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Back to the Audi: The Return of the Players

​The Community Players of Concord NH are pleased to announce their first mainstage show of the 2021-22 season:  the classic Neil Simon comedy Barefoot in the Park!  This production – slated for October 15-17, 2021 – marks the Players’ return to the Concord City Auditorium after a long pause during the pandemic.  

The show was originally scheduled to run in May, 2020.  Rehearsals had begun, and the set was nearly complete!  Then COVID struck, and the entire world was placed on indefinite hold.  The Players reluctantly went “dark” for only the second time in their 90+ years history (the first time being World War II).

Although live performance was out of the question, the Players were far from idle during the pandemic.  The group took the opportunity to undertake some much-needed repair and refurbishment of their studio building in East Concord.  They also undertook some intensive fundraising to make sure they could cover expenses despite the lack of show ticket revenues, normally their main source of income.

The Players even managed to engage in some theatrical activities.  The group offered an online benefit concert for Valentine’s Day in February 2021, featuring soloist Seraphim Afflick and her husband David Afflick. They offered a four-part directors’ workshop via Zoom shortly thereafter, taught by a team of experienced Players directors. A Playwrights Workshop was offered online in Fall 2020, in collaboration with Powerhouse Theatre Collective of Laconia.  It drew about a dozen participants and resulted in a collection of new short plays which were presented to audiences via Zoom in April and in person in May at Laconia’s Belknap Mill.

The Players’ Children’s Theatre Project (CTP), which was poised to celebrate its 25th anniversary, had to suspend its normal summer and fall activities in 2020.  But the CTP is back this summer, offering a one-week outdoor theatre camp in August on the grounds of the Kimball-Jenkins Estate.  The Players are also working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central NH to offer a 10-week children’s theatre program at the Christa McAuliffe School.

​Meanwhile, with most COVID restrictions lifted in New Hampshire and the Concord City Auditorium reopening, the Players are pleased to announce the beginnings of a 2021-22 production season!

​The season starts in August with a show the Players had planned to present at Concord’s Hatbox Theatre in summer 2020 – Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party. The show will now be presented in August 2021 as a coproduction with Powerhouse Theatre Collaborative at Laconia’s newly-refurbished Colonial Theater.  In this one-act comedy, six people are invited to dine at a first rate restaurant in Paris. They do not know who the other guests will be or why they have been invited. Tossed together in a private dining room, they have no way of knowing that this unorthodox dinner party will forever change their lives.  The Dinner Party will be performed Friday and Saturday, August 13-14 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday August 15 at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are available now at www.communityplayersofconcord.org/tickets.

​In September, the Players will present White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour.  This unique one-person show is performed by a different actor each night – an actor who has never seen the show or read the script before s/he steps out on stage!  The show will run for three weekends at Concord’s Hatbox Theatre, September 10-26, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sundays at 2:00 pm.  Tickets will be on sale soon at www.hatboxnh.com.

​In October, the Players return to the Concord City Auditorium with Barefoot in the Park – the show the Players were working on when the pandemic struck in March 2020.  This classic Neil Simon comedy (remade as a movie in 1967 with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford) opens as newlywed lovebirds Corie and Paul Bratter behold their first home – a tiny fifth floor walk-up in a crumbling Manhattan brownstone.  Corie, a free-spirited optimist, is excited by its possibilities.  Paul, an uptight young lawyer, sees only its flaws – like the hole in the skylight and leaky closet.  When Corie’s straight-laced mother makes an unannounced visit, Corie arranges a blind date for her with their quirky, bohemian neighbor.  Chaos and comedy ensue because while opposites may attract, adjustments may be needed to keep them together!

Most of the actors and production team who worked on the show last year are back, and the show’s set – which has languished in its nearly completed state at the Players’ studio for a year and half – has come to life again.  Rehearsals have re-started, costumes and props are being re-assembled, and on October 15 the show finally goes on!

Barefoot in the Park will be presented Friday and Saturday, October 15-16 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday October 17 at 2:00 pm, at the Concord City Auditorium.  Tickets will be available starting September 1st.  Those who still hold tickets for the original May 2020 production will receive new tickets by mail.  (If you do not receive your updated tickets, please contact box office chair David Murdo at 344-4747 or nhdm40@comcast.net.)  Tickets will also be on sale at www.communityplayersofconcord.org/tickets.  

To find out more about the Community Players of Concord, NH, and how to become involved, visit www.communityplayersofconcord.org.  To subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, visit http://eepurl.com/c8imqT.

 The Barefoot in the Park set languished at the Players’ Studio for a year and a half until the show could finally go forward.

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