging them to meet and mingle with other theatre-lovers during intermission. A “getting to know you” game card is also available for adventuresome PLAY PAL members, offering a chance to win fun prizes. Membership in The Public Theatre’s PLAY PAL program is free with the only requirement being that you are a solo-theatre-goer. Members can choose to see one play or every play in the season and the shows you attend are up to you.  Who knows, you might find a new friend sitting in the seat right next to you.

Performances of The Cocktail Hour are Oct 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26 Thurs/Fri 7:30pm, Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm, with an added matinee on Sat Oct 25 @3pm.  Adults $20, Group Rate (10+) $16.  For tickets call The Public Theatre Box Office at 782-3200 or visit www.thepublictheatre.orgThe Public Theatre is located at 31 Maple St. in downtown Lewiston. 

 The Cocktail Hour is sponsored by Norway Savings Bank, Center Street Dental, Subway and Baxter Brewing.

The Public Theatre 2014-15 Season Underwriters: Platz Associates, Sun Journal, Austin Associates and Gleason Media Services.