The Community Players of Concord, NH presents “Last Gas” by John Cariani

John Cariani hails from way-northern Maine, and his plays are set in that sparsely-populated region on the edge of what’s wild and what is not. Concord audiences have seen two other Cariani plays in recent years: Almost, Maine, produced by the Players in February 2011, and Love/Sick performed at the Hatbox Theatre in September 2018.

Last Gas, Cariani’s most recent play, is set in a very small, unincorporated town near the Canadian border. Nat Paradis runs the business he inherited from his father, Dwight, a 63-year-old who likes dating young Canadians. Paradis’ Last Convenient Store is the final stop for fuel and supplies before leaving the U.S. It may also prove to be the last stop for some of life’s most universal events: love, loss, connection, and joy.

Nat never married Cherry-Tracy (a forest ranger who fancies herself The Law) – but they have a teenage son, Troy, who is now a tall young man with bigger dreams than this small town can hold. When Nat’s high school girlfriend, Lureen, comes home from New York to bury her mother, Nat gets a chance to rekindle a romance he gave up on years ago. But sparks fly as he’s forced to choose between new love and old.

Wayland Bunnell directs, and says “There are other things besides moose that can wander onto our paths and make big changes. Last Gas is a sweet, funny, moving and thought-provoking look at love lost and love found, and at what it means to ‘get back to happy’ ”.

Last Gas will be performed on Valentine’s Day weekend – Friday and Saturday, February 11-12 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, February 13 at 2 pm at the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord, NH. Tickets for reserved (and socially-distanced) seating are $20, with a $2 per ticket discount for purchases prior to Wednesday, February 9. Information and tickets are available at www.communityplayersofconcord.org or by contacting Box Office chair David Murdo at nhdm40@comcast.net or (603) 344-4747.

Note: All performers and crew have been fully vaccinated, and masks are required for audience members and others in the Auditorium (except performers while on stage). All COVID-19 precautions are subject to change depending on circumstances at show time.

The Children’s Theatre Project Returns to the Audi Stage November 12th and 13th!

The Children’s Theatre Project of the Community Players of Concord, NH (“CTP”) will be celebrating its 25th anniversary (albeit in its 26th season) with a very special production of All Together Now! – A Global Event Celebrating Local Theatre at the Concord City Auditorium on November 12th and 13th, 2021.

Performances are Friday, November 12 at 7 pm and Saturday, November 13 at 2 pm. Reserved seating at the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord, NH.  Tickets are $15, with a $2 per ticket discount for purchases prior to Wednesday, 11/10/2021. Information and tickets are available at www.communityplayersofconcord.org or by contacting Box Office chair David Murdo at nhdm40@comcast.net or (603) 344-4747. Box office hours are November 10-12, 4:30-7:30 pm, and November 13, 12-2 pm.

CTP was unable to celebrate its 25th Anniversary properly in 2020 due to the pandemic, when theatres were shuttered and vaccines were not yet in place.

Their grand return this year will thus be all the more joyous, as they present this special fundraising musical revue featuring young actor/singers ages 12 and up, along with some young adult CTP alumni and some adult “Guest Performers” to round out the cast.

Theatre companies around the world will be performing various versions of this exciting musical revue all on the same weekend in November to celebrate our collective return to live theatre. Music Theatre International is licensing the show free of charge so that groups around the world can present the show as a fundraiser. 

This CTP 25th Anniversary Fundraiser will include songs from Broadway favorites including Come From AwayWaitressJekyll and HydeMatildaNewsies, Once On This Island, Godspell and others. There will be several large group numbers, including  “Be Our Guest” (Beauty and the Beast), “Spread the Love” (Sister Act), “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” (Guys and Dolls), and “Seasons of Love” (Rent).

Director Karen Braz notes that one advantage of doing a musical revue as opposed to a traditional musical right now, when COVID-19 is still in our midst, is that rehearsals can be held in relative isolation. Only small groups of singers need to rehearse together for most numbers. The revue format also makes it easier to continue rehearsing even if some performers are absent due to COVID. Rehearsals have been great fun so far and the gang can’t wait to get back to their happy place – on stage at the Audi.

 

Note: All performers and crew have been fully vaccinated and masks are required for audience members and others in the Auditorium (except performers while on stage). All COVID-19 precautions are subject to change depending on the circumstances as they exist at show time.

 

The Community Players of Concord, NH Present Barefoot In The Park, October 15-17, 2021

When COVID-19 shuttered businesses and theatres in March of 2020, The Community Players of Concord, NH were in the midst of preparing the classic comedy, Neil Simon’s Barefoot In the Park. The show was supposed to be presented in May, 2020 as part of the group’s “all Neil Simon” 93rd season. Rehearsals were underway, the elaborate set nearly finished and costumes, props and set dressings were at the ready. And then everything stopped.

