"Another beautiful exercise - though rather violent and exciting - is to pretend you're nymphs in a forest, being pursued by satyrs! Open your windows wide - scatter your chairs and tables - and race around the furniture in a frenzy! It's like a wonderful game, and stimulates the imagination at the same time!" This is just one of several exercises suggested by an enthusiastic instructor to her motley students in this deliciously funny scene that was created and first performed by the incredible Ruth Draper.
Raised in Manhattan society, Draper observed everyone around her from a German governess to Irish immigrants, to telephone operators and British socialites. First performing her touching and humorous scenes only for family and friends led her to an incredible forty-year career that took her to the world's greatest stages. Eleonora Duse declared "Ruth Draper is theater," and Lily Tomlin sites Draper as a great influence on her own solo shows.
The award winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company is only the second Production Company to be allowed to produce this incredible material since Draper's death in 1956. ELTC favorites Karen Case Cook and SuzAnne Dawson are bringing "A Cocktail Party," "Opening a Bazaar," "At a Telephone Switchboard" and other witty and diverse monologues to life under the direction of ELTC's artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth.
Karen Case Cook was in ELTC's "You and I," "The Ransom of Red Chief," and "Two Headed" (with Gayle Stahlhuth) -- a co-production with the Women's Theater Company (WTC) of New Jersey. Also with WTC: "Doubt," "Wit," and "Enchanted April." Among theaters in which she has performed in NYC are Jean Cocteau Rep and Oasis Theater Company, and her work in regional theater includes Arkansas Rep and the Barter Theater. As a director, she has helmed several shows for ELTC including "The Guardsman," and recently directed "The Twentieth-Century Way" in Philadelphia.
SuzAnne Dawson played leading roles off-Broadway in "CBS Live," "The Last Musical Comedy," and "The Great American Backstage Musical." Regionally, she works at Florida Studio Theatre, Buffalo Studio Arena, The Alliance in Atlanta, and Paper Mill Playhouse in NJ, and her national tours include "Rumors" and "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" with Gavin MacLeod. Suzanne was in ELTC's "To the Ladies!," "Alice on The Edge," "The Butter and Egg Man," "Berkeley Square," "The World of Dorothy Parker," and "Dulcy."
Gayle Stahlhuth has worked in the entertainment industry for over forty years, performing off-Broadway, in national tours, regional theater, television, film, and on radio. Since becoming ELTC's Artistic Director in 1999, she has produced 60 different plays/musicals (some returned for another season), including 15 world premieres and 8 NJ premieres, and directed over half of them. She's performed her own solo shows at The Smithsonian Institution, Manhattan Theatre Club, the NYC International Fringe Festival, The Arvada Center in Denver, and on Voice of America.
"Ruth Draper's Company of Characters" opens on June 13 and runs through July 21 at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes Street, Cape May, where the company is in residence. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30p.m., except there is no show on Wednesday, July 4, and an added show on Sunday, July 8.
There is an after-show opening night party on June 13 at Pier House Restaurant, 1317 Beach Ave., where patrons have the opportunity to mingle with actors and fellow theater lovers while indulging in complimentary hors d'oeuvres. On Friday, June 22, is an after-show Q&A with the cast and director, and on Friday, July 13 is an American Sign Language interpreted performance.
The rest of the season includes a world premiere based on the Edgar Allan Poe mysteries, a satire about marketing, "It Pays to Advertise," the popular Sherlock Holmes radio show, and Louisa May Alcott stories in time for the holidays. Along the way are classic silent movies with live organ accompaniment, a musical event, the summer student workshop, adult acting classes, a free juggling class, and our twenty-third season of "Tales of the Victorians."
Season Tickets are available: four tickets for $80.00. Patrons may see four different productions, or bring friends to see one or two shows, use all four for one show, or give tickets to friends! Prices in 2012 are still $30 for general admission; $25 for senior citizens; and $15 for full-time students. To encourage whole families to attend, anyone age 12 and under is still free.
ELTC is partnering with the following restaurants for further savings: Aleathea's, The Washington Inn, 410 Bank Street, and Frescos. If staying at The Henry Sawyer Inn or The Victorian Lace Inn, ELTC tickets may be purchased for $20.
New this year, ELTC is offering Gift Certificates for $25. Certificates may go towards the purchase of a ticket for one of our exciting Mainstage Productions.
Single tickets, season tickets and gift certificates may be purchased through ELTC's website at www.eastlynnetheater.org, or by sending a check to ELTC's office at 121 Fourth Ave., West Cape May, NJ 08204. For information about the season, educational outreach, and touring shows and for making reservations, call 609-884-5898.
East Lynne's production season would not be possible without season sponsors Curran Investment Management and Aleathea's Restaurant; Show Sponsors La Mer Beachfront Inn, The Henry Sawyer Inn, and Exit Zero; The NJ Dept. of State, Division of Travel and Tourism; NJ State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the generosity of many patrons.