Spotlight Issue: January 1998

County Players Presents
The Runner Stumbles

The County Players production of the murder mystery The Runner Stumbles will be presented February 6, 7, 13, 14,20, and 21, at the company’s playhouse located on Route 9D in the Village of Wappingers Falls with curtain times at 8:00 PM.

This intriguing drama was hailed as a theatrical triumph when it ran on Broadway. Opening at the Little Theater of New York City in 1976, it enjoyed a long run before being launched on national tour. Under the direction of Jewel Geissinger Ratzlaff, an experienced director of the company, a marvelous cast has been assembled. In the lead roles of Father Rivard and Sister Rita are Kevin Barnes and Jessica Browne. The supporting cast is composed of veteran actors James Talley, Kathleen Crampton, Melvin T. Houston, Erica LaPlante, Zsuzsa Manna, Jeff Wilson, and Joe Cassidy.

In an isolated town in northern Michigan at the turn of the century, a Catholic priest, Fr. Brian Rivard, is assigned to lead the faithful of a very small parish which had been without a spiritual counselor for over nine years. Fr. Rivard had been sent to the remote parish because he was considered to be a thorn in the side of his bishop. To tame his unconventional nature, the Bishop believed that a long period of servitude would curb the priest’s rashness. Accordingly, he was given the post in the tiny town of Solon. There he slowly established a warm reputation with his flock.

Sent to the same town in order to teach in the small Catholic school was the nun, Sister Rita. From her arrival, both Fr. Rivard and Sr. Rita were appreciative of one another’s strengths. A warm friendship developed. At the same time a natural attraction was growing – a disturbing element given their callings, their vows of chastity and celibacy. Both were put increasingly to the test of control.

After a disastrous fire that threatened to consume the town, the body of the nun was found. It appeared that she had been murdered and the priest has disappeared. Had a stressful situation erupted in to violence at the hand of the priest?

After several years, the priest was apprehended an tried for the murder. The ensuing courtroom scenes are riveting. Through flashbacks the priest’s dedication to the church and devotion to principles are revealed. His unrelenting eagerness to serve God is colored by the raw emotions and needs of those around him, particularly those of the nun. His struggle to accept a universe beyond the rigidity of standard theology results in a finer appreciation of man’s relationship to God.

Those who see the play are rapidly caught up in the drama, anxious for resolution, yet afraid of results. A playwright deals with form. But the story of Fr. Rivard and Sr. Rita is truly the stuff of life. Reservations for the performances may be made by calling 198-1491. Admission prices are $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for seniors and children under 12.

Upcoming Auditions

Auditions for Anything Goes by Cole Porter will be held on Sunday, Jan. 18, Monday, Jan. 19, and Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 7:00 PM. The cast will be 20 men and 20 women – all over 18 years old please. Prepare any Broadway song for the audition and be prepared to dance! Production dates are in May 1998. For more information, please call director Tom Lawrence at 485-5848 or production manager Peter Edman at 297-7521.

Road Trip Canceled

Because of an insufficient number of people interested in going to New York City to see Ragtime, the trip had to be canceled. It is felt that because of the unfamiliarity with the musical, which is currently only in previews, that people were uncertain as to whether the production would be worth it. Perhaps next year we will revisit the possibility. We believe Ragtime will enjoy a long run so there will be other chances. Sorry about that.

Visit us on the Web

Jeff Wilson of our Board of Governors has brought County Players to cyberspace with our own Web Page. It shows theater seating chart, pictures of past shows and other interesting tidbits for theater enthusiasts. Our address is as follows:

From the President

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and may the year ahead be a good one!

Sincere congratulations to Director Bill Peckham and his very talented cast and production crew of The Shadow Box for presenting a truly sensational piece of theatre.

In a recent issue of the Taconic Weekend, Theater Critic Lance Ringel recapped the year of theatre by listing his “picks” of the Top 10 Plays of 1997. County Players’ A Chorus Line was chosen as the #1 show of 1997! This is truly a great honor for CP, and myself as the Director of the show. However, I must again give credit and thanks to Joel Flowers as Musical Director, Michelle Ribble as Choreographer, and the dynamic cast and production crew – all of whom worked so very hard to make it such a spectacular show. Other kudos are extended to two other individuals who are regular CP directors and who were listed in Lance’s Top 10 – #3 Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (TAG Team), directed by David J. Ringwood, and #9 Rashomon (Rhinebeck Theater Society), directed by Bill Peckham.

At the January 13th Board meeting, the Play reading Committee will present their recommendations for the 1998/1999 season of plays. Committee members include George Conrad (Chair), Rachel Cassidy, Kathy Morris, Joe Stifano, and Doug Woolley. The Committee has been reading and discussing various plays for several months to determine a recommended “slate of plays” which is presented to the Board of Governors. The Board then has the opportunity to review the Committee’s recommendations, and at the February Board meeting a final slate is formally adopted by the Board.

We continue into our season with our mystery/drama, The Runner Stumbles (see page 1). Please feel free to come to the theatre and volunteer your time. I can’t say this enough – it’s good fun, and you won’t regret it! Questions, comments or concerns – please don’t hesitate to call me at home (463-0918).

Anna Marie Creighton

Box Office Update

For your convenience and so that we may better serve you, we will be extending our Box Office hours. Please call 298-1491 where the newly extended Box Office hours are:

5 days prior to opening – every night 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
After open till final performance – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

To provide more efficient service to our customers, County Players is changing its Box Office Reservation Policy. Now in Effect, all non-subscription tickets must be purchased as described below. We can no longer accept unpaid reservations. Payment may be made in one of the following ways:

Call the Box Office at 298-1491. Purchase your ticket by using your MasterCard or VISA.

Purchase your ticket by mailing a check to the box office.

Tickets may be purchased by check, cash or credit card at the Box Office during regular Box Office hours or on the evening of performance, pending availability.

Tickets purchased at least two weeks prior to the show date will be mailed to you. Others will be held for you at the Box Office.

Regrettably, there are no refunds. Exchanges can be made for another performance of the same play, pending availability, provided you contact the box office prior to your original ticket date.