Now, after nearly 18 months of waiting, Barefoot In The Park will finally take the stage at the Concord City Auditorium on October 15-17, 2021 for what will be the Player’s first post-pandemic mainstage show. The large and beautiful set has been sitting idle at the Players Studio the entire time and if sets had feelings, this one would no doubt be as happy as the cast and crew to get back to rehearsals and then on to the Audi stage!

Co-directors John Conlon and Betty Lent lead a cast of six outstanding actors in this well-loved, romantic comedy – Simon’s longest running Broadway hit and the tenth-longest running non-musical play in Broadway history.

Griffen Stuart and Hannah McCauley play newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter, who have just moved into their first apartment, a tiny fifth-floor walk-up in a crumbling Manhattan brownstone. Although they are deeply in love, Paul and Corie are very different sorts of people … and their new home brings out those differences. Corie, a free-spirited optimist, is excited by the apartment’s possibilities. Paul, an uptight young lawyer, sees only its flaws – like the hole in the skylight and the leaky closet.

The couple’s life is complicated by the unexpected arrival of Corie’s mother (played by Jo Ann Kaplan), a lonely widow who seems to have nothing better to do than intrude on her daughter’s life. Hoping to give her mother something else to think about, Corie arranges an improbable blind date for her with their quirky, bohemian neighbor Victor Velasco (Players veteran Wallace J. Pineault). Chaos and comedy ensue because, while opposites may attract, adjustments may be needed to keep them together!

Rounding out the cast in exquisite comedic cameos are Kevin Guimond as a philosophical telephone repair man, and Pat Delzell as a hapless delivery person.

Director Conlon finds the heartwarming and funny show particularly appealing as a “show in time” – a glimpse back to the lifestyles and dreams of the late 50’s and early 60’s when a newlywed young couple like Paul and Corie knew what they wanted and optimistically pursued their dreams. “The show is almost like a valentine’s day card to the audience,” Conlon says, “particularly to those who are old enough to personally remember that time.”

Performances are Friday and Saturday, October 15 & 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 17 at 2:00 pm at the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince Street, Concord, NH. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for juniors age 17 and younger and seniors age 65 and over, all with a $2 per ticket discount for tickets purchased prior to October 13th. Tickets are available on-line at www.communityplayersofconcord.org or at the Audi box office. Box office hours are Wednesday through Friday, October 13-15, 4:30-7:30 pm, Saturday, October 16, 6:00-7:30 pm, and Sunday, October 17, 12:30-2:00 pm.

For further ticket information, contact David Murdo at nhdm40@comcast.net or (603) 344-4747. If you purchased tickets for the May, 2020 performance, you should have automatically received new tickets by mail around September 1st. If they have not arrived, please contact David Murdo.

COVID-19 safety notes: all members of the cast and crew of Barefoot In The Park are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and crew, ushers, and all other front of house volunteers will be wearing masks. Audience members are also asked to wear masks while inside the Audi for this show, regardless of vaccination status. If you forget to bring yours, one will gladly be provided to you at the door. If refreshments are served during intermission, audience members are asked to lower masks only while actively eating or drinking and to practice social distancing from people outside your household as much as possible.

Barefoot In The Park Press Release

The Community Players of Concord, NH Present Barefoot In The Park, October 15-17, 2021

When COVID-19 shuttered businesses and theatres in March of 2020, The Community Players of Concord, NH were in the midst of preparing the classic comedy, Neil Simon’s Barefoot In the Park. The show was supposed to be presented in May, 2020 as part of the group’s “all Neil Simon” 93rd season. Rehearsals were underway, the elaborate set nearly finished and costumes, props and set dressings were at the ready. And then everything stopped.
Now, after nearly 18 months of waiting, Barefoot In The Park will finally take the stage at the Concord City Auditorium on October 15-17, 2021 for what will be the Player’s first post-pandemic mainstage show. The large and beautiful set has been sitting idle at the Players Studio the entire time and if sets had feelings, this one would no doubt be as happy as the cast and crew to get back to rehearsals and then on to the Audi stage!

Co-directors John Conlon and Betty Lent lead a cast of six outstanding actors in this well-loved, romantic comedy – Simon’s longest running Broadway hit and the tenth-longest running non-musical play in Broadway history.

Griffen Stuart and Hannah McCauley play newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter, who have just moved into their first apartment, a tiny fifth-floor walk-up in a crumbling Manhattan brownstone. Although they are deeply in love, Paul and Corie are very different sorts of people … and their new home brings out those differences. Corie, a free-spirited optimist, is excited by the apartment’s possibilities. Paul, an uptight young lawyer, sees only its flaws – like the hole in the skylight and the leaky closet.

