Members of the Naughton Family – two-time Tony Award winner and Weston, Connecticut resident James Naughton, daughter Keira Naughton, son Greg Naughton, and Greg’s wife Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara – plus Blythe Danner, Jordan Coughtry, Edward Herrmann, Chad Kinsman, Jake Robards, Mark Shanahan, and Dana Steingold are cast in Westport Country Playhouse’s Script in Hand playreading of “The Philadelphia Story,” the romantic comedy classic by Philip Barry, set for one-night-only on Monday, December 10, 7 p.m. Director is Anne Keefe, Playhouse artistic advisor.
Tickets to the Script in Hand playreading are $15. Tickets for the reading and post-performance “Meet the Cast” dessert reception in the Playhouse’s Sheffer Studio are $50 ($15 for reading plus a $35 donation for reception). The reception will include champagne and strawberries.
In “The Philadelphia Story,” Tracy Lord, of the Philadelphia Lords, is a spoiled daughter of the privileged. She’s about to marry for the second time. Just days before the wedding, a reporter and a camera woman arrive to document the event for a gossip magazine as part of a deal to cover up Tracy’s father’s affair with a Broadway dancer. Coincidentally her ex-husband turns up as well. The result is comedy, drama, and suspense as Tracy confronts the four men in her life: the very appealing reporter, her ex-husband, her fiancé, and her father. “The Philadelphia Story” has been a play, a film, and, as “High Society” with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, a Broadway and movie musical as well.
Jordan Coughtry (Sandy (Alexander) Lord) was in Westport Country Playhouse’s production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” and a Script in Hand playreading of Philip Barry’s “Holiday.” New York theater includes “Murder in the Cathedral” at hoi polloi, and “Be Story Free” at Inverse Theater. Regional work includes “Candida, “Amadeus,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “All's Well That Ends Well,” “Hamlet,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Big Bill,” and “Love's Labour's Lost.”
Blythe Danner (Margaret Lord) appeared at Westport Country Playhouse in the world premiere of “Butterflies Are Free,” which transferred to Broadway earning her a Tony Award. To celebrate the Playhouse’s 80th anniversary in 2010, she returned in a Script in Hand playreading of the same comedy classic. She received Tony Award nominations for “Betrayal,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and “Follies.” Her films include “The Great Santini,” “Meet the Parents,” and “Sylvia” with daughter Gwyneth Paltrow: She won two Emmy Awards for Showtime’s “Huff.”
Edward Herrmann (William Tracy) was at Westport Country Playhouse in “A Holiday Garland” and a Script in Hand playreading of “Morning’s at Seven.” Broadway credits include “The Philadelphia Story,” “Plenty” (Tony Award nomination), and “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” (Tony Award, Drama Desk Award nomination). Film and television includes “The Paper Chase,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Reds, “Nixon,” “The Aviator,” “St. Elsewhere” (Emmy Award nomination), “The Practice” (Emmy Award), and “The Good Wife” (recurring as Lionel Deerfield).
Chad Kinsman (Servant) appeared at Westport Country Playhouse in “Children” and the Script in Hand playreading of “Holiday.” Other Connecticut theater includes “The Irish Curse” (New Milford Theatre Works), and “The Laramie Project” (Bridgeport Theatre Company).
Greg Naughton (C.K. Dexter Haven) is best known as one-third of the folk-rock band The Sweet Remains. He founded and served as artistic director of the acclaimed Blue Light Theater Company in NYC through six seasons including the Obie-winning “Oedipus,” starring Frances McDormand and Billy Crudup, “Waiting for Lefty,” directed by Joanne Woodward, starring Marisa Tomei, and their inaugural “Golden Boy” in which Greg also played the title role, opposite his father James Naughton.
James Naughton (Seth Lord) was at Westport Country Playhouse in “Street of Dreams,” “Ancestral Voices,” and directed several Playhouse productions, including Thornton Wilder's “Our Town.” He won two Tony Awards as Best Actor in a Musical for “City of Angels” and “Chicago.” He directed twice on Broadway: the Tony-nominated production of Arthur Miller's “The Price,” as well as the Playhouse’s transfer of “Our Town.” He has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, and was named Best Male Vocalist in NYC for his one-man show, “Street of Dreams,” in 1999.
Keira Naughton (Elizabeth Imbri) was in Westport Country Playhouse’s “Morphic Resonance,” and a Script in Hand reading of “Chapter Two.” Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include “The Rivals,” “Hunting and Gathering,” “All My Sons,” “The American Clock,” and “Dance of Death.” Regional credits include “A Delicate Balance” at Yale Repertory Theatre, and “Proof,” for which she received a Helen Hayes nomination. She is a singer/songwriter in the band The Petersons, and has an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.
Kelli O’Hara (Tracy Lord) is currently starring opposite Matthew Broderick in “Nice Work If You Can Get It” on Broadway for which she earned her fourth Tony nomination as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle, and Fred Astaire award nominations. Other Broadway credits include “South Pacific” (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), “The Pajama Game” (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), and “The Light in the Piazza” (Tony, Drama Desk nominations). Her concerts span from Carnegie Hall to Capitol Hill and in between.