The couple’s life is complicated by the unexpected arrival of Corie’s mother (played by Jo Ann Kaplan), a lonely widow who seems to have nothing better to do than intrude on her daughter’s life. Hoping to give her mother something else to think about, Corie arranges an improbable blind date for her with their quirky, bohemian neighbor Victor Velasco (Players veteran Wallace J. Pineault). Chaos and comedy ensue because, while opposites may attract, adjustments may be needed to keep them together!

Rounding out the cast in exquisite comedic cameos are Kevin Guimond as a philosophical telephone repair man, and Pat Delzell as a hapless delivery person.
Director Conlon finds the heartwarming and funny show particularly appealing as a “show in time” – a glimpse back to the lifestyles and dreams of the late 50’s and early 60’s when a newlywed young couple like Paul and Corie knew what they wanted and optimistically pursued their dreams. “The show is almost like a valentine’s day card to the audience,” Conlon says, “particularly to those who are old enough to personally remember that time.”

Performances are Friday and Saturday, October 15 & 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 17 at 2:00 pm at the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince Street, Concord, NH. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for juniors age 17 and younger and seniors age 65 and over, all with a $2 per ticket discount for tickets purchased prior to October 13th. Tickets are available on-line at www.communityplayersofconcord.org or at the Audi box office. Box office hours are Wednesday through Friday, October 13-15, 4:30-7:30 pm, Saturday, October 16, 6:00-7:30 pm, and Sunday, October 17, 12:30-2:00 pm.

For further ticket information, contact David Murdo at nhdm40@comcast.net or (603) 344-4747. If you purchased tickets for the May, 2020 performance, you should have automatically received new tickets by mail around September 1st. If they have not arrived, please contact David Murdo.

COVID-19 safety notes: all members of the cast and crew of Barefoot In The Park are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and crew, ushers, and all other front of house volunteers will be wearing masks. Audience members are also asked to wear masks while inside the Audi for this show, regardless of vaccination status. If you forget to bring yours, one will gladly be provided to you at the door. If refreshments are served during intermission, audience members are asked to lower masks only while actively eating or drinking and to practice social distancing from people outside your household as much as possible.

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit Press Release

August 11, 2021 – Players Present Elusive Rabbit

The first time Wayland Bunnell and Lacy Long went to see White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, they had no idea what to expect. Neither, it turned out, did the actor performing the show.

Despite the fact the play has been performed worldwide and enjoyed a 42-week Off-Broadway run with stars like Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, Darren Criss and Cynthia Nixon, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, is a theatrical enigma – the show that no one is allowed to talk about. Actors who appear in this one-person show must never have seen it before, and do not even lay eyes on the script until it’s handed to them at the start of the play. There is no rehearsal, and no director. Only the bravest of performers take on this challenge. For some actors it’s their greatest nightmare, but for others it’s a unique opportunity to use their skills in real time. Both actor and audience experience Nassim’s play simultaneously.

Bunnell and Long were so intrigued by the show that they went back a second time to see another actor in the play. While each actor performs the same script, each one brings their own skills, style and interpretation to the play, so that each performance is unique. White Rabbit, Red Rabbit is theatre that asks you to serendipitously meet Nassim through his words, and to leave your phone on!

Bunnell and Long, both longtime members of the Community Players of Concord, knew they had to bring this piece of theatre magic to Concord audiences. Thanks to the pandemic it’s taken two years, but now the Community Players are pleased to present White Rabbit, Red Rabbit at the Hatbox Theatre.

Nassim Soleimanpour was a conscientious objector who refused to do mandatory military service, and therefore could not obtain a passport. So instead, at age twenty-nine, he penned a play that helped him vicariously travel the world without borders. Spread solely by email, blogging and social media, this intriguing and innovative play has been performed to critical acclaim worldwide.

There are nine performances at the Hatbox Theatre – each featuring a different actor – over the three weekends from September 10-26, 2021. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sundays at 2:00 pm. The actors, in order of performance, are Steve Lajoie, Alex Picard, Eric Skoglund, Deirdre Bridge, Katie Collins, David MacNeill, Aaron Compagna, Chris Avery and Katie Dunn-Law.

Come be a part of the discovery and excitement!

Tickets ($16 – $22) are available at https://hatboxnh.com or at the box office.

From the license agent: URGENT: All media and press agents: This play is NOT overtly political, and should not be portrayed as such. It operates on a deeper, metaphoric level, and very expressly avoids overt political comment. We therefore ask the press to be judicious in their reportage.

Special Auditions for Barefoot in the Park Press Release

The Community Players of Concord NH are pleased to announce special auditions for their October 2021 production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park.

This show was originally scheduled for May 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic.  Four of the six original cast members are returning to the show, but we are seeking actors for the two lead roles:

Corie Bratter — 20’s to early 30’s — emotional, optimistic, full of positive energy.  Embracing the future, anxious to take on the world and its adventures.

Paul Bratter — 20’s to early 30’s — straight-laced, conflicted attorney, wants to make a good impression at work.  Hopelessly in love with Corie; loves that she is so different from him.  Always tries to do the right thing.  Not adventurous.

Set in the 1960’s, Barefoot in the Park introduces newlyweds Corie and Paul as they behold their first home – a tiny 5th 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 the 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 are often needed to keep them together!

Auditions will be held August 10th and 11th at 7:00 pm at the Players Studio, 435 Josiah Bartlett Road in Concord.  No special preparations are required.  Sides from the script will be available.

Rehearsals will be held Monday thru Thursday evenings starting September 2nd.  (Conflicts with the rehearsal schedule will be a factor in casting.)  The production dates are October 15th and 16th at 7:30 pm, and October 17th at 2:00 pm, at the Concord City Auditorium.

Please note that all actors in this show must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

If you have questions, please contact director John Conlon at (603) 224-4285 or nhjohnc@comcast.net.

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.

Back to the Audi Press Release

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.

Park Play Festival Press Release

The Community Players of Concord, NH have teamed up with Laconia’s Powerhouse Theatre Collaborative to produce a COVID-sensitive festival of short plays this spring.  The plays were all written by New Hampshire playwrights who participated in the Players/Powerhouse Fall 2020 playwriting workshop, led by Players Director and Powerhouse Producer Bryan Halperin.

Part One of the festival, which streamed online in April, consisted of plays specifically written to be performed on Zoom.  Part Two, the Park Play Festival, features plays designed to be performed outdoors.  Festival Producer Bryan Halperin says, “We had a great time working on April’s Zoom Festival, but now with the weather warming up and vaccination rates increasing we are happy to be able to step outside and bring people together to perform some live theatre in a safe manner.”

The Park Play Festival will be performed Saturday May 29th and Sunday May 30th at 3:00 pm in Rotary Riverside Park next to the Belknap Mill in Laconia.  The Festival is generously sponsored by the Dow Realty Group and TS Event Productions, which will also be providing the sound design for the event.

The plays are a mix of comedies and dramas by Doris Ballard, Betsey Buteau, Joe Elcock, Chuck Fray, Sherry Gardner, Bryan Halperin, Tess Hodges, and Nora McBurnett.  Directors include J. Alward, Lauren Shelby Douglas, Bryan Halperin, Kathleen Hill, Dorothy Piquado, John Piquado, Jim Rogato, and Doreen Sheppard.  Over 20 actors are involved in the performance.  While there is nothing particularly inappropriate for younger viewers, the subject matter of the plays is more geared towards older teens and adults.

The event will be managed similarly to how the Belknap Mill’s 2020 Arts in the Park series was handled.  Covid-safe socially distanced squares will be marked out in the park for audience members to sit with those they came with.  Audience members should plan to bring their own chairs or blanket to sit on the grass in their designated area.

There is no fee to watch the plays, but if a viewer is inspired to help Powerhouse and the Players raise money for future productions, donations to both organizations will be gladly accepted via their websites or in person at the Festival.  To learn more about the Players, visit www.communityplayersofconcord.org.  For more details on Powerhouse and all the programs at the Belknap Mill or to find out how to become a sponsor, visit www.belknapmill.org or email powerhouse@belknapmill.org.

Press Contacts:

Bryan Halperin, bryanhalperin@gmail.com

Doug Schwarz, Players Publicity Co-chair, odschwarz@gmail.com

Boys and Girls Club Collaboration Press Release

The Community Players of Concord, NH is pleased to announce that it will be collaborating this summer with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire to assist in delivering ten weeks of new theatre camp programming at the Christa McAuliffe School in Concord.

The camp will be offered in five two-week sessions: Acting and Intro to Theatre, Improv Theatre, Musical Theatre, Acting (Part 2) and Improv (Bigger and Better!).

The camp is open to both new and experienced actors in grades K-5.  Campers may register for one or more sessions in any combination.

Camp will be led by skilled theatre camp counselors from the Boys and Girls Club, assisted by Community Players volunteers who bring a wide range of professional and amateur theatre expertise in areas such as acting, singing and dance, as well as “off stage” aspects of theatre such as lighting, sound, set building and props design and management. The Players will also support the camps by sharing resources such as costumes, props and set pieces.

Campers will enjoy outdoor recreation and other fun activities in addition to the theatre programming offered each day.

The camp fee is $320 per two-week session, with financial assistance available. Space is extremely limited. Registration is online at www.centralnhclubs.org. Questions? Contact Cady Hickman at (603) 268-9568 or chickman@centralnhclubs.org.