Jake Robards (George Kittridge) appeared at Westport Country Playhouse in “Our Town” and Script in Hand play readings of “Golden Boy” and “Dial ‘M’ for Murder.” On Broadway, he was in “Our Town” with Paul Newman. Off-Broadway credits include “Ancestral Voices” with Pete Gurney and Marian Seldes, and “Speakeasy” with Josh Lucas and Kathleen Chalfant. Films include “You and I” (Cannes Film Festival) and “Our Town” on Showtime. On television’s “Law & Order SVU,” he played M.E. Cardillo.
Mark Shanahan’s (Macauley Connor) credits at Westport Country Playhouse include “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Tryst,” “Sedition,” “David Copperfield,” “Journey's End,” and numerous Script in Hand playreadings. In addition, he directed Playhouse Script in Hand playreadings of “Butterflies Are Free” and “The Greatest Gift.” New York stage includes “The 39 Steps,” “As Bees in Honey Drown,” and “The Internationalist.” A graduate of Brown University (BA) and Fordham University (MA), he serves on the faculty at Fordham and Pace Universities.
Dana Steingold (Dinah Lord) played Little Red Ridinghood in Westport Country Playhouse’s “Into the Woods.” Broadway/National Tours include “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Off-Broadway and other New York credits include “The Visit,” and “Anyone Can Whistle.” Regional work includes “Hairspray, “High School Musical 2,” and “Ordinary Days.” She is heard on the “Calvin Berger” cast album. Her concerts include Metropolitan Opera Gala at Avery Fisher Hall and Detroit Opera House. She has a BFA from New York University.
Playwright Philip Barry (1896-1949) graduated from Yale University and went on to Harvard University. He is primarily known for his satirical, somewhat unconventional comedies of manners, such as “Holiday” (1928), “The Animal Kingdom” (1932), and “The Philadelphia Story” (1939).
Director Anne Keefe served as artistic director of Westport Country Playhouse, with Joanne Woodward, in 2008 and as associate artistic director from 2000-2006, also with Ms. Woodward. She co-directed with Ms. Woodward the Westport Country Playhouse production of “David Copperfield,” and directed many Script in Hand playreadings.
All artists are subject to change.
Upcoming Script in Hand playreadings will take place on Mondays, February 11 and March 18, 7 p.m., titles to be announced.
Script in Hand sponsors are Marc and Michele Flaster; Script in Hand partners are Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler; and Script in Hand corporate sponsors are U.S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management and CohnReznick. The series is supported, in part, by the White Barn Program of the Lucille Lortel Foundation.
For more information or tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online 24/7 at www.westportplayhouse.org. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), view Playhouse videos on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse) or get an insider’s peek on The Playhouse Blog (www.theplayhouseblog.org).
About Westport Country Playhouse
Westport Country Playhouse is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, professional theater under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos and management leadership of Michael Ross. The Playhouse creates five live theater experiences, produced at the highest level, from April through November. Its vital mix of works---dramatic, comedic, occasionally exploratory and unusual---expands the audience’s sense of what theater can be. The depth and scope of its productions display the foremost theatrical literature from the past---recent as well as distant---in addition to musicals and premieres of new plays. During the summer, the Playhouse is home to the Woodward Internship Program, renowned for the training of aspiring theater professionals. Winter at the Playhouse, from November through March, offers events outside of the main season---Family Festivities presentations, Script in Hand play readings and a Holiday Festival. In addition, businesses and organizations are encouraged to rent the handsome facility for their meetings, receptions and fundraisers.
As an historic venue, Westport Country Playhouse has had many different lives leading up to the present. Originally built in 1835 as a tannery manufacturing hatters’ leathers, it became a steam-powered cider mill in 1880, later to be abandoned in the 1920s. Splendidly transformed into a theater in 1931, it initially served as a try-out house for Broadway transfers, evolving into an established stop on the New England straw hat circuit of summer stock theaters through the end of the 20th century. Following a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2005, the Playhouse became a state-of-the-art producing theater, preserving its original charm and character.
Today, the not-for-profit Westport Country Playhouse serves as a cultural nexus for patrons, artists and students and is a treasured resource for the State of Connecticut. There are no boundaries to the creative thinking for future seasons or the kinds of audiences and excitement for theater that Westport Country Playhouse can build.
Westport Country Playhouse’s five-play 2013 season: A.R. Gurney’s “The Dining Room,” a witty and heartfelt story of the American family and its vanishing traditions set in the most singular of rooms, where people gather, meals are eaten, conversations begin, and generations converge, directed by Mark Lamos, April 30 – May 18; “The Show-Off” by George Kelly, a funny, surprising, and moving story of a family in upheaval when their youngest daughter becomes engaged to a brash loudmouth, directed by Nicholas Martin, June 11 – 29; “Loot,” a wickedly funny send-up of larcenous, lascivious behavior among the English middle classes by the master of British farce Joe Orton, directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, July 16 – August 3; the second world premiere in as many seasons, “Oblivion” a touching and funny—and very modern—tale of parents, children, and the gulf that sometimes exists between them, commissioned by Playwrights Horizons and developed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company, written by Carly Mensch, currently a co-producer on Showtime's "Weeds,” directed by Mark Brokaw, August 20 – September 7; and John Murray and Allen Boretz’s “Room Service,” a madcap American farce about a producer and his ragtag bunch of actors who try to raise money for a Broadway show as they scramble to evade their hotel bill, directed by Mark Lamos, October 8 – 26, 2013.
For more information or tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online 24/7 at www.westportplayhouse.org. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), view Playhouse videos on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse) or get an insider’s peek on The Playhouse Blog (www.theplayhouseblog.org)